Thursday, March 31, 2011

Where do I even start?

Sometimes I just don't know where to start. Writers often complain about the terror of facing a blank screen, wondering how they can get anything written. When I contemplate the Republican assault on the middle and lower classes, I seem to have the opposite reaction: there's just so much to say that I don't know where to start.

As an example, right now I have six different web pages open on my computer, all detailing Republican atrocities towards either the people or the law itself. Each one is worthy of pages of analysis, yet no one in the media seems to be paying any attention. If not for the internet, I have no doubt that the rape of America would be much further advanced than it is right now.

The media. Let's start there. Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post is generally seen as moderate, possibly left-leaning journalist. He appears constantly on MSNBC on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell and The Rachel Maddow Show. I got to know who he was through his appearances on Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Seems pretty liberal, right? Not so much. When discussing the Social Security issue this week, Cillizza followed the typical beltway rhetoric, advanced by the Republican Party at the behest of their corporate benefactors and followed blindly by the media. Cillizza says that "the obvious fix" is to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits. "The simple solution is to make cuts to two large government entitlement programs: Social Security and Medicare," he states.

Nowhere does Cillizza mention the most obvious fix -- raise the goddamned cap on FICA and Medicare taxes. If you or I make $85K per year, we pay SS taxes on the entire amount of our taxable income. A person who makes $250K pays on just $106K of their taxable income. Every single member of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, who all make considerably more than the average American citizen? You got it, they pay SS taxes on just $106K of their annual taxable income. They also receive a much more generous pension than most of those in the private sector, amounting to roughly 80% of their pay while in Congress. Have you heard anyone in the media discussing this and noting that these are the people who are debating what should happen to the rest of us?

I don't know about most of you, but I'm certainly not wealthy. I've worked as an actor,  restaurant manager, newspaperman, retail manager, and a few other things, but nothing that ever paid more than $106K. So guess what? I don't have a pension. I, like most Americans, have lived paycheck-to-paycheck most of my life. That means I'll be relying on my Social Security when I retire, as well as probably still trying to work part-time on the side. Now they want to cut it? Simply because the rich folks don't want to pay a few more dollars in taxes? This makes me angry -- very, very, angry. What makes me angrier, however, is the fact that the Democratic Party is not shouting from the rooftops about how wrong this is. Once again, they have let the Republicans define the debate, with the result being yet another slide to the right. And yet again, the corporate media reports the story the Republican way. Let's face it, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CNN, etc. are all owned by corporations who have much to gain from the Republican agenda, at the expense of 98% of the American people. As a result, it looks like I may have to learn to like cat food eventually.

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