Economic Rhetoric

How wonderful it is to live in Disneyland! “When you wish upon a star, it makes no difference who you are, everything your heart desires will come to you.” Now there is a guarantee we can all believe in!

“Job creators” are well-dressed, well-fed, manicured, well-coiffed, perfumed people who sit in offices and do nothing but collect rent, interest and dividends.

If you want to be paid for the work you do, you are called a “socialist.”

“Free enterprise” means to conspire with other businessmen to form a monopoly, or to lobby members of Congress to give you tax breaks, subsidies, earmarks, contracts, special privileges of all kinds.

“The Club for Growth” is a gang of rich guys who promote everything they can think of to cause poverty, unemployment and economic depression.

It is called “class warfare” to try to tax rich people, but it is perfectly OK to tax the poor.

“Patriot” means to be a draft dodger, tax dodger, to take advantage of loopholes in the laws, stick somebody else with the dirty job, sell your neighbor a “lemon,” bribe your congressman, avoid all responsibility for anyone else, shout “hooray for me and the hell with you,” and stand in a street corner and wave a flag or wear a flag in your lapel.

An “investor” is someone who never worked a day in his life, but spends all his time figuring ways to buy something for less than it is worth and sell it for more than it is worth. Wall street is their favorite gambling casino where they spend days, nights and weekends trying to cheat everybody else.

The true religion of America is the worship of money. How much did Jesus charge to heal the sick, cure blindness, raise the dead? His followers on Park Avenue charge at least $1,000 per hour and when they are finished with you, because you ran out of money, you are still blind or crippled.

Now there is “affordable health care.” If they can get connected to the system, maybe 20 million more people can buy “health insurance.” Too bad they will still not have any health care.

“Freedom is slavery.” “War is peace.” “Love is hate.” “Truth is a lie.” “Garbage is art.” “Noise is music.” “Gibberish is literature.” God help us!

Harvey Stoneburner
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Where’s Budget Sunshine?

It’s not surprising that our Congress has merged the cutting of the Supplemental Nutrition Assist Program (SNAP) by $39 billion with the estimated $500 billion, five-year subsidy farm bill. The only commonality of these two issues is one feeds the poor and one feeds the greedy elite of our country with our tax dollars.

The cutting of billions of dollars from SNAP is policy issue that belongs in the budget that US Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) are boasting as a gridlock breakthrough. In reality, it is once again a manipulation by our politicians to increase the wealth of our country’s plutocrats. Ryan’s budget leaves intact all loopholes in our tax system that has millionaires and major corporations paying no taxes, and billionaires paying a fraction of what they should; of course our understated $625.1 billion military budget escaped Ryan’s ax as did the $8.5 million endowment we send to Israel each day.

More wonderment is that 14 Republican congressionals who have a net worth of $124.5 million received $7.2 million in the form of farm subsidies. All voted to gut the SNAP program while voting to continue these farm subsidies. The farm subsidies program and the $14 billion crop insurance program is a major fleecing of American taxpayers. A very small portion of these subsidies is paid to the small farmer who toils 24/7 to feed our nation. To educate yourself on the enormity of this pork, Google “Farm Subsidies” — assuredly you’ll come away from that exercise wondering how can this be?

So once again, smoke, mirrors and shell games as the GOP treats us to apples and oranges budgeting. Our government is attempting to feed 47 million Americans on $3.99 a day, which the Republicans are fighting hard to reduce. Meanwhile, 1.6 million school children, classed as homeless, are sitting in classrooms with growling stomachs and toothaches.

Where is the sunshine?

Ed Hodges
Appleton, Wis.

Don’t Get Thumped but Hear the Word

In the 1/1/14 TPP [Letters, “Survival Tips”], Judy Redding shared her survival advice to help us all make it through. What she said is workable and made good sense except for one item: avoiding “Bible thumpers.” This, of course, is a modern term for those who get in your face about what’s in the Christian Bible. From what I have seen and learned, you probably should avoid the thumpin’, but don’t miss the Truth. What the Bible says is all about believing in Jesus Christ and what He and the Holy scripture says for our current good and our ultimate future. You don’t need to be thumped, but you do need to hear and absorb the “Word.” There is not much time ‘till the End, so now is the time to be hearing and learning so you achieve the real survival, i.e. going up to Heaven, not being dragged down to the other “H” forever. Your head doesn’t have to receive a thump, but your Heart has to open up and believe. Then you actually will survive. Praise God!

Tom Orlando
Altoona, Pa.

Separated by a Common Language

I got a big kick out of Gene Lyons’ column in the 1/1-15/14 Populist (“The South Keeps America Interesting”), and oh the memories it brought back of when in 1968 I moved from my Midwestern birthplace to Boulder, Colo., and I went to work for an Englishman who had a shoe repair business, where I apparently quickly picked up his accent, and that made customers think I was his wife.

Then in 1970 I changed jobs and went to work for the post office, and there I met people who had all sorts of accents because they had moved from different parts of our country. And when I worked as a window clerk I met people from all around the world who were mailing things to their homelands, so I had to become adept at figuring out what all those people were saying.

One day a coworker who had moved to Boulder from Texas came up to me and asked me if I had a “pin”. Not knowing what kind she wanted, I asked if she wanted a straight pin or a safety pin, and she looked at me like I was nuts, and she said, “a pin I can wraht with”.

Figuring out that “wraht” meant “write”, I said, “oh, you mean a pen.” But this irritated her even more, and what she came back with was; “That’s what you cook in, pots and pens!”

But who was I to argue with that. I who’d sworn I had no accent or odd pronunciations, had begun to be able to pick up on the Midwestern one, especially in the word “back,” which came out sounding like “baaack”.

One of my coworkers had come from Brooklyn, N.Y., and one day he had a question he needed to have answered about how to handle a certain piece of mail, so he took it to our supervisor, who was a man from Alabama, and asked him what to do.

Their conversation seemed to be taking a long time, and when the Brooklyn guy came back to his work station he was shaking his head, and when I asked him what was the matter, he said that he had learned nothing, and it was like he and the supervisor weren’t speaking the same language. And when I heard that I laughed, and told him they weren’t.

My postal career ended after nine years on the job, when some health problems made it too difficult for me to do. But not before I met and married a mail carrier who had come from Arkansas.

But our language differences didn’t hinder our relationship at all, because we had other areas in our lives that were very similar. Such as that we had mothers who were great moms to families with a lot of kids. And both our dads were alcoholics who didn’t like to work, and they could. But we figured that all that meant was we had the same dad, and he had traveled back and forth between Arkansas and Wisconsin, fathering kids.

Marjorie Johnson
Eckert, Colo.

From The Progressive Populist, February 15, 2014


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