What happened to our Democracy?

         What happened to the great country of America? Why do we not prosper like we did in the 1950s-1970s? What caused the greatest nation in earth to come back to the pack? If you listen to Republicans it is all liberals fault, their policies and entitlements. If you listen to Democrats it is all conservatives fault, horrible policies, war mongering and the trickle down economy. But what caused our current predicament. This is an average high school educated Americans opinion on our decline.

America was very successful in the decades following WWII. There are several reasons for this. I believe first and foremost was the conditions other countries were in. Germany, England, Italy, France, Japan and most of Europe was decimated by the war. This essentially left the world at Americas mercy. We were the only developed country that wasnt decimated and we took full advantage of that. Second was the rise of labor unions. They leveled the playing field with corporations causing better pay and benefits. Workers were happy and American made meant something. Third was the gap in income. It put us in a position where employees believed in their employers. Corporations werent cutting corners for a profit.

When CEO pay began to grow quicker then employee pay we saw the beginning of the decline. Companies off shoring work to make a higher profit despite products that were not made very well. Union membership particularly in the early 2000s declined sharply. NAFTA wad created to help Americans but it worked against us. This was the beginning of the end. Then banks began to work against us. I to this day do not completely understand what they did, but they destroyed pensions, credit, peoples lives and the American economy. Too big too fail and too rich too prosecute.

You may ask “Why all this about the economy and jobs?” It all contributed to the political climate we live in today. The decimation of unions took away one of the major checks on corporations power. Easieast example is Walmart. They make billions in profits, get all of their product from overseas and essentially pay minimum wage. They typically cap employees hours so they dont have to offer benefits. All the while their employees are in every government program that is offered because of the low pay. Walmart is one of the largest employers in the country. Any attempt at unionizing is dealt with harshly. People getting fired, hours cut amongst other things. Workers no longer recieve living wages, all the while corporations and the super wealthy gain more and more of the pie.

Why does any of that matter? Well that is quite easy. 94%. 94% of the time the politician with the most money wins. 94%, a ridiculous number. That means that the people with money get their politician of choice. That means that said politician then works for the cause of the wealthy. That causes an ever growing gap in income inequality. When corporate backed politicians are in charge, corporations essentially are in charge. Take the Stand Your Ground Law, a mess of a law. ALEC writes papers called model legislation, which is a bill that is given to their bought congressmen, who then work to get it passed. Congress no longer works for the people, it works for its puppet master.

Money has bought our government, big money, corporations and super wealthy. These people have destroyed our democracy. We are now at the mercy of our corporate overlords. It is funny to think that not only do you buy their product in a store, but we all bow at the altar of the wealthy. This is what these wannabe oligarchs, feudalists or monarchs want from us. For a while the people were silent, but many are waking up. But it is too late? Can we retake our democracy? Is America the new Rome? I certainly hope not. But in my opinion we are balanced on a precipice.

I realize that this is not the most concise description of our fall. But just open your eyes and look around. People stand up for a tax evader like Cliven Bundy but demonize Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown. When was racism so prevelant, the 1950s. How about the constant attack on women? It seems like a calculated attack to keep rich men in charge of things. The election of President Obama, a black man, seems to upset the apple cart. Why else would certain people say their first and most important priority was to make him a one term president. Democracy is not conservatism or liberalism, it is a combination of all of them. We need to overturn Citizens United, put term limits on Senators, Representatives and Supreme Court Justices. We need to be able to assess their jobs and have the right to immeadiatly fire them. Our democracy is on the line. Lets save it.

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The Walmart cycle.

               One meme or article after another tells us to avoid Walmart. Which is absolutely right! They subsidize their company by paying low wages, thereby forcing their employees to receive Federal Benefits. That alone costs American tax payers billions of dollars a year. Not to mention the money they receive from Federal and State governments to build stores or warehouses in their areas or the tax breaks and tax havens they use to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes.

The Walton family are worth a couple hundred billion dollars. While making these billions of dollars they bemoan employees who ask for a higher wage or the right to unionize. All the while purchasing product from China, a Communist dictatorship that not only manipulates their currency but also subsidizes their companies. The Walton maintain that if they raise pay, they have to raise prices. While saying this they reap profits that have rarely been seen in American history.

Now here is the conundrum. The average person making even $12 an hour is that they do not have alot of disposable income. Electric, gas, phone, taxes and even sewer have all seen precipitous increases, all while this person has been stuck at $12 an hour. A family of 4, with mom and dad both working, will in many cases qualify for Federal Benefits. The failure of corporations to raise peoples pay while making record profits has presented these people with a pickle. Do I shop at a cheaper store and get more or shop at more expensive and get less. Where does this leave them?

At a time when Americans need more help then at possibly any time in our history, we have also found ourselves in a period of hyper-polarization. While these people need help, Paul Ryan and Republicans want to cut Federal Benefits while cutting taxes for the wealthy. Democrats led by Elizabeth Warren are trying to extend unemployment benefits, raise taxes on the wealthy, reel in to big to fail and fix income inequality. Bernie Sanders, the only Independent who really matters, my little joke, is fighting along many of the same fronts as Elizabeth Warren. It has become class warfare. Rich saying the poor dont work hard enough and poor asking for a fair share. All of this while 47 million Americans are on Food Stamps because of low pay or no jobs.

