Left Justified: Flushing sounds

Left Justified: Flushing sounds

By Stanley Campbell

Listen. Hear that? That’s the sound of our economy going down the toilet.

If you’re an astute financial forecaster, when George Bush was elected president, you took your money out of medicines, solar energy, water filters and put it into oil, big SUVs, and Star Wars (Strategic Defense Initiative).

Because of this last election, a lot of people are going to make a lot more money on the fourth horseman of the apocalypse. No more namby-pamby social welfare and stuff that makes people’s lives better. Instead, our government is buying big ticket items like atom bombs, tanks, B-1 bombers and, of course, the flying boondoggle of all pork barrels, Star Wars.

The economy started to go into the toilet about the same time George “W.” got nominated. Back then, investors hedged their bets. If I had a billion dollars in the stock market, I’d have hedged my bets, too. Instead of placing it in housing and computers and automobiles, I’d have bet more on the military industrial complex.

Of course, as soon as the election was over, all my investments would have gone to such outstanding companies as TRW (no, I don’t know what that stands for), McDonnell-Douglas, Boeing, Lockheed-Martin and Raytheon.

The returns on military investments aren’t that great. These guys didn’t make their money by sharing it with stockholders. But, everything else is going into the toilet. The government could stimulate the economy better by spending our hard-earned taxes on education, medical care and housing. It would generate more jobs. Spending money on the military budget funds fewer workers than any other sector of the economy. You can hire four school teachers for every one defense contractor, but guess which ones vote Republican?

So let me advocate taxing those rich defense contractors. You know, it’s the corporations that get the most out of our government.

The judicial system is set up to mainly protect their property, both here and overseas. Contracts between corporations are flooding our court system. Most of the rules are made to keep the capital in the hands of the capitalists. President Theodore Roosevelt once opined that government is best when it helps the least of these and is worst when it helps the rich get richer. We would hope that the wealthy, out of the kindness in their hearts, would give generously to charitable causes that better the lives of the less fortunate. Ha!

They’re too busy buying stuff. And there’s a lot of stuff out there to buy. The wealthy bellyache about taxes—which pay for our roads to the factories and shopping malls, the police to protect their goodies, and an education system so that we all can add up our purchases.

But, in truth, we all pay less taxes than the rest of the civilized world—and our U.S. rich keep more filthy money than anyone else.

A lot of countries such as Sweden, Denmark and Japan all have a higher tax rate, less crime, better educational systems, less pollution, more jobs, and fewer babies dying at birth. Need I go on?

I help church groups help the poor. We beg for money to do our work, knowing there’s a lot of people who could afford to give more. But our sales campaign is nothing in this consumer’s society. Social service agencies cannot compete with one fast food campaign, much less the military industrial complex’s lobbyists.

It’s much easier to have the government tax the rich and help the poor. It’s not better, just easier. So the economy now sucks. There’s more poor families. The tax cuts help the rich buy fine art, yachts and pleasure trips to the Bahamas and me, I’m gonna stock up on rice and beans. Merry Christmas.

On Friday, Dec. 20, the General Secretary of the National Council of Churches will speak to the role of the churches in this desperate time (7:30 p.m. at Court Street United Methodist Church, downtown Rockford). This program is Rockford Urban Ministries’ Christmas present to the area. We hope you will be able to enjoy this program with us, and to find the true spirit of Christ coming into the world.

Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.

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