Friday, December 17, 2010

Sleep When You're Dead

Retirement costs for business, retirement costs for government, pensions, 401Ks, these will all be specific talking-points, of the general retirement-cost topic, thrown around by the Scott Walker administration in an attempt to dismantle Wisconsin's high quality of life for most residents (and visitors).

In preemptive George W. Bush fashion, I felt I should reiterate some earlier postings [linked] which nullify all the pension-bashing pablum (which is periodically leaked by the Journal Sentinel) we will soon see from Mr. Walker in his ploy to ignite the, already occurring, divergence of incomes amongst the grotesquely rich and everyone else in our state and society.

Oops, I meant his "vision" to: cut taxes, especially for business and the well-off (must take care of your masters); let you keep more of your money (that just sounds good); create all kinds of jobs (starting will killing $810 million in development); get rid of worthless government employees and all their wage and benefit costs; control health care costs by privatizing more of the health care system (even though we've been privatizing the system for the last 40 years and costs have been skyrocketing); and destroy unions once and for all, opening the floodgates to all the wonderful possibilities of an unadulterated free market.

How has this country - which came out of the Great Depression with a highly regulated corporate sector that worked for the benefit of all in society, a Social Security system, Medicare, employment and labor law, unemployment insurance, the highway system and numerous other infrastructure projects, the Wagner Act, and the National Park Service, to name just a few of our great accomplishments - done a complete 180 and is now buying this low-tax, do-nothing, screw-everyone-but-me philosophy of governance?

From the mid-1940s to the mid-1970s we prospered. Then, from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, we experienced higher unemployment and a generally slower-growth economy. Because of this bump in the economic road, Republicans were successful in initiating their strategy of supply-side economics (our savior) to the rescue. After making all aforementioned gains in a relatively short period of time just beyond the Great Depression, we (voters) decided to turn our backs on an economy that lifted many from poverty, allowed access to health care, gave one breadwinner the opportunity to raise a family and own a home, established Social Security to enable a somewhat dignified retirement, and generally improved the well-being and quality of life for the majority of the population.

Health care costs are rising, wages are declining, and retirement is more and more out of reach (thanks to 401Ks). For those of you with a job, I hope you enjoy it. Something tells me, you're going to need it, and you're going to be working longer and harder for less. Which, of course, means you'll be working until you're dead. This is the "opportunity society" the right-wing is talking about. You have the opportunity of working like an indentured servant until you die, or not working and just dying.

Happy Holidays.

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