This letter to the editor, sent to 5 newspapers in the San Francisco bay area, talks about Washington’s misguided priorities. It never mentions George W. Bush by name — because as far as I’m concerned it’s the people pulling his strings who are responsible for these policies.
Originally published 2005
The Republican administration in Washington has displayed two disturbing patterns: patronage for corporations at the expense of citizens, and patronage for Republican states, at the expense of Democratic states.
- When Democratic California had a corporation-engineered energy crisis that impoverished the state and left millions without power, Washington did nothing.
- When Republican Florida was swamped by hurricanes, Washington was there within minutes, fixing the damaage, cleaning up, and promising to take care of things.
- When Democratic Louisiana faced similar hurricanes, Washington did nothing in the critical hours and days and followed, and was only pressured into action by national public outrage.
- When Republican Texas faced a hurricane, Washington had “learned its lesson”, and was right there, ready to act and react.
That track record shows a disturbing trend. Washington talks of unity. But Washington’s actions say that half of America is on the enemies list, and enemies receive no help from Washington.
There is a similar tendency to favor the rich and powerful in Washington, over the average citizen.
- Laws that allow credit agencies to charge 30 and 40% interest — and change interest rates at will — were not changed. But laws that allow citizens to declare bankruptcy to escape credit card debt were repealed.
- Drug companies were handed billions in a contract in which Washington agrees that it has no right to negotiate prices.
- In the aftermath of Iraq, Katrina, and Rita, corporate friends of Washinton have been given open-ended contracts without bid, and without limit.
- While spending at the faster rate than any administration in history, Washington refuses to consider tax strategies to balance the budget. In fact, Washington continues to repeal taxes.
- To pay for things, they’re borrowing from foreign lenders — lenders whose major stockholders include Washington’s rich friends, I’m guessing. Future generations will have to pay for that. But which part of future generations. Not the richest 1%. They’re taxes are going away. Your kids will have to pay for it.
Meanwhile, one of the taxes that is going away is the billionaire’s estate tax, or more accurately, an “Equal Opportunity” Tax (which I claim should be protected by a Constitutional Amendment).
- Bill Gates is worth roughly 50 billion dollars. No one begrudges him that money. We’re proud that he was able to do it in America.
- But ALL of that money will be bequeathed to his heirs, untaxed.
- Of course, that law will simply save him the trouble of setting up tax-free instruments to do the same thing under our old loophole-ridden system of taxation. But under that system, at least we had the option of closing those loopholes. Under the new law, we have none.
- None of Gates grandchildren, their grandchildren, or their grandchildren will ever have to work a day in their lives, unto the umpteenth generation. What about your kids? Will they be living on easy street?
- It’s doubtful. If you’re like most Americans, your wealth will be wiped out by medical bills. You’ll be facing laws that don’t even let you choose a quiet, peaceful death. They simply won’t go until you’re drained of every cent you have. And when your family finally resorts to using credit cards to buy food, there will be no respite from the 30 and 40 percent interest they pay.
In other words, Bill Gates’ grandkids will own the factories and the corporations, along with the other 1% of America. Your grandkids will have no choice but to work for them. They’ll have. After a lifetime of working, you’ll be unable to provide them much of a head start in life. They’ll be the worker bees. Gates’ kids will be the queens of the hive.
That’s the nature of class. Your stuck in the class you were born into. And that’s the future that Washington is shaping. To say their priorities are simply “misguided” is to be exceedingly charitable.
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