The Great American Class War: Plutocracy Versus Democracy

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This is an edited version of a speech Bill Moyers recently delivered at the Brennan Center for Justice. It was first published at TomDispatch.


I met Supreme Court Justice William Brennan in 1987 when I was creating a series for public television called In Search of the Constitution, celebrating the bicentennial of our founding document. By then, he had served on the court longer than any of his colleagues and had written close to 500 majority opinions, many of them addressing fundamental questions of equality, voting rights, school segregation and — in New York Times v. Sullivan in particular — the defense of a free press.

Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan in his chambers. (AP Photo)

Those decisions brought a storm of protest from across the country. He claimed that he never took personally the resentment and anger directed at him. He did, however, subsequently reveal that his own mother told him she had always liked his opinions when he was on the New Jersey court, but wondered now that he was on the Supreme Court, “Why can’t you do it the same way?” His answer: “We have to discharge our responsibility to enforce the rights in favor of minorities, whatever the majority reaction may be.”

Although a liberal, he worried about the looming size of government. When he mentioned that modern science might be creating “a Frankenstein,” I asked, “How so?” He looked around his chambers and replied, “The very conversation we’re now having can be overheard. Science has done things that, as I understand it, makes it possible through these drapes and those windows to get something in here that takes down what we’re talking about.”

That was long before the era of cyberspace and the maximum surveillance state that grows topsy-turvy with every administration. How I wish he were here now — and still on the Court!

My interview with him was one of 12 episodes in that series on the Constitution. Another concerned a case he had heard back in 1967. It involved a teacher named Harry Keyishian who had been fired because he would not sign a New York State loyalty oath. Justice Brennan ruled that the loyalty oath and other anti-subversive state statutes of that era violated First Amendment protections of academic freedom.

I tracked Keyishian down and interviewed him. Justice Brennan watched that program and was fascinated to see the actual person behind the name on his decision. The journalist Nat Hentoff, who followed Brennan’s work closely, wrote, “He may have seen hardly any of the litigants before him, but he searched for a sense of them in the cases that reached him.” Watching the interview with Keyishian, he said, “It was the first time I had seen him. Until then, I had no idea that he and the other teachers would have lost everything if the case had gone the other way.”

Toward the end of his tenure, when he was writing an increasing number of dissents on the Rehnquist Court, Brennan was asked if he was getting discouraged. He smiled and said, “Look, pal, we’ve always known — the Framers knew — that liberty is a fragile thing. You can’t give up.” And he didn’t.

The Donor Class and Streams of Dark Money

The historian Plutarch warned us long ago of what happens when there is no brake on the power of great wealth to subvert the electorate. “The abuse of buying and selling votes,” he wrote of Rome, “crept in and money began to play an important part in determining elections. Later on, this process of corruption spread in the law courts and to the army, and finally, when even the sword became enslaved by the power of gold, the republic was subjected to the rule of emperors.”

We don’t have emperors yet, but we do have the Roberts Court that consistently privileges the donor class.

We don’t have emperors yet, but we do have a Senate in which, as a study by the political scientist Larry Bartels reveals, “Senators appear to be considerably more responsive to the opinions of affluent constituents than to the opinions of middle-class constituents, while the opinions of constituents in the bottom third of the income distribution have no apparent statistical effect on their senators’ roll call votes.”

We don’t have emperors yet, but we have a House of Representatives controlled by the far right that is now nourished by streams of “dark money” unleashed thanks to the gift bestowed on the rich by the Supreme Court in the Citizens United case.

We don’t have emperors yet, but one of our two major parties is now dominated by radicals engaged in a crusade of voter suppression aimed at the elderly, the young, minorities and the poor; while the other party, once the champion of everyday working people, has been so enfeebled by its own collaboration with the donor class that it offers only token resistance to the forces that have demoralized everyday Americans.

Writing in the Guardian recently, the social critic George Monbiot commented,

“So I don’t blame people for giving up on politics… When a state-corporate nexus of power has bypassed democracy and made a mockery of the voting process, when an unreformed political system ensures that parties can be bought and sold, when politicians [of the main parties] stand and watch as public services are divvied up by a grubby cabal of privateers, what is left of this system that inspires us to participate?”

Why are record numbers of Americans on food stamps? Because record numbers of Americans are in poverty. Why are people falling through the cracks? Because there are cracks to fall through. It is simply astonishing that in this rich nation more than 21 million Americans are still in need of full-time work, many of them running out of jobless benefits, while our financial class pockets record profits, spends lavishly on campaigns to secure a political order that serves its own interests and demands that our political class push for further austerity. Meanwhile, roughly 46 million Americans live at or below the poverty line and, with the exception of Romania, no developed country has a higher percent of kids in poverty than we do. Yet a study by scholars at Northwestern University and Vanderbilt finds little support among the wealthiest Americans for policy reforms to reduce income inequality.

Class Prerogatives

Listen! That sound you hear is the shredding of the social contract.

Ten years ago the Economist magazine — no friend of Marxism — warned: “The United States risks calcifying into a European-style class-based society.” And as a recent headline in the Columbia Journalism Review put it“The line between democracy and a darker social order is thinner than you think.”

We are this close – this close! – to losing our democracy to the mercenary class. So close it’s as if we’re leaning way over the rim of the Grand Canyon waiting for a swift kick in the pants.

When Justice Brennan and I talked privately in his chambers before that interview almost 20 years ago, I asked him how he had come to his liberal sentiments. “It was my neighborhood,” he said. Born to Irish immigrants in 1906, as the harsh indignities of the Gilded Age brought hardship and deprivation to his kinfolk and neighbors, he saw “all kinds of suffering — people had to struggle.” He never forgot those people or their struggles, and he believed it to be our collective responsibility to create a country where they would have a fair chance to a decent life. “If you doubt it,” he said, “read the Preamble [to the Constitution].”

He then asked me how I had come to my philosophy about government (knowing that I had been in both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations). I don’t remember my exact words, but I reminded him that I had been born in the midst of the Great Depression to parents, one of whom had to drop out of school in the fourth grade, the other in the eighth, because they were needed in the fields to pick cotton to help support their families.

Franklin Roosevelt, I recalled, had been president during the first 11 years of my life. My father had listened to his radio “fireside chats” as if they were gospel; my brother went to college on the GI Bill; and I had been the beneficiary of public schools, public libraries, public parks, public roads and two public universities. How could I not think that what had been so good for me would be good for others, too?

That was the essence of what I told Justice Brennan. Now, I wish that I could talk to him again, because I failed to mention perhaps the most important lesson about democracy I ever learned.

On my 16th birthday in 1950, I went to work for the daily newspaper in the small East Texas town where I grew up. It was a racially divided town — about 20,000 people, half of them white, half of them black — a place where you could grow up well-loved, well-taught and well-churched, and still be unaware of the lives of others merely blocks away. It was nonetheless a good place to be a cub reporter: small enough to navigate but big enough to keep me busy and learning something new every day. I soon had a stroke of luck. Some of the old-timers in the newsroom were on vacation or out sick, and I got assigned to report on what came to be known as the “Housewives’ Rebellion.” Fifteen women in town (all white) decided not to pay the Social Security withholding tax for their domestic workers (all black).

They argued that Social Security was unconstitutional, that imposing it was taxation without representation and that — here’s my favorite part — “requiring us to collect [the tax] is no different from requiring us to collect the garbage.” They hired themselves a lawyer — none other than Martin Dies, Jr., the former congressman best known, or worst known, for his work as head of the House Committee on Un-American Activities in the witch-hunting days of the 1930s and 1940s. They went to court — and lost. Social Security was constitutional, after all. They held their noses and paid the tax.

The stories I helped report were picked up by the Associated Press and circulated nationwide. One day, the managing editor, Spencer Jones, called me over and pointed to the AP ticker beside his desk. Moving across the wire was a notice citing the reporters on our paper for the reporting we had done on the “rebellion.” I spotted my name and was hooked. In one way or another, after a detour through seminary and then into politics and government, I’ve been covering the class war ever since.

Those women in Marshall, Texas, were among its advance guard. Not bad people, they were regulars at church, their children were my classmates, many of them were active in community affairs and their husbands were pillars of the business and professional class in town. They were respectable and upstanding citizens all, so it took me a while to figure out what had brought on that spasm of reactionary defiance. It came to me one day, much later: they simply couldn’t see beyond their own prerogatives.

Fiercely loyal to their families, to their clubs, charities and congregations — fiercely loyal, in other words, to their own kind — they narrowly defined membership in democracy to include only people like themselves. The black women who washed and ironed their laundry, cooked their families’ meals, cleaned their bathrooms, wiped their children’s bottoms and made their husbands’ beds, these women, too, would grow old and frail, sick and decrepit, lose their husbands and face the ravages of time alone, with nothing to show for their years of labor but the creases on their brows and the knots on their knuckles. There would be nothing for them to live on but the modest return on their toil secured by the collaborative guarantee of a safety net.

The Unfinished Work of America

In one way or another, this is the oldest story in America: the struggle to determine whether “we, the people” is a moral compact embedded in a political contract or merely a charade masquerading as piety and manipulated by the powerful and privileged to sustain their own way of life at the expense of others.

I should make it clear that I don’t harbor any idealized notion of politics and democracy. Remember, I worked for Lyndon Johnson. Nor do I romanticize “the people.” You should read my mail and posts on right-wing websites. I understand the politician in Texas who said of the state legislature, “If you think these guys are bad, you should see their constituents.”

But there is nothing idealized or romantic about the difference between a society whose arrangements roughly serve all its citizens (something otherwise known as social justice) and one whose institutions have been converted into a stupendous fraud. That can be the difference between democracy and plutocracy.

