Avedon Carol’s Sideshow:but she has it formatted as a blockquote and it’s not clear from the other links in the post where this passage comes from. So I don’t know who said this. (UPDATE: Avedon e-mails: “Psst! That was me doing one of my ‘suggested fliers you should print out and distribute to your neighbors’ things. So I wrote it.” So I’m happy to set the record straight.)
But more people need to be saying it, and, dammit, somebody needs to be saying it who actually is in a position to do something about it:
You worked hard and played by the rules, and now people in expensive suits who sat in offices recklessly gambling with other people’s money want to stop you from being able to retire.
They exported jobs to other countries and made it harder to start new businesses to create new jobs. They slashed government spending to the point where even schools are closing. They failed to honor contracts that said they would put money into your pension fund, and now there is no pension fund. And now they want your unemployment insurance so they can gamble that away, too.
They say you need to tighten your belt to pay for their mistakes.
Well, why should you?
You paid for insurance to protect you from this. Demand what you paid for.
Social Security: You paid for it. We have the money. You earned it. You deserve it. And they don’t.
We don’t have a deficit problem. We have a financial problem, oh, yes, but we do not have a deficit problem.
What do we have?
We have, first, a health-care financing problem. And that problem is caused overwhelmingly by the inefficiencies in our private-sector health-care system, not Medicare or Medicaid or VA health care.
We have, second, a fighting-two-unnecessary-wars-at-once problem.
And third, we have a problem with a small fraction of the wealthiest Americans, who are collecting all the economic gains there have been to collect in the past decade, who are paying taxes at the lowest rates in 30 years and who still want more, more, more. Not surprisingly, there is significant overlap between the “people in expensive suits” mentioned above, the people supporting these wars, and the people in this group of taxpayers.
The reason they’re saying we have “a deficit problem” is that, having taken pretty much everything else of yours that they can take — your retirement savings, your home value, money for your kids’ education, your salary (if you’re like most Americans, you and your spouse combined make today what you alone would have made for the same work a generation ago) — they have a problem: They’re running out of things to take. Social Security is the last big target out there, so they want to take your Social Security, too.
Well, screw them sideways; they’ve already taken more than enough. It is time for them to start giving back.
First, do nothing: that is, let Bush’s 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for the wealthy expire.
Second, eliminate the preferential tax treatment for capital gains, benefits of which flow overwhelmingly to the very wealthiest Americans. It’s time for these free-marketers to see what happens when we let the market decide the best allocation of capital.
Third, raise income taxes on the wealthy. A lot. The top tax rate under that socialist Eisenhower was 91%. I don’t think we actually need to go anywhere near that high, but an effective 15% tax rate on the five millionth dollar of income is a freaking joke.
Fourth, institute a wealth tax. Damn right I’ll go there. We need to put people back to work AND we have enormous amounts of work to do in infrastructure — everything from higher education to dams to the Internet to the power grid — if we’re going to have a prosperous future. The companies to whom we exported our computer-making jobs 30 years ago are also the same companies eating our lunch now on battery technology, so we’ve got a lot of lost ground to make up.
Fifth, single payer. Right now. Put the private medical-insurance companies out of business and let’s find more efficient, productive uses for that capital than insurance-exec CEO bonuses while the poor end up using the ER, and very inefficiently at that, for primary care.
Finally, let’s stop sitting around pretending that our problems are so huge that there is nothing we can do about them. There is plenty we can do about them. And most people in Washington know it. But the wealthy have so completely bought the government that it’s more rewarding for individuals in government to pretend we’re helpless than to do the right thing for the people for whom they supposedly work. This is the elephant in the room — see what I did there? Although Democrats are on the take as well — that the so-called liberal media won’t talk about.