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Fri May 13, 2022, 09:25 PM

Major Rant: I'm sure someone mentioned this before, but imbalances in US income is creating

oligarchs in this country. As I see them, they're people who have the money and power to influence political decisions in this country without having to actually run for office. No wonder the young are disillusioned. Especially during this time when climate change needs our attention, and the young are sensing the futility of their situation. Now, more than ever, we need to come up with a plan that we can all agree on. If nothing else, let's come together for the sake of the young, so they can inherit a better world than the Republicans are setting them up to get stuck with.

Of course, exchanging ideas on how we're going to do it, I have no idea. I can just share observations that should make a difference.

For starters, we should agree that any policy that increases the wealth gap is putting this country in a precarious situation. I have said it in another thread when I was talking about socialism. The fear of socialism was the issue that won South Florida for the Republicans. (i.e. Don't vote for the socialist!) They exploited it with great skill. But they looked at it from the usual point of view. They saw it from the point of the stingy taxpayer.

Here's the other pov: Socialism was an idea that came about because of the huge income disparity between the very poor and the very wealthy. On top of that, the poor were in the largest percentage of the population. We'll say, 90% compared to the top 10%. So, the one quick conclusion is that Socialism occurred as an attempt to alleviate suffering.

No argument here that it was not successful when used as the only governmental relief policy/program. But that's a subject for another day. What I do want to point out is our dilemma. And that is, that income disparity eventually destabilizes a society. You can either try to alleviate the problem, or create chaos so that people can't focus on productive fixes.

People, like De Santis, have chosen to create chaos in order to distract us and obstruct the change that can improve everyone's lives. And his reasons are very simple: As long as people like him have access to cheap labor, their worlds continue at a high level of enjoyment. Cheap labor and cheap products. THAT's their real objective. And meanwhile, our country continues to get destabilized because of income inequality.

America is going to be a continual challenge for Republicans. People are getting smarter about their personal value. We can thank Covid for that. Republicans are finally forced to see that hourly wages are too low, and people have decided it wasn't worth dying over.

I know the next step is for Democrats to organize the workers, but here is the most puzzling thing about living in America. Everyone on DU knows how to fix this problem: Raise wages and provide a good health plan to the workers. But Republicans do everything they can to stop it, for one simple reason: They want access to cheap labor. It's the only way they can live in the reckless manner they have grown accustom to.

And here goes my rant as I begin a little comparative study from the experience I gathered from living in Panama. Back in the 60s-70s, most of the Panamanians still had few means to good, steady income. The US presence in the Canal Zone was helping to change that by providing a civil service and military market that had disposable income. Living side by side was an education. We Americans would drive in and off the base, each time riding along a military fence that separated the two countries. I lived in an area where you had to drive past the poorest section of Panama to get to our schools. It was a place we called Hollywood. An inside joke, which, doesn't seem so funny any more.

The poor lived in hovels made out of a patchwork of discarded trash. Pieces of zinc were valued, as was wood. But too many had walls made out of cardboard. These homes were simple one bedroom contraptions no bigger than many people's bedrooms in America. And they were built on stilts to keep the houses protected from the creek that ran through Hollywood, which would flood during the rainy season.

The water in the creek was always an opaque clay color. For drinking water someone from the family would walk across a pathway made of boards, which looked like a flimsy catwalk, to get to a potable faucet. One faucet for a community of about 75. Oh! And I remember some would repurpose kerosene cans to collect the water!

In the dry season, they would organize games on the flat area that ran up to the military fence that separated us. I saw all of this as I grew up, and for the most part, the repetition desensitized us. It was our reality. They lived in poverty on the other side of the fence. We would watch seconds of their games as our bus drove past them. They were always busy. Either playing soccer with a ball with loose threads, stick ball, or flying small kites made out of Christmas wrapping paper, string and thin stems from palm leaves. (I know, because my uncle made one for me.) Oh, and the tails were always long, made out of ripped cloth bits. It was quite a vibrant community.

But now that I'm older, I see something that I never considered before. This kind of destitution must have served a purpose, or there would have been more action, more resources to fix the social problems. And now I think that it comes down to the cost of labor. In Panama, it was incredibly cheap. And paying people pennies for their labor, does improve your own standard of living.

I did see one major change from one generation of my relatives to the other. When I was very young, my Tias and Tios were people who knew how to actually do things with their hands. Many times my Tios would join in with the laborers and lead the projects. My Tias knew everything about maintaining a ranch AND still had careers in the community. Feminists in their actions, but ultra-conservative in every other way.

The next generation, my generation, I saw a drastic change. Most of the people my age that I have had a chance to really get to know, believe manual labor is for the uneducated. If you mention gardening or building things with your hands they respond, "I get someone else to do that for me." And it's a thing of pride to them. I just have to say, it's a good thing we have youtube videos, because eventually they're going to have to learn to do something.

But, going back to the cost of labor, there was one thing in my father's generation that was an illumination about the relationship between the rich and the poor. It involved the concept of cash tips. My parent's generation never understood the concept. My Tios and Tias, especially. They would feed their workers lunch and offer drinks, and they would fill grocery bags with canned food and used clothes when the workers were ready to go home, but tipping? Nope.

