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Creating a Caste System in America

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posted on May, 28 2004 @ 09:29 AM
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Shedding its "compassionate conservative" veneer, the White House today acknowledged for the first time that it plans massive cuts to domestic programs in 2006, even as it pushes $1 trillion in new tax cuts. Two weeks after President Bush touted his commitment to education funding, the White House leaked plans to slash $1.5 billion out of the Department of Education – virtually eliminating previous small increases. It would also slash $177 million out of Head Start, the early-childhood education program for the poor. Less than a month after the president bragged about his commitment to funding veterans health care, "disgraceful" and "deplorable."
The $78 million funding increase that Bush pledged for a homeownership program in 2005 "would be nearly reversed in 2006 with a $53 million cut."

SLASHING 197,500 FROM FOOD AID, GIVING $52,000 TO MILLIONAIRES: Bush has held photo-ops depicting him as committed to helping the poorest of the poor. At one event, he said "I hope people around this country realize that agencies such as this food bank need money." But the White House directive would slash $122 million (2.5%) out of the Women, Infants and Children program which provides food aid to 7.9 million Americans who need it. By simple math, the cut would mean 197,500 people could be slashed from the program – at the very same time the President proposes to give the average millionaire a $52K tax cut in 2006.

CUTS ARE CONSISTENT WITH RIGHT-WING RHETORIC:While the new White House budget directive may not be consistent with the President's compassionate conservative rhetoric, it is consistent with other rhetoric from his own administration and conservatives in Congress. For instance, last week, HUD Secretary Alfonso Jackson justified massive cuts to low-income housing by saying, "Being poor is a state of mind, not a condition." And Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), third ranking conservative in the Senate, last year defended cuts to child care and welfare by saying, "Making people struggle a little bit is not necessarily the worst thing."

With the deficit exceeding $400 Billion, spending cuts have to be on the table. But the bait & switch occurring with the Bush team fails, of course, to pin the ribbon of shame on the real culprit: excissive tax cuts for corporations & the wealthy. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 36% of the budget deterioriation came from tax cuts, while 31% came from spending increases, which were primarily defense and homeland security increases. As an American Prgress study shows, non-defense, non-homeland security spending has actually been flat.

STATE TREASURERS DEMAND ANSWERS: Eleven State Treasurers today released a letter to Bush a tax hike of their own. "No more buck-passing. No more tax cuts whose costs are passed through to states and cities."

The tax issue, and the class specific tax cuts, seems to be the issue that I get the most heated response on when I talk politics with folks; the most ardent believers of the Bush rhetoric are usually making less than 6 figures to boot. I get "rebate checks" as the meat to their argument. This is with me picking up the tab for 5 or 6 adults in a mid scale eatery, with cocktails.....I show that the $300 check that they got, if applied to this eveings tab, wouldn't exactly leave anything for them to become a Milken level stock speculator, huh?
Plutocracy with Fascist overtones people, wake the f**k up already.

SOURCES: Links embedded above & all sourced from researched articles by David Sirota, Christy Harvey, Judd Legum and Jonathan Baskin

(note: if you don't read them & Paul Krugman & Greg Palast, you are not aware !!!!! )




posted on May, 28 2004 @ 10:32 AM
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BT, what are we gonna do, This class system you are trying to lay on conservatives is the very system perpetuated ad infintum by your beloved party, I have no trouble helping those who help themselves, I do have trouble helping those that live at the government dole on a more or less permanent basis, in a way I don't blame those people directly - they're only doing what they've been taught by your party - which is to blame in my opinion.

I came from a poor family myself, my parents raised four children on sometimes less than $14,000 a year of income - not once did they take from the dole - no welfare, no foodstamps. They worked very hard to instill pride and values to their children - we did not lack motivation to do better because of this upbringing, excuses were not something tolerated in the houseold.

We of course lived in an area not considered desirable especially after the riots of 68', lots of abandoned cars and houses - most in the city avoided the area. All around us were families that did not have pride nor values high enough to get their butts out of bed in the morning and go to work, Instead they stood around all day and complained about the "system" as they waited for the postman to arrive with their monthly check.

Going back to the old neighborhood three decades later many of the grown up children and now grandchildren are still complaining about the "system" as they wait on the postman to arrive.

My siblings and I worked as teenagers and then adults never once taking anybody else's money in order to live in this society, I expect most others to do the same.

You can call me a repugnant or whatever else you can dream up but the fact remains I have seen the fault of your system with my own eyes and know that all it does is keep the downtrodden exactly where they are - downtrodden.

