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:
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.
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)