It was announced on Thursday, December 8, 2016, that President Elect Donald Trump had selected the fast-food executive, Andy Puzder, to head up the U.S. Department of Labor. While I’ve been trying to support the decisions that Trump has been making, this was one decision that has left a sour taste in my mouth. It’s not about the lack of experience or even Mr. Puzder’s advocacy against the increase in minimum wage that is most disturbing, but rather, it’s history repeating itself with the fall of the Roman Republic that we are now witness to … that is most troubling. The establishment continues on …
To be clear, there’s a very distinct difference between the President-Congress establishment that’s been in charge of America and what Trump’s doing. The Congress-Presidential establishment is made up of the “good ‘ol boy’s“, who are comprised of the elite and wealthy, privileged few who are blessed with school and self-indulgent megalomania that gives them a false sense of power. These people are so far out of touch with the common public that they cause more harm than good. Need proof? LOOK AROUND. These establishment elitists enact laws and act in ways that are very contradictory to the American public and benefit their own, financial interests. This is similar to the end of the Roman Republic, when an elite few started seeing the opportunity to horde wealth and treat the citizens like trash. That system (like the one America has had for the past 12 – 16 years minimum) – had to go.
And, while I previously wrote about some of the good things Trump was doing, it may have been a little premature. The decision to select Andy Puzder has me seriously concerned. Puzder’s notion about how minimum wage increases and the Affordable Care Act harm businesses and reduce labor resources is spot on, and yet, entirely wrong. There’s more to the story than these wealthy business folks are saying. The reason that companies will cut back on their labor force for automation and outsourcing is not because they “can’t afford it.” It’s because they “won’t” afford it. CEOs will not surrender their 6 – 8 digit salaries. Companies will not stop cutting corners with labor (such as fighting against the recent overtime law that would have benefited the common “citizen”, which was killed because of greedy elites and overpaid government workers!!), even if it harms them (taking money away from the people and the economy to the wealthy few does NOT promote sales or growth!!). Basically – the fight against minimum wage is an example of blackmail.
” ‘I think they can’t afford it only because they are holding themselves to EPS goals that are maybe unrealistic.’ ” (referring to the status of companies on Wall Street and not even ‘real’ concerns over profit!) – Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, reported by Matt Egan of CNN.
It goes like this: “If you increase minimum wage, we’ll take it out on the workers.” It’s a threat – pure and simple.
And, the blackmailers win. Here’s a perfect example. I recently submitted a summary analysis to the City of Bend, Oregon (Nov. 17 meeting), to help them with their efforts for affordable housing. Among the many conclusions and proposals was the idea of extending eviction timelines to 90 days, not 30. The State had already begun to pass laws extending the timeline to 60 days and two of the larger cities in the State had instituted their own, 90-day timeline. But, rather than look for opportunity in this, a key speaker for the Affordable Housing Committee literally said:
“If tenant evictions are extended to 90 days, every landlord will increase the rent, guaranteed. And, in some cases, most landlords will just stop renting altogether. If we had 90 day no-cause evictions, I’d make every eviction a for-cause eviction, no matter what.“
That’s right. Against their claims that not being able to fill homes puts landlords at “risk” (a stupid and pointless argument as landlords don’t take risks, they just don’t get the extra profit for days of a house not filled), the members of the Affordable Housing Committee LITERALLY THREATENED to harm the citizens of the community if laws were passed that benefited tenants. That is NO different than extortion or blackmail – AT ALL. And, we’re not talking about tenants who ‘break‘ the landlords customize-able and completely unbalanced rules (ignoring and pretending that options like home insurance simply don’t exist … which means there’s probably a LOT of insurance fraud going on from landlords who also charge tenants for repairs they have insurance for) … just tenants who are kicked out of their homes for NO REASON! But, why did the so-called, “affordable housing committee,” take that position? The people who presented for them consisted of bankers, real estate agents, and property managers.
