Know the enemy–Beware of politicians with bags of candy
By Ed Henry
Know the enemy
Beware of politicians with bags of candy
Americans seem to have a problem identifying the bad guys. Instead of ostracizing, punishing, or at least not re-electing those who set out to harm the public, they reward these people, invite them into their hearts and homes, even ask for pieces of candy from their bags of goodies. Treats that weve paid for.
Its not a very good example to set for the children, and its certainly not what our forefathers expected when they left us a democratic system of electing a representative government.
Todays enemies beguile us with sweet talk, a loyal media, propaganda in the form of entertainment and promises of small favors. Lets look at it in terms of one current and sickening subject.
Save Social Security First
Many, particularly the middle and lower-income people, pay more in FICA taxes than they do in income tax. FICA taxes are workers taxes. Yet, these same people vote overwhelmingly for the politicians stealing their retirement and health care money. Funds that are not supposed to be spent elsewhere. Calling it a surplus, the Beltway Bandits took $149.9 billion from entitlements belonging to American workers in fiscal 2000. They even brag about it.
Total Surplus fiscal 2000 $237 billion
From income taxes $87
From Entitlements $150
Anytime a constitutional republic has a surplus, it means that citizens are overtaxed. Automatically, there should be refunds and/or restructuring of the tax codes. This is not debatable. Yet, the two political cults will argue about how any sort of tax break might be distributed. Theyll argue about it until any reform is so watered down, no one will get much of anything. Scraps for the pets: the public will love them for whatever little pieces are thrown their way.
As it should be, everything currently proposed by the Bush administration as a tax cut (reported at $1.3 trillion) over the next 10 years comes from anticipated income tax surpluses such as the $87 billion in fiscal 2000, above. Its all from this category and not from entitlements. Expect Bush to go right on stealing your entitlement money, the big load.
Entitlement Surplus 2000 $149.9 billion
From Social Security $94.7
From other entitlements $55.2
(Medicare, gas taxes, etc.)
With few exceptions, American working people should be getting rid of everyone in Congress, especially the Senate Democrats. In May of 1999, the House of Representatives passed (by a vote of 416 to 12) a weak, but better than nothing, lock-box bill that would have made it embarrassing for any politician to ask for a 60 percent vote in order to touch Social Securitys money. In June of 2000, they tried another lock-box bill, passing by a vote of 420 to 2, about as close to unanimous as you can get. Both of these bills (H.R. 1259 and H.R. 3859) died in the Senate, filibustered by the supposed minority party of the people who dont want anyone telling them how to spend money. Entitlement money that they really believe belongs to them.
Thanks mostly to the Clinton administration and the Democratic Party, the word entitlement has fallen into disuse. No longer does it mean that money collected cannot be spent for anything other than the purpose for which it was collected. Worker benefits can be spent wherever the government chooses. The government and its pundits openly, blatantly and brazenly talk about using Social Securitys surplus for other purposes. (see: Money Laundering)
Through its Department of Justice, this same hypocritical government prosecutes private sector individuals and companies that do the same thing: misappropriate retirement funds.
The working public should be deserting the Democratic Party in droves. Still, they do not. Instead, they support the very people who rob them. Why?
Is it because they dont understand that theyre being robbed? Is it because they dont care or cant take the time to read or listen? Or is it because theres a certain comfort in being the victim?
Alan Greenspan, Bob Dole and Daniel Patrick Moynihan were the key players in making Social Security and Medicare into slush funds. It was the Greenspan Commission that, in 1983 and after a year of studying a nonexistent problem, presented the Reagan administration with the idea of raising FICA taxes far beyond what Social Security needed in order to meet its obligations to the retired and disabled. And the general public considers all three of these gentlemen to be heroes. One even ran for president in 1996. Now, theres talk about setting up a new commission to study Social Security with Dole and Moynihan in charge. Putting the fox back in the chicken coop.
Enacted within a month, the decision to raise FICA taxes to 12.4 percent for workers and 15 percent for the self-employed took Social Security off the pay-as-you-go system and put it on a partial reserve system, making it the only entitlement that is supposed to collect an excess.
The change was not a bad idea if the reserve had been invested wisely. Instead, it has always been stolen in total by Congress and the Administration, pirates that spend this money wherever they choose. Its called off budget revenue.
If you listen to Daniel Patrick Moynihan, it was he and Bob Dole who had the most to do with creating the Social Security slush fund. Meeting in the halls of the Senate after Dole had published an article on bipartisan co-operation, Moynihan claims to have challenged Dole with the idea that if he meant it, then they should unite to immediately co-sponsor a bill to fix Social Security. Nowadays, and probably out of guilt, this same gentleman recommends returning Social Security to the pay-as-you-go system. Do you think his replacement, Hillbillary, will take up the same call?
And most of the public attributes a strong or booming economy to Alan Greenspan. Pumped up by the media, most feel that the Chairman of the Federal Reserve controls the nations purse strings, determines whether or not they have a job, and keeps prices from rising. All this, by regulating bankers and controlling interest ratesthe only real part of the economy this regulatory agency can truly affect.
Think about last years stolen $237 billion, and more than $20 billion a month currently going to the Beltway Bandits. Think about it as you pay your heating and electric bills this winter. Think about it the next time you go to the gas station. Think about it as we go into recession with a stock market thats been tanking since last March. Think about the price of cigarettes and what the government has done to one of our leading industrial giants, Microsoft. While allowing America On Line (AOL) to give away its browser (Ive received 16 of them in the mail) and merge with Time Warner/CNN into the largest news, information, entertainment and propaganda machine the world has ever seen. Ted Turners billion dollar donations have paid off for the Clinton News Network.
Think about the Thrift Savings Plan that the Beltway Bandits have set up for themselves and two million federal employees. Hush money. A system under the Federal Employee Retirement Systems (FERS) umbrella that allows investment of up to 10 percent of the salaries we pay them to be invested in the stock market, with four percent matching funds, also from us. A privatized retirement plan that works through Barclay Bank of Great Britain and has returned an annual average of 28 percent on investment for the past four years. And the only federal trust fund with real assets in it. Good enough for them, but not for you or your extra donations to Social Security and Medicare.
Think about it the next time you hear politicians talk about how theyre going to spend the wonderful surpluses theyre expecting in the next decade, arguing about how the booty should be divided up.
Think about it when you go to work every day, spending more time working for the feudal lords than the serfs did in the Dark Ages. And now, you dont even get the winter crops. The power companies do.
Hey, its the economy, stupid.