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Some Stuff I’d Like to Hear Seriously Addressed in the State of the Union, and Even Better, on a Day to Day Basis in DC


I can think of a lot of stuff I’d like to hear DC Electeds having serious conversations about. More unlikely yet, it would be cool if they’d take serious actions aimed at helping the majority — you know, that “99%,” — of people. I don’t expect to hear such things in the State of the Union address, the Republican response, or the daily chatter, sniping, sound bitey world of Congress or the White House.

But here’s one idea for some 99% serious conversation and action, just in case there’s a really slow news second or two. Paul Buchheit, at Buzzflash — TruthOut: (emphasis added)

For Shame, Wealthy America: Some Facts About the Victims of Your Greed

… You’ve taken from the poor and the middle class for thirty years, from Reagan to Obama, using a variety of strategies to redistribute wealth to the top. Yet you insist that the middle class should accept cuts in Social Security to pay off the deficit. …

Your thirty-year redistribution of wealth has most severely impacted four particularly vulnerable parts of American society:

1. Children

One out of every five American children now lives in poverty. A country that considers itself the greatest in the world is last among developed nations in providing the everyday needs of its youngest and most dependent citizens.

The poverty level for U.S. children is up 50 percent since 1973. …

2. The Elderly

While official poverty rates for seniors have declined since 1970, averages are misleading in the face of inequality.

Wait, wait! Didn’t the issue of income inequality — I mean a serious, non-DC originated version of economic realities — disappear with the corporate government / media suppression of Occupy and the successful sales job of the “necessity” of “austerity”? How radical, or at least old, is a discussion about income inequality …

Back to Buchheit.

The majority of elderly Americans may not be at the official poverty level, but they’re still very poor. Sixty percent of women over 65 (and 41 percent of men) have incomes insufficient to cover essential everyday expenses. And as the rest of American adults grow older, half of them are not saving anything for retirement.

Okay, so children and the elderly. Any guesses about the last two groups “most severely impacted” by the “thirty-year redistribution of wealth”?

3. The Homeless

Before the 1980s homelessness existed largely as an occasional occurrence of bad luck for a family, perhaps a mother who needed a few days to find a job. Then President Reagan redirected blame for indigence to the poor themselves, and market-driven policies took over. Since 1980 the number of homeless people has doubled or tripled every decade. Up to 3.5 million people — one out of every hundred Americans — experience homelessness at some time during an average year.

While Electeds have their “I really, really, really care about the Elderly and Children” spiels ready at a sound bite moment, homelessness is tricky. After all, contradicting The Reagan remains risky. And that goes for Electeds with either an “R” or “D” after their name.

The federal housing budget has dropped from $86 billion in 1976 to $45 billion in 2013.

Priorities, well before Austerity became fashionable, obviously dictated giving less money to help those people who are so lazy and wasteful that they don’t have a place to live. And who probably selfishly think they should eat at least one meal a day.

Okay, last group hardest hit.

4. Students

Stories abound of young graduates mired in debt, unable to earn enough from low-wage jobs to stay ahead, and often regretting their choice to go to college. …

Tuition at public colleges has nearly doubled in just ten years. The average student loan debt has reached $26,682. Yet the charade of affordability continues. …

Over half of degree holders are unemployed or working a low-wage job. Even young men and women with advanced degrees have been victimized by false promises, as over 300,000 masters and PhD students now collect food stamps. Colleges have responded by hiring more administrators — their numbers are up 60 percent since 1993.

The newly or not so newly graduated students whose educations would prepare them for some of those entry level administrative positions aren’t likely to get them, since people with a lot more experience need jobs, and will take the lower paying positions. As for teaching, there’s nothing like Teaching Assistants, or if forced to hire someone with a bit more on their resume, Adjunct Faculty positions are the cost-cutting way to go.

A serious conversation about any of this — Children, Elderly, Homeless, Students, and lot of other real life situations — would require the Electeds give up their tried-though-largely-untrue arguments, which they regularly exchange with great emotion (real or feigned, it really doesn’t matter) and of course, with “love for this great nation of ours.”

(Occupy Bar Code Flag Via Occupii)

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10 Responses to Some Stuff I’d Like to Hear Seriously Addressed in the State of the Union, and Even Better, on a Day to Day Basis in DC

  1. jinbaltimore February 12, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

    Hear hear!

