Our initial offer to help the Indian Ocean crisis, as communicated by Mr. Bush, was $15 million, plus $20 million in guaranteed loans. This was after news of the scope of the disaster was all over the news and internet, and after Japan had pledged $150 million.
But remember, he does not read newspapers or pay any attention to the news from any source other than his advisors. Since they were on vacation, he was happily inside his bubble, cutting brush and riding his mountain bike.
It was only after the reaction to the chintziness set in that the real decision-makers
realized we needed to step up to the plate and send some serious help, that
it got going.
real story in today's political scene is the continuation of Bush's history
of running companies into bankruptcy and leaving everyone else holding the bag.
Our Social Security System has been loaning billions to the general fund for
20 years, getting the equivalent of giant-sized T-Bills in exchange. Bush's
plan is to bail out on those bonds by cutting benefits. This is neither fair
nor safe, because people with nothing to lose turn into active, dangerous, and
I'm sorry if we Democrats sound like a one-note band, always harping on the
horrible state of our political situation, but from where I sit practicing law
in my little one-horse office here in south Minneapolis with all these folks
who are essentially lower-middle class, I can see them slipping into serious
poverty. The most frequent cause for any personal bankruptcy is medical bills.
Divorce, child abuse, and domestic assaults are climbing, due to the frustrations
and stress. Resources to help with these issues, even basic education standards,
are disappearing. And it's not getting any better.
The middle class in this country is the consciously created result of progressive
political thought, ideals, and effort. Re-shaping our tax structure and social
codes is going to result in a place very much like 1870 Texas - not a very pleasant
place, one in which the wealthy have to be constantly guarded, where the average
education level is about third grade. Sort of like China, but with less of a
So we keep banging our bells and being unpleasant, hollering how the sky is
falling and society's ladder is slipping into the quicksand of abandoned social
mores that did indeed call for transfer of income from the very fortunate to
those less fortunate.
inevitably flows towards those who have whichever fortunate combination of genes,
luck, and drive results in wealth. Those who have it invariably feel they are
entitled to every bit of it, and then some. Human nature.
Unfortunately, wealth trickles upward more efficiently than downwards. Which
results in greater likelihood of poverty for almost everyone if you don't have
a system that takes something - even if only 25% - from the top and pumps it
down to the bottom, where it can work its way up again.
These days, we're looking at less than 5% taxes for the top 10% who own 90%
of the country. Combine this with the elimination of the estate tax, and we
are creating a generation of people who feel literally entitled to their inherited
wealth vs. a much larger group who even more entitled to a fair share of that
This is both shortsighted and disaster-prone, because sooner or later we are
going to need to defend our country. If the folks doing the fighting go sour,
(and it won't be the rich, we're all in serious trouble. The neo-con Republicans
currently running the show are literally saying they want to weaken our government
"to the point where we can drown it in a bathtub."
The question is, who is going to do the drowning?
David K. Porter