Posted by: kevinfortruth | April 13, 2011

Win one for the troops

Congress and the President pass one while holding the troops as hostage.

When all else fails, what ultimately works is using our troops as justification for getting a bill passed through Congress and then signed by the President.

Both parties go through the motions – the Republicans complain that the Democrats are Spend-o-holics and the Democrats complain that the Republicans always want tax cuts for the rich.

This little game is just a smoke screen and I find it incredible that Americans cannot see through it. The real truth of the matter is that there is only one party – it is the party of the rich and we are not invited to join. To be sure here, I am not talking about the Republican Party, I am talking about the millionaires in both Houses of Congress, from both parties, who cater to the rich at the expense of everyone else. These millionaires in Congress and the White House function in their own virtual party.

The United States is divided into two groups – the very rich and everyone else. Years ago, there were three major groups – the very rich, the middle class that included some of the rich, and the third group was the poor. Then the tax code went through major revisions. This change in the tax code was made to primarily benefit the super rich. It grouped the very rich with the middle class, which benefited the richest Americans by lowering their tax rate to that of middle income Americans – in reality it was a windfall of epic proportions.

Over a third of the members of Congress are millionaires and another third are knocking on the door trying hard to attain millionaire status. Their allegiance is to the rich, the power brokers, large corporations, and to their other 8.4 million American brethren who are considered millionaires.

Congress and the White House are in the business of passing legislation that primarily benefits the wealthy. Both parties try to convince the other 300 million Americans that they are there to serve all Americans but that could not be further from the truth.

In reality, they do not care about the majority of the millionaires in America – only the ones at the top of the heap – the millionaires they really care about are the ones who are worth more than 5 million dollars – this is a relatively small group – more like 1.06 million people. There is also an even smaller elite group of Americans – those 400 Americans who earn, on average, 263 million dollars per year. It is this smallest group that benefited the most from the Bush-era tax cuts.

To put the 263 million per year in perspective, on Wednesday, April 6th of this year, the Powerball prize was $218 million and on Tuesday, March 22, of this year, the MegaMillions prize was $244 million. What this equates to is that the money each of these 400 Americans make each year is like winning a large MegaMillions or PowerBall prize each and every year.

Another statistic that I find interesting is that there are roughly 1.5 million active duty U. S. Military. In addition, there are another 850,000 reservists, bringing our military strength to 2.3 million. The total number of those in the military is about twice the number of the 1.06 very rich Americans.

It is these 2.3 million troops that Congress just held hostage to reach a consensus on the Budget – the budget that favors the 1 million richest Americans. Congress has been fighting, or at least they say they have been fighting for months about the budget. They are more like a bunch of diapered kids in a sandbox grabbing each other´s toys. At other times they have been playing good cop – bad cop, and each party takes its turn in the drivers seat playing the good cop. Each party knows that to ultimately pass legislation that primarily benefits the rich, they need to have Americans believe they are working hard for average Americans.

Sometimes things go haywire and the rhetoric heats up and they make it seem like they are really mad at each other and will never reach a compromise. It´s at that point in the legislative process that one party or the other, or both play the “T” card – i.e. the “Troop” Card. When all else fails, they can say that to not reach a compromise, the troops will be hurt the most. They will say that our troops are living from paycheck to paycheck, with many of them in harms way, sleeping in foxholes, and that their families here in the states will suffer undue hardship if the checks do not get to them in time to pay the rent and to buy groceries.

I, myself, am a military retiree. There is no doubt that most members of the military cannot afford a delay in their paychecks because they, like millions of other Americans, are living paycheck to paycheck, barely able to make ends meet.

In the late 70´s I was stationed at an AF base in suburban Boston, Massachusetts. Many AF families who lived in the area made so little compared to the locals that they qualified for school lunch programs and food stamps.

In closing, it is true that our military need our support – financial and emotional, but the way to take care of the troops is through separate legislation, not by playing on the sympathies of all Americans that passing a piece of legislation is necessary because not doing so hurts the troops.

If our country is in so much debt it makes sense to trim things – things that we can truly do without, but it does not make sense to also include tax cuts for the very rich – especially at a time when we need that tax revenue so much.

Before George W. Bush was elected President, the rich were doing quite well, there is no doubt about that, but when the Bush Administration implemented the tax code changes that drastically cut the tax rate for the very rich, they began doing better – much, much better.

How much more can we do for the rich? Since changing our military to an all-volunteer force, very few children of the very rich serve in the military. In most cases, the only time the rich ever see caskets coming home from war is when they see them on television. I apologize for that last statement, that is not even true – the rules were changed so that the media do not show caskets arriving at Dover AFB any more. Because the rich do not have to serve, there is little to no chance rich kids will ever die in combat nor come home in caskets.

Barbara Bush, wife of President George H. W. Bush, and mother of President George W. Bush, when asked about the censoring of body bags returning from combat said “Why should we hear about body bags and deaths,” Barbara Bush said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on March 18, 2003. “Oh, I mean, it’s not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?”

I am not bringing this up because Barbara Bush, her husband, and her son are Republicans, I am bringing it up because her son signed the biggest tax cut bill for the rich – the same rich who no longer have to serve in the military. Is this a coincidence? I seriously doubt it!

If they are not doing their fair share to protect this country, then why do they not at least pay their fair share in taxes so the remainder of us here can live a little less stressfully and be assured of the continuity of things like Social Security, and Medicare. Maybe we can again adequately re-staff our police and fire departments, our schools, our libraries, and re-implement other things like school lunch programs and after school programs for those who do not live in mansions.


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