WHY IS IT EASIER TO POINT A FINGER AT A TEACHER THAN A BILLIONAIRE? by WAMM Member Polly Kellogg

Polly says this is a draft, and she would like some feedback.  Email her at pkellogg@stcloudstate.edu

WHY IS IT EASIER TO POINT A FINGER AT A TEACHER THAN A BILLIONAIRE?

Teachers do the most important job in our society. Let’s get real. Who among us could teach 5 classes of 25 youngsters 5 days a week? What jobs are more valuable, difficult, and complex? We all know they are underpaid and over worked and deserve much more social status than they get. And they pay taxes.

What do billionaires do for society, really? The 500 largest corporations haven’t created one additional US job in decades; they can afford to outsource jobs.

Billionaires pay a miniscule 15% tax on their Wall St. profits, when they are not sheltering profits completely in the Cayman Islands. 2/3 of corporations pay no taxes. Giants like Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Bank of America paid NO taxes last year, after getting billion dollar bailouts from our taxes, and crashing our economy.

The rich are richer than they have ever been. The top 400 billionaires now have more wealth than the combined wealth of 50% of the population-that’s 155 million of us. Top hedge fund managers make more in one hour than teachers average in a year. Every 14 minutes the very top hedge fund manager earns Obama’s annual salary.

Meanwhile poverty is record high and wages for people who have jobs have declined. One third of mortgages are “under water.”

As in 1929, this extreme inequality leads to disaster because billionaire high rollers favor risky gambling over running real companies that create real jobs. The 13 mega banks and hedge funds used fraudulent mortgages as gambling chips in $45 TRILLION high risk casino games. “The banks run Washington,” said Senator Durbin, as Congress failed to pass regulations that would rein in their casino capitalism (as FDR did when he regulated “the banksters.”).

It’s time to face facts: government is dysfunctional because the corporate billionaires have taken control of legislators. Since the Supreme Court opened the floodgates to corporate financing of elections, any billionaire can walk into any politician’s office and say, “I have $5 million to spend, on you or on your opponent. What’ll it be?” The government we have now will be the best we’ll ever have unless we can reverse the corporate power grab. All over the country the new Tea Party legislatures have marching orders to tear apart the public sector and destroy unions, the only organized voice of working people in the face of powerful corporate greed. The Tea Partiers are doing this because they are funded and organized by the billionaires like the Koch brothers, the Waltons, and other extreme right wing corporate elites.

Billionaires own the 5 major media conglomerates that try to tell us what to think and what to value.

Billionaires take most of the $1trillion military budget for the military industrial complex. Boeing and GE paid no taxes last year.

The medical/pharmaceutical complex has captured our health care system and made it the most costly and lucrative in the world.

Millionaires just got $100,000 each from the extension of the Bush tax cuts. It is astonishingly stupid that the states are not raising taxes on them to recoup revenue that disappeared when taxpayers’ earnings fell with the Wall St. economic crash.

The legislature of Uruguay enforced tax loopholes and with this revenue, they doubled their teachers’ salaries. The University of Uruguay is hiring 200 new faculty, not contemplating laying off 900 (as MNSCU may have to if  MN Tea Partiers aren’t stopped).

The refreshing winds of peoples’ power are blowing in from Egypt to Wisconsin. We must all work together to get real tax reform, campaign finance reform, and anti-trust laws that break up the big banks, the drug companies, and the defense contractor oligopolies. We must forever get the billionaires out of out government. So public officials can work for the public, not for the top 1%. The gov’t should make the banks that made billions gambling off bad mortgages eat the difference. And stop the predatory lending to students that’s fueling the next bubble. We must force legislators to stop fooling around with cutting public jobs and services. Stop the cruel cuts for low-income people and people with disabilities. And stop the  disgusting union busting.

To do it, we must get off the couch and get together, and get to know each other and stay together. This much more than a fight for union benefits. “This is what democracy looks like.” We’ve been putting up with too much for too long. The straws have been piling up on the camel’s back. Good jobs turning into longer hours and part time jobs. College loan debt rising. War based on lies. Torture and surveillance becoming the norm. Vets coming home only to face unemployment and PTSD. Climate change denial in the midst of weather extremes. Then the Banksters’ crash-and the sudden massive loss of our savings, jobs, homes, and peace of mind. (This is all too depressing. . . .)

People all over the world are challenging their elites. Many are winning and all are shaking up the status quo. AS MLK said, The moral arch of the universe is long, but it tends toward JUSTICE.

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