if the poor were worth a shit, they wouldn’t be poor

After Hurricane Katrina hit, and we knew what it was going to cost to clothe, shelter and feed the survivors, and rebuild the Gulf Coast, President Bush rolled up his sleeves and came forward to tell the hard-working American billionaires not to worry, that we wouldn’t be calling on them to help. No, whatever happened, we wouldn’t be rolling back the tax cuts on the super-rich. (It’s nice to know that some things, unlike the Geneva Convention, are still sacred.)

Trying times, as we’ve learned again and again from this administration, do not require sacrifice. During World War II, Americans were expected to do without. Food items were rationed, hemlines were raised in order to save material, and every community initiated scrap metal and rubber drives to help supply the war machine. When we went into Iraq, however, it was much different. We weren’t even asked to consume less oil (which seemed odd, given the fact that our being so dependant on the region seemed to be such a looming issue). In fact, we were told that not changing our behaviors was the most patriotic thing that we could do. This, we were told, was going to be a war with no sacrifice. Sure, some kids would have to die, but the rest of us wouldn’t feel a thing. To make sure we got the point, the President even went one step further and called for a permanent tax cut (something unprecedented of in a time of war).

The result, as we all know now, was a huge deficit. It didn’t seem to matter though. We kept right on barrowing against our uncertain future, running up astronomical bills which our children, if they survived, would have to one day pay… Some of us complained, pointing out that it was absolutely insane. But, after a little while, it became evident that it wasn’t insanity at all. No, it was all part of a well-calculated plan to end “big government,” and what those on the radical right saw as programs to “redistribute wealth.” The philosophy has been referred to by its proponents as “Starve the Beast” – the general idea being that you run up the debt until which point the government collapses (except for the military, which will still exist to safeguard the assets of the wealthy).

So, it wasn’t any surprise to many of us when Bush said after Katrina that taxes would not be raised to offset the expenses of rebuilding… And, today, we see the ramifications of that decision. The new Republican budget being considered in the House cuts $54 billion in federal spending over the next five years, cutting severely into programs directed at the aiding the poor…. The New Deal, my friends, is being dismantled brick by brick right in front of our eyes.

Fortunately, it looks as though someone has stepped in to create a system that will allow all of us to call the Capital Hill switchboard for free and speak with our Representatives. As a vote is coming up Thursday, you might want to call and make your opinion heard now. (Remember, the poor don’t have lobbyists. They just have us.)

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6 Comments

  1. chris
    Posted November 9, 2005 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Two thoughts that both self and psychoalphadiscobetapharmacalogist medicating can’t keep out of my head…
    1) Is Bill Cosby eating post-Katrina crow given his pre-Katrina comments?

    and

    2)Holy Shit! Is Robert MacNamara fucking serious about how the VietNam war started in the movie “Fog of War”? The parallels are way to eerie. I could only watch half of this the other night before I started moaning and crawling way down into the bottom of my bed. I will have to get drunk and be on suicide watch before I can watch the other half. I knew it was bad but I had no idea it was that bad. I mean, the Tokyo firebombing?

  2. mark
    Posted November 9, 2005 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    What pre-Katrina Cosby comments are you talking about? I vaguely remember him saying something about the black community by and large valuing expensive tennis shoes over scholarship. I don’t see how Katrina would invalidate that observation though. Maybe you’re talking about other comments he made though… Did he say something about FEMA being ready to swoop in and save lives should there be a catagory-five hurricane?

    And I haven’t seen Fog of War yet. It’s in the Netflix queue though.

  3. chris
    Posted November 9, 2005 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    I wish I wasn’t so lazy, I would find a proper link. He essentially said early this last summer that those members of the black community who find themselves in the lowest socioeconomic strata had only themselves to blame. It was quite a controversy that made CNN as soon as he muttered it at some conference.

    I just had the opportunity to read Michael Erik Dyson’s article in “Savoy”. He quotes Cosby to have said, “God is tired of you (those members of the black community mentioned above)”. It made me wince given the aftermath of Katrina.

    And all I gotta say regarding Fog of War is brace yourself. Your in for a ride you don’t want to take but absolutely must. Sorry, in the bizarro world that is my mind these two items came together as a reult of reading your post.

  4. Tony Buttons
    Posted November 10, 2005 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I’ve heard the Cosby speech in question called the “Gettosburg Address”. It used to be on Wikipedia, but someone must have made the call to axe it.

  5. john galt
    Posted November 11, 2005 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    hey Hey HEY!

  6. Posted November 17, 2005 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    I have added Fog of War to my Netflix queue…thanks for the recommendation, I think.

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