The budget deficit
The wrong steps taken by the Bush and Obama administrations and enabled by Congress following 9/11 by as yet unproven individuals has compromised Americaâ€™s economy and actually weakened its security. The minions in government displayed incredible incompetence and downright dishonesty in the governmentâ€™s response. Bush, Obama and Congress also took this nation into war on credit while giving tax cuts to the wealthy and to corporations. The costs of these endless wars and the continued tax cuts are the direct cause of todayâ€™s budget deficit. To add to the venality, Wall Street and the Federal Reserve committed fraud in the housing bubble that led to a consumer boom and bust.
Economist Joseph Stiglich estimated the cost of the governmentâ€™s colossal and blundered wars at $3-5 trillion and the costs are still mounting. These costs include that of returning troops who will require disability payments, estimated at $600-900 billion. This does not take into account the incalculable social costs, reflected in veteran suicides, family break-ups, etc.
Working Americans, the poor and senior citizens have not contributed one dime to the budget deficit. Social Security is a trust fund paid into by working Americans and that fund is on course to be solvent for at least two decades. Congress â€œborrowsâ€ from the trust fund, then relabels it as an â€œentitlementâ€, a pejorative label, and dumps the repayment obligation into the general fund. Social Security is a trust fund, not an entitlement!! Obama now wants Congress to renew the 2% payroll tax cut approved in December, which predictably will jeopardize future Social Security recipients. This just plays into the hands of those in Congress who want to privatize Social Security and let Wall Street get its hands on the trust fund.
The makeup of the so-called Super Committee sends a mixed message and gives the impression that vested interests will prevail. As noted in accompanying materials, its members are recipients of huge bribes from Wall Street and other special interests. Two Democrats serve on the Senate Finance Committee. Senator Murray is from a state with huge military interests.
Congress, the Extreme Court and both houses of Congress are totally corrupt. The construction of a so-called Super Committee demonstrates yet again the total disconnect between Congress and the American people. Congress has abdicated its responsibility by delegating the final decision-making on the budget to a â€œgang of twelve.â€ We remember back in the sixties, Mario Savio said, “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious — makes you so sick at heart — that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part. And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.”
You cannot point to an austerity program that improved the economic health of a nation. This fight is a no-brainer and it is a fight that must not be compromised by Obama or by the so-called Super Committee. All the gimmickry and political theater must be discarded and discussion must focus on economic and social justice. Otherwise, you will be responsible for incalculable and unforeseen consequences. Are you willing to take this risk?
Failure of Congress to represent the interests of the American people
Virtually every problem facing this nation can be laid at the feet of Congress, as outlined below:
Ongoing wars of aggression and military occupation of other countries and maintaining more than 700 military bases around the globe. Unlimited spending on predatory foreign wars while our infrastructure crumbles and our people go hungry and unsheltered. The military budget of the US exceeds that of all other nations combined. Why does the US continue to occupy Okinawa? The Japanese people do not want US military stationed there.
Repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act that allowed the fraudulent speculation extravaganza that caused the financial meltdown. Bailouts of the Wall Street casinos with little or no regulatory oversight. Failure to hold banksters accountable for their criminal actions.and then taking no corrective action to prevent the reoccurrence of fraudulent activity by Wall Street banksters.
Maintaining unfair tax programs that allow loopholes and excessive tax breaks for the rich and the corporations to the neglect of the working and middle class that allows an undue proportion of the nationâ€™s wealth to accumulate in the hands of a few to the neglect of the many. The resources of the earth are here for all life, not for just a select few. Why should certain people be able to accumulate enough wealth for a 1,000 lifetimes while 1,000 people go hungry?
Allowing corporate welfare and corporate interests to prevail at the expense of the general welfare of the citizens of this nation.
Failure to provide a responsible health care system for the American people. Seventy percent of the American people and sixty percent of the doctors in this nation want Single Payer health system, one that would cost less per capita and provide improved health care outcomes. Congress repeatedly ignores public opinion and denigrates the participation of citizens in the political process. What Congress did pass was a free ride for the insurance industry. Congress even passed legislation banning negotiations on drug pricing.
