Saturday, May 28, 2011

The America We are Building

Memorial Day Weekend is underway. Dropping gas prices raised over Memorial Day as they have for many years, before dropping for the summer. The American people continue to shoot themselves in the foot by paying the oil barons & speculators their exorbitant prices rather than saying “enough is enough.” Yet, for an increasing number of us, “enough” is already well beyond what we can pay and survive.

While citizens continue vascillating in this game of chance, Congress plays its own shell game. For example, the five largest oil companies are Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil, British Petroleum, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips. Did you find it interesting when the CEO at ConocoPhillips was heard to tell Congress that it would be “unAmerican” to withdraw the oil & gas subsidy which the industry has received for the past one-hundred years?

That is so typical. Whenever there is a call for a reduction of power or profit, we all jump on the bandwagon when it is for the other guy. Everybody wants a reformed welfare system. Everyone wants to reduce the number of entitlement programs. Everyone wants to stop BIG Government and its enormous spending. We say.

We want it as long as it reduces the number of poor and vulnerable that receive subsidies of some kind. Stop welfare babies. Eliminate the luxuries of prison life. Let all these rich Seniors (whoever they are) pay some taxes, says Michigan‘s Governor Snyder. Eliminate Obamacare! Throw out Medicare! Get rid of socialism. The fact is, we say, we have to face it: we can’t keep on spending ourselves further into debt.

Yet, when Michigan’s Carl Levin sponsored S940 to close Big Oil and Tax Loopholes, the Senate rejected it. The Congressional Research Service, a non-partisan group, reported that the 5 major oil companies profited $76 billion in 2010. Between 2001-2010 they pocketed $1 trillion in profits. Yet, the Senator’s bill failed because they could not muster the required 60 votes to stop a threatened filibuster by the GOP.

That tells me the GOP is more interested in “selective entitlements” rather than national debt reduction. It tells me the GOP is more interested in the profits of Special Interest Groups than in the common good of the country. They will maintain the century-old oil/gas subsidy rather than use those subsidies to reduce the national debt.

They make military spending a patriotic duty rather than allow equitable reduction so as to reduce the national debt. They will say all the right words, but they will leave seniors like me to choose between food and life-saving medications while hoping to survive to the first of the month. They will bow to the dictates of wealthy lobbyists who fund GOP elections, and ignore the increasing gap between the most vulnerable and the most wealthy. They will work feverishly to eliminate subsidies demanded by the most vulnerable while they suck up to the more demanding feudal barons of industry and commerce.

From Warner’s World ...
anyone who knows very much history knows America cannot maintain good national health under our growing conditions of inequality. While we are celebrating patriotism this weekend, and while we honor our military boys and girls, we might want to re-think the kind of America we are trying to build--an America that offers equal opportunity to all creeds, colors, and cultures, or an America that serves as the private playground of those who make the most profit ...

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