Here is where it comes full circle. These people on the bottom end up shopping at Walmart because of their low pay. By shopping at Walmart they are putting people like themselves out of work, as well as giving the Waltons a false sense that their model is a good thing. The person shopping there doesn’t want to do these things, but what company can compete with a monolithic corporation like Walmart. Of course it would be another corporation. What option do these people have? Even if you dont shop at Walmart, the majority of products are made somewhere else.

Why do people think the poor are ruining our country?

       I find it odd that people attack the poor for asking for a living wage. I find it odd that a poor person is demonized for getting food stamps or heat assistance.  I find it odd that people complain about a poor family getting a large income tax check. Why are the poor being so scrutinized?

How many poor people write checks to lobby a politicians? How many poor people have money in tax havens to avoid paying taxes? How many poor people can pay $10,000 to sit at a dinner in order to get an audience with a politician? How many poor people write bills that are brought to the floor of Congress for a vote? How many poor people are convicted of ripping people off for millions? Killing their retirement? Draining their nest egg? NONE.

Most working poor are making $9 or less. They are working 40-60 hours a week trying to care for their family. Yet these are the people that are destroying America. These are the greedy ones because they want a living wage. They are working for Wal-Mart, McDonald’s and other large Corporations. Corporations making billions of dollars a year in profits but cannot afford to pay $10 or $11 an hour. Paying upper management a couple million or billion dollars a year and giving out major bonuses. I am sorry, that is the greedy fools on Wall Street and the Financial Sector who decimated our economy. But it is the poor who are getting to much.

These same people who complain about the poor support Republicans. Believe our country is moving away from the Constitution. They believe that the Free Market is in the Constitution. In fact they do not know anything about the Constitution except part of the Second Amendment. These are people who are lower middle class, which the Republicans destroyed. They believe the American Dream is dead because of Democrats, President Obama giving everything to the poor. These poor ignorant fools know oh so little.

Republicans want to abolish the minimum wage, they voted against the VAWA, they voted against every jobs bill and short changed the Administration every chance they had. They have blocked more Presidential nominees than ever before and have passed less bills than any other Congress. Did the poor do this? Did the poor create and give millions of dollars to SUPER PACS? It has to be the poor, right? It couldnt be the party that Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck support. Those really loud Tea Party people say President will take our guns. The poor have alot to do with that as well.

Class warfare has taken an ugly turn. The less poor are now attacking the lower poor. People are not concerned about the rich fleecing us. But are upset about another poor person getting more than them. This is what Conservatives want. They want the peasants fighting amongst themselves. I know the $80 billion used for welfare hurts our country more than the $200 billion used for corporate welfare. Yes, these billion dollar corporations get subsidized by your tax dollars, then get large bonuses but cannot afford to pay $10 an hour. Seriously, before you speak, THINK. RESEARCH and LEARN. Spouting what FOX NEWS says is ignorant. Considering they went to court to make it ok to falsify news. And won. HAHA! I bet the poor had a lot to do with it.

George W. Bush, the President Republicans refuse to acknowledge.

               George W. Bush was President from 2001-2009, he oversaw the decimation of the American culture. He deregulated the Banking Industry,  Wall Street and just about anything else that had lobbied for his support. He oversaw the Housing Crisis, the Great Recession and a huge difference unemployment spike.

He started 2 wars that weren’t payed for and oversaw the largest foreign attack on American soil. He took a budget that was in the black and he created a National Debt that exceeded almost any created by an American President before this. He created more than half of the economic problems we still face today. The Bush Tax Cuts cost us about $4 trillion towards our National Debt. He created the polarization that exists in politics today.

He lied us into war. Not only did he lie but he provided false information to Congress. He did it again with the Banking and Housing Crisis. He gave out $750 billion to the banks without any rules or restrictions. None of the banks were required to pay anything back. The TARP funds President Obama gave out have all been payed back and he attempted to put restrictions on bonus payouts as well as CEO pay. He was unfortunately overruled by a pro-bussiness Congress.

According to Republicans Bush 43 did no wrong. He was in fact a patriot. To all Democrats including myself he was the beginning of Corporate America. Corporations got their foothold under Bush and it has continued to get worse through Republucan obstruction. In my opinion Republicans have sabotaged our economic recovery in order to hurt President Obama. That is not a sound economic policy. Nor is the Republican flat out denial of President Bush’s presidency. They got what they wanted with him, yet attempt to deny that is what they wanted. Sadly the only end in sight for these idiotic policies is the decimation of the Republican party.

Republicans are not job creators, useless law creators.

                  Over the last 5 years Republicans have done little to help the economy and in fact have impeded its recovery. The Sequester alone has cost several hundred thousand jobs; not to mention all the furloughs. They have worked with corporations to stop the will of the people and have made a mockery of our Government.