You coplain constantly about the cost of tax cuts and the war on terror, but not once has anyone from your side EVER totaled up the cost of the obviously FAILED war on poverty which is a number in the trillions - why is it not won is a very searching question.

I suggest its along the lines of teach a man to fish and you've fed him for life, give a man a fish and you've fed him for a day.

Now I am into religion so don't go painting that picture - its just an apt description of the problem.

Probably the next thing you'll go into is education - well let me tell you a story there too.

My wife put herself through 8 years of college by working up to three jobs at the same time.

After grad school she taught as a professor for a few years. She had a student that was in school on a sports scholarship. This student hardly showed up for class and turned in poor work. When she failed this student he said to her if I lose my scholarship I'll have to leave school, my wife shared her story that one can in fact work their way through school. The student dropped out anyway.

Why did he drop out, I believe and so does my wife that this person was brought up in the entitlement trap that so many are bound to and can't seem to breack even when alternatives are presented - this is what your party has wrought with its failed war on poverty - a society that is broken into classes.

[Edited on 28-5-2004 by Phoenix]



posted on May, 28 2004 @ 11:21 AM
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Many a broad generalization is at the core of your POV. First, and hopefully for the last time, I belong to no political party, and the last time I did, I was a crew cut & uniform wearing Reagan Repblican. Only the buzz cut remains.

I grew up working poor, one of a family of 9 in the Bronx, NY. Yet, we all went to Parochial School, all 7 are degreed & six figure professionals ( except one who chose to be a housewife). There is absolutely no denying that others from the same genesis point are latched with a death grip to the government teet. The massive point of divergence however, is that elitists/covservatives/fascists think that is the norm whereas it is the exception. There is a chilling symmetry to certain views on the races.

It's assanine on your part to think everyone benefits from the same domestic variables. There are single parent households, there are famalies that didn't benefit, like mine, from having older syblings of working age by the time the brood was completed, thus increasing the households income.

Are you really that partisan that you don't see the engineers & the blue print all have Elephant patches on their arms, as outlined above? Or did you simply not read? It must be the latter; I can't see how you would have missed $1.5 Billion cut from Education, $1.77 Million cut from Head Start, the low cost housing initiative being scuttled VS. massive tax cuts skewed towards the top % of Americans, being the sheer definition of a class system!?!

I'm a product of sacrafice & boot strap success over the coordination of three generations. I know the benefit is needed. I know it's been changed or completely dismantled by this administration as evidenced by the increase in Americans living below the poverty line/on Welfare/the record number of bankrupticies.........Why don't you, "proud Neo-Conservative??"
I think the difference is that you see you &yours as "making it" and pulling up the rope behind you; I see me & mine as making it, and putting in a stair case to ensure others will too.



posted on May, 28 2004 @ 11:45 AM
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Perhaps I missed something, but I saw nothing in the original post that even mentioned the formation of a caste system. Economic divisions are arbitrary.

Caste
3. a system of rigid social stratification characterized by hereditary status, endogamy, and social barriers sanctioned by custom, law, or religion

Please explain to me how the Republicans are creating a caste system in the united states. Hyperbole only makes it harder to discuss the true issues at hand.



posted on May, 28 2004 @ 11:47 AM
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The usual language used by the agencies of the government to denote a "cut" is completely different from what most consider a cut in budget, the government version is,

This year program "X" has $1,000,000,000, next years budget proposal is $2,000,000,000 - congress reduces the increase by $500,000,000 - the agency head declares that his program has suffered a 25% cut for next year when in fact the agency has an extra $500,000,000 to spend.

When I see actual number comparisons between 2004 and 2006, then we might agree whether or not a cut has actually occurred. The usual M.O. has been as descibed above.

As far as ropes and stairs are concerned I stated that there are people who because of their personal efforts, do deserve some help, on the other hand those that are capable but don't make an effort deserve to remain where they are.

And you are right generalizations are made on both sides of this issue, we'd both be typing till h#ll froze over to cover all of the nuances.

My experience is that it is not as isolated as you claim and it is the rule.

My siblings did not contribute their earnings to my parents household, so out the window with that.

Its never been demonstrated to me that progressive socialism has produced nothing other than mediocrity for all.

And finally if you desist from calling me assinine I promise not to call you worse, we're not in the pit afterall.



posted on May, 28 2004 @ 12:24 PM
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Interesting articles. Always an interesting debate.

BT, I would add this...