Defunding of regulatory agencies and departments, including EPA, FDA, Food Safety and Inspection, Education, etc.
Ongoing funding of the so-called war on drugs: Legalization and regulation would eliminate or reduce the criminal elements, including the exportation of arms into Mexico, reduce the costs to taxpayers of the myriad federal agencies involved, reduce the cost and number of people being incarcerated, and add to the tax base by collection of tax revenues.
Eliminating the usury laws that allow predatory lending on the unwary and helpless.
Allowing the exponential rise in secret national security agencies to commit all kinds of crimes against humanity, including assassination of leaders in other countries under the guise of fighting terrorism. We can expect a flurry of lawsuits being filed by citizens of other nations who have been subject to rendition, torture, unlawful imprisonment, and military courts, all abetted by both administrations and Congress.
Passage of laws without reading them, including the Patriot Act, and failure to take action to rescind the most offensive provisions. Failure of oversight of Homeland Security and myriad other federal agencies that abuse the Constitutional rights of American citizens.
Lack of Congressional reforms to set term limits, limit campaign funding and time spent on reelection campaigning. We elect representatives to represent citizens of this nation, not spend their paid time campaigning and seeking campaign funds for the next election months, even years ahead of time. Members of both houses of Congress act to favor their careers, rather than as representatives of their constituents.
Lack of follow-through from Congressional committee hearings that leads to a feeling of no confidence by American citizens in the government. Committee hearings have been compared to dog and pony shows.
Failure of Congress to impeach members of the Extreme Court in its Citizens United decision, a decision that undermines the will and participation of the American people in decision-making affecting their own welfare.
Allowing and encouraging the privatization of our public schools, prisons, and other vital systems that belong in the public sector.
Contracting private security firms to do the jobs that government agencies and the military should be doing at much lower costs to the taxpayers.
Continuing to fund the rogue state of Israel that has been committing crimes against humanity in Palestine and killing American citizens, including the crew on the USS Liberty, Rachael Corrie and Furkan Dogan, with no compensation and no apologies. The US government takes no responsibility for the safety of its own citizens.
Failure to provide a thorough investigation of 9/11 and bringing to justice those actually responsible.
Failure to conduct hearings into the war crimes of the Bush Administration.
Media consolidation: The Telecommunications Act of 1996 was supposed to increase competition but its failures are demonstrated in the weakness of the Fairness doctrine and other abuses. Media consolidation has resulted in a general dumbing down of the general public.
The blatant hypocrisy of the US government in its rhetoric and its actual policies on its relationships with dictators throughout the world and specifically that of Saddam Hussein and Colonel Muammar Qaddaffi, and others, too numerous to name here.
The abdication of Congress in transferring the responsibility for printing the currency of this nation from the US Treasury to the Federal Reserve and then paying interest on its loans.
Remember that the US Constitution places the sovereignty of this nation with the people, not with Congress, its legions of lobbyists, the corporations, the Extreme Court, or the White House.
Congress, as an institution, is a failure. The system is broken.
Submitted by Barbara & J. Glenn Evans / Seattle 98101
Copyleft 2011 J. Glenn Evans and Barbara Evans
(Feel free to copy and distribute as broadly as possible)
J. Glenn Evans, Managing Director
ACTIVISTS FOR A BETTER WORLD
J. Glenn Evans
Founder of Activists for a Better World, PoetsWest and hosts PoetsWest at KSER 90.7FM, a weekly radio show, and is author of four books of poetry: Deadly Mistress, Window in the Sky, Seattle Poems and Buffalo Tracks, author of two novels, Broker Jim and Zekeâ€™s Revenge, several political essays including a chapbook called Uncommon Common Sense. Evans is a former stockbroker-investment banker, part Cherokee and native of Oklahoma and has lived in Seattle since 1960. Worked in a lumber mill, operated a mining company and co-produced a movie, Christmas Mountain, with Mark Miller, staring Slim Pickens. Evans, an award-wining poet and in addition to poetry books is author several local community histories including a history of Seattleâ€™s Pike Place Market and has been published many literary Journals. Listed in Whoâ€™s Who in America and Whoâ€™s Who in the World.