Tag Archives: capitalism

Fire Departments Charging Victims for Services

Capitalism just gets better and better, don’t it?

Love the American health care system? Think insurance companies who take your money for premiums and then refuse to pay for services are just the bomb?

Well, then, you’re gonna love this.

Some people are now being sent bills by their fire departments for the cost of putting out their house fires.

Thank God there’s not some meddling socialist government coddling the populace by putting out house fires for free. Why, we can’t have all these people laying around all day doing nothing but setting their houses on fire so they can live off of government services!

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Bernanke wants your Social Security check

Bernanke starts talking about repealing Social Security and Medicare. Really.

On December 3rd, Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, testified before the Senate Banking Committee seeking reappointment to his job. They spoke about the economy and Bernanke suggested cutbacks in Social Security and Medicare.

Not a word about making the rich pay more taxes, oh, no, that’s off the table. Just take the money from old people and cripples and such.

He actually had the gall to quote a bank robber.

“Willie Sutton robbed banks because that’s where the money is, as he put it,” Bernanke said. “The money in this case is in entitlements.”

Does this surprise anyone? There’s less money in the economy and they want access to what’s left.

At least since the ’80s we’ve had jobs and factories all going overseas. Everyone who works for a paycheck has seen it get thinner and thinner.

Back in the ’60s your mom didn’t have to work unless she just wanted to; now if both parents don’t work, they’re liable to not make ends meet at all–and maybe not even then.

Unions got busted up or intimidated to where they weren’t very effective in securing higher wages and benefits for their members.

Companies used to promise pensions to their workers upon retirement, and now it barely gets a mention on the news when the pensions disappear.

Welfare got “reformed” to the point that hardly anyone can qualify for it anymore, and no one seemed to give a crap what happened to all those moms and kids that got no longer got any support.

House prices went up…and up…and up…until a $200,000 house started to look cheap and no one in their right mind expected to actually pay off a mortgage on a house in their lifetime.

Health insurance and health care costs seem to go up by the minute, and all our leaders want to do is kiss the shoes of the bastards who are ripping us off.

There’s a difference between wealth and money. You can make money without creating any wealth…just look at anyone working in Wall Street. Do they grow food? Teach kids? Fix cars? Build houses? Clean toilets? Heck no. They’re busy sitting around a big table, passing pieces of paper back and forth to their buddies, changing the numbers here and there, and calling it “making money”.

Anyone that works at a real job is poor, and anyone working a scam is rich.

You can only have so many people in a society “making money” without creating wealth before the wealth starts to dry up. This is what’s been happening for decades. The wealth of our factories are gone. The wealth of a well-fed and well-educated populace is greatly diminished.

The rich in America are busy grabbing the last of whatever money is left that they can lay their hands on now, and welfare reform worked so well, why not go after Social Security and Medicare, too?

There wasn’t much outcry about taking money from kids and mothers in the 90s, especially after the media spent so much energy demonizing welfare mothers on the news. Look for them to do the same thing with Social Security…maybe they’ll put out some propaganda blaming greedy old people for taking those exorbitant checks and ruining our economy. (Curiously, all the people in the news stories will be black.)

Or maybe they’ll just take the durn money from Social Security and Medicare in broad daylight and not even make a pretense of caring what the American people think. It certainly didn’t matter to them how pissed off we were about the Wall Street bailouts.

Picture that little top-hatted capitalist guy from the Monopoly board, lighting his cigar with your dollar bill, thinking: yeah, go ahead and protest, you guys. Good luck with that.

In the article I’ve linked to here, the Democratic Congressman from Rhode Island, Sen. Jack Reed suggested to Bernanke that since there was a lot of money at the very top of the income ladder, perhaps Congress should tax that money.

Sen. Bernie Sanders from Vermont, an Independent, didn’t mince any words when he heard about it. “Bernanke wants to cut entitlement spending? Well, that confirms everything I’m saying,” he said.

“The CEOs and top people on Wall Street make huge bonuses, and what? We’re going to cut back on Social Security and Medicare? That’s what we’re going to do?”

“That’s the solution? To cut back on the middle class and the elderly? That only adds fuel to the fire.”

I suspect that even if they did totally repeal Social Security and Medicare tomorrow, that money wouldn’t last them very long or help the economy. It would just get eaten up by the same greedy pigs that are feeding at the government trough now.

