— Franklin Delano Roosevelt
MANY IN the national media and Republican Party portray the Democrats as poor, uneducated, irreligious, deviants, who live off entitlements.
On the other hand, Republican politicians are pictured to be well-educated, religious, go to church more often than Democrats, are sexually circumspect, and comfortably rich.
The Washington Post published a very interesting account of the 25 richest members of the Congress....excluding their home equity. Listed in the chart to the right are those multi-millionaires by party.
According to “Center for Responsive Politics,” report dated Nov. 17, 2010, “Despite a stubbornly sour, national economy congressional members’ personal wealth collectively increased by more than 16 percent between 2008 and 2009.” The report adds: Nearly half of them — 261 — are millionaires, a slight increase from the previous year. They are in the 1 percent of Americans who lay claim to the same lofty fiscal status.”
By contrast: According to the Federal Reserve, the collective net worth of all American decreased 23 percent between 2007 and 2009.
In analyzing the chart at the right, one may see that none of the 25 of those in the Congress is on welfare. They have ways of increasing their net worth greatly, such as President Obama pointed out, insider trading, at the expense of the public. I think that might explain why some millionaires spend millions to get in office for a job that pays $175,000 per year plus perks....health care being one of them! We must not forget the thousands of dollars they are furnished with staff to answer their correspondence. It may well explain why multi-billionaires not running for office will pay millions to get their man in office to manipulate stocks and taxes.
Also in analyzing that list, on the Democratic side, they are backing President Obama in trying to keep the Bush tax cut from being renewed. Those Democrats would be voting to increase taxes on themselves as well as other one per-centers. Obama wishes to lower taxes on the middle-income earners.... Those making under $200,000 a year if single and $250,000 per year if married…”
The Republicans are fighting this since most of them are in the 1 percent bracket and would be voting to increase their own taxes. Republicans prefer to cut benefits for the most vulnerable people in society, by reducing their benefits on Medicare, etc.
They have already stripped over $2 trillion from the trust funds of Social Security and a like amount from federal trust funds. Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., who was on the finance committee, warned them that if people in private enterprise took from trust funds as they do, they would be in jail, instead of the Congress.
Warren Buffet, a multi billionaire, along with some other millionaires and billionaires, is trying to get the Congress to eliminate the Bush Tax Cuts all together, and increase their tax rate to at least as much as his secretary pays. He stated he pays 17.4 percent and his secretary’s rate is 35.8 percent of her income for taxes.
There would only be a small percentage of folks netting over $200,000 after deductions in Chattooga County, and indeed Floyd I would think. If they do, they should give thanks! Democrats have historically fought for the middle-class and under.
I WOULD ALSO submit that since the life expectancy at the beginning of the 20th century was 49 years and at present is 80.5 for females and 77.5 for men is due in large measure to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, for Republicans, Democrats and Independents. I daresay not many average retired folks could afford $40,000 for hip replacements without health care reform, nor their children afford to pay it for them.
The Democrats hauled in Joe the Hedge Fund Manager to testify before Congress in 2008. Actually they hauled in billionaire’s row of them, John, George, Philip, and Kenneth the Hedge Fund Managers. Their average earnings reportedly $2.5 billion apiece in 2007.
One need not plan on Republicans, who have the majority in the House of Representatives, going along with anything President Obama has to set the fiscal house in order or anything else. We are losing some powerful Democratic representatives who have been there for years fighting for the average citizens because of their frustration of Republicans coming into office for only one purpose—to beat President Obama. The Washington Post even recently wrote an article about the problem with the Republicans. Since the Supreme Court said corporations were individuals in elections, they put enormous amounts of money behind their candidates. That’s scary!
Meanwhile, look at the states with Republican governors firing teachers, and rather than programs to educate as President Obama wished. Some students on this week’s national media were saying they don’t plan to go to college; because they will owe too much when they get out of college and maybe can’t find a job to pay the money back. The stimulus money was used to keep some people on rather than educate people whose jobs are no longer needed to what will be needed in the coming years we get the skills of other countries to fill.
TO GIVE an example of how the country benefited from the upper 1 percent paying their share of taxes meant to the country, President Bill Clinton increased taxes on them, without any support from the Republicans. A 2001 Washington Post report states: “Over Democratic objections, the Bush administration passed a 10-year budget, which Rep. Dick Armey gave them one hour to study, and which did not include the defense budget, giving a $1.8 trillion tax reduction over 10 years. The administration spent $34 million sending out notices to tell 32 million people they were not ineligible, and 92 million were eligible, for an immediate $300 refund if single and $600 if married. Bush had been in office just seven months and had already used the $120 billion surplus left by Clinton. .
Companies behind a number of lawmakers favorite investments played key roles in lobbying Congress on two of the most critical legislative initiatives of the past two years, health care reform and financial regulatory, reform. “
“AMONG HEALTH care-related companies, at least 20 current lawmakers reported owning stakes in Pfizer (49) Johnson & Johnson (39) Merck (27), Abbott Laboratories (25) , CVS/Caremark (23), Bristol-Myers Squibb (22) and Amgen (20)” No wonder President Obama was unable to get a law passed that health insurance would be publicly financed. This costs patients thousands a year for less coverage than would have been under public finance.
I have never been so concerned for our country.
An even stronger concern was expressed by David Stockman, former Director of Office and Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. The article by Paul B. Farrell, in August 2010, quotes Stockman: “We’ve arrived at a historic turning point as a nation that no longer needs outside enemies to destroy us, we are committing suicide. Democracy. Capitalism. The American dream. All dying. Why?
Because of the economic decisions of the GOP the past 40 years, says this leading Reagan Republican, who added, “ The GOP should file for bankruptcy.”
“Stockman rushes into the ring swinging like a boxer: “If there were such a thing as Chapter 11 for politicians, the Republican push to extend the unaffordable Bush tax cuts would amount to a bankruptcy filing. The nation’s debt will soon reach $18 trillion.”
IT SCREAMS OUT for austerity and sacrifice. But instead, the GOP insists “that the nation’s wealthiest taxpayers be spared even a 3-percentage point rate increase.”
“If by liberal they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people—their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, their civil liberties—if that is what they mean by a “liberal” then I am proud to be a liberal.”
— John F. Kennedy
Louise McCollum of Gore writes an occasional column for the Rome News-Tribune.