Toward the end of Justice Brennan’s tenure on the Supreme Court, he made a speech that went to the heart of the matter. He said:

“We do not yet have justice, equal and practical, for the poor, for the members of minority groups, for the criminally accused, for the displaced persons of the technological revolution, for alienated youth, for the urban masses… Ugly inequities continue to mar the face of the nation. We are surely nearer the beginning than the end of the struggle.”

And so we are. One hundred and fifty years ago, Abraham Lincoln stood on the blood-soaked battlefield of Gettysburg and called Americans to “the great task remaining.” That “unfinished work,” as he named it, remained the same then as it was when America’s founding generation began it. And it remains the same today: to breathe new life into the promise of the Declaration of Independence and to assure that the Union so many have sacrificed to save is a union worth saving.

Bill Moyers is the managing editor of Moyers & Company and BillMoyers.com.
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  • Anonymous

    Great article. Thanks as always!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you, Bill. Keep it up.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Moyers, you have once again altered my course from one of overly cynical disappointment to that of more thoughtful contemplation of the “unfinished work” that does, indeed, lie before us. Your closing, “The Unfinished Work of America”, is especially cogent in every respect. Thank You!
    As Usual,
    EA

  • Anonymous

    Our elected officials are much like the Marshall, TX housewives, “their own kind” being the economic elite. Almost half of Congress are millionaires. Their professional/social circle is dominated by lobbyists, campaign donors, and leaders in the business and professional classes. These are the people who have their ear and whose opinions influence their thinking. How many of our elected have middle class, much less poor friends? Even for those legislators who mean well, e.g., oppose cuts to food stamps — that opposition is likely born of a moral abstraction, not from first-hand experience or from being in a close relationship with someone poor. Their brief contact with constituents becomes something akin to benevolent medieval royalty setting aside time to listen to the grievances of their serfs. Empathy is not the same as walking in the shoes of someone else. For elected officials to be truly representational, their economic status should be proportional to the rest of society.

  • Bruce Naylor

    Bill, I was a few years younger thn you and in small town (not suburban) Grand Prairie. I have been a life-long fan of your career and writing. I was disappointed that you didn’t run for president. It was our loss.

  • Marcia Ming

    I always enjoy reading your reports and articles but you have outdone yourself with this piece. So many days, I want to scream at the TV when I see the mistakes we are making as a nation, at all of the shortsightedness — and of how greed and privilege seem to be destroying the great nation our forefathers created. So I have to applaud you for taking the time to so eloquently express your concerns. I hope others are reading. I especially hope that we can make changes before it is too late!

  • Anonymous

    U said it so well Marica I can not add even a syllable! Thank You & Bill for speaking so eloquently at 89, Mr. Moyers is getting old like myself what will we do when he is gone, who will speak for the great unwashed that the 99% of the US inhabitants are????

  • Anonymous

    What the ruling classes do not understand is that their greed holds the seeds of their own demise. In nations where a “libertarian” regime exists you always see massive poverty and class divisions.

    As their wealth increases, so does their fear of losing it, so they fight tooth and nail to keep every penny, yet they do not realize that the very nature of unregulated capitalism is Darwinian, survival of the fittest. As unregulated capitalism ages wealth concentrates in fewer and fewer hands, leaving the overwhelming majorities to fend off hunger, disease and misery.

    Since the throngs of “unwashed workers” are not mindless, the reality of the situation becomes increasingly obvious – ideologies that support the ruling classes begin to falter as the “cannon fodder” or working classes begin a sullen and resentful struggle that is met by repression, incarceration, torture, and death.

    So continues the cycle as repression deepens and resentment, grief, loss turn to anger and subversion, eventually the sheer numbers of the poor will overwhelm the system and a violent revolution takes over with the resulting vengeance of the masses and decapitation of the ruler and his cohorts.

    Europe did not develop its social programs out of a sense of “do-good-ism” those social programs are born from the desire to break the destructive cycle of unregulated capitalism. Those programs are the fruit of an enlightened upper class that understands that it is less expensive to spend money educating and feeding the children of the needy, than spending millions on jails, police and security, armed guards, bodyguards, armored vehicles and the feeling of constant fear.

    It is cheaper and more effective to pay workers living wages, educate the masses, care for the infirm and the elderly than to deny assistance to the poor and create the revolutionary army that will eventually storm the gates and hang the leaders of the old regime.

  • Edward Moriarty

    Unregulated, unrestrained, free market capitalism is not recognized by the Oligarichical Rulers of our planet as an insidious cancer that will consume everything. The accumulation of wealth ( their God ) and power ( their religion) are seen by them as their savior. Their definition of progress is to continue the steady increase of their wealth by extracting minerals from the earth, and labor from humanity, while dealing with excessive waste by polluting land, water and atmosphere. This shortsighted, unconscionable behavior may very well turn into the destructive force that destroys our current “civilization”, as we know it.
    It seems as if their faith in mammon is so ingrained that they are certain they are protected from climate stress induced “natural” disasters, and the mass migrations of humanity that will result.
    The social Darwinism that they adhere to, may well become a true natural Darwinism-where the most fit of all living, breathing organisms may turn out to be the planet—– after ridding itself of the parasitic life forms that are resisting
    the natural order of the universe.
    It seems to me our Ruling Class has been very shortsighted. Is their still time to reverse this unnatural course of humanity on this planet, and does humanity have the will to make the necessary changes? Question of this age of “progress”

  • Wendell Wyland

    It is far more noble to serve others than to be served by others or to make servants and slaves of others. The tyranny of abused wealth exists in this nation only because we have allowed the wealthy to behave like spoiled and undisciplined children, who grew old but never matured or earned the wisdom to understand the survival of our nation and our way of life is dependent upon the health and virility of our democracy. They never hazarded all that they possessed in defense of our nation or our way of life.

    They have been fortunate enough to have the luxury of taking our liberties and freedoms for granted. They are ignorant of their true cost and value. They are ignorant of the consequences of diminishing the society that embraces, nourishes and defends these rights of all humans. We are ignorant for making these corrupters, exploiters, money worshipers and enemies of democracy celebrities in our society, while the most noble and courageous among us are largely ignored and unappreciated. Let me tell you a brief story about what it truly is to be an American.

    A young man arises from the damp ground where he slept. He is hungry, cold, tired and care worn. He bears these hardships of his own free will. He shoulders his musket and falls in, to march with his brothers in arms to the sound of cannon and musket fire. The ideals of Liberty and Equality have brought him to this time and place.

    He is willing to die to serve the greater good and defy the lesser evil. He is willing to forfeit his life so that his fellow countrymen might know the blessings of liberty and equality. He gambles that the men, who shall rise to power upon the defeat of the British Army, shall honor the principles of the cause he has sworn his allegiance to.

    We were all Americans until the day the British General Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown. After his surrender the noblest of us continued to be Americans and the rest chose to become something less. The young man died upon the field of battle shielding a fallen patriot from the thrust of a Redcoat’s bayonet. Perhaps it was divine intervention that sought to save him from the realization that not everyone in the thirteen colonies possesses the courage, selflessness and wisdom to be an American.

    Being an American is never easy. Opposing the tyrants, the oppressors, the exploiters, the enslavers and the traitors will not make us popular in our sickened and weakened democracy. Tyranny like cancer is a malignancy that spreads until it consumes it host, if it is not aggressively sought out and eradicated. Our Forefathers understood this simple fact and had the courage, selflessness and wisdom to cure the disease that threatened their continued existence. Will we succumb to something that only requires courage, selflessness and wisdom to defeat? If so, then we are not worthy of being Americans and all the fighting, suffering, sacrificing and dying Americans have endured has been wasted for the want of selflessness, courage and wisdom.

  • Anonymous

    E/M took the words right out of my mouth. One suggestion might be for those who read their bibles and have read our constitution, and believe in what they have read that they might live and breathe by those beliefs. Mother earth has enough for all if all want to share, but for those who only want to take, mother earth will have her way in the end. Mother nature has taught those of us who are willing to learn that a garden does not grow without the hard work that it needs to grow. Mother earth needs to be nourished and cared for just as all her creatures have needs. We do reap what we sew, but all the wealth in the world will not save us from ourselves if we do not tend to our gardens needs.

  • Tim Taylor

    I remember your documentary on secret government 25-odd years ago. It was prescient beyond words. But I think we need to finally face reality. This country has always been run by class and special interests that are an affront to equality and human dignity. This didn’t just happen. It has always been this way. It’s just that some people were able to “outrun” corporations and concentrated power. But now the country’s economy is in a mature phase and there is no place to hide from the massive injustices and corruption that have always defined the corporate state.

    Bribery of politicians was legal for the first 80 years of our existence. Slavery and then wage slavery of corporations has always been part of our existence. The first bank of the U.S. was a sellout by Alexander Hamilton to class rank and corruption. Embracing the corporate state that was the very reason why millions fled Europe is not consistent with democracy. Political parties are registered corporations that only survive because of the influence of private, corporate money and politics.

    This is not going to be fixed easily. Nor is it likely to be fixed without massive crisis. The pathological status quo is in its fully glory and certainly isn’t going to “change” unless it is foisted upon them. It’s probably going to require massive changes in how we view freedom and democracy. How we view public service rather than political authority by the power-mad that seek control over us. And, how we view our fellow man. Our country may not even survive in one piece. The Soviet Union fractured into more than a dozen pieces.

    Keep up the great work. We need more journalism like this.

  • global74

    What a fantastic article

  • James tennier

    Amazing!

  • Anonymous

    All these “cultures” practiced cultural genocide on the indigenous people. as they stole and took over their lands..?…Not much joining of the oppressors with the oppressed….Not much “softening of the edges” between the entitled whites and the people relegated to reservations? Thanks for the information about the immigrant British though…What you are saying applies to Canada, perhaps more recently….British at some point the minority in the USA ? How long can Britain maintain its cultural authority in wake of the collapse of the British Empire? Just wondering.

