I have heard and read a lot of rhetoric about recipients of the entitlement programs that have been so stealthily and gradually cut over the Bush years. One of the most annoying positions taken by the Religious Right and their followers is that recipients are "stealing" from the tax payers and primarily the rich; that we take funds that do not belong to us from the pockets of those who earned the money. Some of the Religious Right and President Bush promote diverting funds to the churches (Reconstructionist/Dominionists churches) to administer "faith based initiatives" instead of government aid. The record of faith based administration of AID to third world countries does not inspire confidence in their type of assistance to the poor and needy.
Another source of annoyance is Bush's "Ownership Society" goals, wherein entitlement programs would be abolished as citizens claim ownership of their own futures and lives - living needs, health care, education, retirement, etc. Another is their position that God blesses the "good" with wealth and curses or punishes the wicked sinners with poverty, so therefore poverty is one's own fault. If all these sinners would just get a job, support themselves and family, save for their childrens' education, save to buy a home, save for their retirement, they wouldn't have to steal from the taxpayers. If they did this, God would bless them also and make them rich, all on minium wage. Oh yes, if they had just had the foresight to be born into a family that could afford a higher education for their children, they could get a better job that paid more, so it is still their own fault. Hmmm. What about today's shrinking middle class who do have good educations and good jobs, yet find themselves falling further and further behind economically? I guess they must have begun sinning and so are cursed like the poor people.
So, see Granny, if you and I or Ray or Elcie weren't such bad people, if we weren't addicted to welfare, if we weren't so lazy, if we had not been so improvident as to fail to provide for our aged, sickly years, and if we weren't thieves who steal from the pockets of the "good" folks who earned that tax payer money, we wouldn't be in the position we find ourselves today. It is all our fault. Now, aren't you glad I cleared that up?
Well, excuse the heck out of me, Mr. President and lawmakers. Both I and my husbands all worked and paid taxes; I worked full time until I married my last husband and still worked part time, although I spent part of those years as wife/home maker/ mother. Even when I occupied the latter role, I still worked on do-good activities, volunteering on drug rehabilitation programs, local food and clothing drives for the needy, and activist endeavors. My last husband paid taxes on a near six figure income which was nothing to sneeze at in those days, and he didn't have the tax breaks of your current elite. Granny and Ray worked their buns off and paid through the nose, too, and contributed to society with do-good endeavors and activism. Our children and grand children are hard workers and self sufficient. Only one of my Thundering Horde is on welfare and that is because she is handicapped, but she worked long and hard before she was struck down. Sometimes life delivers you a kick in the teeth and all the best laid plans of mice and men go astray, and in your old age you are left sick, handicapped, and poor. NONE OF US ARE WELFARE ADDICTS, FREE LOADERS, LAZY, IMPROVIDENT, OR THIEVES. What do you expect us to do? Curl up and die? You'd prefer that, wouldn't you, and relieve you of the burden.
Rant and rave..... It is CRIMINAL what is being done to Granny, Ray and Elcie, and others like them across the nation. WA
The End of the Welfare State?
The 1994 election, according to Gingrich, signaled the end of the welfare state. Yet he and the Republicans swear they have no intention of reducing Social Security--which is, of course, the very core of the welfare state. [WA: eliminating or reducing Social Security is one of the goals on Bush's agenda. Having people invest for retirement would also further enrich the investment brokers. ]
A movement that genuinely reflected both popular will and the march of history should have no need of double-talk and subterfuge. But there is plenty of both in the conservative crusade against the welfare state.
To the average American, "welfare" means handouts to the poor and does not include earned benefits such as Social Security. Thus, in everyday political parlance, Gingrich's declarations about the end of the welfare state seem to have a narrow reference. In its broader, historical meaning, however, the welfare state includes not only Social Security pensions but also Medicare, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, workers' compensation, and much else that Republicans do not publicly [but privately and behind the scenes. WA]
Gingrich the former history professor clearly has this broader meaning in mind when he talks about historical watersheds; Gingrich the politician then distances himself from the implications. In effect, the use of the term "welfare state" gives Gingrich what is known in Washington as "deniability." He can talk about epochal change and then say that only unscrupulous Democrats would unfairly attribute to him any intention to tamper with Social Security.
What the Republicans know they cannot accomplish through a frontal assault, they hope to accomplish through indirect means [stealth, gradually].
