Missing from State of the Union Address

While I agree with President Obama’s message overall, I feel some material may have been left out due to political expediency.

We don’t just need more jobs. We need more GOOD jobs, jobs that pay enough not only to allow Americans to survive but to actually thrive. Jobs that provide not only the basic means of bare survival but also the respect, fair, and decent treatment that all human beings are entitled to. Too many Americans are not receiving these most basic of human and fundamental rights, and this is reflected by the non-stop and increasingly more common violence and mass shootings. While some were acts of evil for which there is no political solution, it is no coincidence that most of the mass shooters were, or were soon to be, unemployed or homeless.

We remain one of the few nations where unemployment is treated as a capital offense that the victim is held accountable for. Most unemployed do not receive unemployment benefits and are simply pushed off the economic cliff with no, or an inadequate, safety net below them. I do not believe that the proven high morbidity and mortality of unemployment is always an unintended result. Death by deliberate neglect is a proven means of genocide and crime against humanity, and our nation is not “exceptional” enough to be above the law and beyond such considerations.

We STILL need universal health-care and STILL need to separate health care from employment. Discrimination based on disability, age, sex and gender, even race and ethnicity, and against those who are insurance risks for whatever reason, is being made a requirement for financial survival for many honest employers, and an extra source of profit for many dishonest ones.

Members of Congress who refuse to honor their Constitutional mandate and sworn duty to fund the government and its democratically instituted laws are in violation of the Constitution.

Mike Richardson
Albuquerque, N.M.

Sanders Job Interview

My wife and I contributed to Bernie Sanders’ campaign. A campaign is like a job interview. Informing voters of differences with your opponent is not the same as running a negative campaign.

As Secretary of State, Hillary promoted fracking worldwide. She helped craft the Trans Pacific Partnership and would vote for it, campaign rhetoric aside. The TPP has not been mentioned once in the debates! Hillary was on the Board of Wal-Mart. She is a foreign policy hawk who voted for the last invasion and occupation of Iraq. Clinton considers Edward Snowden a traitor. Clinton will not even support medical marijuana let alone ending the draconian drug war. While Sanders has done a good job in the debates contrasting his position on Wall Street with Clinton’s, he has not gone as far as Martin O’Malley in challenging Hillary Clinton’s integrity. In one debate, Clinton cited ex-Fed Chairman Paul Volcker’s support of her Wall Street policies as a positive! Corporatist Hillary is proud to oppose single-payer national health.

Get the picture? Hillary Clinton, like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, are corporate shills. Unfortunately, most Democratic primary voters don’t know the facts. They think Hillary is an economic reformer, pro-labor, pro-environment, for peace vs. war, etc. She keeps falling back to the red meat of “blame the Republicans for everything” and “first woman president”. Gender and race don’t matter; what a candidate represents matters.

Bernie had best do better than say “we have a difference” a few times and be deferential to Hillary. It makes me wonder when their key record differences are absent from the Sanders campaign website.

Unless Bernie Sanders makes Hillary Clinton’s record clear he has no chance to prevail. There is no sense in a progressive voting for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. Not only is Sanders the more righteous of the two, he would have a far greater appeal in the general election.

Bernard Dalsey
Whitewater, Wis.

Beware Delusional Dems

If Bill Bunch is going to attack the Clintons [“Bernie’s Welcome in Big Tent,” 1/1-15/16 TPP], he should get his facts straight.

The Clintons have always been Democrats and were never frozen out by the GOP. In 1972 Bill Clinton was in charge of McGovern campaign in Texas and Hillary was by his side.

Bill Clinton is not a hedge fund manager and Chelsea Clinton does not work for MSNBC. [Editor’s Note: Chelsea Clinton was a paid “special correspondent” for NBC from 2011 to 2014.]

A lot of Populist readers view Sanders through rose colored glasses. Sanders has spent a life time trashing the Democratic Party and socialist interlopers should not be allowed to run in Democratic primaries.

Sanders has been an ineffective and inconsequential senator who is loathed by his colleagues.

Ideologues lose president elections by landslides, for example, Goldwater from the right in 1964 and McGovern from the left in 1972.

Hillary Clinton is as liberal as most Americans will vote for.

The idea that there are these hidden liberals that never come out to vote and that Sanders will energize them is wishful thinking nonsense.

Americans would support a Muslim over a socialist.

