Friday, February 6, 2009

The One Percenters

It is 11:13 p.m. on Friday, 6.Feb.09. The U.S. Senate has supposedly agreed on an Economic Stimulus Package. From everything I have read, our very own Reasonable Republicans, Senators Snowe and Collins, have all but handed the Radical Right Wing the keys to the kingdom.

When they could have made the right choice, a la Rachel Maddow's wonderful dissertation today about facts (not up yet, I'll link it when it is) and moved away from the economic policies that put us firmly in the loser column, they clung to the bad old Reagan-Gingrich illogic. Tax cuts, not spending, carried the day, and it was our own Susan Collins who thought it a dandy idea to do away with state aid to education. As a teacher working as a teachers' aid seeking full time work in an environment of nearly panicked administrators, I can say that this was the wrong move.

And now, as I write, they are voting on an amendment to "bar any stimulus money from going to ACORN," the non-profit working to register voters that became a media mash-up during the campaign. Amazingly it failed, 45 to 51. It makes me wonder, however, whether the Republicans are going to offer amendments to keep the Stimulus Package from funding, one by one, every organization the Radical Right opposes. It could be a long and petty process.

Seems to me there is a perfectly good reason for the GOP to be so studiously clueless about economics. The people their tax cutting panaceas will help the most are the One Percenters, the one percent of Americans holding 33 percent of the wealth. These are the people who line their pockets, whether as part of their campaigns or later in private dealings. They are the ones with access.

A note for the over 40 among us. Most of my life, the obscenely wealthy held no more than 20 percent of our country's wealth. That was bad enough. However, only in the last eight years, thanks to Dubya's tax cuts, did that figure swell to 33 percent.

When I think of how far we suddenly are from President Obama's promise to undo those tax cuts, I want to cry. Then I want to get out my pitchfork and get on the Metroliner.

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