Welcome to France in 1788?

In 2010, Exxon paid nothing in taxes to the federal government, yet the GOP-led house isn’t even considering cutting their subsidy.  That’s right…nothing, and for that, they get $4 billion in government subsidies.  Okay, admittedly, last year, I got more back from the Feds in the form of EIC than I paid, but I made less than $30,000.  Exxon has posted record profits over the last couple of years, with $9.25 billion this last quarter. Now, that may make their shareholders happy, just as my EIC made my shareholders (my kid, my landlord, the utility companies) happy.  But that doesn’t make it right.  Despite Exxon’s record profits, apologists on Capital Hill say that Exxon absolutely NEEDS those tax breaks.  Um, really?  Are you sure about that? Because they paid OTHER countries taxes, and they’re still in those countries.

And of course, Exxon can make these record profits because unrest in the middle east is always good for gouging out an extra buck or two (or 20).  The cost of gas and coffee is going up.  Rising gas prices mean higher food costs.  Sure, the cost of cucumbers has doubled in the last couple of months thanks to some crappy weather, but you can bet some of that is because of gas prices.  Wisconsin’s governor signed the union-busting (but not about money!) bill into law, despite over 60% of Wisconsin residents opposing it.  Michigan’s governor just signed into law a bill that makes it okay for the state to come into cities and school districts, declare a ‘fiscal emergency’ and take over. No, you didn’t read that wrong. If a city or school district is struggling, the state now has the right to replace ELECTED officials with appointed ‘managers’ who, presumably, will oversee a return to solvency.  How is it legal, you ask, to simply replace elected officials?  Ya got me on that one. I’d argue it isn’t, but then again, I’m not a lawyer.

PolitiFact, they of the ‘is this person telling the truth’ meter, rated MIchael Moore’s comments that the 400 richest Americans have more wealth than the bottom 60% of Americans.  American Progess’ chart shows that tax loopholes and breaks for the wealthy basically equal all of the programs for the poor on the chopping block:

you can see where they got their figures from the original article.

People, what the hell are we telling ourselves is happening here? The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and what are we doing? We’re laughing at Charlie Sheen. Yes, the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan is devastating (and could have been worse, had it not been for those expensive, pesky government building codes), and there’s still a whole lot of homeless Haitians.  But this is America, where hard work is supposed to get you somewhere.  Why isn’t it? Why are unions under fire (and please, I know the pitfalls of unions, so none of this BS about unions being bad for America — thank your lucky stars — and the unions — that your kids don’t work, you don’t have to put in 15 hour days, and you have that thing you call a weekend)?  When did being liberal become a dirty word? Why isn’t anyone more upset by the Citizens United decision?  When did we start being thankful just to have a job, and stop actually demanding that those jobs be not only economically viable, but provide us with benefits? Where did this idea that universal health care, which works so well in every other industrialized nation, is a bad idea come from? And we did we decide that education was not only expendable, but apparently, one of the worst things ever to do to our children?

I know, lots of questions. And I don’t have all the answers. But damned if I’m going to continue to be passive about it.  Yeah, okay, what can one itty bitty blog do? Not much, truth be told.  But what if we declared a specific day a ‘stand up for education’ day, regardless of our political positions?  What if we all marched on our state capitals demanding that education be funded adequately?  What then?  What if instead of laying down and taking it, we actually started talking? And doing? And *gasp* collectively beat our energies towards making changes?

Myabe I’m wrong. Maybe we aren’t France in 1788…yet. Maybe we should write our cahier de doleances first.  But damn, if we aren’t careful, what’s next? Storming the Bastille? Marching on Versailles (or in this case, Washingon?)

Published in: on March 11, 2011 at 11:52 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’m loath to comment too deeply on the politics of a country that isn’t my own, but I’m in full agreement with what you say; especially considering that where America goes, Britain is almost sure to follow.

    We’re going through our own round of swingeing cuts and attacks on public services, entirely too many of which are spuriously justified as “necessary for deficit reduction” instead of the ideologically based hatchet jobs that they really are.

    I’m glad to see there are strident and strong voices advocating for the left as well as the right in America; too often we outsiders only get to hear the more rabidly right wing view and misjudge the mood of your country and its’ citizens.

    Many thanks for this.

  2. If you’d asked me last week what I thought about living in Michigan, I would have gone on and on about my favorite local breweries, the beautiful lakes, pretty scenery, interesting weather, I live in a great little town. . .

    but suddenly? ehhh, not so much.

    as to the rest of your post, which I wholeheartedly agree with, you may get a kick out of this article that recently ran in The Nation:

  3. Yeah, I feel much the same about living in Arizona. And thanks for the article!

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