  2. fangio February 12, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

    With all the talk about lack of funding for government programs and the need for deficit reduction you would think there was no money. But there is money, 20 trillion dollars worth, sitting in corporate accounts. I don’t think that includes the money stashed overseas. I wonder if Obama will mention it? This is what the right wing wanted, they wanted all the money, and they got it. What Obama and the Democrats are proposing for leveling the playing field is a token gesture at best. After the way these petulent little spoiled brats have insulted him you would think he would want to take it all back, but of course he won’t. Liberals need a new slogan, ” PRE REAGAN OR BUST. “

    • Cujo359 February 12, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

      But there is money, 20 trillion dollars worth,

      Actually, ever since we changed over to a fiat money system in the 1970s, there is as much money as we need there to be, at least at the federal government level. You and I, and state and local governments, are bounded by how much money we can put in our bank accounts or in our wallets, but the federal government isn’t. At least, it wouldn’t be if it repealed some aspects of the laws that created the Federal Reserve, and few other things. There is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits it. In fact, the Constitution says that the government is allowed to “coin” money, and determine its value.

      So, it’s a choice the federal government has made, to allow the Fed and the banks to determine the money supply. There is, theoretically, as much money as is needed to make the economy go. That’s how it should work.

      What really counts in an economy is the resources, and we mostly have those. We have lots of people out of work. We have infrastructure, industries, and tools. What we don’t have is the will to use them. Money is just what we use to make those resources do the things we need them to do. It’s not a resource in itself, nor is it scarce, at least at the level of a sovereign nation.

      In short, if there’s no money to do what we need to do, there’s not enough money. That’s the bottom line.

  3. Cujo359 February 12, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

    We should be spending at least three trillion dollars more right now at the federal level than we are. Yes, I wrote trillion. We should be spending it on aid to state and local governments, on education, medical care for everyone, alternative energy and a new national electrical grid, a revitalized space program, and better infrastructure.

    Instead, as fangio notes, we’re spending it on bankers who made bad loans and other questionable or fraudulent investments with our money.

    Where do we get the money? See my answer to fangio. What we need isn’t money, it’s the will to make our politicians do what they should be doing. That will doesn’t exist in anywhere near the proportions it needs to.

    If there’s one resource we lack in abundance, that’s it.

    • Cujo359 February 12, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

      Let me add that if we were spending that kind of money right now, we wouldn’t be worried about unemployment, nor would we be talking about the need to extend unemployment benefits.

  4. Jane Austen February 12, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

    I’m still waiting to hear someone come up with the idea of a living wage, not a minimum wage. You know a living wage that would allow people to become real consumers, tax payers and start enjoying the fruits of their labor. God, with a “few million” more tax payers, consumers, what do you think might happen to the economy? I really don’t know how it could hurt. Business would start booming, the government would take more in tax revenue, etc. Maybe this is too simple.

    • fangio February 12, 2013 at 7:20 pm #

      One of the dirty little secrets of this so called recovery are the lousy wages. How exactly does an auto worker raise a family on 14.00 dollars an hour. That’s actually good when compared to some of the wages being paid in other industries. This is of course what the right wing wanted and with the help of the Democrats they got it. There are some cities around the country that do have a living wage, if you call 12.00 dollars an hour living.

  5. newdealdem1 February 12, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    I would like to hear Paul Krugman’s name spoken in that speech where President Obama declares he now agrees with Krugman’s analysis and that he will be introducing a spending bill which will create jobs to get us out of our recession. And, that spending NOW is not the problem and we don’t need to “FIX” the deficit NOW. And, make some wry and witty and scathing comment directed at the Goppers and the know nothings in teh pundit and journalistic “class” who continue to parrot every other know nothing who repeat ad nauseum and to our detriment that we must cut spending and taxes to “fix” the deficit.

    And, shout this:


    Also, that he will protect and make even stronger without cutting anyone’s benefits, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. They are not on the table for any:grand bargain and there will be no bargain.

    He will do everything in his power to make sure Congress passes a bill that raises the minimum wage.

    And, that’s just some of my financial/economic wishes I would like to see in Obama’s SOTU.


    • Cujo359 February 13, 2013 at 4:37 am #

      I like that analogy. Unfortunately, there will be a sizable portion of the population who, upon hearing it, will assume that our future security depends on destroying Social Security right now, before it an destroy us. Or something.

      Plus, someone would have to go to jail for getting us into that war. We all know that’s not going to happen.

  6. Joyce Arnold February 12, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

    I hereby declare this thread conversation an alternative State of the Union address … you’ve got things with which I’m betting a lot of We the People would agree.

    Thanks for all thoughtful words :)

.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong