Thursday, April 14, 2005

Round Two Hundred and Six, Rich vs. Poor 

Yeah, if you’re not pissed off, you’re not paying attention. And if you’re pissed off but sure that no action will ever bust Bushco or remove them from office, then change your mind. I’m in the camp that thinks not only that we CAN win, but that we MUST win. The future is at stake, as all of the recent apocalyptic writing and blogging indicates. The GOPers are determined to grab as much as they can, stash it and fortify it, so that they can play Prince Prospero, locked away from the plague-ridden masses of poor so they can count their gold and play with their toys without those annoying demands of conscience. They’re vicious, and they’re determined. In some ways, I think we underestimated them in 04. We must be equally determined—if not vicious—in our efforts not to let them get away with it again in 06. As we’ve seen, their success lies in convincing the middle class and lower middle class that they will prosper under GOP control, while simultaneously assuring that dirty tricks keep the opposition out of the field. It is becoming apparent that some of the GOP voters are feeling, well, used and abused. As predicted, some are now asking themselves Why? Why did I vote GOP? This cries for outreach—we’ve got to talk to these folks. And what they understand, even better than gay marriage and abortion, is money. I’m convinced of this—for example, in several local counties where there’s a heavy GOP majority, tax increases for social services and road and infrastructure improvements pass with ease. The need is right there, obvious. Bonds and mill levies pass for schools by large majorities—again, the need is obvious, so even the GOPers don’t mind ponying up.

The trick is to make these same needs obvious on the national level, and to make the fact that the GOP is the party of the rich a piece of common knowledge. We need to make it obvious to Joe and Jane Six-pack that the GOP doesn’t care about them except insofar as they’re useful pawns in their plan to get richer. Hey, Joe—check this out:

…the value of assets held offshore lies in the range of $11 - $12 trillion. We consider this to be a conservative estimate. Welcome to the Taxjustice Network!

Untaxed trillions. Belonging to the rich. The same rich who still need tax breaks, just to be “fair,” you know. Entrepreneurs who get rich selling drugs to willing buyers are criminals (unless working for the government); entrepreneurs who get rich off of iWaq government contracts are not.

Look, Joe and Jane, if America spent $18 billion (what it spends in 3 months or so to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan), the country could wipe out hunger and homelessness in America for ten years. If America took 25% of its annual military budget, which is the largest in the world, and applied it to global poverty issues, that would go a long way towards wiping out hunger and homelessness around the world. 10% of our military budget spent annually on education could give every high school graduate a college education for four years. Your kid graduates from high school this year, doesn't she, Joe? How are you going to pay for college? The military? Ooooh, Joe, is that a good idea?

So, yes, it is about the rich and the poor. And it’s the poor who must be mobilized, alongside the lower middle and middle class who are rapidly awakening to the fact that the party of the rich got—and is getting and staying—that way off their backs. I heard on the radio this morning that around 45% of these “new jobs” being created pay an average of $16,000 per year. Any wonder college grads are living with their parents?

I’m memorizing these numbers and more like them so that I can use them as I stump for our candidates in 06. See National Priorities Project for more numbers of startling mein.

Hey, Joe—didja hear about that Chalmers guy at Bay Oil? Did you know that aWol never had an honest job in his life? How’s that third job working out? Does it have insurance? Did you know that your congressman has hundreds of thousands in oil stocks? Jane, I heard you can't find day care. Did you know that your congressman has two maids and a nanny?

(And, yes, I know most of the national spineless Dems are rich too. Probably accounts for their lack of spine. Out they go, too, unless they change!)

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