I keep waiting for the pendulum to swing back, even a bit, because right now I am petrified. Full stop.
I’ve got a husband who works for a local school district. We don’t know if his job, let alone his pension will survive. I work in an industry that is in constant change. No one can tell us with any certainty what next year will hold. We bought our very modest home in 2001, long before the bubble, and yet we may actually be underwater in our mortgage. That’s how far housing prices fallen in my town. Nothing’s moving out here.
Already strapped state and county budgets are being slashed to the bone. We are all called upon to make the sacrifice of doing with less. We are asked to accept, without question, the decimation of our public schools, fire and police deparments, public services and infrastructure.
And while we Nevadans talk to each other with dismay and note that somehow, someway, the state has to find some revenue, this is what we’ve got in Carson City:
This session is about a man with a plan and he’s sticking to it, and an opposition that has no plan and they are sticking to not having one. Guess who wins most of those?
We are more than one-third of the way through the 76th session and I still have no idea what Democrats are doing. But, hey, state Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford has a new website — stevenhorsford.com — and it’s really neat!
Sandoval can’t find the middle ground young Mr. George was asking about because he does not want to. But Democrats cannot find it because they have built no bridges to get there.
Ultimately, passing a tax increase or not allowing those business/sales taxes to sunset is a simple math problem that all of those students Monday could understand: 28-14-1-28-14. It takes two-thirds in each house to pass it, Gov. Resolute to veto it and then the same numbers to override.
But here is what every student knows that the Democrats apparently do not: When it comes time for the final exam — the one for the Gang of 63 comes June 6 — you have to be prepared. And there is no evidence of reaching out in either house by Democrats to possible GOP pro-tax votes. (Jon Ralston, Las Vegas Sun – 23-Mar-2011)
On a national scale Prairie2 puts it succinctly:
Your Nest Egg Has Salmonella
How long can this go on? The truth is that this can go on forever. The rich now control enough of the media to create “reality”. Even as “concerns” are raised, the myth that nothing can be done trumps all. It is becoming the new “normal”. Every day we are told by the corporate media that it’s not possible to rehire the unemployed even if we started creating jobs at the rate jobs were created during the boom years of the Clinton Administration.
The thought that we could just do what needs to be done to make it happen never passes their lips. The principles that Alexander Hamilton presented to Congress in 1792 that took a back woods group of colonies that didn’t make shovels and created the largest most powerful manufacturing economy the world has ever seen, his words are never mentioned. They talk about manufacturing as if it were as quaint as powdered wigs. China, Japan and Germany all operate on these same priciples that Hamilton proposed 230 years ago. Thirty years ago China was nearly as primitive as 1790s American and now they build 230 mph bullet trains. But we can’t; FOX, CBS, NBC and ABC say so, and they create reality.
The thought that we could just do what needs to be done to make it happen never passes their lips.
This. In nearly every way. This.
As I prepare our taxes this weekend, I think about what we will pay. I don’t mind paying my taxes. Not at all. But when I see that because of the way our tax law has been manipulated, many corporations making billions of dollars in profit pay no federal income taxes at all to the country that made those companies and profits possible, I am outraged by the injustice of it all. I am galled that the CEO of one of those corporations is advising President Obama on job creation when in fact, his company is shedding jobs in the U.S. I am furious at the multinational corporations who have set up shop in our state, and who are reaping billions in profits from the resources they pull from the ground, and who have managed to get the law written so that loopholes and deductions allow them to pull all the profit and pay very little or, in some cases, not one red cent in taxes to the state that made their profits possible.
For me it just brings into sharper focus than it ever has before, how the system has been designed for the powerful, not the vast majority of us.
We The People? Not so much.
Oh, we get a crumb thrown to us now and then. And when that doesn’t work to quiet us down, we are pitted against each other in a myriad of ways: Union vs non-union workers, old agains young, whites against people of color, citizens against immigrants, men against women, religious against non. We are told continually to blame the other. We are told that if we will only “work harder” we will “make it.”
I am petrified by those who have been fooled into believing that workers banding together and negotiating for wages, benefits, retirement and job safety are somehow a threat to our “American Way of Life” and those who control all the wealth, who literally hold our livelihoods and futures in their hands, are somehow the downtrodden and that if we would only let them do whatever the hell they want, it would lead to nirvana for the rest of us.
Many of us have internalized the lie that one day, we are going to “make it” and be able to play at the table with the big boys. Yeah, right. Maybe one out of a million will make it out, but . . .
What’s the net effect? The money that our lucky/skillful player from the lower tables takes from his fellow players in the lower ranks is either left on Table One and added to their very exclusive wealth or, failing to wipe out the new guy, they may reluctantly make room for another seat at the table and chant “One of us” at the initiation ceremony but, what they WON’T do, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, is put that money back into circulation in the lower tables – the tournament just isn’t designed to work that way is it?
Eventually, inevitably, when you design a system like that and you refuse to redistribute the wealth back from top to bottom – there can be only one winner in the end but, as I’ve always said, it’s a long, slow game that grinds away for decades and the money goes up and up the ladder and is a long, painful death for those down below, who don’t even realize what they are losing it all until there’s nothing they can do about it.
We are told to believe the lie that we as workers are just as powerful on our own as our bosses and that we are ”free” to negotiate our own wage. And if our current employer won’t pay us what we want, why we are “free” to take our labor elsewhere, as though jobs paying the wage and benefits we want, in the location we want, are as simple to snag as plucking a plum from a tree.
On television we see ads for retirement planning and cruise ships and BMWs, as though that is the reality for the vast majority of Americans. It is not. For most of us, life is as it is depicted on The Middle, where Frankie’s inadvertant purchase of a $200 jar of eye cream (not $20 as she had thought), threw the family finances into a tailspin.
We are told that popping the few dollars we can every payday into the crapshoot known as our 401k will guarantee us a comfortable retirement. The vast majority of us don’t have enough in savings to last a couple of months, let alone our entire retirement, but we are told that we are the drain on the country for actually expecting that the deal we made with our government over our Social Security would be non-negotiable. We are told that we should be willing to give up what we have paid into our entire working lives, but those making over $250,000 a year can’t spare the extra 3% on any income over that $250,000 to help get the country back on its feet. We are scolded that we don’t care about our children and grandchildren’s future merely because we want to live out the rest of our days without being burdens on them. We are told that we are being “selfish” when we ask corporations to pay their fair share and that we are jeopardizing our country and our children’s future by even bringing it up.
Further, we are ruled, for the most part, by people who cannot bring themselves to spend a dime now to earn a dollar in a year or two, and who cannot bring themselves to put down the anti-tax bong, and say that it’s time for those with the money to help out the rest of us.
The rest of us being the people who work in their companies, who build their roads, who teach their children, who build their gated communities, who cut their lawns, who protect their homes from fire, who patrol their streets, who wait on them in their fancy restaurants, who cook their meals, who check them in at their hotels, who carry their luggage, who drive their limos, who clean their toilets and who pick up their garbage. And on and on.
What I really need right now is to see that it’s not all rigged in favor of the powerful.
But I’m just not seeing it. I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.