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Class War in America
by Stephen Lendman
Email: lendmanstephen (nospam) sbcglobal.net
21 Oct 2011
Class War in America - by Stephen Lendman
Class war raged for decades. Business and America's super-rich always win. In his 1925 short story titled "Rich Boy," F. Scott Fitzgerald said:
"Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early...They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we.."
"Even when they enter deep into our world....they still think that that they are better than we are. They are different."
In his article, titled "The Truth About 'Class War' in America," economist Richard Wolff said:
"The last 50 years have indeed seen continuous class warfare in and over federal economic policies."
Corporate giants and America's super-rich waged war against working Americans and won. Notably since the 1970s, "(b)usiness and its allies shifted most of its federal tax burden onto individuals."
Since WW II, tax rates on super-rich Americans fell from 91% to 35% today. Obama's deficit cutters want it lowered to 24% along with eliminating some deductions with loopholes to compensate and save others. Moreover, they want the top corporate tax rate slashed from 35% to 26%.
Many corporate giants, in fact, pay minimal or no taxes. Some, like General Electric, get generous rebates in highly profitable years. They game the system, benefitting form tax laws they write. American workers lose out from greater than ever burdens on them.
Obama schemers also want deeper Medicare cuts, higher Medicaid co-pays, and Social Security's retirement age raised to 69 with lower cost-of-living increases. Privately they want Wall Street to control it to suck out maximum profits, then shut it down entirely.
In addition, they want home mortgage interest and tax-free employer provided health insurance capped or ended.
They represent business and super-rich elites. America's middle class is targeted for extinction. Since taking office, Obama capitulated to Republicans on preserving tax cuts for America's super-rich. He gave trillions of dollars to Wall Street crooks and other corporate favorites, including profiteers benefitting greatly from multiple imperial wars on humanity.
At the same time, he stiff-armed budget-strapped states and distressed households. Promising millions of new jobs, he created none. Four years into a Main Street Depression, real unemployment approaches 23%. In ravaged cities like Detroit, it exceeds 50%.
Federal worker wages were frozen and austerity cuts imposed. Examples include Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Families needing help to heat homes in winter won't get it. Neither will students relying on Pell Grants.
Other imposed cuts affect:
• the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP);
• community healthcare centers;
• nonprofit health insurance cooperatives;
• HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and other disease prevention programs;
• WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) grants to states for supplemental foods, healthcare, and nutrition education for low-income families;
• Head Start, providing comprehensive education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income families with children;
• the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (targeted earlier with more coming), providing food stamps for poor households;
• community development block grants for housing, overall reducing HUD's budget by $1.1 billion;
• Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) first-responder funding;
• energy efficiency and renewable energy programs;
• Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) clean/safe water and other projects;
• National Institutes of Health (NIH) medical research;
• the National Park Service;
• vital infrastructure and transportation needs; and
• other non-defense discretionary spending.
Planned new cuts will sustain Wall Street, militarism, favoritism, waste, fraud, and other rewards for Washington's usual special interests They benefit at the public trough.
Everyone else gets to eat cake. They're on their own sink or swim. Obama calls it "shared sacrifice." Workers sacrifice to let business and super-rich elites share.
Corporate America's power grab holds US households hostage. Neo-serfdom and debt peonage define their final solution. Wolff calls mainstream economics "faith-based." For Michael Hudson, it's "junk economics," destroying societies to benefit Wall Street and powerful favorites.
According to Wolff:
"In plain English, the last 50 years saw a massive shift of the burden of federal taxation from business to individuals and from rich individuals to everyone else. Class war policies, yes, but a war that victimized the vast majority of working Americans."
Especially since the 1970s, real wages haven't keep up with inflation. Benefits steadily eroded. High-paying manufacturing and service jobs went offshore to low-wage countries. Automated production claimed more.
More than ever, "free markets" work best for those who control them. Others lose out, growing numbers entirely.
Technology driven productivity increasingly pressures workers to toil longer for less pay and fewer benefits. Explaining predatory capitalism's contradictions, Marx indeed was right. He called it anarchic and ungovernable, and what existed in his day was a shadow of today's monster.
It alienates masses by preventing societies from developing humanely. It produces class struggles between "haves" and "have-nots," the bourgeoisie (capitalists) and proletariat (workers). It exploits the many for the elite few. Those most privileged populate Wall Street.
It flourishes in America and Western societies. Aided by political opportunists, powerful monopolies and oligopolies now control production, commerce and finance.
Households are angered and traumatized by falling incomes adjusted to inflation. As a result, more family members work more for less. Corporate bosses extract more surplus from pressured workers.
Class war in America isn't new. Today it rages, pitting private wealth against populist interests.
America's middle class is on the chopping block for destruction. The criminal class in Washington is bipartisan. Complicit with Wall Street and other corporate crooks, they've wrecked the economy and working households for profit.
America's broken system is defined by sacrificing workers on the alter of capitalist excess. Growing numbers understand a venal, depraved, degenerate system. It's too broken to fix. It's corrupted, suffocating and malignant.
No wonder millions now rage against it in hundreds of cities nationwide. It was just a matter of time. They're mad as hell and won't take it anymore. They worry about no future prospects. They know, or should know, political Washington won't help.
They're victimized by institutionalized inequality. Good paying jobs and retirement security are increasingly out of reach.
America's a kleptocracy run by political criminals complicit with corporate crooks. They strip-mine working households for profit. Systemic corruption benefits at the public's expense.
America's no longer fit to live in. Change demands dismantling it and starting over. Vital issues include:
• social justice;
• returning money power to public hands as the Constitution's Article 1, Section 8 mandates;
• dismantling duopoly political power, replacing it with an entirely new multi-party democracy;
• getting money out of politics;
• -shutting down insolvent banks;
• -prohibiting too-big-to-fail ones;
• ending corporate personhood; corporations are businesses, not people;
• reinstituting anti-trust laws with teeth, prohibiting monopoly and oligopoly power;
• breaking up big media;
• making broadcasting a public utility on airwaves belonging equally to everyone, not business giants to exploit with generous subsidies;
• prohibiting all corporate handouts, loopholes, and special benefits;
• making business pay equitably on all profits;
• ending America's student loan racket;
• mandating progressive taxation, including treating income and capital gains equally;
• reenergizing organized labor;
• ending inequality and persecution;
• creating jobs paying living wages;
• stressing environmental sanity; and
• ending America's imperial wars.
Hopefully OWS protesters understand dark forces want to co-opt and subvert them. Hopefully they'll focus on what matters most.
Key is getting money power in public hands and making banking a regulated public utility. Achieving that makes social justice and other vital goals possible.
Millions of Americans and others globally are committed for change. Hopefully they know they're in the mother of all struggles and will stay the course. It's how all great victories are won.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen (at) sbcglobal.net.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
This work is in the public domain