  • DonJon

    Bill, you are the best.

  • http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.reverbnation.com%2Fc.%2Fa4%2F2341885%2F993458%2FArtist%2F0%2FUser%2Flink&h=b7354 Jeffrey William Lynch

    Mr. Moyers, great lecture, as usual. I agree with nearly every thing that you have written and produced for over twenty years now, since I first discovered your programing while I was a film student at Ohio State. In this piece, you stressed repeatedly that we don’t have an emperor yet. I believe we do, he’s just not obvious or apparent to everyone yet. The President holds the power similar to that of a Roman emperor, if you look at the entire picture and context. (ie. America, The Police State, NSA, restricting freedoms of the press, movements to abolish the Constitution, piece by piece, rewarding the unlawful practices of big business, and the list goes on and on. Times have just changed over the centuries. I know you, like most that lean towards the liberal side of the scales, cannot see the dangers of ObamaCare and the previews of coming attractions that are falling in line with all of the dramatic changes to our form of government. Let me ask you a question. Do you really in your heart believe that if he were alive today and still on the bench, that Justice William J. Brennan would have voted with Chief Justice Roberts in upholding a completely unconstitutional plutocratic ploy such as ObamaCare? Never before this vote in our history has the Supreme Court said that citizens must be forced to purchase something that they did want. Please correct me if I am wrong. I just wanted to say even though we may disagree on this topic, I love you and have the highest respect for your opinion and point of view. I have for over 20 years now…

  • Leonora Orr

    I find the voice of Bill Moyers a rare and continuing thread of the grounding of resounding American Democracy which holds and bears the integrity of serving ALL people, the voice in all of us which responds, in response – ability to the call for freedom in the name of one man/woman for all men/all women, me ke aloha

  • Trisha Smith

    Love this, and would love to hear a recording of the speech.

  • Anonymous

    Actually we are,in many states, forced to purchase automobile insurance. You could, I suppose, make the argument that we could just not drive, but I suggest that practical reality makes that nearly impossible.

  • TheTransAtlanticRailroad

    Unlike most of America’s political punditry Bill Moyers, having spent much of his life as a legitimate and ethical journalist, listens. He listens to the people he interviews. He researches and learns about his guests. He gives them more time than all other well known interviewers to answer questions. His follow up questions are derived from what the person is saying, not what Moyers wants them to say.

    Bill Moyers was one of the few journalists trying to warn people about a “letterhead organization” called Project for a New American Century. He tried to warn people about its powerful and influential members among whom were people like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, “Scooter” Libby, Jeb Bush, Elliot Abrams (political criminal involved in Iran-Contra and pardoned by GHW Bush), and Zalmay Khalilzad (became Ambassador to Afghanistan, then Iraq, then UN under GW Bush). He tried to warn people about how some of the members openly praised the likes of Machiavelli, members who would later usurp their rolls in Bush’s Cabinet on 9/12/01 to secretly propose invasion plans for Iraq and, in effect, use the UN backed invasion of Afghanistan as a set-up for an invasion of Iraq, a nation that never attacked us nor assisted or supported those who did attack us. Drowned out in the xenophobia and jingoism was the glaring truth that Cheney, et al, had declared support for invading and occupying Iraq well before 9/11. They just needed a way to win public support and they got it through the fortuitous appearance of documents about “yellow cake” (even though they were suspected to be forgeries), the false testimony of an alleged informant code-named “Curveball” who later admitted he lied, and the insidiously well crafted sentence “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”
    Bill Moyers tried to warn all of us. Those of us who took him seriously had to watch in frustration as our nation plunged into an unwarranted war, lost thousand of lives, contributed to tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths and the displacement of four million Iraqis from their homes (many permanently), and stick our allies with the war in Afghanistan by diverting our attention to Iraq. We watched in frustration as a trillion dollars disappeared from our treasury and our economy to fund the war while taxes needed to pay for the war were cut and thereby war costs were added to the country’s debt, a debt that in true Machiavellian fashion gets blamed on the poor, on liberals, on unions, on labor, on the social safety net, and on Obama (the President who inherited the debt when he took office after the guy who ran it up).
    By all rights Moyers could have as easily said to hell with all of us and retire to the solitude of a trout creek or a schooner sailing around the world. But he is still at it, trying to warn us of what could come if we don’t act now. It is our collective fault if we don’t listen.

  • Diana Podrovitz

    We,the “under 0ne percent” need More people like you to speak up as our voices go unheard and our votes uncounted in this Democracy.You are a Texan to be proud of and WE are !!! Please keep advocating and educating for us! Thank you Sir.

  • Commentator #60

    It is time. The time is now. We need to start thinking about having a peoples convention. The republic is not serving the people. We need to restore the republic in which the people are truly represented. The corporations and businesses seem to dominate and our representatives seem to represent them not us. We need to restore the Republic. It is time for a Peoples Convention. We need to point in which direction we want to go in many isssues: campaign funding, in global warming, in taxes, in health, in immigration. Our representatives are not listening. We need to restore the Republic by diret democracy.

  • SeanP

    Except we are forced to pay tax, in which part of that tax goes to wars many of us do not support. It has always been amazing to me that every other first world country has nationalized health care, while in America healthcare is a third rail.

  • http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.reverbnation.com%2Fc.%2Fa4%2F2341885%2F993458%2FArtist%2F0%2FUser%2Flink&h=b7354 Jeffrey William Lynch

    I know many people who choose not to drive and therefore are not forced to purchase something they don’t want, or need. Most do this because they cannot afford it. I can’t afford the “affordable” healthcare in this plan. The law says I must purchase it. I can’t afford it even with the subsidy. So when I don’t pay, I will be penalized. When I don’t pay the penalty, the President said on ABC, that he would not rule out jail time for people like me. That is not freedom! It’s going to get as bad as any dictatorship or Roman emperor. I forgot to mention Drone Strikes, is that not assassination ordered by the emperor? Forgot, when innocent people are killed, they are not human casualties, they magically become “Co-lateral Damage.”

  • SeanP

    I think you need a basic course in money management. When you receive that lump sum subsidy in your tax return it isn’t a financial windfall to be run out and spent on that flashy new phone or TV. That money is to be husbanded in a savings account, divided by 12 with each installment pulled out plus the little more that will be needed to make the payment. So sign up for ObamaCare in Jan., file your taxes using something that gives you Direct Deposit at the end of Jan. When your Feb bill comes due, you should have your refund by mid Feb to make the first payment. First thing to do it cut the cord on cable TV if you have it. All you need is an internet connection. Also, you will save money by keeping that 48″ plasma TV off for the most part. Cell phones are expensive, so go back in time and use a home line with a answering machine. Back to that savings account, at some point interest rates have to go back up and as there is no interest on the medical bill, if you can add a little to that savings account you can come out a bit ahead at the end of the year when you receive your next subsidy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.reverbnation.com%2Fc.%2Fa4%2F2341885%2F993458%2FArtist%2F0%2FUser%2Flink&h=b7354 Jeffrey William Lynch

    I chose not to pay for cable. I just use the internet, so why should I be forced to pay for cable? Because everyone else has it? I made it onto the Affordable Care sight and used the calculator for the subsidy from the Keiser Family foundation. My quote for a silver plan with the subsidy included is over $600.00 per month!!!! That is NOT affordable health care. This is the biggest illusion and lie ever pulled off by the American government. They are releasing the true costs and facts over time and lying about it along the way. Just like when we went to war. The administration LIED and look at what that war is costing us not only in dollars, but the human toll as well. Look at the soldiers that are coming home and killing themselves, the suicide rate is off the charts. Look at the rates of PTSD. When we went to war, people like me who questioned authority, were somehow isolated. I was told, if you question the Commander in Chief, then you are not supporting the troops or the truth! I remember everyone waving flags and groups running bulldozers over Dixie chicks CDs, because they spoke out against the war.
    What does this have to do with ObamaCare? The politicians LIE. The Affordable Care Act is a HUGE LIE! They lied when we went to war, and they lie now. Republicans and Democrats are the same! They are all bought and paid for. They just wear different masks. Wake up man! If you want to lecture me on math, take a look at the profit margins being diverted to the Insurance industry due to this mandate. It is huge…The CEOs have it all figured out…

  • SeanP

    Good points, I am sorry if I insulted you. I don’t think the insurance companies are getting kickbacks however. Not with the uproar and the outright lies some of them are telling their ‘customers’. Yes $600 a month is steep, but please double check and make sure that is after the subsidy.

  • SeanP

    And a bit about myself, I support a single payer system ,funded by cuts to the military (especially the army since no one fights wars like that any longer), oil subsidies (a company earning billions does not need a subsidy), and the bloated farm bill.

  • http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.reverbnation.com%2Fc.%2Fa4%2F2341885%2F993458%2FArtist%2F0%2FUser%2Flink&h=b7354 Jeffrey William Lynch

    Maybe the calculator in the Kaiser foundation was wrong, after all, I went to it after being referred there from the official site. I looked into it a few weeks ago. Also I noticed there were not a lot of specifics in the different options for plans that were offered , mainly just numbers for my costs, not what they will and will not cover. I’d like to know what I am paying for before I pay for it. That is not an option at the current time.

    The insurance Industry doesn’t need outright kickbacks in the way you are suggesting. Heard a story on NPR last week that people in California complained when they were told that when they signed up for the new plan, that they could no longer keep their original doctors with the new plan, that the insurance companies, due to cost restraints, (code word for profits), were limiting choice of doctors for each plan. The same insurance company then told a woman who had been through cancer and wanted to keep her same doctor, that she could keep the same doctor as before, she just had to pay a lot more for her coverage. This is just one case. Multiply the simple little lies like this one by millions and you might be getting into the ballpark of what type of game is being played and paid for by the American citizens, not the corporations.

