When I mention the “Middle Class”, I would suspect most Americans immediately think, “Hey, that’s me!”, and they pay attention. However, it is an over-used, hackneyed phrase in politics. Whenever a politician wants instantly to grab attention of the American populace, they bring up the “Middle Class”. Since it is usually used by politicians in a “threatened-species” manner, the Middle Class members sit up straight, and listen intently. The Upper Class pays attention, because they are out numbered by the Middle Class (and despite what some people claim, more votes certainly do still count). The Lower Class pays attention because they see the Middle Class as the destination that they are struggling to earn their way into. Politicians, belonging to a class all their own, notice these behavioral tendencies of the three main groups, and smell opportunity.
For the politicians to use the knee-jerk reaction of the Lower Class, I find their methods very insidious. Usually, what the politicians will do is tell the L.C. that their “gravy train”, their government-granted entitlements, or any other government-dolled goodies are in dire jeopardy because of the actions of the filthy rich. While this will not cause as large a reaction, because the L.C. is less mobile and likely to show up at their Congressman’s office. Anytime someone is given something, and then they are told it is threatened – watch the anger at losing that entitlement explode.
For the politicians to use the reaction of the Upper Class, they can threaten that the M.C. will push for higher wages or take a larger part of the Uppers Class’s wealth in any other number of ways. The U.C., then finding themselves threatened may decide to react by using their money and friendships in Washington to affect change in their favors. Most recently, I think that the more common method of trying to keep goodwill is for the constituents to offer to pay higher taxes (knowing that it will never come to that). I find it interesting to think that a class so often seen as miserly and “above-it-all”, still seems to be so easily swayed by this type of rhetoric.
The dirty trick is, according to where the politicians put their measuring sticks, the Middle Class could be made to be any group. From an income of $30,000 up to $120,000? You are Middle Class. From $28,000 to $150,000? Boom – you are Middle Class. It is all about political expediency. The politicians constantly play fast and loose with rules, regulations, and our money, so why should their rhetoric be any different? If there is a political point to be made, or some “points” to be earned for their next election, they will paint you in any shade that they need to, to make their point (or to engage fully in their fear-mongering). The Middle Class has to be the most bandied-about segment of America.
These methods of politicians to get various classes to argue and fight with one another, while the politicians get away with murder, creates this huge positive feedback loop. Costs increase with every promise and entitlement given. While it seems to have been this way as long as this blogger can remember, I do not expect it to change (especially since blowing that class-dog-whistle works so well). The government has given goodies to pry support from certain groups, and now it is nearly impossible to reduce it. They need constantly to keep money flowing, while others, seeing these sweet deals, want their “fair share” too. Ever-increasing funds are needed as more and more people join the rolls. Where is it supposed to all come from? Sometimes, I wonder how much a little critical thought is worth – well politicians are attempting to figure that out for us all.
(This post took me forever, due primarily to the fact I started Tweeting, and that’s like Internet crack. I told those responsible that they’d be noted as my distractions): @tamale102280, @iteabellsingers, and @apologyispolicy
They’re good people – follow ‘em if you don’t already!
By now, most people have gotten wind of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, and has been affected by its polarizing actions and beliefs. The protesters and their signs scream out at their collective outrage, and list their many grievances. While the movement is seen as something noble and worthwhile by some, by others, it is seen as a group of spoiled, petulant young people, intent on obtaining entitlements. Whatever the case may be, I feel as though there are enough fundamental problems with the “movement” that it lacks any chance to secure any of the real changes it seeks.
Too much diversity
Yes, there can be such a thing as too much diversity. In the case of Occupy Wall Street, signs and grievances run from: criticism of greedy, corrupt money makers, to the redistribution of wealth, to the high unemployment rate among young people, the elimination of capitalism, and finally, to the effects of lobbyists in Washington D.C.. Some media sources have even shown people dressed up in greasepaint and with torn clothing to resemble zombies. I am unsure what message that is supposed to represent – perhaps it has something to do with Halloween? To maximize their efforts, the group needs to focus on one or two main messages, and drive those home. As it is, the fractured, myriad concerns of protesters are doing more damage than any good. They must coalesce into fewer, more well defined issues to maximize their effort. As the movement appears now, it is unclear whether the protesters are anarchists (as some have claimed in the television media), socialists (as some in the television media have claimed), or just disgruntled young people, seeking a solution to the many problems the nation has run headlong into.