As Philip Harvey, Theodore R. Marmor, and Jerry L. Mashaw argue in this issue, the Contract with America is a fiscal time bomb set to go off just after the turn of the century[so what's happening now?]
. To balance the budget, raise military spending, and avoid new taxes would require massive spending reductions, inevitably affecting Social Security and Medicare. If the Congress passes the Contract's new tax breaks ("backloaded" so their costs climb sharply after five years), the pressure would be even greater to undo social programs. Gingrich's strategy is clearly to create a crisis that will force Americans to accept measures they would otherwise be unwilling to swallow. It is strange how revolutionaries who believe their cause to be popular, just, and inevitable nonetheless find so much need to manipulate people into actions they don't want to take.
Excerpt from: Who Own the Future? part of paragraph End of Welfare State. For entire article, click on:http://www.princeton.edu/~starr/21star.html
Republican-Libertarian despises the Poor, calls them Junkies
author: Sean Turner
Federal "entitlement" like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, may soon include "universal healthcare" and "tax cuts for the working poor" (translation: "welfare lite") - yet considers military spending "discretionary". Go figure...
Sean Turner, SierraTimes.com-A Subsidiary of J.J. Johnson Enterprises, Inc., July 15, 2003
Last year, the federal government spent billions to deal with them. Millions of Americans are addicted to them in one or more of their various forms. They've broken the will of countless "consumers" for decades. Today, they are far worse than a generation ago, and without any obstacles, their path of destruction will continue to erode the very fabric of America. What am I referring to? If you guessed illegal drugs, then you're absolutely incorrect. The correct answer is: government "entitlements".
Federal "entitlement" programs come in many forms, and are known by a number of names like Social Security, "welfare", food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, child nutrition, agricultural subsidies, etc. Soon, they may be known by a few more names like "universal healthcare", "prescription drug benefits", and "tax cuts for the working poor" (translation: "welfare lite"). Nevertheless, socialism by any other name is still socialism. Its "feel good" policies, utopian promises, and disastrous results mimic the rhetoric of your friendly neighborhood street-corner "pharmacist". Its wealth redistribution mechanisms are replete with subsidies that conceal failure, unearned income that replaces frugality and planning, and policies that discourage self-sufficiency. Despite a plethora of history showing the rapaciousness of "entitlement" programs, millions refuse to kick the "habit", and continue to beg Congress (read, the "pusherman") for more money to satiate their appetite for dependency.
Excerpted from: Republican-Libertarian Despises the Poor, Calls them Junkies. For complete article, click on: http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2003/07/268021.shtml
Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune News ServicePublished on Friday, February 25, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
Is This Your Ownership Society?
by Holly Sklar
Would you invest in a company that cut your wages, laid off your cousin, polluted your neighborhood, cut your health insurance and raided your retirement fund? If so, you'll love President Bush's "ownership society."
At a time of rising support for socially responsible business, Bush's ownership society offers less social responsibility, less opportunity and accelerating dis-investment in the future.
Extensive studies demonstrate the economic benefits of corporate social and environmental responsibility, including improved financial performance, productivity, quality, innovation and reduced operating costs. "For example," says Business for Social Responsibility, "many initiatives aimed at improving environmental performance -- such as reducing emissions of gases that contribute to global climate change...also lower costs."
The ownership society backed by Bush's fiscal year 2006 budget is the worst of all worlds: fiscally, socially and environmentally irresponsible, morally bankrupt, and toxic to democracy.
Lincoln fought for "government of the people, by the people, for the people." Bush stands for government of the owners, by the owners, for the owners.
The richest 1 percent of households already owns more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined. Take-home pay as a share of the economy is at the***
lowest level since 1929.
Bush is reshaping the tax and budget system so workers pay a greater share of the costs and owners pay less. As wealth is increasingly sheltered from taxes, inequality will become more entrenched and hereditary in Bush's ownership society.
While Bush runs up the national debt to reckless levels, risking economic crisis, to give more tax breaks to millionaires, his budget cuts education, a pillar of individual and national progress, on the pretense of fiscal responsibility.
The unemployment rate is *
30 percent higher than it was in 2000. About one out of six Americans has *
no health insurance, and half of all bankruptcies are *
illness-related. One out of eight Americans lives *
below the meager official poverty line -- and many more *
can't make ends meet above it.
Excerpt from: Is This Your Ownership Society? For complete article, click on:http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0225-28.htm
Labels: Bush - medicare, medicaid - worried