  • Anonymous

    A single payer system (or better, a Medicare public option), can be paid for with about 55% of the insurance premiums now paid for Wall Street care. Cuts to the bloated military budget don’t need independent justification.

  • http://washingtoncannabisinstitute.com/ Web Tender

    couldn’t say it better myself.

  • Anastacio Lopez

    “Why are record numbers of Americans on food stamps? Because record numbers of Americans are in poverty. Why are people falling through the cracks? Because there are cracks to fall through. Yet a study by scholars at Northwestern University and Vanderbilt finds little support among the wealthiest Americans for policy reforms to reduce income inequality.”

    As one who came from poverty there is no easy answer. However, my personal experience is that generally speaking it started very early for me along with extraordinary discipline and sacrifice. Below are the following things that I did to increase my changes of escaping poverty:

    1. Developed the habit of working hard early in my life, always had a job.
    2. Stayed away from drugs and alcohol and other high risk habits.
    3. Went to high school, junior college, then college, then graduate school.
    4. Figured out ways to stay employed, pay attention to the boss, respect the title.
    5. Developed deep Faith, and beliefs, tried to develop good hobbies, habits
    6. Took on more responsibilities to keep me busy. Follow the work.
    7. Tried to save money but not always easy. Keep expenses low. Live simple.
    8. Have a good attitude. People hire people they like, Don’t be an arse.
    9. Try not to get over my head, no place like home, be humble but proud
    10. Approach whatever you do like a craft.

    Generally speaking, I can’t say that I ever relied on “government” to help me, I pay my taxes. I have a book-keeper to assure I am “squared away” on my taxes. As for my education, as a young man I worked from 4 PM to 10 PM to make money and pay rent, and went to college in the day time.

    I don’t expect the republic to serve me. I actually think the opposite. How can I serve the republic? I help by being a good citizen. Live the straight and narrow path. All the Great Books talk about the “straight and narrow path” regardless of how much you have.

    Regarding suffering, I have been unemployed. I did farm-worker type work to survive when unemployed because I have this habit of work. My parents died, alcoholism in my family, etc, etc, etc. But that is no excuse for me to quit.

  • Ben

    What an absolute bore of a person.
    I know you’re proud of your “straight and narrow” life, but I don’t think you’ve really lived at all.

  • Anonymous

    Large numbers of those on food stamps actually have jobs. But many businesses see food stamps as an opportunity to pay their workers less and let the government make up the difference. And because jobs are in short supply, and the unions marginalized, these underpaid workers have to let these businesses get away with it, the workers can’t afford to quit. They’ve “sold their soul to the company store” in order to survive, and you blame them for it, and seem to consider yourself above it all. If that’s the “straight and narrow” I want no part of it. I consider you the shirker in this party, because you can’t tell the difference between taking responsibility and abusing power.

  • Anonymous

    My liberalization began when I was 13, when we, as a nation, were hit head-on with the blatant racism of the South. It all seemed so stupid back then – whites only drinking fountains and all the other symbols of repression. It was quite an awakening for a boy on the cusp of manhood.

    Though blacks got a shot at freedom and women got the Pill, thus both becoming emancipated within the confines of our social and political systems, the financial oppression of the people by the elite class began in earnest and has only gotten worse.

  • Anastacio Lopez

    Mr. Moyers, You can see that my reply has to do with individual responsibility first more so than what the government can do for me. Yet, I read the responses to my replies and can see the respondents may not have the deep experience of poverty and homelessness at the ground floor.

    The second respondent talked about a “boring life” but did not offer – in my humble opinion – a substantial reply. What is an “exciting life”? When a person is poor and homeless as I was, there is no opportunity for an exciting life. There is only an opportunity to focus on getting out of poverty and homelessness.

    The first respondent talked shirking responsibility and i can understand this person’s point of view while reading my reply for personal responsibility. Therefore, i will offer the following to demonstrate how the poor help eachother at the ground floor.

    Ground Floor Fight Against Poverty

    Transportation – most of us cannot afford a car. Therefore we share cars. However, one of my poor friends in a rural area was hitchhiking to work. My other friend told me about this. There is nothing wrong with hitchhiking but being late to work meant he would have gotten fired and then a further weight on each-other. I need a truck so I bought an old 1992 truck and let him use it until he got his feet back on the ground.

    Housing – I rented all my life and finally was able to get a home. But another friend of mine had an unfortunate issue with the housing crisis and needed help with rent. We all help that person and still do every month until they can get their feet back on the ground.

    Homelessness – I now donate to a homeless foundation for the poor, especially single women. But I am very concerned about homeless men too. I have an old house way out in the rural areas. My friend is divorced, diabetic, and cannot work, Thus he is homeless. Therefore, he takes care of the rural property in exchange for a room and bed.

    The right way of living is indeed the straight and narrow – I have a simple life and because I was poor and homeless I appreciate every little bit. From making soup to the smallest job. If this is a boring life then I accept this life the Lord gave me. Everyone has a role in life. No one said it would be an easy life.

  • Anonymous

    Plutocracy has always be with us. Even when America was born they were standing just off to the side.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Lopez – You exemplify the right kind of social thinking. I have known very few people in my life who prefer to take and not give and who would not feel gratified to hold a job in which they see their contribution add to the betterment of themselves, their family, and their community. Through that participation comes human dignity.

    It is a point which I’m not sure you see that this same attitude is the construct which progressives put forward as a model for our government. Just as you help those whom you can in their needs, so too do responsive municipal, state, and national governments do. It is the concept of helping others that ensures greater (not perfect, just better) strength of the fabric from which society is made. So too do those who know they can expect support in needy times have greater ability to commit to the tasks life and society put before them.

    On the other hand, when a person feels that others hold no desire to give and share that person is far more likely to be stingy in his or her own giving and sharing. The kind of society we have is the kind we model and make. Stingy government reflects stingy people who build it. We’ve seen myriad examples. You and I both know we do not want to live in that society in which every scrap a person may produce or earn benefits only the direct producer. In that society, we travel to our homes (if we are well off) through the miserable lodgings and habitat of those who struggle minute by minute. I think we agree on much, but neither of us would accept that the best we can do is let those who must struggle while others have a sure path of plenty.

  • Mike

    For young people now it is not so easy. There are less well paying jobs and college has become a bloated money making racket. Picking yourself up by your bootstraps just isn’t possible anymore.

  • Anastacio Lopez

    Dear Rosseau – You bring up good points and you are correct about these situations. All I am saying is individual responsibility to prepare is a significant part of a society or republic. I am surprised by the amount of replies I get when I state my case. Why is this? Why is it hard to look at personal accountability? Why is it hard to look in the mirror before blaming others?

    Regarding the issues you state, yes, I have experienced 1) unemployment because the company I worked for went bankrupt and I was laid off 2) Incurred the expenses of bringing up a family 3) I don’t have a life savings because of the #1; the company bankruptcy.

    I do not expect my friends to do for me what I have done for them. I do what I do because it is the right thing to do. I believe that individual responsibility and the inter-network of family and community. plays a significant part of a republic.

    At almost sixty I am very wary of age discrimination. And being from a poor Mexican family, I am doubly aware of the challenges including subtle discrimination. I also know the struggles of not being prepared for the future But this is true for poor people of any race not just Mexican.

    I will provide you an example -

  • Ms Cynthia K Dalton

    You may not consider that afforable, but it is over 400 dollars LESS than I currently pay for an individual plan, with a high deductible

  • http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.reverbnation.com%2Fc.%2Fa4%2F2341885%2F993458%2FArtist%2F0%2FUser%2Flink&h=b7354 Jeffrey William Lynch

    Dear Cynthia, So now I see this new logic: people like yourself, that want insurance, (who are paying through the nose with a high deductible), are all for forcing people like me, (that don’t want this scam), to join in your misery. Financial misery loves company. That’s a big part of our current national dilemma.
    I guess you believe that your premiums are going to come down because of this hoax? Let me bring something to the table here. The Insurance industry is one of the most profitable in the United States. They have seen record profits over the last several years and now with ObamaCare their profits are even going to be higher. They have no intentions of giving in or reducing rates. They are already putting in place more restrictions and limitations to raise the costs of premiums even higher.
    So I suppose when the government sets up the FEMA (debtor’s) prison camps and starts locking people like me away for not having the money to pay the mandated premiums; then you’ll sleep better at night. What a selfish concept. This is a prime example of what I believe is the new American national motto: YOU MUST KNOW GREED IN ORDER TO SUCCEED! (If that doesn’t work, buy all politicians, including the office of the President and the justices of the Supreme Court.)

  • Anonymous

    AL. You are to be applauded for your tenacity and character. You are exceptional. And still you have struggled mightily while the progeny of the wealthy enjoy automatic entry into an automatic future (unless they are so stupid as to literally throw it away).

    There are millions of people who do not have your gifts. Many were born less able. Less prepared. Born to a single mother who had been beaten up (literally and/or figuratively) by life and who was cynical and taught the wrong lessons; and then they were thrust into a world that did not want them while folks no better than themselves at actually *doing* things, got all of the advantages.

    These people, these people who want to insure that their way of life, their class, their kind endure at the expense of “the other” are becoming more and more powerful with each passing day. Without doubt, the opportunity to “make it” like you did becomes more and more difficult each day and the alienation of the young people involved becomes deeper.

    Life is not simple, “straight and narrow” for most folks. The rapidly growing inequality of the classes will assure that at a geometric pace. And yet, those at the top seem to gravitate toward acquiring more and more and take issue with giving any hand up to those less fortunate by birth while simultaneously acting like they are “self-made” men. And I still use the gender purposefully.