One day my father and my uncle had to kill some time for an appointment. They decided to get their shoes shined by a young lad who was on the street. It was a 15 cent shoe shine. My dad gave the kid a quarter and told him to keep the change. My uncle gave him a quarter and asked for his dime back. My dad asked him why he didn't just give him the whole quarter and my uncle responded, "No, porque se acostumbren." No Because they'll expect it. (Or, they'll get accustom to it.)

See, this is how I think Republicans respond to the labor force. They talk up tip inducements, but the reality is, their employers do everything they can to get workers to work for nothing. The situation becomes so bad that the workers walk, leave; and all Republicans can do is call them lazy. But this pattern is creating an inequity in our country that can lead to the very destabilization that has occurred in third world countries.

I just wish people who are dealing with income issues would just get smart enough to realize which party is reality based, and actually on their side. And stop helping Republicans degrade everyone around them, because, disparaging people may feel like you have it all together, but we see it as a desperate attempt to deflect from the fact that the Republicans have no new ideas, except to stir up support to throw everyone else off the lifeboat. Eventually, they'll get to you.

I think we can see what comes next for Republicans. They're deep in a hostile take-over of this country. Or, at least trying to. So the next time they cry, "Socialist!" it's because they don't want you to see what they're really up to,

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Reply Major Rant: I'm sure someone mentioned this before, but imbalances in US income is creating (Original post)
Baitball Blogger May 13 OP
Budi May 13 #1
appalachiablue May 14 #2
Baitball Blogger May 14 #3
raccoon May 14 #4
anarch May 14 #5
Baitball Blogger May 14 #6
dickthegrouch May 14 #7

Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 10:00 PM

1. Build back the middle class.

Once strong in wages & political influence thru Democratic driven Unions, the Republicans never missed an opportunity to bust that middle class unioni driven equalty of power.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Sat May 14, 2022, 12:23 AM

2. Great post, thanks for sharing your perspectives and

experiences. How to reach the misinformed and uniformed about the dangers we face is a real dilemma- the mounting income inequality, the rollback of many progressive advances of the 20th century esp. the social safety net, the deception and hate of toxic, far right media and the existential threat of climate change. We're in very rough waters, albeit steadier now with the good guidance of the Biden administration. Early in the 2000s I had a sense that I didn't care for this century, and now I know why.

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Response to appalachiablue (Reply #2)

Sat May 14, 2022, 07:37 AM

3. We do need to find a way to open eyes, because what De Santis types are

offering America, feels very much like what a military leader would say and do in a latin American country. It's not a step forward for America. It's a step backwards into the past where a leader divides and conquers, for a little while, anyway.

We will probably find a wedge into the American conscience with the J6 hearings. We need to ask, over and over again, how did we allow it to get this far? How did you all support this nonsense?

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Sat May 14, 2022, 07:46 AM

4. Well said! Nt

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Sat May 14, 2022, 08:32 AM

5. an excessive wealth gap will always, inevitably lead to something dramatic

The Republicans know this, but intend to further beef up the militaristic police state and maintain their theocratic oligarchy by sheer force if necessary.

They keep their core base of working class white people on their side by manipulating their fear of losing their privileged place in our society--"if you vote for the Democrats, they'll kill your babies and force your children into gay marriages with the Devil as their minister, and bring about Hell on Earth through their evil communist agenda! They'll put the coloreds and evil homos in charge!! Your way of life depends on you voting for us!!" and so on, and it works pretty well.

How do we combat this? I don't know exactly, but trying to talk sense to these people is useless because they are brainwashed and will not listen to anything from any source that isn't in their own camp, ever. My one piece of advice there is to never try to sell them on socialism; just talk about specific things that could be changed to make their material conditions tangibly better, and don't call it what it is, just talk about it like it's a brand new conservative idea that will really stick it to those "libtards" and so on.

It's ironic to me in that the fantasy-world that "conservatives" seem to have as their concept of what they want to return to, sort of the golden era of the middle class that came about in the '50s (after WWII and with the American continent the only major area that hadn't been bombed into rubble, so the strongest industrial power that existed at that point) was largely enabled by some of the most "socialistic" government programs we've ever had in the U.S.

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Response to anarch (Reply #5)

Sat May 14, 2022, 08:43 AM

6. Everything you wrote is true and important to remember.

We are definitely entering into a new generation where people who can't wipe their own ass without the help of a bidet, are able to find income without really knowing how to do anything for themselves. And at some point, their cushy job fails and all they know is how to talk up a good talk, blaming other people. And that's where they find themselves today.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Sat May 14, 2022, 07:49 PM

7. I wonder how many of those anti-socialists have insurance?

Insurance for health, cars, fires is all a form of socialism even if itís being provided by a company rather than a government. Itís spreading the risk among a large population to benefit the unfortunate few. I hope their hypocrisy isnít showing by availing themselves of anything like that.

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