Friday, April 8, 2011
Stooges for the rich
I've been so tied up with the fall-out and next steps from Tuesday's biomass air permit hrearing that I've only kept half an ear to the national news. I've had time to glance at the headlines and know that our country is headed for a government shut-down, but only tonight did I pay attention to some of the riders on policy Republicans are insisting be passed with the budget.
A chief target is the Environmental Protection Agency, which would be forbidden to regulate greenhouse gasses-- costs too many jobs, Republicans say. Of course this put me in mind of Tuesday night's trade union vocal support support for Palmer Renewable Energy's biomass proposal. Maybe those guys would agree with the Republicans on this one.
Here we are in the middle of the biggest upward transfer of wealth in eighty years and yet there are people out there thinking that making rich people richer is going to be good for them. Maybe they haven't thought about it that way; the typical Tea Party member is a sheep who cries out for tax cuts and smaller government and then won't be able to get her aging mother into adult day care and her kids into a decent school. No problem for the rich, though.
Poor and working class people don't think that way. That doesn't mean we have all that much class consciousness-- hell, poor people would love to be rich-- but our expectations have gotten very low, as low as our economic ranking. We got pushed down the ladder back in the 80's and 90's and have never accumulated any wealth to speak of in a lifetime of work.. Many poor people under forty don't know that times have ever been different. We're so numb from assaults we hardly even feel it anymore.
I sat in a meeting today that is trying to promote a campaign to increase state revenue by returning to a higher previous income tax rate with substantial personal exemptions for the bottom 60%. We spent a good bit of time talking about messaging and finding the right way to convey to the public that essential services are at risk-- firefighters, teachers, nurses, et cetera.
Meanwhile I'm wondering why we aren't out there telling the truth to people: the rich are stealing our lives! They don't care that they ruin our environment, consign our children to mediocrity, shorten our days.
And they don't even need the money.