Remember, when they wanted to reform welfare, they pretended that it would help fix the deficit somehow, and yet looking back it made no perceptible difference to the deficit or the economy. It certainly didn’t do anything to create wealth in America–it didn’t bring back any factories, it didn’t raise any wages, and it created a whole lot of really desperate poor people.

So now I suppose they’re ready to have lots of dying desperate old people around, too. And Sarah Palin was worried about death panels! Who needs a death panel to ration health care to the elderly when you can just shove their asses out the door in the cold with no money?

Buy Nothing Day or Black Friday?

November 27th, Friday–

Thanksgiving’s over! I’m so thankful!

Now, today, of course is another sort of “holiday”, and which one you celebrate depends largely on your financial circumstances.

The people running the stores want you to go and shop! shop! shop! til you drop! ‘cuz they’ve got big! big! big! savings on everything you need for Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!

And then they cue “Santa Claus is coming to town”. All those Christmas songs they play in the malls and Wal-Marts aren’t just because the store owners are jolly–it’s an musical reminder. “It’s Christmas”, says the song, which reminds you of all the things you have to buy. Buy! Buy! Buy!

For some of us, the day after Thanksgiving is Buy Nothing Day. This is the holiday I am currently celebrating.

Now, I could act all smug and say the reason I buy nothing on Buy Nothing Day is because I want to protest unbridled consumerism and rapacious capitalism, but the honest truth is that I just don’t have any money to spend. Who’s got money after laying out for all that food on Thanksgiving? (You know most people on food stamps are out of them by the last week of the month.)

Plus, if you got up early Thursday morning to make extra pies, and stayed up late Wednesday night doing the same thing, you’re probably too burnt to get up at some godawful hour to go buy Christmas presents. I slept till almost seven this morning, despite the guinea pigs squeaking at me at six, demanding to be fed at the usual time.

But, now that I think of it, if someone was really wanting to do their Christmas shopping early! early! early!, and that person had money, it’s entirely possible that their family ate out on Thanksgiving rather than do the traditional feast at home.

Hey, that’s not a bad thing, either. If I had money I might do that, too, on one of these turkey days. But I kinda like the day after Thanksgiving being an easy one at home. Sometimes I think I’m more thankful just after Thanksgiving than on Thanksgiving. The guests are gone so the pressure’s off to keep the house all perfect looking, there’s a ton of food still around so you don’t have to cook much, don’t have to run the kid to school today, etc. Who would want to ruin that just to get up early and throw oneself into the Christmas chaos?

I like Christmas ok. I’m not anti-Santa or anything. But I suspect that even if I was rich enough to just hit some buffet on Thanksgiving rather than cook at home that I’d still rather not do the “Black Friday” thing.

By the way, who came up with that stupid name? “Black Friday”? Yeah, I know, it’s when businesses hope to “end up in the black” for the Christmas season…but every time I hear it I think of the stock market crash of 1929 (didn’t they refer to that as “Black Friday” too?). And of course there’s that Steely Dan song called “Black Friday”, in which the term seems to also refer to a day when all the stock markets would crash, etc.

When Black Friday comes, I’ll stand down by the door

And catch the gray men when they dive from the fourteenth floor

Yep, I’ve got that running through my head now. Good think I like Steely Dan. Beats the hell out of you-know-what music.

I’m starting to resent Christmas taking up so much space on the calendar. It used to be they didn’t start playing you-know-what songs on the tv until after Thanksgiving…this year, I swear I started hearing them before Halloween. It’s just too much. Giving gifts is nice and all, I like giving ’em and getting ’em, and shopping can even be kinda fun when you have money and you’re into it, but jeez, it seems like they just want to beat Christmas into us.

Also, I think Christmas is a perfect demonstration of why we need real public transportation in the US, instead of everyone driving around in their individual cars. I like being able to drive in my car, wouldn’t want it taken away from me, but the worst thing about Christmas shopping is the traffic and the trying to find a parking spot. It makes the whole experience suck.

For what it’s worth, I think every Wal-Mart in the country oughta be required by law to pay for putting a traffic light in at their entrances. I don’t know about everyone else’s W-M, but ours in Hilo is a bitch to get into or out of. They could afford to put in a light if someone made ’em do it.

(Don’t have anything against Wal-Mart, particularly…my mom worked for Wal-Mart…my brother worked for Wal-Mart…my daughter-in-law worked for Wal-Mart…I think my nephew still works for Wal-Mart. Just to clear that up.)

