Nick Egnatz, is a VietNam vet, who has written an essay and is someone with whom I have rallied with, from time to time, here and there. I am showing the entire essay, because the “thought content” may become lost were I not to do so!
I reserve my personal comments or thoughts (and, frankly, I’m still mesmerizing over the thoughts he portrays in his diary)!
I must say, up-front, I do not disagree with the accuracy of the circumstances, as he portrays them to be! Nor, do I think his solutions absurd, but . . . . . ! We all search for remedies — maybe, Nick’s right and maybe, he’s wrong! What do you think?
The Progressive DilemmaSubmitted by Nick Egnatz on Wed, 2010-09-29 19:49
A self described representative democracy in which the only two political parties are both funded and controlled by elite corporate interests is a contradiction in terms. Control of the population through government propaganda and a monopoly corporate media have made the domination of the American working class and poor by the wealthy corporate elite consensual. The enormity of the crime against true democratic values is so complete that substantive reform of the present system is an impossibility.
A dilemma is a situation in which one is forced to choose between equally distasteful options. That has always been our consignment as Americans when we venture to the polls (either vote for a wishy/washy Democrat or let the even worse Republican win). Every two years we are told that the fate of our democracy rests on our decision. Well it doesn’t because we don’t have a democracy, representative or otherwise. We have a plutocracy (rule by the wealthy). Our two political parties answer out of necessity to the corporate world. No one represents the people and the monopoly corporate media will not allow for a discussion of democratic alternatives.
The chickens have come home to roost from the last 30 years of economic neoliberal globalization policies championed by both political parties. Supply side economics of massive tax cuts for the wealthy and deregulation of the very modest checks on American capitalism necessitated by the Great Depression have made us the most unequal industrial democracy on earth. Imperial wars of aggression and massive bailouts of the very speculators who engineered the financial collapse leading to the Great Recession have allowed both corporate parties to take the stance that there is no money left for the people’s needs. This is poppycock. How can a consumer driven economy recover if the working class and poor have no jobs or money?
To cut spending on social programs with political cover, Obama came up with the brilliant idea of a Budget Deficit Commission made up of bipartisan hacks from both our two corporate parties, representatives from the corporate world of greed and a single union president. Green Party and socialists need not apply and in fact there are no even mildly progressive Democrats (an oxymoron if there ever was one) on the commission. The Commission is not a result of legislation from our Congress. It was formed by Executive Order. This is the way dictators govern, but that’s another issue. The Commission is charged to cut the Budget Deficit by cutting social programs only and leaving the military spending intact. If and when 14 of the Commission’s 18 members agree on policy it will go straight to Congress for a vote with no amendments allowed.
Co-chairman of the Commission Alan Simpson, former Republican Senator from Wyoming received some notoriety recently by referring to seniors on Social Security as “lesser people”, calling Social Security a “cow with 310 million tits” and asking the question of Vietnam veterans “what have they done for us lately?’ None of this bothered our President enough to ask for Simpson’s resignation. Their recommendation is due in December, after the election.
We are expected to accept the government propaganda that the unemployment rate is 9.6%, when that figure does not include those no longer receiving or who never received unemployment compensation, part time workers desiring full time work or workers disdainfully referred to as having given up looking for work. Including all these would bring the unemployment figure to 22%. But that still doesn’t count those working for less than a livable wage, this would easily bring the figure well beyond the 30% range. This assault on the working class has been the goal of the neoliberal globalization policy accepted as gospel by both corporate political parties since Ronald Reagan started selling it in the 70s and 80s when he set out to save the country from the scourge of a prosperous working class. The Great Communicator pushed his dogma of bad government/good corporations with the same smile he used to push Twenty Mule Team Borax soap to TV viewers years earlier.
More than three million families have already been foreclosed and torn from their homes. Another 11 million families are “underwater” (owing more that the home is worth). Research firm First American Core Logic reports that Nevada with 65% of home mortgages underwater, Arizona with 48%, Florida with 45%, Michigan with 37% and California with 35% lead the nation in this foreboding statistic.
The Republicans propose fiscal austerity for the poor and working class and continued tax cuts for the wealthy corporate class to find our way our of the Great Recession. Obama and the Democrats say that economic growth will do the trick. Both so called solutions are illogical. We are expected to believe that if the big bad bankers would just pretty please start loaning money to businesses, the economy will start humming and everything will be hunky dory?
I’m not an economist, but I have been a small businessman and I have been told on more than one occasion that I have half a brain. The road to recovery is both simple and difficult. For businesses to thrive, for the economy to hum, the business owners simply need customers with money in their pockets. The first step is to put our citizens back to work at a livable wage and the economy will flourish. It will be difficult, to the point of impossibility, for corporate politicians to consider the people at the bottom first, but that is what needs to be done.