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So many of my columns have been critiques of the status quo, the corporate state that we have regressed into. Yes, our nation is now fast becoming ( if not already ) a Banana Republic . Pretty soon, if no remedies are inserted, you will see cities and states sending off letters to pensioners telling them ‘ We cannot continue to pay you …. We have to cut your pension allowance. We also have to stop covering your health care as well; you will need to contribute most of the costs incurred. Sorry….. We’re……Broke ! ‘ At the same time, you will hear that most of America’s cities and towns are….. privatizing services! The new boss, some corporation, will layoff the workforce and then rehire them as ….. Independent contractors. What does that mean to those of you who never experienced it before? Well, take it from a commissioned sales rep for ( on and off ) some 37 years now …. No vacation pay, sick pay, holiday pay… Personal days, health coverage….. Nada! The only thing you receive is a 1099 each January. I accepted this way of life because I run my own business and I have created a niche for myself. The rest of you, who worked your entire adult life as ….. Employees….you will be…..screwed! The meter reader in my town will be paid either by how many meters read or worse still, simply as an independent contractor who will perform the same job with no perks. Soon after, all city, county and state service workers will be privatized ( as the prisons are now in many states ). That means librarians, fire personnel , even police, will someday be privatized. Look at what happened with Blackwater and the other mercenary outfits in Iraq and Afghanistan. My pal Jay in NYC keeps an increasingly thicker file of all the civilians killed by these mercenaries. Did anyone say Neo Nazi Fascism?
OK, let’s get back to the meaning of this column, Why Not? Why not have a society that can operate in such a way so as to avoid the aforementioned scenario? We can, if only we readjust how we spend our federal tax dollars…. You know, the money you pay into our great nation’s treasury to fund just about everything. OK, let’s cover some of the key steps that could be taken:
Why not shut down and or sell off to the countries involved most of the almost 800 military bases we now operate worldwide? Just think, we can save hundreds of billions each year and also show the world that the United States is no longer a redux of the Roman Empire. This would be a great Public Relations move as well.
Stop feeding into this Military Industrial Complex, the one President Eisenhower warned us against in his famous farewell speech of January 1961. If we cut out just 25 % from this bloated defense ( really War ) budget, we could still maintain a standing army, navy and air force and plenty of military hardware to protect us from any invader or attack. We just would not need the overkill of nukes and other WMD that we now keep producing…. Ah, sorry, that we keep purchasing from private for profit corporations. Imagine what that 25% translates into. How about perhaps 200 billion dollars to spend on infrastructure, aid to the states, maybe Medicare and Dental Care for All and a host of other needed expenditures?
Why not a national grass roots movement, from the smallest town council seat to the Congressional races, to have millions of us simply refuse to vote for any candidate who will not sign an agreement restricting campaign donations received to a limit of $ 100 per donor? This would be the first step on the road to a constitutional amendment banning all private money from political campaigns. Imagine how this would affect our politics? We would finally have a mufti party system in place, or maybe just elections whereupon many independents run and actually win office simply on the …….issues!
Why not have the same citizen’s movement demanding that Congress pass a new law that taxes any income over one million dollars at a 50% Surtax? Translated: Whatever an individual earns ( wage, bonus, stock sale, gift, inheritance ) of up to one million dollars, is taxed federally at the current rate. Once a person earns over one million, each dollar earned above that ceiling is taxed, with no write-offs, at 50%. So, when Henry Paulson retired from Goldman Sachs as CEO in 2006 ( to become Treasury Secretary, what a joke ) he left with a compensation package of……500 million dollars. Under this new ‘ What If ‘ scenario Mr. Paulson would go home with 250 million, tax free! The rest would go to Uncle to help the rest of we serfs. Why not?
We, the real silent majority , who work the jobs, pay the mortgages, most of the sales taxes… we really pump this economy with our dollars and cents and sweat. If only we stood together, forgetting about Tea Parties, Democrats, Republicans, Conservatives, Liberals, Progressives, Socialists. Why not just refer to ourselves as 9 to 5 Working Folks? That includes anyone who works for a day’s pay or compensation….. From the janitor to the surgeon. Know why? Cause only less than one percent of us earns more than one million per annum. Really! So, the doc or dentist or small businessman who makes $ 500k or $ 800 k or even one million a year….. He or she is not going to be negatively affected by these ideas….. Except to have a better country to live in….. And one with a better future!
Philip A. Farruggio is son and grandson of Brooklyn NYC longshoremen. He is an activist leader and free lance columnist. Since the 2000 elections, he has written over 150 columns, many posted on various sites worldwide. Recently, he is finding a home at www.dandelionsalad.com, or at his own blog at http://www.opensalon.com. Philip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.