They believe in deregulation which directly led to the Financial Collapse, the Great Recession and the Housing Crisis. They have fought against reform in all of these markets, hurting our economy. They have not supported American ideals, leaning more toward a bigoted, short sighted corporate view of America. They have shot down Jobs Bill and Veterans Jobs Bills to concentrate on Anti-Abortion and Voter Regulation Laws.

The only way to make the ACA work is to work together. Republicans refuse and would rather destroy the middle class and social safety nets to prevent Tax Reform. They support the Citizens United Supreme Court decision but refuse to hold corporations accountable for their illegal actions. I and most other Americans do not think anyone is above the law or deserves a free ride. That is why not prosecuting CEOs of Too Big Too Fail Banks is a slap in America’s face.

I dont think our founding fathers imagined an American governed by corporations. Nor did they envision a Congress that would work against the countries best interests. But thus is where we are. Knuckleheads screaming for secession, yet they recieve more government money than anyone else. This is a country being held hostage by a party throwing a 4 year temper tantrum. Time for the rich white party to grow up.

Is it the American Dream or the American Lie?

           After WWII the United States had an unprecedented economic run. The People in our country had an incredible run. We were well ahead of the rest of the world in technical advancements. Our automobile industry, technical industry, health and just about every other industry was well ahead of the rest of the world. Our economy was stellar and it truly showed in the strength of our middle class.

The American Dream was alive and well. People were able to afford the nice house, nice yard, a good car, vacations and savings for college and/or retirement. Unions helped employees earn a better salary and people had more discretionary income. People were buying T.V.s, unnecessary items, that were once considered a luxury. Even with ups and downs it seemed as if everyone had a fair shot to live their dream.

Everything truly started to change in the 1970s. That is when CEO pay began to jump and the employee pay began to level off. The 1980s and Reagonomics put a serious hurting on the American Dream. More people were layed off, companies began getting more work out of less people and corporations put short term profits ahead of the long term outlook. The 1990s saw a bit of an uptick for employees, but that was shortlived. Then George W. Bush and the new Republican party struck.

The Bush administration started the Bush Tax Cuts, which increasingly helped the Wealthy. Since the inception of the Bush Tax Cuts, they have cost us about $3 trillion. He started 2 wars that weren’t paid for and was in charge for 2 recessions. He created less jobs that any President in history and was in office for the largest terrorist attack in American History, 9/11. The Housing Market and the Banking Industry fell apart under his watch.

To top all of that off we were hemorrhaging jobs. He gave tax breaks to companies who outsourced American jobs as they were recieving government subsidies. By this time CEOs were making 400 times what their employees made and employeed wages stagnated. Banks were going bankrupt, yet their CEOs were getting million dollar bonuses or more. It was as if tge world was turned upside down. The American Dream was dead in the water.

In steps President Obama and the Democrats. They passed the ACA, the economy was slowly improving and jobs were slowly being created. All this despite Republican attempts to stop him and find a way to impeach him. Now the Stock Market is sitting at a record high, unemployment rate is below 8% and the Republicans are still doing everything they can to inhibit him.

But despite the improvements, does the American Dream still exist? Yes and no. It will never be the same as it was. It is more like buying a home and making sure the bills are paid. Maybe you can go on a vacation, most likely not if you want to put your kids through college. The one hidden stat that is very disturbing is that 91% of the wealth made over the past 5 years was made by the top 7% of America’s earners. It appears the American Dream has been held hostage.

Memorial Day, for those who give their lives.

                 Memorial Day is supposed to be in rememberance of those who gafe their lives for our freedom. Every conflict we have been involved in, brave soldiers gave their lives to preserve our freedoms. But is a day enough? We reserve the right to debate and speak freely, but without these heroes putting themselves in harms way, we have none of these freedoms.

Through the Sequester we have taken away the military tuition assistance program. Instead of armoring our military vehicles the way we were supposed the Republican led House cut the budget and gave them cheaper protection. Our soldiers take the brunt of the action, then get treated like pariahs. It is a shame that these brave men and women are treated like this.

The back log at the VA ua particularly disturbing. The President, Republicans and Democrats all talk as if they will do something about it, but nothing gets done. Although on most issues the President has done pretty well by the military. Republicans and their austerity methods are hurting the military spouses and families. Soldiers families were losing their homes while overseas. He helped them, with the aid of Democrats in the House and Senate.

If anyone thinks that this is hiw these people should be treated, you are as mad as Rand Paul. These people do things most people are unwilling to do. For that they deserve better. A CEO at a multi-billion dollar company makes more than these heroes. They rob our country blind and put these soldiers families out of their homes. Our soldiers recieve a paycheck, a slap on the back and good luck with you and yours. If we do not eventually correct this we will not have a military worth joining. Please honor our soldiers and their sacrafices. Think of those whose mother and father didn’t come home and say a prayer or pour some beer on the ground in tribute. Without them you would not have your freedom to drink that beer. HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY.