Spread the Wealth Around

Think about this: When the government gives/pays for what citizens need/want, where does the money ultimately go? The patient is the conduit for money to hospitals, doctors , nurses, pharmacists, etc. The renter is the conduit to money for the landlords, furniture stores, carpenters, drapers, painters, etc. There are food stores, car dealers, oil companies, cable and telephone companies, clothing stores and countless other businesses and services there to take the money the welfare client receives. And welfare for the poor does not bring the poor out of poverty. At best, it keeps them fed (barely), off the streets, and not begging for handouts.

This present economic situation was caused by the mismanagement of all the huge amounts of money the financial institutions got from all the spending from all the people in the economy, whether from a job (or two or more) and from the government spending “taxpayer money” to help citizens of this country live.

Once “The Basics” are paid for, the rest of anyone’s money goes for extras. The poor number more than the rich, and they make more people rich, businesses and government. If 400 families had $1 trillion, or all the money, all the people who earn money by supplying The Basics to only them would go out of business pretty fast. And then no one would be rich.

How hard is this to figure out?

The more money more people have to spend, the more businesses and government will have. And the rich can stay rich, and probably even get richer. Certainly, at the least, life will be better for everyone!

Can’t the Republicans understand this and stop being so worried about spending? ...

Fear drives too much of Republicans’ philosophy. Sometimes fear is reasonable, but as a way of life it does not help if it paralyzes one and keeps one from living well — or at all. We can’t afford to let fear keep us from doing what the economy — and people — need to be done to prosper. Spending got us up to where we were. Good money management can keep us there. And we’ve done that before, too, so we can do it forever.

Cheryl Lovely
Presque Isle, Maine

Bad Economists

TPP is one of my favorite sources of information; has been for some years. The 4/15/13 issue is great, but there is an article that is so out of place I must respond.

“Worms, Pond Scum and Economists,” by Dean Baker is such narrow spewing full of inaccurate and simplistic thinking that it does not merit any space in TPP. An economist is blaming his own colleagues for all the nation’s problems? He is even blind to the fact we have lost our democracy to a military/capitalist oligarchy. Also, he is ignoring that we still do have the decision-making power of Congress and the executive branch to maintain some degree of sustenance for we the people.

His first weird line is “the slump is due to inadequate private sector demand.” That is backwards thinking. He claims the economists’ concerns blocked an adequate stimulus. Why not blame the big money folks who pay Congress to obstruct the best outcomes for the people?

Concerning the debt and its numerical/theoretical importance in a blanaced national fiscal policy he speaks of “upward redistribution of income.” This is another upside down way of referring to the problem, as if it was a plan of the system. It is an outgrowth of the non-regulated corporate sector and power of money to thwart equality. Dean Baker seems to think the economists are key to our problems. Who listens to them? The media and smart capitalists use the economists’ numbers for various views in decisionmaking and media. The public has been swamped by the numbers from all sides.

Thankfully, Dr. Baker’s lack of understanding of US law and government, to say nothing of lack of historic forces, is an obvious bow-and-arrow approach to the 21st century’s complex reality, which the many astute writers in TPP speak to in each issue. And thanks to all the skilled reporters who give us stories of good criticism and exemplary new ways to improve the nation and the Earth’s health.

Cora Lawrence, Ph.D.
Seattle, Wash.

Editor replies: We think Dr. Baker was referring to economists who provide support for austerity-minded politicians — not blaming all economists. We hope you’ll find some of his other columns more agreeable.

Simple Budget Fix

“Dear” Congress, Not really rocket science. Doesn’t take a genius to know how to “balance” the [federal budget]. Steps to take: reduce borrowing, reduce spending (spend less than your revenue). Result: balanced budget and more prosperity for the nation.

William Evans
Mena, Ark.

Editor replies: Or restore tax rates to the level they were at the last time the federal budget was balanced and the nation was prospering, in 2000, under President Clinton, before President G.W. Bush cut taxes and put two wars on the credit card.

Bad Credit

Your 3/15/13 Editorial, “The Debt Alarm Scam,” confined its discussion of sequester and related economic and political issues to the Democratic Party and the Republican Party within America. But as debtors that owe many trillions, debtors who have promised uncountable trillions, and debtors who must borrow a another trillion to keep going this year, we have sold control of America to foreigners.

1. What do we do if Saudi Arabia threatens to refuse us further lending and to call in our debt that we owe them unless we allow them to take Yemen?

2. What do we do if China threatens to refuse us further lending and to call in our debt that we owe them unless we allow them to take Formosa, Quemoy, and Matsu?

3. Why am I already prohibited from opening a bank-by-mail account in our friend Canada?

Significant control of America is no longer within America. Our government can only prepare to beat down protest.

George Ross McCombe
Jersey City, N.J.

Editor replies: If Saudi Arabia or China or any other “creditor” of the US threatens to “call in” our debt, the Treasury could settle the demand by selling Treasury notes to other investors because — despite Republican efforts to sabotage US credit — US Treasury notes are still considered the most stable government bonds in the world. According to the Canadian Bankers Association (cba.ca), US residents can open bank accounts in Canada as long as they comply with the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, which is intended to prevent US residents from evading US tax by using financial accounts held outside the US.

Respect Privacy of the Poor

This idea that the poor should have blood tests (“If You’re Poor, Republican Lawmakers Want Your Urine,” Jim Hightower, 5/1/13 TPP), just because they are poor and need help, is ridiculous. People say “it is my money.” Then how about those people who win the lottery? How are they spending my money that I spent on those lottery tickets? How about casino winners? I spent all that money at the casino. How are they spending it? Why if people need the money do we intrude, but if they don’t they go free?

Just because the poor are vulnerable is no reason to invade privacy, which is what we are doing. Drug and alcohol use in what may be called moderate let alone higher quantities should be avoided because we should want to keep control of ourselves. This is hard enough without them. We should officially control their overuse, but I don’t want people coming in my home unless they have a warrant. The same should be true for my body. You need a probable reason to forensically investigate what has gone on in our bodies. It may make us defend those who may look guilty to some, but we shouldn’t want prejudice to decide our freedom.

Tim Mavrides
Mesa, Ariz.

Capitalism’s Collapse

Two of your 5/1/13 issue’s admirable articles, Robert Scheer’s (“It Wasn’t David Stockman Who Wrecked the Economy”) and Ralph Nader’s (“Corporations Are Unpatriotic”) are truly tonic and highlight the significance of what and whom is ignored in the US. The present and past two Republicrat Administrations and their unconvicted Wall Street cronies have insured that capitalism’s collapse is certain to occur.

It’s merely a matter of how soon and with what irremediable repercussions for the Earth and its inhabitants. Meantime how fittingly editor Scheer’s organization is named TruthDig and how disgracing (never mind it’s unacknowledged) to every US citizen that advocates Nader has been obliged to labor over 50 years in the face of such corrupt obstruction.

Shame on us all!

Rob MacLeod
Porthill, Idaho

Dictator in the Eye of the Beholder

One would think that editorials like yours titled “Truth in a Time of B.S.” (4/15/13 TPP) would finally make the neocons admit that the Iraq war was a big mistake — but no, some of them are still justifying it by saying “at least we got rid of the dictator Saddam.” Somebody should remind them that on the eve of “Shock & Awe” there were quite a few dictators around (per United Nations record) and we chose Iraq, ignoring the rest. We not only had trade pacts with such nations but we gave them military and financial assistance; we used them whenever it was convenient — like rendering a Canadian Citizen (Maher Ayar) to Syria for torture (a.k.a. enhanced interrogation). We reinstated Sheikh Al-Sabbah back to his “throne” in Kuwait instead of introducing democracy there. There are quite a few instances where we went out of our way to support dictators and now for the neocons to say that Iraqis are happy because we removed Saddam is indeed ludicrous.

G.M. Chandu
Flushing, N.Y.

Respect Human Rights

During the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq generous rewards were offered to citizens of these countries, for turning in terrorists that were living and operating within their midst. Some took full advantage of the opportunity by pointing fingers at innocent people, who happened to be their personal enemies, and in the process effectively killing two birds with one stone, ridding themselves of a foe or adversary, and collecting a generous reward. This filled the cells of such infamous prisons and compounds as Abu Graib, Bagram, and Guantanamo to capacity.

Mostly ignored by the corporate mainstream media is the fact that of 166 prisoners presently in Guantanamo, the majority has been on a hunger strike for weeks, protesting current inhumane treatment, torture and poor living conditions. Most disturbing and unreported is, that 86 of these inmates have been found innocent and cleared for release years ago, yet are still held captive in violation of international law.

We are always so eager to criticize human rights violations by others. So, how would we react if these same atrocities were committed by any other country, especially one we happen to be in disagreement with?

Joe Bahlke
Red Bluff, Calif.

Pro-Life Isn’t Horrible

Mark Engler wrote an article on “The Pope and the Poor” [4/15/13 TPP]. In it he said the Pope has been HORRIBLE on issues like abortion. Horrible? Do we want a religious leader to be pro-abortion in God’s name? He has a pro-life stance as horrible but the violence and death of a child in the womb is not?

Ken Cooper
Washington, D.C.

Population Bomb

The number of humans on this planet reached its first billion in 1800. The second billion took 125 years — the year I was born (1925). Since then we have exploded to over 7 billion — 5 billion more people in just my lifetime. In nature all population explosions are followed by a population collapse —we are ripe.

Italy is 97% Catholic but its birth rate is lower than the death rate — women in Italy ignore the anti-birth control dictates of their Pope. Contraception and sex education is provided by Planned Parenthood.

Bill Denneen
Nipomo, Calif.

From The Progressive Populist, June 1, 2013



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