When Black Friday comes, I’ll fly down to Muswellbrook

Gonna strike all the big red words from my little black book

Gonna do just what I please, gonna wear no socks and shoes

With nothing to do but feed all the kangaroos

Now, if you’re just bound and determined to buy something, you could buy stuff online. Avoid those crowds! You could sit butt naked in front of your computer and shop if you want. Like…you could buy some beautiful handmade crocheted snowflakes on etsy.com.

(Who, me? Plug my own etsy shop in a blog entry decrying consumerism? Uh, yeah…but in my defense there’s a good chance that y’all might not be reading this right on the day after Thanksgiving…and if you are, you certainly don’t have to buy anything today…and if it does offend someone, well, there’s only a handful of people reads this blog anyway! So, the two or three people that might be offended are welcome to think of me as a total hypocrite.)

When Black Friday comes, I’m gonna dig myself a hole

Gonna lay down in it till I satisfy my soul

Gonna let the world pass by me, the Archbishop’s gonna sanctify me

And if he don’t come across I’m gonna let it roll

I bet I’m gonna hear this in my head all day. I don’t mind.

PS–was just looking up those song words and found this little blurb about “Black Friday”:

The driving shuffle “Black Friday” (from Katy Lied, 1975) was the first single released from their fourth album. Black Friday occurred on September 24, 1869, a day of securities market panic in which thousands of Americans were financially ruined, but the term is now applied to any financial crisis on either side of the Atlantic.

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June 22, 2009–

 

Some Pessimistic thots on Capitalist Totalitarianism–

 

Sadly, I fear the American health care system will become a scary bureaucratic mess of capitalist totalitarianism, where Americans are required to buy insurance, and the insurance companies aren’t required to treat patients decently or even keep them alive.

 

Any time I hear of some state plan that requires people to buy insurance, I just cringe. 

 

We Americans used to fear the Soviet system of communist totalitarianism, where the state told you what you could buy and where you could buy it, and where you could work and where you could live.

 

Here in America, the state doesn’t do all that–circumstances just does it for you. If you’re too poor to buy anywhere but Wal-Mart, it becomes your de facto store whether you like it or not. If you are required to live a middle class lifestyle just to keep your kids from being taken away from you (by the state), and you’re required to maintain a job to maintain that lifestyle, and for that you must have a car to get to said job, which you’re required to buy insurance for (by the state), isn’t the state forcing you into slavery by requiring you to buy so much stuff all the time?

 

Of course, you don’t have to have a car. But if you want to get back and forth to a job, you’re a lot likely to land it and keep it if you have a car. A few big American cities have public transportation, but most places in America have poorly run bus systems at best. (Hitchhiking will actually get you to most places faster, if you’re not scared to do it.) 

 

Of course, you don’t have to buy things at Wal-Mart. No one’s making you do it. But how long are you going to righteously buy toilet paper at some other store for more money when you know it’s really the same thing and you’d sure like to buy some dog food today, too?

 

So. Yeah. No one’s making you keep that job. No one’s forcing you to drive a car or make insurance payments, right? Sure…you can just walk everywhere and drive around with no insurance until you get caught and have to pay some gianormous fine…..

 

So, I always wonder…..if you’re required to buy health insurance, what do they do to the people who just can’t or won’t? I suppose the people who can’t will have the same sorta-kinda health care we’ve got now, but what about those who won’t qualify for that? You’re gonna force them to make a payment every month to an insurance company?

 

Why not have single-payer, then? What’s the damn difference between making people pay an insurance company and just straight-out taking their money and providing them with health care?

 

Of course, we all know why single-payer isn’t more attractive. It brings up the spectre of Bureaucracy, mountains of paperwork shoved at you by mouth-breathing office drones who only seem to exist to make any of your dealings with a government agency into a full day of pure unadulterated hell. Just go mess with Welfare or DMV or Social Security or any of those guys for a day and you can see what kind of nightmare an American national health care plan could turn into. So even while I think single-payer would be a good idea, I also worry that it could get really messed up and turn into just another American government agency, which is supposed to help people but actually puts up as many roadblocks as possible in order to discourage all but the most desperate or the most cunning. 

 

Aarrgh….what’s the answer? How are we supposed to come up with a humane intelligent system that actually takes care of people without costing a fortune? Or are we just doomed to watch our whole system lurch forward brokenly like a half-dead car, held together by popsicle sticks and chewing gum until it totally breaks down and we have to admit that we need a new one?