    The America that the Roberts Court and the Right Wing wealthy class desires is terrifyingly similar to the England that Charles Dickens bemoaned. As it is the appropriate time of year to quote him (loosely), “Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?” And especially when considering the objection to universal health care, “If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Lopez, may I gently suggest that one of the blindnesses that comes from Hard Luck Stories, is a creeping boastfulness that due to your “individual responsibility”, all must follow your example if they are to grab the American Dream. I do not doubt that your life has been blessed with no small proportion of real love and friendship through your travails. But there are people who need the social safety net, who need to know that they live in a society that cares. There are Americans who have to survive home before they can even exercise “individual responsibility”, these people may not have your work ethic because they were beaten out of bed, beaten when they got home, and God knows what their night’s sleep was about. That is why Jesus did not qualify in any way that we are our brother’s keeper. Our American community is being rended by the worst sort of corrosive soul-sucking greedy selfishness at the top. We all must share and support each other without judgment or qualification.

  • Anonymous

    You keep repeating the tenets of “personally responsibility” and “individual responsibility” as though the lack of it is the only reason anyone could live in poverty. It is a very judgmental attitude because each person’s experiences are unique. Few of those in poverty are looking for a “hand out” from government, but rather a chance or an opportunity to provide for themselves. For example, many who condemn of poor as you do are also against labor unions, OSHA regulations, social security, etc. Most people come into this world with only their minds and hands to be used for work. In order to make a living and get ahead, individuals need to earn a decent wage. What’s wrong with them using the only leverage they have – collective bargaining – clumping together to ensure that those more fortunate value their labor by paying them a living wage. We have seen what happens when collective bargaining and labor unions are shut down – wages decrease, benefits evaporate, etc. A corporation is in business to make a profit. It will never value labor or pay its true worth unless it is forced to do so. If people are given the OPPORTUNITY to “pull themselves up by their boot straps” most will do so. We just need a level playing field. FYI – the reason that so many people are currently on government assistance and food stamps is because employers (i.e. corporations) are not valuing their labor and paying them enough. So, yes, in effect it is the fault of big business.

  • Anonymous

    Very well put.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t want to pay for your quadruple bypass heart surgery when you are rushed to the emergency room as an uninsured indigent. I don’t want to pay for your lack of individual responsibility. Obamacare is just a step towards getting people to participate like they should. It is more expensive for all of us when people end up in emergency rooms. If you don’t like your premiums, thank the corporate plutocrats who managed to shut down the moral and humane public option. Don’t blame Obama, blame the spineless lap-poodle to corporate plutocracy Congress. It is the insurance companies that gave Obama their blessing for ACA (hey 47 million new policy holder$ ) then turned around and tried to profit off them by shutting off their junk policies “we can’t afford Obamacare’s requirements that we offer actual coverage without dirty little exclusions”. We HAVE to get these profiteering parasites off our doctor/patient relationships like the rest of the world. This is immoral. Do not blame your President.

  • Anonymous

    Settle down. Obamacare requires that insurance profits be a set percentage of premiums. It is the current shark-feeding frenzy of profiting from people’s health emergencies that is bankrupting the country. Greed has been around since Saint Reagan broke the work contract in this country with that air traffic controller action. If EVERYBODY would participate, your premiums will go down. If people listen to the Koch Brothers, who are paying for college campus “don’t sign up” pizza parties, then we’re screwed again.

  • Anonymous

    The loss of the single-payer option is worthy of a book, a Moyers expose. Corporate America is like a fast-growing tumor on the body politic of America. Watch out. Koch Brothers are serious.

  • Anonymous

    While you are here making sense, why don’t you get out and reach the new generation while they are still responsive. Time is awasting, what are you doing here?

  • Anonymous

    You rip what you sew, but reap what you sow. You’re welcome.

  • Anonymous

    We need to restore the high taxation on income for the 1%. This way they won’t have enough money to spend on subverting the political process.

  • Sabine_D

    I am heartened to hear that you believe in “being a good citizen,” but unless you received your entire education in private schools, your claim that you never relied on “government” to help you is doubtful at best. And even if you actually did strictly attend private school, have you seen how much college tuition costs these days? I teach at a major public research university, and take it from me, even at in-state tuition rates, very few students manage to graduate these days without debt, especially those who must work full-time while studying. Young people from low-income families–even those living the “straight and narrow”–have obstacles to education today that many of your generation could not begin to imagine. And as the legions of low-wage workers relying on food stamps today illustrate, working hard, keeping expenses low and living simply is no guarantee of self-sufficiency.

  • Ms Cynthia K Dalton

    That is not what I said. I was relating my own experience. Every responsible person should have health insurance. How do you expect to pay for your emergency appendectomy or worse, a more expensive operation. I don’t think it will come to debtor’s prison, really the fines for individuals are not that high. I worked as a surgeon for many years and most of the patients needing emergency procedures were uninsured and hadn’t seen a physician in years.
    I would have preferred a single payer system, it would be cheaper in the long run for 2 reasons. 1. bargining power would be greatly increased for negotiating payments to hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. 2. Most of the middle managers and their overpaid corporate officers would be no longer needed.
    But there was no way that would have passed at the time.
    The only way to reduce healthcare costs significantly is for everyone to have insurance as everyone ends up paying for the uninsured anyway in higher prices to make up for those who don’t pay anything.
    In addition, most people with health insurance get preventative care, which would lessen ER visits for colds, flus and sore throats. It is cheaper to treat illnesses when they have no evolved to the point where hospitilization is required.

  • Ms Cynthia K Dalton

    I am sorry you took my comment as a personal critism, as that was not my intent.
    I would by health insurance anyway, I am just glad I can save some money now. I really do not understand why any responsible adult would not at least buy a catastrophic insurance plan.

    I certainly do not wish to force you to do anything. And I really do not understand your hostile response

  • Anonymous

    You speak in cliches – your arguments have no substance or merit “if you don’t have a job, make your own job” how? how? how? You think someone without enough money to pay the rent or buy food can come up with an investment for a business?! Be reasonable. Be logical. People need a living wage before they can save to start there own business. A living wage is NOT a handout. Benefits are NOT a handout. Those who come into the world with a trust fund are not smarter or harder workers than the rest, they are only more fortunate. The great thing about the USA was that there used to be upward mobility – that is going and gone thanks to Republican policies. I liken your arguments to the parable of the ant that, having been blown into the river, cannot climb back up the bank. The fox condemns him, telling him he is not trying hard enough and deserves his lot.

  • Anastacio Lopez

    Dear AmSkepitkal: I apologize to readers for any boastfulness. I simply ask you and readers what are “you” doing on a daily basis in your most earnest and unselfish manner to help your fellow man. For example, if you have a choice to purchase a car are you willing to give up that payment in order to help another pay their rent or bills? This is what I am talking about.

    I will give you an example: In my home town there is an issue of extreme air pollution. Because of my training I volunteered to assist on the public citizen’s committee to address air pollution. I attended the meeting and talked about the need for improved public transportation connection points in rural areas to the urban city center. Then I asked each person how they arrived at the meeting. Everyone answered they drove to the meeting. I took public transportation. This is what I am talking about – individual responsibility. Setting the example.

    One of my friends got a divorce and bought a Harley. He is not part of the Ruling Class. He is working class. The Harley is worth $25,000. What could he have done with $25,000? I know many families that could have used just a small percent of that money.

    In another case, I have a dear friend who can barely make rent. Yet that same person’s friends travel to Yucatan to party. All together they probably spent $20,000 to take that trip. Yet my dear friiend needs $20,000 to fix the home for their family. Why couldn’t the regular people who took this party trip help their friend? These are not Ruling Class people.

    I believe you see my point.

  • Anastacio Lopez

    Dear Moby12: I am sorry if you think that I condemn the poor because I never said I condemn the poor because I am part of the poor. What I am saying is that you and I have the opportunities and do not need to wait for government or corporations. Let me provide an example – In an early posting I talked about my Asian friend who started a business. I helped him and now his business employees 20 people. He is a minority and in many regards still poor because I know that he sacrifices everything to keep his people employed. He invited me to his Christmas Dinner and we handed out presents to his workers. They were of all races, color and creed. We did not care. He drives a beat up old car because he invests all his profits in his people because he respects their value to the health of his company.

    Do you see what I am talking about? This is the essence of individual responsibility and working together.

    I have another example. Two partners in a solar business – one is African American the other is Mexican-American. They wanted to know how to work in this business and because of my training I helped them understand the complexities and tradeoffs. Now they didn’t have to listen to my advice. Just like you don’t have to listen to my advice. But they respected my thirty years of experience. And I respected their tenacity and desire to escape poverty. They are now expanding and plan to employ 2 more technicians.

    Are they greedy corporations? No. But they are corporations. Are they the ruling class? No. They are simple people trying to pull themselves up by the bootstraps.

    At almost age sixty, i only have a short time left and wish to partake the mistakes that I made to help others. I am not saying I am right all the time. But I know that where it starts is the person looking back at me in the mirror when I get up the morning.

  • Anastacio Lopez

    Dear Sabine – I apologize to you because you are correct, I did attend a community college and a state college and therefore relied on government because they supplied the educational framework to enable me to attend those fine institutions. And yes, I understand that tuition is very expensive. I agree with you on tuition expense being a major obstacle for any generation.

  • Anonymous

    Anastacio, it is not individual responsibility if he received help from you. I think it is fantastic that you helped! He would not have been able to succeed in his endeavor without your help and that is exactly my point. We all need a little help now and then. No one person does it all on their own. What difference does it make whether that help comes from another person or the Federal government because in our country the government IS the people! The reason that certain types of help come in the form of government aid is that it is a more efficient way to pool resources. Our gov’t made a social contract back in the days of FDR that no one person would have to starve or freeze in the cold because of circumstances beyond their control (i.e. a paralyzing accident, a devastating illness, etc.) In that case, capitalism will not help you now matter how much you try to “pull up your bootstraps.” Therefore, no one should be looked down upon or judged if they need to turn to gov’t for assistance. That being said, currently yes, there is now an abundance of folks on government assistance but that is not because people suddenly got lazy – it is because they are either a) not being paid enough or b) out of work due to jobs being shipped overseas. Thank NAFTA.