Pre-emption of the movement
While the original message may have started out of an on-line organizing force, in the last week, the protest crowds in New York have seen various other groups and “sympathizers” lend their support. During this spring and summer, unions saw governors and legislatures force their members to pay for more of their own benefits and retirement packages. In a well-publicized series of recall elections in Wisconsin, the unions were again rebuffed. The support for various unions may have never been lower, and along comes a popular movement of self-described disenfranchised citizens. The unions saw a golden opportunity to attach themselves to this movement and possibly earn back some support. Celebrities too, have seen fit to make appearances, and lend their support as well. These stars who “feel the pain” of the broke protesters, show up, and bring the cameras along. Suddenly, a photo op. breaks out, the stars swear that they know how the protesters feel, and the protesters are made to believe like these multi-millionaires and they have something in common. Cheap appearances for celebs threatens to undermine any messages.
The movement doesn’t have a leader
For a movement such as this, it strikes me as a disjointed group of people, in search of someone to lead them. Now, I am not talking about some fire-brand, urging the protesters to start chucking bricks through store fronts, but someone who can lead the throngs and either accept or reject support from those seeking to take over the movement. There have been a few scattered whispers that the protests are supposed to be modeled upon the Tea Party movement – which has no leaders, but is just loose nationwide groups – however, the Tea Party groups began growing and coalescing around the idea that taxes and spending were too high. There is the single issue that laid the foundation for a movement. It sounds as though many of the protesters are asking for more oversight any way — but government oversight is not what anyone needs at this point. Indeed, if people would stop and consider for a moment, government “oversight” lead to much of the current financial and economic mess the country finds itself in at the moment.
It seems like we are constantly being bombarded with messages on the Internet and in the media about how great things could be, if we would only be a little more willing to give the government a little more. More of what? Well, more of whatever it is the government decides it wants or needs at the moment. Money (via taxes), our rights, trust – you name it, and the government needs it. If only the government’s insatiable appetite for money and other resources could be fed, the people could live in some sort of wonderful, Utopic, Wonderland. People would be able to have full-coverage health insurance, they need not worry about unemployment (because the government will either have work for the people, or because they will have plenty of benefits to disburse to the unemployed), all while the economy runs like a finely oiled machine. This is the biggest promise, and still, the most undelivered upon promise, of socialism.
While we are told that equality is a good thing, and while it is – the kind of equality that we seek, doesn’t require the taking or ceasing of anything for the benefit of another. Equal rights for all is a good example of the widely-supported equality in the United States. The aim of socialism, namely the taking and redistributing of capital, is one of its most disgusting tenets to most Americans. Equality through seizure and loss could not be any different from equality through symbiotic, shared benefits. There has not been any economic system that has brought benefits and wealth to more people than capitalism. While socialism promises it, capitalism delivers on more of socialism’s promises than it does!
The main promise (in the United States) seems to be that more and more socialism will (somehow) lift everyone into a state of equal finance. While this seems like quite an attractive notion, and its adherents see it as a self-selling ideal – to tell people that if they support taking money from the rich, they will get a share of that money. Who would be against such an easy way to “make” money? Even an idiot would support an action that promises to line their wallet, regardless of where the money comes from. An idiot indeed – who believes that something, be it money or any other resource, can be simply created from nothing. And an idiot doesn’t stop and consider that the capital that is taken is capital that cannot be used on anything else. So is it selfishness that provides the cornerstones for socialism? Some argue that the driving force behind capitalism is greed, and while this may be true of both policies, the capitalist system relies on the belief that with greed, there comes a sense of self-preservation and mutual benefit with anyone involved. Socialism is merely concerned with making, and keeping, whatever promises that will gain the policy-makers power.
We can still see the things socialism has delivered to its supporters in the 1950s automobiles being patched up, and limping along in Cuba and memories of Soviet breadlines. The former Soviet breadlines have been replaced in recent history with numerous North Korean famines, and in the past few years, news has trickled from the country, that the government was struggling to even feed its army. Various other left-wing juntas and leaders in Southeast Asia delivered little more than death and various forms of misery.
In the ends, throughout history, socialist leaders have been high on promise, and severely lacking in delivery. The equality that leaders promised their people, far too many times was delivered at either the end of a gun, or in a prison camp. Hitler was painted as the killer of upwards of ten million people, his contemporary, Josef Stalin has been blamed for the deaths of up to 60 million Russians, Ukrainians, and Georgians. Stalin’s centrally-planned, and failed, plans lead to intentional famines (See: Holodomor) and wasteful agricultural “reforms”. The results of this central planning was anywhere from 2.4 to 7.5 million starved, dead Ukrainians.
So, to close, it is plain to see, over and over again how socialists seek to rise to power – by promising everything, including the moon. Once they have ascended to power, it becomes a self-perpetuating system after that. Continuing to build a small “inner circle” of comrades, while promising those that they “serve” that the goodies are on the way. When the government doesn’t deliver – it is the fault of whomever the boogey-man is that they have chosen. The system enters a giant feedback loop, and winds up helping no one but those in power. For this blogger, it is an empty doctrine for empty heads.
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