I did not grow up "poor." In fact by liberal standards I grew up "rich." Specifically, that means my parents had a combined income of over $70,000 per year. Think about what that means for a second when you hear folks decrying the plight of the poor and the unfair advantages of the "rich." That means that a couple earning $35k and $40k respectively are considered wealthy. They are the hated "rich," right along with actual millionaires.

The definitions of rich and poor in this country have been drastically distorted by notions like the "poverty line." True poverty hardly exists in this country outside of small enclaves often cut off from mainstream society (like Appalachia for example). True poverty exists in central Africa. It exists in South American slums. You know, the places where people are actually starving to death.

How many Somalis are literally starving? Per capita? Now how about in the US? Try to have some perspective, and some historical/political insight.

It is not the responsibility of the Federal Govt. to ensure that all Americans earn money equally. That is a socialist ideal. It is not the responsibility of the Federal Govt. to pay off those who "can't get a job, just had another kid, and are kept down by the man." That too is a socialist ideal. We do not live in a socialist country. Why? Because it doesn't work. Ask the WWII-era Italians.

Instead, we live in a capitalistic, constitutional republic. That necessarily entails that some folks will not "get ahead." But guess what? There is no system, anywhere, at any point in history, that provides for all the people all the time. It cannot happen. It is a pipe dream.

You act as if these so-called budget deficits are somehow the symptom of a problem. Namely that Bush & co. have not raked in enough tax money, and have given too much back to the populace. I say the problem is that the Govt. spends too much on worthless, unworkable, poorly-managed programs. The budget deficits would go away much faster if we didn't have to budget for wealth-distribution programs. And that is the crux of the issue isn't it?

Wealth distribution is a communist/socialist notion. It doesn't have a place here. If we stop trying to redirect the wealth of the ultra-hard-working few to the rest of the country, we won't have nearly the budget problems we have now.

You attack conservatives as the source of this misery, insinuating that they are trying to create a class/caste system by reducing Govt. expenditure. I see them trying to rid us all of an overburdened, poorly-managed, ineffectual set of systems that do little to benefit society at large.

For the record, I too belong to no political party. While I grew up in a so-called "rich" household, I am by no means rich. I work about 12 hours every day (including my horrendous commute) at a Not-For-Profit group making not much money. I make enough to cover myself and occasionally my girlfriend. I don't make enough to cover anybody else out there who uses whatever various social programs are out there. Nevertheless, the State and Fed Govt took 3k from my meager 30k/yr salary (which is nothing in my neck of the woods) and decided at tax time that they needed 300 more. I continue to work every day, and render unto Caesar that which is his. I think the whole system of social programs is long overdue for an overhaul, and I have an unreasonable (to liberals at least) attachment to the money I earn. It's mine. Keep your hands off!

As a final thought on education, why decry the Government for not giving enough money to education. Why not let them instead, cap the cost of education. Take a look at the skyrocketing cost of college education in this country for instance. If controlling access to education is the first step to creating a class system, it would seem that Universities own much more blame than the Govt. by charging exorbitant tuition fees. Not to be too cliché, but try to think outside the box. Try fighting the other side of the system instead of expecting your Govt. (which means here tax-paying citizens, ME!) to just throw some money at it.

Ham



posted on May, 28 2004 @ 01:16 PM
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Who the hell ( it's not a bad word, just a fairytale from Sunday school!
) is for "progressive socialism"? I swear that I need to put this in my signature file since I written it so often: Allotment for social programs in a democracy is not the introduction of another political systems.

Distribution of wealth is another polar extreme concept tied to the above. While I realize that American poverty is a degree difficult than Somali poverty, which one is occuring in a 3rd World nation & which is occuring on the watch of the 1st of 1st World nations?

"I say the problem is that the Govt. spends too much on worthless, unworkable, poorly-managed programs. The budget deficits would go away much faster if we didn't have to budget for wealth-distribution programs. And that is the crux of the issue isn't it?"

Absolutely. But not the way you see it. Take the working capital taken out of the system & addition monies spent towards the unnecessary war in Iraq. Add to that the billions spent on the Pentagons budget above & beyond making us the greatest military power in the world. Compare that to the "social" programs of Education, Unemployment stipends, ect.....you can see that the latter is a fraction of the former. Which one really & actually strenghtens us as a country?

The Bush Administration is not a bunch of Conservatives; they're who I'm roilling against. Historically, no president has ever cut taxes at war time. It's extremely dangerous for the country, jepordizes the war effort and make no sense what so ever: It's like planning to go on a shopping spree at the mall & quiting your job on the way there!!