  • Anastacio Lopez

    Moby12: You make some very good points and I think I now understand what you are saying. I apologize to you if I came off judgmental. I will think about your points and include them in my approach going forward. Thank you.

  • Ken Beeler

    Sorry sir you will never get it!!!

  • Anonymous

    Bill Moyers- smugly clueless since the 60′s

  • sans pareil

    Pretty soon we will need a “safety net” for everyone that is not one of the plutocrats, because that is where this is going..

  • Anonymous

    Don’t blame us- we didn’t vote for the Kenyan.

  • sans pareil

    How naive!

  • sans pareil

    Moyers is right in the lead up, and wrong in the conclusion… It’s not a hand-out, it’s more of a buy-off. The real story is about how the plutocracy keeps itself safe, still in power, and still getting richer. The whole rich/poor thing is just a polarization to keep us busy fighting each other, rather than seeing through the looking glass..

  • sans pareil

    The whole premise of the argument is wrong from the beginning with this whole rich vs. poor thing.. Oh, the poor don’t want to be poor anymore… but oh, the rich don’t want to give up their hard earned money just to subsidize someone who is poor. So, what can you do? No way to solve. And things’ll have to just remain the same. No nuance in the argument at all. What is considered rich? There’s a difference between a small business owner making a good living, and a billionaire hedge fund manager. You take away all the nuances, and you are left with a cheap shot, weak, selfish sounding argument on each side. The reality that is going to come to light, is that big money can be made without full employment.. and those that are in position to make that big money, are just fine with making it that way for as long as they can. Just keep the world from erupting in riots and that status quo can continue. Any attempts based on raising the level of employment are cunningly filtered through the government, and the government intentionally botches it so that it doesn’t benefit anyone and the whole endeavor ends up getting a bad name in the process.. back to that old familiar status quo again. Very clever.

  • Anastacio Lopez

    san pareil – You make a good point about the whole premise being wrong from the beginning. And it was and still is interesting to read about the filtered statistics on the unemployment. And I do not know about the billionaire fund manager because they are few. All I do know is that as an individual including all my poor friends next to me we talk about what we do on a daily basis to help each other and this is what I am advocating in my postings. And all of us are are minority men and women of all colors and creed. Why wait for the government? Why gripe about the rich? Why do any of this if we, you, us, our kids are not going everything possible first as individuals to be absolutely ready.

  • Ken Beeler

    Great response Moby ! Give me union are give me death!!!

  • Anastacio Lopez

    Mr Moyers, I posted several discussions on individual responsibility and was surprised at the comments I received; many slanted towards how wrong I was; albeit some positive. However, I understand these comments because looking at oneself first is always the hardest to do in life.

    I recall my President Kennedy said; “Ask not what you country can do for you; Ask what you can do for your country.”

    I agree with many of your writings and I also agree with many of the people who replied to my postings on personal preparedness and the individual’s fit in a republic.

  • Ken Beeler

    Count me in!!!

  • Anonymous

    I forgot to add that the remaining 45% would be savings. Further, if everyone currently paying premiums for Wall Street Care had the option to buy-in to Medicare (and exercised that option), by paying their premiums to Medicare, the national savings would be about $1 trillion per year, every year, in perpetuity, and it would cost taxpayers a grand total of “ZERO.”

  • Tim Taylor

    How do you know what I am doing? Why would someone even make this remark? Because it is a control statement.

  • Anonymous

    There are no FEMA prison camps and no eath panels.
    The point Ms Dalton makes is important: everyone wants health care when they need it, but many don’t want to pay for the insurance now. If that is true, then should you be left untreated when you have an accident? If you own your home you do not need to have homeowners insurance. Would you givethat up in order to save some money? If a tornado destroys your home you can then rebuild completely at your own expense. If you go to the ER without health insurance maybe you should have a certified check with you before you can ask for treatment.
    If you decide that you will only buy insurance before you do something that may be dangerous you could be charged Much higher premiums because you have not contributed over time to reduce the costs to the total risk group. This will not be cheap. Medical costs are currently a major cause for families declaring bankruptcy. Many of those junk policies that people have had do not cover significant costs of health care. That is why hey are so cheap.

  • sans pareil

    So you are not really part of what Moyers is talking about above, you are simply doing what you can on your own to make the best of things while Moyers is speaking in the generalities about an issue worth pointing to but one that never gets to root causes. And it’s the root causes we need to look at. Otherwise, even you, with your individual efforts to get by, may wind up on as collateral damage of efforts by our friendly government or some of their wealthy cronies.

  • lithium56

    Senator Warren for President, Patrick Fitzgerald for Attorney General, and Mr Bill Moyers for National Conscience

  • Anonymous

    It was a humorous kudos to you, sir. I better keep my day job where attempts at wit are not even attempted.

  • Allen Shaw

    Whenever I read a response written by someone who claims
    that they have succeeded because they did everything correctly I have to pause!

    Generally that individual has forgotten how many people were
    involved in helping him as he grew up in his community. A large number of the individuals were brought up in smaller communities where more small jobs were
    available to the young people.
    A large majority of them are White and never where not hired because they “were not White”!
    An extra-large number of them came from the part of the nation where overcrowding was not a problem thus making more jobs available to those seeking work, “if they qualified”.

    The great majority of individuals who foolishly speak this tripe
    are selfish and don’t want to share what they feel is rightfully theirs, yet constantly vocalize themselves as Christian and want no abortions, no birth control and only want to donate to the individuals in their own clique!

    So go ahead and talk about doing the “straight and narrow”
    it only prove that you have your head buried in the sand or you’re a—-!

  • Anonymous

    It seems that Koutouvelis has found a solution for about 0.1% of the Greek population. What’s his plan for the remaining 99.9%?

  • Anonymous

    You never relied on government to help you? You’ve driven only on private roads? You are protected by private police and fire fighters (actually you are in some jurisdictions)? You are treated by doctors who are not licensed by the state, and you take medicine that is not regulated and approved by the federal government? You eat food that is does not meet federal government safety standards, treated with chemicals not approved by the government? You eat at restaurants that are not regulated and inspected by the government for cleanliness and safety? You attended only private schools? You reside and work in buildings that were unpermitted, designed by unlicensed architects and engineers and built by unlicensed contractors. There are no zoning or land use laws preventing a developer or other capitalist from building a night club, auto manufacturing plant or high rise office next to your house? You’ve driven cars that have no seatbelts, airbags, and do not meet federal government crashworthiness standards? You’ve never sent a letter through the USPS? You’ve never used the internet, paid for and built by the federal government? Your bank accounts are not insured by the federal government against loss by incompetent and/or crooked banksters? You fly in airplanes not built to federal safety standards that fly in patterns not directed by government controllers? You’ve never worked in a workplace not regulated for safety by federal government standards? Monopolies, like electric utilities, can charge you whatever rates they like without government approval? You will never receive either Social Security or Medicare benefits? The list goes on, and on, and on . . . .
    Either you haven’t thought this through, or, you reside in the libertarian utopia of Somalia!

  • Anonymous

    Anastacio Lopez said: “All I am saying is individual responsibility to prepare is a significant part of a society or republic. I am surprised by the amount of replies I get when I state my case. Why is this? Why is it hard to look at personal accountability? Why is it hard to look in the mirror before blaming others?”

    Why? Because of what your comments imply and what they ignore. Your comments imply that poverty is solely the fault and responsibility of the poor, and that society as a whole, (especially those with the greatest ability to contribute), has no obligation to contribute to the greater good.

    Further, your comments ignore the fact that the poor and working class have always been, and always will be, the subject of maximum exploitation by capitalists to the extent they are allowed to do so. Your comments also ignore the root of the problem we currently face – the dwindling respect for, and value of, labor. Only the government can force capitalists to bargain with labor in good faith. Without THAT government intervention, there can be no middle class.

    Where do you think capital comes from? It comes from the labor of others, and natural resources, like oil. Where do you think jobs come from? Capitalists? Jobs and economic opportunity (for everyone) come from public demand for goods and services the strength of which is founded upon the value of labor. Currently – based on your “every man/woman for him/her self” model – the wealthiest 400 Americans (the Forbes’ 400), have more accumulated wealth than the bottom 60% (180 million) of all Americans combined. Demand for goods and services cannot grow, and economic opportunity cannot exist, with so much wealth concentrated in the hands of so few.

    I hope that this helps to answer your question. You still have much to learn about history, economics and human nature.

  • Anastacio Lopez

    Lefty2 – You are right in your points and thank you for bringing this to my attention. I hope you can also see my point of view that the character of the individual is a significant factor in the multitude of individuals that make a functioning republic. Can you see this?

  • Anastacio Lopez

    Dear Lefty2 – You certainly bring up very good points and I agree with you. However, as a person coming from a very poor background many of my poor friends and I realized it would be up to our initiative and web of teamwork in our community that would make a difference and not wait for the government or a corporation. We decided not to be victims. One of my friends from a very poor background called this “victimology” but this is a very simplistic word and I don’t necessarily agree with this term.

    Regarding my points about leading the “straight and narrow” life and it’s fit in society – I did not mean to offend you and others regarding my points about the character of the individual and how it plays an important factor in the makings of a successful society and republic. However, I can tell by the replies to my postings that I have hit a nerve with many people. I apologize for this but all the Great Books discuss this issue throughout the history of humankind.

    I agree with everyone and you that government plays an important role. And my postings do not talk about selfishness. My postings simply ask what are YOU and I doing on a daily basis to help the person sitting next to us or the neighbor who is in need of assistance.

