A SOCIALIST- A SEAFOOD JOINT- AND THE BAILOUTS OF THE RICH- Last night I told my daughter ‘take orders from everyone- my treat- George’s steaks and seafood’. So she looks up the number and their closed! They went out of business. This was one of my favorite spots- been around ever since I lived in Corpus Christi.
Yesterday I watched part of the speech Bernie Sanders [Senator from Vermont] gave on the Senate floor. He spoke for 8 hours- the closest thing to a real filibuster in years. Sanders is the only member of the Socialist party that is a member of the senate. He spoke in opposition to the deal the president cut with the Republicans; many Democrats are fuming and it looks like the president has a mutiny on his hands.
Though I’m not a socialist- yet Sanders speech was very enlightening. He made some great points. At a time when our country is in serious financial trouble- should we be giving billionaires a break on the estate tax? The Walton family alone [Wal Mart] would gain an extra 30 billion as a result of the deal the president made with the Repubs. 30 billion! You ask ‘John- are you telling us we should soak the rich’? Yes- yes- lets please start soaking them- as soon as possible! Look- I know the whole debate between supply side economics and the trickledown effect- the truth is we tried it and it doesn’t really work. If we were true capitalists we would have never bailed out Wall Street and the bankers.
When my favorite Seafood joint couldn’t pay the bills- what did they do? They went under. That’s capitalism. When Wall street and the bankers and all their corporate friends got in trouble- what did they do- go under? No- we- the American taxpayers bailed them out. Yet at the same time many poor and average Americans are losing their jobs, their homes are being foreclosed on- many are on the streets. Are we acting with the same urgency as we did when Wall Street was in trouble? No- Why? Probably because they have no real advocates working inside the White House. All the big shots who warned Bush and Obama that we need to act fast- these guys were all part of the group who would lose fortunes if we didn’t bail them out. Paulson. Bernanke, Geithner- all these guys have friends- family- personal fortunes at stake- sure they made it sound like a dire emergency- because to them it was!
So we opted to spend nearly a trillion dollars to bail these guys out- and they kept their fortunes- even the bankers kept their million dollar bonuses- a real travesty. So why are the Dems mad at Obama? Because he pledged- over and over again not to extend the Bush tax cuts for the rich- and he didn’t keep his word. This alone- extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich- will cost us a trillion dollars- it will add an extra trillion to the debt. Trillion! When the news got out- the bond market almost crashed. Why? The investors see the writing on the wall- we are not going to responsibly deal with our debt problem. Obama’s commission failed, and we just added another trillion to our national debt. We are going down the road of Britain and the E.U- we are not going to act until there is another major crisis.
The responsible thing we probably should have done is let the tax cuts expire for ‘the rich’. This deal puts a burden on the poor and rewards the rich. It reminds me of Reagan’s ‘war on poverty’ one day the news reported ‘the White House announced the war on poverty is over’ gee- I didn’t think the poor would give up so soon? Look- what do I have against the rich? They won’t let me join the club! Well actually our country has created an environment that allowed for the billionaires to become billionaires- so in that sense they do owe a special- extra debt to society as a whole. And many of them know that. Buffet, Gates, and just last week Zuckerberg [Facebook] all have made moves and spoken publicly on their responsibility to pay more- use their wealth for the public good- many of them see the special burden they bare because of their wealth. It looks like this deal the president made will pass- maybe not? But then the Repubs will be sworn in and they will pass it- or maybe something worse! So for now we’ll do our best. No more steaks and seafood for me though- just wish George’s could get a bailout like the rest of them.