Monday, June 16, 2014

HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH?

Before you read anything into the posted photo on the right (and the right is definitely where the photo belongs) let me say that I truly have nothing against anyone rising to the top of their particular food chain and earning a great living.  We all strive to better ourselves and when we do we should not be looked upon with disdain or hatred.
Now of course most of us are human and as such we are always looking at the other side of the fence wondering how that guy keeps his lawn so much greener than ours.
But suppose we found out that our green-thumbed neighbor was actually stealing our seeds and fertilizer every night to pepper his field.
I make no determination as to how these gentlemen rose to the top of their unnecessary group (single payer would obsolete these vultures) but one still wonders.
But please do not think the pharma industry is the only one raping our coffers.
Bankers will not be in need of a telethon anytime soon, especially after we infamously bailed them out at the end of the Bush era. (error?)
Of the top earning bank CEOs the least compensated made $3.3 million last year and the average compensation was nearly $20 million.  (Looks like someone is going to demanding a raise!)
So let's juxtapose other Americans against the backdrop of the sweet elite of the pharmaceutical and banking industries and see how we're doing by taking a few items from the news.
(Click the title of each section below for the back-up and more articles on each subject.)

  1. Student Debt:  Over 70% of college seniors graduated with nearly $30,000 in student loans which cannot be forgiven in bankruptcy.  Before you can really get going many have to finish their schooling.  And in order to do so you may have to pay an awful large sum of money to the institution of your choice for that education.  Unlike other more civilized countries in the world where they realize their young are their future and they subsidize their college years we treat our young as annuities for the ivy covered halls of higher learning institutions.
  2. Living in Poverty:  One in Seven American is living in poverty!  That's over 46 million humans and it's the largest number of people in that undesirable sect in over 54 years!  While some are living high off the hog they seem to be doing so by hogging all the high profits from their businesses while allowing their employees the pleasure of scrounging around the sty for the remains.  And on top of that they are getting all the tax breaks the rest of us can only dream about.
  3. Minimum Wage:  The CEOs of America are doing very well thank you but too many are surviving, if it can be called surviving, on a meager $7.25 per hour.  Okay many States are realizing the futility of trying to eat and keep a roof over one's head on that tiny amount and have raised their local wage minimums up but there are many, mostly of the Republican persuasion who are trying to persuade legislators NOT to raise the minimum wage as it will kill businesses and jobs.
  4. Unemployment:  While it has gone down under the leadership of President Obama, yes that's right, under his watch the rate is still an unsatisfactory 6.3%.  Sadly this doesn't tell the whole story and while many a pundit will point to this number as proof of a growing economy a more telling number would include how many are so discouraged they no longer even look for a job.  And the best number to show how dismal it is even for those WITH jobs is
  5. Household Income: During the twelve years from 2000 to 2012 the median household income fell 6.6%.  Take a moment to let that sink in.  In 2000 the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a high of roughly 11,700.  It hit a new high of 13,350 in 2012!  While that's only an increase of 1½% the Dow has since hit 16,800 at which time it sported a nearly 4½% increase.  The bottom line is while Wall Street and it's Dow Jones top earners are topping their earnings almost daily average Joes may be scrounging for their next meal.  And speaking of households - 
  6. Foreclosures:  While the foreclosure rate has dropped overall many States are still way above acceptable levels.  And 1 in 96 homes are foreclosed on and 19% of all homes are deeply under water financially.
  7. Homeless Veterans:  An argument for a National embarrassment could easily be started with the fact that many of those who risked their lives for our country come home to trade their military rank for the pleasure of joining the ranks of the homeless.  Of the 634,000 homeless people in 2012 over 62,600 were veterans.  And that brings us to - 
  8. Unemployed Vets: This number is even higher than the National Average.  Those who fought our wars from 2001 forward are considered Gulf War-Era II Vets.  Their rate was around 9% in 2013!  Uncle Sam wants YOU! That is until we don't anymore!
  9. Women's Health:  There are so many articles on how women's health issues are under attack that it was hard to choose just one article to point to in the above link.  You may 'Google' on your own and spend weeks reading all the fun stories of 'right wing' elements in America forcing Planned Parenthood clinics to shut because they may use the word abortion, a procedure which by the way happens to be currently allowed by law.  Coincidentally the following Republican majority States have placed rules and regulations on the people who run women's clinics that would make a sailor's hair turn white:  Louisiana; Texas; Oklahoma; Iowa; Oregon; Washington; Kansas; Wisconsin and the list is not even complete.  And finally - 
  10. Voter Rights: While all the above abuse has been going on we in America still have one trick up our sleeve, the right to vote out the bad leaders and elect ones who will better serve our interests.  That is if we can get to the polls and actually cast our ballot!  Knowing how dangerous an educated electorate could be it is no surprise that certain factions within the government and the lobbies that own them wish to keep the status quo, quo by placing more and more road blocks in our way as we attempt to vote.  Leading the charge to disenfranchise those among us who have had enough and simply will not take it anymore are: Texas; Ohio; North and South Carolina; Florida; Arizona; Alaska; Louisiana; Mississippi; Georgia; Virginia and Michigan.  Scott Walker of Wisconsin wanted desperately to join the list but went too far and the courts overturned his unfair voter ID law.
I guess when you look at all the things our leaders are doing to us rather than for us we really DO need these unbelievably rich pharmaceutical giants, just to get pills to ease our pain.
If only the damn co-pays weren't so high!


5 comments:

Sharon Weinman said...

Bruce- I agree 100% but what can we do about it. Occupy Wall Street did nothing and Just look how far we have not come with Gun control after all the high publicity killings of children. This all just makes me angry with no where to productively channel it! The inequality gap is getting deeper and there is no one fixing the hole!

Bruce Resch said...

As you may have noticed I did not offer any solutions, at least not directly linked to the post. I wrote this to start a conversation and boy did it!
We cannot and must not stop Capitalism but we must try to return to the days of a fair and civilized society. And the word society starts with soci as does social and socialism. A Capitalistic society with a socialistic leaning government would be better than either polarized solution. We need not replace our rampant 'damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead' capitalism with an equally awful communism but surely a happy medium could be worked out by our leaders in DC.
Republican President Eisenhower presided over a wonderful blooming economy and the top tax rate was 91%!
People lose sight of the fact that the top rate, in fact all the rates leading up to the top rate were indexed on a progressive scale. This meant that everyone's earnings were taxed exactly the same for every dollar they made within a certain income bracket. If you made $100,000 you paid the same 21% on it as did a man who made $100 Million. But he paid a higher rate on the money ABOVE $100,000 and ONLY above that.
If we went back to the 1950s tax rate America would be out of our debt woes in a year and we'd once again have a thriving growing economy of the people, by the people, and for all the people.

Bruce Resch said...

And by the way, Thanks for the comment! Hang in there.

Bruce Resch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bruce Resch said...

Sharon, as for gun control that's a whole other issue that must include discussions of bribery and the utter stupidity of right wing voters and viewers of Fox as well as listeners to conservative talk radio.
Between those two groups they have convinced too many under educated citizens that any gun control will include the taking away of their beloved killing machine weapons. Maybe if more gun owners did this (click - http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/06/18/georgia-man-accidentally-shoots-his-own-penis-while-trying-to-holster-gun/ - ) we'd have a few less morons to deal with!