    I will bring up three examples:

    1. I had a choice to buy a car for $300 per month payment or help someone with getting out of a crisis for $300 per month. I chose to help my friend with no expectation of a payment back. Are you and others willing to do this?

    2. One of my poor friends wanted a family so he adopted a family, – lived the straight and narrow – and raised that family. Who is willing to do this? Many many many,

    3. We were all poor and decided to get out of poverty and live the straight and narrow. One of our poor friends decided not to and now that person is having a very difficult time with drugs, alcohol, and the other things. We tried to help this person and will continue to help this person. But if that person can understand that not living the straight and narrow is a great burden that we must carry then perhaps the world can be just a little better. We will continue to help that person because this is not “Survivor Island” this is the real life.

    One day, I went to observe a strike. The strikers were upset about pay and I understand this. But the strikers smashed the windows of the small businesses in the downtown area which were owned by minorities. Does this make sense in a functioning republic?

    Now I agree with everyone that our leaders must lead in the right manner. But if our leaders don’t understand as individuals the “straight and narrow character” that is talked about in the Great Books of human kind then how can we begin to achieve a democracy and successful republic for the people and by the people.

    I noticed there were just a couple of people on these postings who acknowledged the importance of a squared away individual. They took the time to read my postings and understand it was not me talking but it was the Great Philosophers of the history of human kind that was speaking through oral history.

    I have experiences poverty and homelessness. Therefore, I can say those Great Philosophers and the Great Books have an important message about individual character.

  • Anastacio Lopez

    Jazzman, Thank you for your comments and thank you for understanding the role of the individual in the fabric of a society.

  • Anastacio Lopez

    HokieDuck, Thank you for the comments. Also thank you for acknowledging the importance of the character of the individual in a working democracy. I will focus on your important points in the last two paragraphs of your postings. I do not know about “the Roberts Court” as I am a simple man. However, I will read about this “Roberts Court”.

    I also don’t know about the wealthy class. I realized that I will not be part of the wealthy class and my life is different. However, my character will be the same if I am rich or poor. A person of a developed character is independent of these things. This is the essence of the “straight and narrow”. In sports it’s called “being in the zone”. Or if you a craftsman or craftswomen it is being into your craft.

    The individual character of the collective of individuals makes up the democracy in that society or republic, or school, or government institution, or corporation. This is the essence of my points.

    .

  • Anonymous

    “The selfish spirit of commerce knows no country, and feels no passion or principle but that of gain.” — Thomas Jefferson

    “Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.” — Abraham Lincoln

    “We know that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob.” — Franklyn Delano Roosevelt

    “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeate it.” — George Santayana

  • Anonymous

    By “character of the individual,” surely you refer to the CEO, the banker, the industrialist and the politician, yes? Or, is it only the burden of the poor to exercise what you would consider “good character?” The problem with your position is that you haven’t defined your terms. And, your terms will reveal your values.

    My values, as a left wing-socialist, place the interests of public health, safety & welfare, labor rights and consumer rights -jointly and severally -,above the interests of corporate profits & CEO bonuses and salaries. The poor and middle class are far more in need of, and derserving of, the protection of the government against the abuses of commerce, the forces of which has demonstrated, throughout history, its ability and willingness to corrupt the government for its own protection – a condition that is the antithesis of a “functioning republic.”

  • Anastacio Lopez

    Lefty2: Thank you for the reply. You bring up many good points and acknowledge this. As the Great Books will ask (not me) – So tell me and provide examples of what you have given up for your fellow neighbor. What have you done as an individual? Have you give up all your income, half your income? Have you paid for people’s rent out of your own pocket not others? Have you totally sacrificed everything for your fellow human being? The terms that are discussed by the Great Books apply to every person on the planet. Not just the poor nor just the CEO. The terms apply to everyone, including me and you.

    Also how poor is poor and how rich is rich? My friends and I have been poor to the point of homelessness. And I have been homeless. I agree with all your points. All I am saying is the Great Books talk about the character of the individual is a factor in the society.

  • Anastacio Lopez

    Dear Sans Pareil – Thank you for the reply. Regarding what Mr. Moyers is talking about – Plutocracy vs Democracy. What I refer to is Great Books and Writings discuss that a democracy and republic is made up of individuals. The character of these many individuals (me, you, millions of others) as a whole make up the fabric of our republic. Now regarding the “root cause”, I cannot say I have the answer to the “root cause” but I do know that one part of the root cause and multitude of causes is the collective of individuals and leaders and our character that makes up the democratic republic. Therefore, we can surmise that if the government or “wealthy cronies” you talk about have a bad character then of course the Great Books and Writings talk about a bad republic or entity. Thus, we can make an observation that individual character does indeed have an impact on the root cause. Of course, there a many root causes. All I am saying is that the individual and how we carry ourselves in the democracy and republic play a role.

    As a young boy from a poor family, my Grandfather introduced me to a wealthy man. The man was generous and he was not a crony. The wealthy man had a business. As it turns out the wealthy man fled to the U.S. from another country that had a “progrom” against his people. He was a poor man that because wealthy but was not really wealthy at all. He offered my Grandpa a job which then allowed my Grandpa to raise a family. This was long time ago in the early 1900s. I can go further and elaborate but my point here is there are many factors and root causes.

    I have to admit that I am from a distant rural area of the US and moved to an urban area. So I maybe wrong in everything I say . But what I say is really what I read in the Great Books and Writings of the Great Ones throughout the history of human kind. The Great Ones in the Great Books of humankind probably struggled with similar issues that we do in our society. Thus perhaps their conclusion is that by developing the our inner individual character and then spreading this is one of the many steps to offset what Mr. Moyers is talking about.

  • Anastacio Lopez

    Lefty2 – I agree with the postings by these great leaders. And these great leaders all had highly developed individual characters. And this is the point that the Great Books and Great Writings of human history try to reveal – that individual character is a key factor in the development of representative body. Of course it is not the only factor but an important factor.

  • Anastacio Lopez

    Dear Lefty2 – Thank you for your reply and I respect your points. Regarding social justice and labor rights, I have been a farmworker and I am a Mexican (and what does that matter?) and therefore I understand and support everything you say about labor rights, public health, safety and welfare and consumer rights. I may even vote for the same candidates that you vote for albeit I try to look at the overall character to understand how they would act and be in a leadership position and whether or not that person represents my immediate community,

    In all my postings i believe I did not ever say that I put the interests of corporate profits over public health, safety and welfare, labor rights, and related. I simply point out that the individual character and our responsibilities to the republic and thus democracy is an important factor. If all the individuals in this great nation are not fully developed in the awareness of how we fit as individuals in our sacrifice for our republic then all the Great Books in history say this is the start of the downfall of that country.

    Now regarding CEOs and selfishness and greedy-ness. I cannot say I know the big CEOs of big companies. But I do know CEOs of small companies. I don’t believe the CEOs of these small companies are selfish and greedy. Nor do they have big salaries. As a matter of fact the CEOs that I know sacrifice greatly because they know their company is only as good as the people that make up their company.

    Here is a list of CEOs that I know and the size of their company:

    CEO #1- Asian owned, minority and employs twenty people providing technical services. I met the employees and they are happy to be employed by their CEO and they are working hard to build the company.

    CEO#2 – This CEO is an Anglo-American man and he has about 50 people providing products and services in a certain industry. He gives as much as he can to charity. His biggest concern is the burden of the government taxes that burden his company. However, he understands the need for taxes to help society.

    CEO#3 – This CEO is a brilliant engineer and is Persian American and employees probably less than 10 people. He offers his expertise to giant companies who need his expertise. As he grows he plans to hire more people and help train them.

    Now as you read my real examples above do you see any greed or selfishness? I don’t see any selfish or greedy CEOs. All of them have a straight and narrow way of life and character. And I do not covet their profits for their hard work. As a matter of fact the more business they build the more taxes they pay and thus the more benefit to overall society for those programs that we discuss here.

    Thus we can conclude that the selfishness and greediness you discuss starts within the soul and character of the individual. If each individual developed a straight and narrow character as discussed then we would not have to worry about what you are attempting to do. But humans by nature are faulty so it is a never ending pursuit.

    Yes, I was a farm-worker and the social injustice was perpetrated by farmworker against farmworker or the farm owner, or the coyote, or anyone at the ground floor. Everyone is capable of fault. Therefore, we can conclude that the development of the the individual’s character and personal responsibility does play a factor in the republic. Not the only factor. But a factor. This is what I am trying to discuss and help you and others understand in relationship to the article.

    .

    I mentioned to my friends about this series of postings and many of my friends feel that you and others have not experienced the real life of poverty and homelessness. Have you been poor, we mean really poor? Have you been really homeless?

  • Anonymous

    Whatever.

  • EachAccordingToHisNeed

    It helps little to go on, and on, and on about personal
    responsibility when, in fact, personal responsibility plays such a small part in
    this discussion. I enjoy being in
    the great outdoors, and when time permits, I will go into the wilderness, the
    areas where even the park service people ignore. In the wilderness I feel greatly the obligations of personal
    responsibility. I must find and
    purify my own water. I must be
    ever vigilant of my food supply. I
    must be constantly aware of my surroundings and the fact that I am alone. But, in the wilderness, the world is my
    own. In the wilderness the
    decisions I make, the decisions, which affect the quality of my journey belong
    to me. When I come back to the
    city, to civilization, much of what I felt in terms of personal responsibility
    is taken away by the system.

    My parents and
    the state dictated my upbringing.
    My schooling was dictated by the state. I did not learn according to my abilities, but rather what
    the state deemed appropriate. I
    attended a state university, but even there the course selection was limited. My job opportunities have been dictated
    more by economic conditions then by my own desires.