Aside from the obvious reasons that Sanders is unelectable (old, Jewish and a socialist), Sanders brags that he does not have any PACs or runs negative ads. But in order keep the presidency the Democrats have to get into the gutter with the GOP bastards and have the money to combat the GOP slime machine.

The presidency is the last remaining  branch of government that is controlled by the Democrats. Do liberals want to lose the presidency, based on delusional thinking?

Reba Shimansky
New York, N.Y.

Inequality is Good for Some, Not for All

What should we believe in — equality or inequality? The French believe in equality. Their fundamental principal is “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.” They helped us with our revolution — without their help we probably would have lost. They have been pummeled and battered but still survive.

How about us? Our Constitution, and other fundamental documents, don’t take sides on this issue, but most of our media — newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, Internet, etc. are promoting inequality.

What does it mean? Inequality means one person owns everything and nobody else owns anything! In other words, rule by King, and everybody else his slaves and servants. This seems to be the foundation principle of the Republican Party, and all of its candidates for President, currently bombarding us every day with their debates and propaganda.

But who is to be the King? Donald Trump? We rename everything — “Trump House” instead of White House? “Trump Cemetery” for Arlington National Cemetery? “Trump City” for Washington, D.C.? “The United States of Trump”, etc.

Maybe Ted Cruz will be a dictator? Or Mario Rubio, or Jeb! Bush or Hillary Clinton? Maybe Warren Buffett? No, he doesn’t want it. He is giving his property away. Maybe Bill Gates. Ah! There’s the one. He pretends to give his property away, but really is increasing it. Mark Zuckerberg? Justin Bieber? Ronald McDonald? I would rather live and die in France!

Harvey Stoneburner
Brooklyn, N.Y.

End Inequality with Corporate Dividends

Income inequality is a hot topic on the campaign trail along with the unequal distribution of wealth: 20% of Americans own 90% of assets, the richest 400 families own more than the bottom 50%. Doesn’t seem quite right nor healthy.

To add to these woes, corporations are sitting on a record stash of cash, $2 trillion or more; cash loafing on the sidelines not working for you and me nor the corporation since it is earning nearly 0% interest. Added to the $2 trillion is cash stored off-shore to avoid tax. More unused trillions. The problem is too much cash in too few hands!

I propose a simple solution that will help cure both these ills. Simply treat all corporations the same as the subchapter-S and limited liability corporations (LLCs) who must pass profits along to their shareholders as those profits are earned. A similar proposal has been offered by economist L. J. Kotlikoff of Boston University.

How will this help our situation?

Cash will flow to millions of people with better prospects of using it for products and projects that are actually needed. Who would you rather have spending your money? You or your corporation?

Tax revenues would increase. Corporations pay an effective tax rate of 13% on profits; individuals would pay 15% or 20%.

It would slow down or stop this inversion problem since a zero tax rate will be hard to beat.

Corporate profits would increase since they can get rid of thousands of tax lawyers and tax accountants. And those people will be relieved to be doing something actually useful.

Shareholders will not tolerate such outlandish CEO and other executive pay when they see the dollars coming straight out of their pocket.

Economic activity will be spurred by all this money at work.

Republicans will be on board; they love lower taxes.

Now of course corporations will be allowed to maintain a “prudent reserve” and this will generate arguments. A corporation with a good idea will have no trouble finding support in the financial industry. There will be other objections as well. The best way to find them out is to float this balloon and see who shoots at it. If allowed to keep their war chest, I predict it will finally “burn a hole in their pocket” and they will spend it foolishly.

Ron Platt, Ph.D.
Overland Park, Kansas

Our Societal Pillagers

On Jan. 6 I went to pick up two of my wife’s prescriptions at our local pharmacy that I’ve gone to for several years now. Her prescription for Creon has increased from $18.48 paid throughout 2015 to $36 (same exact prescription) or roughly $0.12 per pill to $0.24 a pill, doubling the previous cost (100% increase). The other prescription, Pantoprazole 40 mg, has increased from roughly $0.09 per pill to $0.33 per pill almost four times (or 400%) increase.

When one looks at the exorbitant salaries that CEOs like Mr. Stephan Hemsley and others within our healthcare system, ($66 million annually from United Healthcare Inc.) there seems to be no better description than “The pillaging of the people” applicable; especially after all the taxpayer subsidies they get.

Make no mistake: There is a revolution brewing within and coming forth very soon, due to the complete plutocracy we’ve become as a nation.

Frank C Rohrig, octogenarian
Milford, Conn.

From The Progressive Populist, February 15, 2016


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