Thursday, March 17, 2011

400 equals 155 million

I found this one just before my trip to Texas and, alas, couldn't share it with you until now.

As various levels of government have been slashing spending -- and decimating services for the poor and middle class -- it didn't take me long to figure out we do have enough money to offer government services (good roads, to start), help the country out of recession, educate everyone, eliminate the deficit, take a serious cut out of the debt, and more. Where is this money? In the pockets of the rich.

Michael Moore says the same thing, but with a lot more eloquence, accuracy, depth, and anger. He spoke at the Wisconsin Capitol to the assembled protesters back at the beginning of March. Here's a summary of what he said.

America is not broke. It is rich, but the money has been taken from our hands in the greatest heist in history. The richest 400 Americans now have more money than 155 million Americans combined. We don't want to admit we surrendered our democracy to the moneyed elite. Much of this money was taken from us illegally through the market crash and other crazy scams (much was taken from us legally through tax deals).

These rich people are now afraid of us demanding our money back. In hopes of preventing that the rich have done two smart things.

* They control the message. They own most of the media (which is why they want to shut down NPR). The message is this: You too might be rich someday! See, even a poor kid of a single mother can become president. So don't rock the boat and be sure to vote for the party that will protect you when you too become rich.

* They have created a poison pill they know we'll never swallow. They've already threatened once and we've already blinked. Give us trillions or we'll trash the entire economy, draining your savings and pension accounts, killing your jobs, and taking your homes. We said please take our money! And millions still lost jobs and homes. Yet the chant continues: Give us your pay and pensions or we'll trash the economy.

America is not broke or broken. We are still rich in talent, ideas, hard work, and love. Especially love and compassion for the least among us.

What to do? Take lessons from Cairo and Madison.

The rich have overplayed their hand. They weren't content to raid the treasury and take away our jobs. They have started taking away our dignity and souls. That has triggered a massive, nonviolent revolt. The moral compass of the rulers is broken. We plan to steer the ship ourselves. There are a lot more of us than there are of them.

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