Yes – rather than actually listen to the tenants, communicate with the people or engage those who are in need of affordable housing and try to learn what the real blockades are – the City circumvented folks like myself and went straight to developers (and the newspapers won’t report on this … the whole dang town is sold out to the elitists). The reason? Developers, bankers, and landlords will institute laws that bring more housing projects and make the City more money – even at the cost of hurting their citizenry and killing their own economy. Nothing in the City’s efforts to bring in developers outlined any successful methods for ensuring those developers would put in affordable housing. In fact, one of my proposals, which was to force landlords to become businesses (as they are literally one of the only for profit groups in the nation that get away with operating as private citizens, free of most taxes, etc.), so regulations could be instituted and laws passed to incentivize affordable housing was immediately rejected.
It just so happens that one … or maybe two, of the City Council members are … yep … landlords! (<=Yay, big surprise, right?). Why would they institute a law that could cause them to be regulated and not charge jacked up, thieving prices? (you can watch the council’s meetings for yourself, but it’s like listening to people who HATE renters tell the City how to make it look like they’re helping people without actually doing it!). And … that’s what I’m getting at.
When the representatives in charge of helping the people in need are the SAME folks who are threatening citizens with extortion and blackmail … things will not go well for the common public. Some of this change is good. Right now, with an ‘insider’ establishment taking charge, the minimum wage increases would only serve to increase the costs of merchandise (since corporate greed rules, vs. the benefits it would bring without corporate greed), and would trickle into the middle class, causing them harm, and so on and so on. The greed of America’s corporations would cause mass unemployment, burdening the economy, and causing a massive downfall ONLY because THEY INTENTIONALLY caused it. These are real problems. The proof is in the history of the country’s economy since its very first days as a Republic and the Railroad industry (for example). Minimum wage increases, in reality and without capitalist greed, would not hurt the economy (and historically, the multiple minimum wage increases really haven’t had that much of an immediate economic effect and long-term, only served to motivate greedy people to charge more money for merchandise / cost of living increases):
“A July 2015 survey found that 3 out of 5 small business owners with employees support a gradual increase in the minimum wage … say an increase ‘would immediately put more money in the pocket of low-wage workers who will then spend the money on things like housing, food, and gas.This boost in demand for goods and services will help stimulate the economy … ‘” – U.S. Department of Labor.
But, why did the minimum wage increase become an issue? Because the cost of living has skyrocketed. Why has that happened? Government regulation of small businesses with uncontrolled authority and privilege granted to large businesses (and backed by government laws) – all of which – are against the common public. For example, America has the slowest and most expensive internet IN THE WORLD. Why? Unregulated cable companies (among others) abusing their position, going behind the government’s back, and screwing with people to jack the rates. Is it their right? Sure … to an extent. It’s their business and they can do what they want. But, when they are given government privilege for control over cable lines, special monopolization privileges, and are backed by government authority over the people (ie. “it’s against ‘the law’ to steal cable??”, even though they admittedly steal from you), they SHOULD LOSE their privilege of independence as a business (imho). Once they intrude into the American public’s domain of law-making, they are no longer “private” institutions.
“One of the biggest contributing factors to the collapse of the Roman Republic was corruption in the government. … Rome moved away from a government by the people and increasingly put power into the hands of a select, wealth few. … Only the rich could become magistrates … wealthy individuals could practically buy senate seats. … Tax collectors were also corrupt, extorting money from the people … An unequal class system created enmity between rich and poor, and even between factions of poor. Unscrupulous leaders turned the people against each other with dueling political agendas.” – www.reference.com (Sound familiar? It should.)
Another reason the cost of living has increased is the wholly unregulated authority rental housing industry, backed by government laws, against the public, favoring landlords (which is why I sought to actively be involved and helped until Bend’s most recent City Council meeting that left me feeling disgusted and sick). It’s a nation-wide problem. Landlords have realized their privilege, lack of regulatory control, and are making bank. This, in addition to the rising costs of utilities, such as PacifiCorp (that raise their rates regardless of the fact that it has nothing to do with the actual costs, but of the big hedge funds for Warren Buffet), is making it impossible to live. And, it’s the burden on every taxpayer who helps subsidize those folks at the bottom that are equally getting screwed because of private corporations milking the “government monies aka taxpayer dollars” teat! This further drives down the entire economy and thus drives up the need for a cost of living wage increase! But, we can’t let the people at the bottom falter, or the foundation of the country falls. Realistic options like City subsidized housing and projects that would benefit the people – are mysteriously killed off in America by greedy, authority figures.