John McCain: "Throughout our history, war has been a time of sacrifice…. But about the only sacrifice taking place is that by the brave men and women fighting to defend and protect the liberties we hold so dear, and that of their families.

"It is time for others to step up and start sacrificing. Just in the last year we have approved legislation containing billions and billions of dollars in … pork barrel projects, huge tax breaks for the wealthy, and … a corporate tax bill estimated to cost $180 billion…. This is a far cry from sacrifice."



posted on May, 28 2004 @ 01:54 PM
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Originally posted by Bout Time
Take the working capital taken out of the system & addition monies spent towards the unnecessary war in Iraq. Add to that the billions spent on the Pentagons budget above & beyond making us the greatest military power in the world. Compare that to the "social" programs of Education, Unemployment stipends, etc.....you can see that the latter is a fraction of the former. Which one really & actually strengthens us as a country?


Truly said BT; however, this is a very sticky position from a logical perspective. One might say that defense spending is enormous and unnecessary because we have been in a position of relative safety for a great many years, and aside from the occasional terrorist attack, we have no great threats. Yet, another may logically contend that the very reason for our safe, secure position is precisely the amount of money we spend on defense initiatives. It is much less likely that a hostile foe will attack a country with an extremely well-trained, extremely well-equipped military. And, part of the reason we spend so much on defense is that we pay an enormous amount of money to the companies that build and design our military products, as opposed to other countries that may force their citizens to work in factories or laboratories to create similar products. Paying a proper wage to US citizens costs money, whether from Govt via military pay or via contracts with Lockheed. I, for one, have no major beef with defensive spending. Spending in Iraq? That is an issue that is tangent to this thread, and therefore belongs in a new one. I will start that thread up if you want to discuss that aspect of Govt. spending. You tell me.


Originally posted by Bout Time
It's like planning to go on a shopping spree at the mall & quitting your job on the way there!!


Again, good point, GREAT analogy.
One small item... The tax plan was in the works long before the war was started/discussed (assuming you don't believe that Bush's sole purpose for going after the presidency was to kill Saddam). It is unfortunate that things worked out the way they did, but you don't always get to choose the most economically viable time to go to war, and sadly, you don't get to call a time-out until the effect of a tax-cut can be reversed. (And that is assuming you believe the tax-cuts have had a negative impact on our economy, which just doesn't fit with what economic indicators are telling us.)


Originally posted by Bout Time
Just in the last year we have approved legislation containing billions and billions of dollars in … pork barrel projects,


100% agree on this one. They are not acting like true conservatives are they? Since when did conservatives support increasing pork? What happened to saying, "NO!" to big government? It is disappointing to me, as I am not a fan of excessive government, that these so-called conservatives have been adding more stuff to the budget.

It is one thing to cut taxes to stimulate the economy. I can buy off on that one. And, it gets even better when you decrease the amount of wasteful government spending. (That way, there will be no "budget deficit," because the decrease in income is offset by the decrease in expenditure.) But, when you start adding in pork (obviously not YOU personally), that is where I have to cry SHENANNIGANS! It's a stupid way to do things, which is why I am so excited about them cutting spending for once. It's about damn time.


Originally posted by Bout Time
huge tax breaks for the wealthy, and … a corporate tax bill estimated to cost $180 billion…. This is a far cry from sacrifice."


Sorry about this, but who gives a sh!t? Not me! I say, good for the rich. They earned their money, why should they give HALF of it to anybody else? It's THEIRS!! You'll never convince me on this, because until there is a flat tax, I will always think the so-called wealthy are taxed unfairly. Punishment for success is not the American way. We are supposed to reward success.


Anyway, some good points. I am glad to see we agree on some things. Government spending is wasteful, tax-cuts=no good during wartime, etc. On the original topic, though, I would still caution outward thinking.

As an exercise, can we come up with other ways than the current systems to help our less-fortunate, fellow citizens? Capping tuition costs at Federally/State funded Universities, for example?

Ham



posted on May, 28 2004 @ 02:17 PM
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Or even modified privatization of schools? Make corporations be registered in the US if they are doing business in the US....and tax them again.

The argument that companies will go elsewhere is bullshiit; the US is like a whorehouse next to a Naval Base in the Phillipines: "Folks will always come here to do their business"



posted on May, 28 2004 @ 02:39 PM
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I think the current corporate tax system is regressive because they are going to make their profit no matter the tax, this cost just goes back into the product or service and hurts the very people BT desires to help.