    When was the last time you watched a conversation about
    Communism or Anarchy on a major broadcast channel? We can’t even have a discussion about such topics in this
    country. How can there be personal
    responsibility when the Bosses control the conversation?

    When every person is entitled to ALL their labor, when there
    are no more profits, when investment is handled in a more democratic manner,
    then we will see personal responsibility.

  • Anastacio Lopez

    @ EachAccordingToHisNeed: You certainly make some interesting points but I have to kindly disagree in respect to your following points:

    “When I come back to the city, to civilization, much of what I felt in terms of personal responsibility is taken away by the system”

    I actually worked in the wilderness as a Trail Crew Grunt every summer for 4-5 years. We worked about 10,000 foot elevations. I had a team of 4-20 individuals. We worked so hard to exhaustion including saving city folk who didn’t know how to survive in the wilderness. When we returned to the city or civilization we were armed with even better survival skills because we were grateful. I am sorry that you allow the system to take away your person responsibility. If you were in our mountaineering team we would’ve helped you. I am sorry about that.

    “I did not learn according to my abilities, but rather what
    the state deemed appropriate.”

    My rebuttal to this is that I am sorry if you allowed the state to deem what is appropriate for you and that you allowed them to dictate your learning abilities. I and my friends who grew up in a rural area did not allow this. Later when I moved to an urban area, the majority of my friends did not allow this. Now I am speaking in general terms. Why would you allow the state deem what is appropriate. For example, as a young man I was interested in “science and engineering and business”. Therefore, I studied “science and engineering and business”. No one told me I could not study these courses. Now I came from a poor family farm-worker type work. But I still pursued what I deemed based on what I read and heard would help me and provide a fit in society. I was not limited. As an individual, I had the freedom to make this decision.

    “I attended a state university, but even there the course selection was limited”

    This may be true to some extent but I also attended a State University and I tool all the courses possible that would benefit my field of study. Generally speaking, State Universities will have a core curriculum. It is up to the student to decide who much work you put into studying that determines what you get out of your studies. I worked from 4 PM to 10 PM at an automotive engineering shop while going to school in the daytime. So no excuses in my book.

    Each said: “My parents and the state dictated my upbringing”.

    This is true to many an extant in the sense of where we are born and raised. However, my whole point about focusing on character individual development is just that – if we teach and provide a total approach to individual responsibility and fit in society then we will have a chance of making it. It starts small and grows. Even our President is advocating to start local and grow local.

    Each said “My job opportunities have been dictated more by economic conditions then by my own desires.”

    As a young man, my rural location had unemployment of 30-40% in the winter time and approximately 14-18% in the summer time. So we learned to do anything and everything. It’s funny because now my business friends tell me “Gee Anastascio, what job have you not done?!”. So these are no times to be “choosey”. And no one side that life will be easy or your going to be rich. Or even have a house. One time I was unemployed for a few months in the urban city. Therefore, I moved back to the rural areas and got a job doing farm labor. Now I have to admit that I work hard and the manager notices this. I also taught myself Spanish and he needed a guy to help manage his team. So he gave me a promotion. I was happy to get $ 8 dollars per hour, then $10 dollars per hour, then $15 dollars per hour, etc. I ended up leaving because I got a job offer way up North and hopped on the train to follow the work. You see what I am saying? You cannot just sit around. You gotta keep moving. Just like our ancestors.

    Each said: “When was the last time you watched a conversation about Communism or Anarchy on a major broadcast channel?”

    You are not going to believe this but I have not watched television or any channel for about 20 years. I just listen to the radio. However, I do admit that when computers arrived I read a lot of newspapers and journals online. For example, I read and follow Mr. Bill Moyers.

    Each said, “We can’t even have a discussion about such topics in this country. How can there be personal
    responsibility when the Bosses control the conversation?”

    What topics are you talking about and what bosses? Plus when you are at work you have job to do not talk about politics. For example, I don’t go to this blog while I am working. I only go to this blog after my job or before my job. If you owned a start up business would you want your workers fooling around or working and creating value? If you were Michael Jordan do you think he was slopping around talking about polices to his owners or wining championships?

    Each said, “When every person is entitled to ALL their labor, when there are no more profits, when investment is handled in a more democratic manner,then we will see personal responsibility.”

    What do you mean by this? When every person is entitled to ALL their labor? Labor is work and therefore the fruit of your labor is yours to chose based on your abilities and willingness to work. You can have all the labor you want. The key is are you willing to WORK. Many people are not willing to work. I have many Mexican labor friends, Chinese labor friends who came here from their native country. They think many U.S; people are wimpy and want the easy way out. I don’t know if they are correct, just saying what they tell me. But I know one thing – they don’t work harder than me and that’s why they open up to me because they respect me.

    “when investment is handled in a more democratic manner,then we will see personal responsibility”

    I think I understand this point – for example, the big banks receiving the bailout on taxpayer money You make good points. However, if an individual is fully developed in character then you will not allow that to affect your daily attitude in your daily life. And this is what I have been talking about in my postings. A democracy is made up of millions of people. And each person contributes in his/her way to this republic or democracy. If everyone gives up, or is evil, or does not care, is not willing to have a helping hand. or at least lives a straight and narrow., then we are in a troubled democracy. No one organization or government can instantly change millions and millions of individuals. It starts with one person and then multiplies.

  • Anastacio Lopez

    Dear Lefty2, I replied to you at great length but my reply was not published or I entered incorrectly. I will republish.

  • SeanP

    Thank you for that information.

  • http://hand2hand.livejournal.com/ sterlinglikesilver

    Thank you.

  • William Smith

    we the people do have the power to bring change if we could just unite for a week in which we spent no money did no work and brought a little discomfort to those who think they are in control they would listen but im afraid this would never happen

  • Invictus Corruptus

    AL sounds like an Ayn Rand disciple.

  • boered1@yahoo.com

    We have decided that capitalisim, a word never mentioned in our Declaration of Independance or our Constitution, is what we were designed for. Any attempt to force others to help each other out (ie Governmental help) is now frowned on by our society. We have been taught, since the Cold War , that Capitalism is our way of life (as opposed to Communism and its “first cousin” Socialism). To argue that we were not set up to be a solely Capitalist society nowadays is tantamoun to treason in many peoples eyes. To follow up on the Cold War issue our “flower generation” in the 60s added an even more negative connotation to Socialism and Communisim (communes and love ins etc really offended many people). Push forward into the 1980s where Unions, the savior of the 1890s was now the devil. Where profit for corporations became more important than the individuals. The time where we purposly cut our social bindings, where companies got rid of pensions in lieu of gambling our retirements in the stock market. This increased the Corporate profits by simply putting the employees retirement at risk. Since the stock market “TREND” is up this looked like a win win when in reaqlity it was just a hidden WIN-hopefully break even. When people were forced into the stock market by this everyone looked more at the stock market to go up. Well to increase the stock market you had to show that profitiability in the Company increased, quarterly. Toss increase corporate profitability you had to cut expenses. Material cost were usually not under the control of the companies. It costs what it cost to buy what you need to build/sell your product. The only other options cut profits (exactly the opposite of what you are setting out to do) or cut “soft costs”. This means cutting manpoer, requiring more production from each employee or replacing the employee with a “cheaper” employee. We saw an era of leveraged buyouts and staff cutting as these were the easiest ways to show an increase in profitiability. Each of these decisions, individually, were not seen as a problem, but the combined effect led us to where we are now, stagnant wages, growth in profits, not passed on to the worker, and a loss of loyality to a Company and for Employees. Once you feel your company has no loyality to you you no longer have any to them, so you are now in it for yourself instead of your company. We instill in each worker that they are in it for themselves and should not look to others for help. Now as a Nation we find that a large portion have translated that into I am in it for me and no one else.

  • boered1@yahoo.com

    Agreed that is why Mr. Moyer’s comments in the last few paragraphs are so important. We are a culture still in progress. if you were able to stay awake and read my previous book.. err post, you would hopefully see the points I made about why we have diverted more to the English caste system in the last 60 years or so. It is almost inevitable, based on the decisions we made starting in the mid to alte 40s that we would end up where we are today.

  • boered1@yahoo.com

    I have often proposed a feww minor tweaks to our system.
    1-We need to limit the number of people Representatives (not Senators) represent to no more than say 300,000. And after each Census we adjust the numbers and districts according via the Justice Department.
    2-We pay each representative (both house and senate) the MEAN wage of the people they represent. We supply them with Government Housing (equal to 0-6 military housing) in DC, we limit staff, paid for by the government, to 3 people. We allow them three round trips a year to their home district (Military flights) paid for by the government. We freeze all other assets for the representative during their time in office. Family can continue to recieve paychecks but the income taxes must be filed separately. While in office their house payment and utilities of their home (which must be within the boundaries of the district they represent) will be paid for by the government. A stipend for food, equal again to a military O-6, will be given the representative.
    3- No retirement they should be given an IRA same as anyone else with the government MATCHING up to 7%
    4-All flights, outside of those listed above, must be approved by the represented people prior to occuring. If not approved (ie the represented people donot feel it is in their best interest for the representative to fly to Germany to review how they make widgets) the representative can either: a) pay for the cost of the junket themselves or b)decline to go or c) get approved, by the opposite house, to go paid for by the government and ALL expenses paid will be publically recorded and posted on line. no Miscellaneous will be allowed.
    Well there you go the only thing I left out is that I agree with the tea party on one thing. The Senate should be elected by the various states in a manner perscribed by the states be that popular vote or appointed by the governor or what have you.

  • donna

    This is so beautifully written!

  • Allen Shaw

    Correct!

  • Allen Shaw

    I agree and continue to read Mr. Moyer’s remarks as he presents them.

  • Allen Shaw

    This article is a repeat from five months ago. I still agree with Mr. Moyers with the
    reminder that some change has to be made by the top economic class to prevent
    the destruction of the middleclass!