The results of this trend are more than disturbing – they’re terrifying. The gap between the rich and the poor (income inequality) has grown so substantially wide, that Donald Trump, an outsider, was able to use the “Julius Ceaser” tactic of returning promises to the military of land and security for themselves and their families; promises to rein in the establishment that had crushed a once, thriving Republic; and stop taxing the lower class to death. This brought about the Roman Empire because people needed change. The establishment was choking them to death and the economy was getting substantially worse.
However, in the face of opportunity, prosperity, and a new tomorrow – Trump has made the most idiotic and self-destructive decision that anyone in his position could (in my opinion) – he’s widening the gap between the rich and the poor even further. He may follow through on his promises to the military, creating infrastructure jobs, and giving businesses back some authority – and all of that’s great.
But … just like inviting developers into the community because your city needs more affordable housing does NOT guarantee that those developers will build affordable housing. The current state of greed in America is beyond reprehensible. This country has fallen into a level of gluttonous decay that has never before been paralleled in the world (imho). And, the people to blame are the same people who are supposed to be fixing it. The mass manipulation of the public through media, merchandising, lies, government backing, and so on and so on, spending billions to find ways to prey on peoples’ weaknesses and invade their privacy has driven the American public into a state of capitalism overdrive. People have been driven into slavery by a new, tyrannical king – corporations. People don’t need the next, newest, bigger, or better thing. In fact, people don’t want it. They want status. People want recognition and respect. People are looking for what they have always been looking for since the beginning of time: security, social acceptance, belonging, and self-worth (to name a few). But, these elements are defined by our culture and American capitalism has done an outstanding job of ensuring that unless you own the newest i-phone, released only a year after your last i-phone, YOU SUCK! (that’s just one example).
“… would have us look back to the days of the British empire with pride. But there is little in the brutal oppression and naked greed with which it was built that deserves our respect.” – Richard Gott, TheGaurdian.com, 2011
But, it couldn’t have happened by big business alone. People can rebel against big business, take them down, refuse to buy from them, and fight back. Big business won by helping put people in big government positions who had a vested interest in the success of capitalism over people. For example, the effect of big business and government collaboration is why children worked in mines and factories in unhealthy and dangerous conditions. It’s the very reason that people can be forced to work overtime, without pay, or face termination. Even the 5-day work week was a modern invention by Henry Ford, who was less interested in economic health vs. personal wealth and greed (when the 4 day work week, then and now, would have better outcomes for the entire economy!). And, while Andy Puzder may offer some good insight into keeping the U.S. labor costs low, it will do nothing to help workers who are being forced to work free overtime, workers who can’t afford increases in costs of living, and any of the other cost of living, wage right, and abusive worker treatment policies that NEED TO CHANGE.
Income inequality is a dangerous gap – and it’s growing. It’s the same gap that the Declaration of Independence defined as tyrannical and lead people to a new world. There’s only so long one can stand on the backs of the poor and the meek, elevating themselves higher and higher, before those backs break. I used to believe that the only solution for America to change was a massive, bloody, and violent revolution (or world war). In the past 16 years or so, I had slowly begun to change that perspective to believe that it was possible for the right person, with money and status, to step up and use their influence to help bring balance. I had seen the goodness in humanity.
“But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and provide new Guards for their future security.” – Declaration of Independence (ushistory.org)
But, now I wonder. Is the greed too much (has it gone too far and lasted too long)? Has the power been consolidated into the hands of a Republic that will push people to the brink of ruin, giving rise to the military taking arms? Is this why the government has been purchasing up all the ammunition and weapons they can get (while trying to take weapons out of the hands of people, convincing you it’s for your own good)? Are they trying to stop a revolution … or are they preparing to step in after a revolution and put themselves right back on top? Scary – but not unrealistic.
