Dear Arnold

Foto from Lifted

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger,

Recently, you proposed cutting assistance to the poor, but preserved tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations (link here

Do tax cuts for the rich help the economy? A lot of people think that; most of them are rich, and tax cuts do help their economy, but what about ours?

It’s a tough question, but let’s balance it against another question: who has been controlling the wealth? The wealthy, right? So, they got us in to this mess, why should we believe they will get us out?

Robbing the poor to give to the rich to trickle down to the poor is based on a couple of assumptions, some spoken, others implied.

The spoken portion of the rationale is this: wealthy people, like yourself, Governor, don’t just spend money on hand-made automobiles and supple young servants, they invest in things. They invest in research. They invest in infrastructure. They invest in capital ventures which employ us lowly and raise us up, at least a little and for a few years.

The unspoken portion goes like this: look you ignorant wage slave, we are rich and you are not, which means we are smart, well connected, favored by government and blessed by God; we are so clearly superior to you that we don’t have to explain it. If we give money to you and your booger eating kids you’ll spend it all on beer and disposable diapers. Give us money and we’ll employ you and your friends; who deserves the money more? Besides, pay us off, or we’ll leave the state and you can rot.

But is any of that true? The rich spend their money on beer and disposable diapers, too, though the beer is generally wine or scotch and the diapers are cloth with disposable inserts. The point is, do capitalists, with their mythology of magically making money out of nothing and making everyone richer, actually do that?

They seem to at a distant glance, but as one looks closer, one sees something else.

People needing things create the market. The market is a flow of money and goods. It’s the things we need and our effort to find, or make, or provide those things for others. We can look at the effect of this as a stream of money generated by people needing things and providing a service. Notice: there is no magic here, this is what people have done for a jillion (at least 40,000) years. This stream of money becomes quite large when you build highways and railroads and airplanes, and people travel farther and faster and move things more cheaply. Still not magic, though, still just you and me working, wanting things, buying things. Where are the rich in this?

They are positioned to network all this. But, let’s be clear, they don’t do it themselves, we do the work, we are the consumers. It is certainly true that we need people with networking skills and connections to bring everything together, but many of the things we credit capitalists with, like research, we actually subsidize through universities, or military research. Many of the wonders of the modern world are organized by the rich, but what they do isn’t magic, it’s often marketing. The massive river of money which is currently ebbing in the ocean of the world’s economy, isn’t driven by the rich, it is driven by me and my booger eatin’ kids, and my neighbors and their kids.

Indeed, even the things the rich curse us for actually benefit them. The poor are imagined to cost money, but it simply isn’t so. Of the billions of dollars spent on the poor, only a tiny trickle benefits them. The rest goes to doctors and hospitals and social service providers, very few of whom are poor. The rich love to complain about MediCal, but where do those dollars go? They go to medical equipment manufacturers, doctors and drug companies (warning, drug companies should not be used if you have a liver; side effects vary, but include death). Maybe hospitals are closing, but the money is going somewhere, and it certainly isn’t into the pockets of the poor. The hell that our medical services have become is a result of lawyers and insurance companies fighting, yet their profit is hardly mentioned in discussions of medical care for the poor.

Here is the magic: cause the poor to blame and resent each other and hold the rich in esteem. Then, when the wealthy get greedy and the system collapses, restart it again by taking even more from the poor to prop up the rich.

So, Governor Schwarzenegger, what is the solution? Easy, turn the hose of money on the people who generate it, the common person. Instead of giving billions away to the rich in the hopes that our economic heart can be started again, give it to us. Not in dribs and drabs, either, instead of billions to corporations, give the billions to us. We’ll decide what services we are willing to pay for, what corporations are really useful.

Will we spend it all on beer and disposable diapers? Maybe, but what the hell is wrong with that? We’ll also pay our bills, get medical insurance, replace the old clunker with something more fuel efficient, maybe even buy houses again. The wealthy had their chance, cut out the middle man, give the money to us.

Say "hi" to Maria,


Fringe Editor

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