Requiring the corporations to be headquartered here is a good start. maybe a way to do things is to not tax profits at all if they are used for capitol improvements, R&D projects or funding of school programs and such, tax excessive retained profits heavily that way more jobs, inventions to keep us in tech lead and an educated work force would be created.

An initiative like this along with a flat tax or consumption tax would make the economy take off like a rocket.



posted on May, 28 2004 @ 03:54 PM
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Phoenix & BT, BRAVO!

In just a few minutes, we can all come up with solutions that don't necessarily rely on the Govt.'s teat. And that was precisely one of points I was trying to establish earlier. Americans have fallen into a trap with our overall affluence. Whenever we see a problem, some social ill, we throw money at it and hope it goes away, all the while, blaming everybody but the guilty.

Don't have any money? That's okay, blame the rich, they took it all. And, if you let us tax them a lot, we can give you a chunk of the cash.

Don't have a job? No problem! Evil corporations are clearly taking the jobs to cheaper labor pools in foreign countries. Never mind that you have no marketable skills to offer a company. Here's a check, now let's penalize the corporations, the jugular vein of the American job market.

Okay, sarcasm over for the moment (although I reserve the right to return to SARCON 3 if the situation warrants).

I keep harping on education because I believe that controlling access to education is one of very first steps to creating a Caste System in any country. If you keep the majority stupid, you can control them much easier. That is why I am always so angry about the rising costs of tuition. I am so glad I have my degrees, but my plans to go back to school for more now have to be set aside until it is more economically feasible. But, does the fault lie in the Govt. for not giving out enough loans? I think not. Almost anyone who meets the financial requirements (or really, the lack of financial requirements) can get Federal Aid. I think the fault lies with the institutions for increasing the prices with no increase in the quality of learning.

Part of why we are losing jobs to foreign outsourcing is that companies cannot find the tech-savvy they need here in the US. Instead, they have to go to foreign countries and foreign workers. That is a direct indictment of the quality of undergrad/grad. education in this country. The colleges are to blame, not the Fed.

Normally, I am all about Adam Smith's ideals of laissez-fare (hands-off) government with regards to regulating free trade. However, in some cases, a limited interference is warranted. I think mild price controls are in order for the university system in this country. They are egregiously overpriced.

I look at liberal plans to help, and all I see is, throw more money at it. Typically universities are churning out liberal ideas and suppressing more conservative ideas. Thus, liberals have no reason to try and change the system. It is doing what they want. It is limiting entrance to many people with its high costs, and at the same time, championing liberal ideals.

Conservatives on the other hand, are so scared of govt. involvement of any kind, that they would rather sit back and complain about it than do anything. They fear fixing it because they might piss off their constituents who don't want any increase in govt., even if it means an overall decrease in govt. in the long run.

And, there is a larger problem. Our society has become less-and-less performance-centric, and more driven by self-esteem. Our children don't learn the material they should, only the material that will help them score high on ACT and SAT. They get their parents to sue the schools if they plagiarize, and generally worry more about being politically correct than factually correct. They learn revisionist history and new age hooey from teachers who are petrified constantly that their slightest mistake of word choice or reading assignment will get them canned, sued or worse. We have taught the younger generation that it's okay if you don't work, if you B!T@H enough, you'll get what you want.

I used to say, "just wait 'til you get to the 'real world,'" but that won't work anymore. Their world, the US, is exactly the same as what we taught them to expect. The only problem is, corporations and employers don't respect or appreciate this kind of nonsense, so they take their jobs to places where students learn the fundamentals, and learn to work hard in order to be successful.

We have coddled ourselves right out of our jobs.

That said, why put more money into a failing educational system. Why not look at the failures, learn from them, and FIX the problems, instead of lamenting the govt.'s failure to put more money into a broken system.

That's why, while I agree with you BT about many of the points you made, I have to applaud the decision to pull money out of failing enterprises. One of my degrees is in Business, and from that perspective, it is the right thing to do. Pull the money out. Plug the leak, and move in different direction.

I just hope that the administration will take the opportunity to examine the failed systems, and create workable, useful solutions that will benefit all Americans (and hopefully cost a lot less).

Hamburglar out

End Transmission



posted on May, 29 2004 @ 02:16 AM
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Not to mention that it is argued that the Income Tax is the largest source of "class politics". Where politicians say "I'm for the working man" blah blah blah. I'm not going to grab the book right now, which has a quote from a Senator at the time of the Ratification of the income tax amendment, but he said along the lines that it "would cause class warfare never seen in America before."

Anyways...taxes in general are repressive and only the Republicans want to remove them and release us from Government bondage to federal programs.



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