I like the version of the Star Trek model, whereby greed has been traded off for intellectual prosperity for all. In this economy, a healthy and safe, free Democracy with a military-style socialism (not Marxism or Communism), rules … but maybe that’s why you’ve been taught that everything to do with socialism is terrible, focusing only on Communist socialism? So … you don’t see the alternatives? Hmmm….? On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Mad Max economy where individuals with the weapons and the resources, rise to power and widen the economic and social gap without any hope for the poor (literally transforming human beings into a trade commodity). Although those are ‘extreme’ futures that science fiction writers have been warning us about since the days of the Industrial Revolution of early America … are they so far fetched that we shouldn’t consider the possibility or even amass an ounce of concern for what may be if the people don’t take action (especially for future generations)? Aren’t the trends we’re now seeing following very closely to the trends of which society was warned?
I don’t know what to suggest, or say. America needed change – but without closing that income inequality gap and actually being a government OF THE PEOPLE, and NOT the corporations, how long will the backs of the low-class, that make up over 50% of the country, last? I can’t see the future and don’t know for sure that what has happened will have consequences. But – I do know the fall-out of an establishment, including the one that had to be replaced by Trump. But, historically – disassociated, powerful moguls in charge of the welfare of the poor … doesn’t work. The riots have already started to increase in number. The protesters are increasing in quantity. The nation was emotionally run through the ringer on this last election. How thin can that last straw get before it snaps? Yet, corporations are thriving and everyday they’re introducing more deadly chemicals into medicine and food, crushing the hopes and dreams of everyday workers, and the wealthy are building bunkers because they know what they’ve done. It’s like they “want” you to die while they run and hide?? (<=Mind boggling … beyond stupid?!?)
I’m not making this up. Every claim, every statement, and every conclusion drawn has a supporting link, or links, that you can corroborate. And, while there will always be information that says none of this is true … be sure to look at the sources. I drew my conclusions first through observation and research, and then found supporting resources – just to be sure those observations and subsequent findings were not isolated to only myself. For a Carl’s Jr.’s executive turned U.S. Labor director to tell you that everything is fine and blindly believe him … is CRAZY!! If it was just the citizens panicking … maybe you could blame these trends on misinformation. But, even the government and elite wealthy are acting concerned. Have they gone too far to stop (at least on their own)?!
I’ve tried. I communicated the summary of an in depth analysis, performed at my own cost and time, to a City desperately seeking ‘help’ (or so they claimed), with hundreds of high school, and hundreds more elementary students and families that live in their cars, homeless people literally freezing to death, and a host of affordable housing problems that are literally out of control. But – nothing. The insider’s club has the power … the authority … and the force to continue doing what they’re doing. I’ve posted on here multitudes of times about the growing trends and problems. But, now, Puzder? That’s a REAL red flag.
Maybe you have some ideas? Voice them. If not, Facebook your concerns. Tweet it. Share it. Share this – or some other article you prefer. Help the movement grow – especially peacefully! At least make your voice heard so that when generations look back (if there will be any), they knew you did not stand quietly by as the wolves picked you off one by one, but instead, see for themselves that it was the Shepard who ignored your cries for help. And, if the Shepard doesn’t listen, then maybe it’s time for the flock to rush the gates. If that happens, I predict more than 80% of the people will be lost – but that’s what the history of humanity has been. People who have had to fight, and die, for what they believed in so future generations wouldn’t suffer. No one wants to die – but living under the mind control of abusive authority has never been accepted by any faction of humanity, as “living.”
Wishing you well… [sorry for a downer article on the holidays … but holidays or not, 2017 is coming, and everyone deserves to know what exactly … is coming. And, sincerely, I would be MOST grateful, if 10 years from now, I could post an apology about how wrong I was … ’cause that would be the BEST outcome and future for our children’s, children’s, children …].
“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” – Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
“I am opposing a social order in which it is possible for one man who does absolutely nothing that is useful to amass a fortune of hundreds of millions of dollars, while millions of men and women who work all the days of their lives secure barely enough for a wretched existence.” – Eugene V. Debs
“The first duty of a man is to think for himself.” – Jose Marti
“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” – Winston S. Churchill (<= YES, Churchill … think about it … LONG and hard …)
“If voting made any difference they wouldn’t let us do it.” –Mark Twain (<= Funny that this is the “official” website of Mark Twain, ’cause last I knew, Samuel Clemens, wasn’t around for the internet era … 🙂