Take The Rich Off Welfare
Mark Zepezauer & Arthur Naiman
It is probably a good thing that I read this book during a so-called “election year.” I say “so-called” because the original idea of choosing between candidates or parties has largely been corrupted by the process of campaign financing. Big money chooses whom we are allowed to vote for — with the exceptions of minor characters like Ross Perot and Steve Forbes, who have coffers large enough to bankroll a bid for the White House themselves. See how far it got them, right? People have been bemoaning the lack of a viable third party for years — hell, I’d be happy to see an actual TWO party system. Anyone who can detect a sizable difference between the Democrat and Republican style of big government is a better man than I. Both are organizations bought and paid for by special interest groups, and they vote according to the whims of those with the checkbook.
Taking away for a moment that they are all big money whores, they are impeachable ones at that. This book tells you why. When you hear the news about budget battles on Capitol Hill, and see the figures being tossed about, they are so huge that us common folk can’t comprehend them. And if you attempt to dig deeper and find out just what assortment of pigs are gathering at the trough, you’d find that large sections of the budget are not for public disclosure. Heard of the CIA? Sure you have. Try and find them in the 2001 budget. Other than landscaping for the grounds at Langley, I doubt you will find much. They are part of what is known as “black budget” items. These are parts of the budget that are not declared as single items, rather hidden in reported sections of the document, but not stated as such. This, my friends, is illegal, despite what the Supreme Court ruled. The Constitution (remember that old thing, the law of the land?) states: “No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law,” and goes onto require the government to publish a “regular statement… of the receipts and expenditures of all public money.” So anyone in Congress who voted for the current or past budgets is in direct violation of the Constitution. Impeach ’em all, and see if they can get a real job.
But of course, that will never happen. Instead, we hold mock impeachments on sexual matters — not the undeclared wars Clinton engaged us in, or the signing of the Brady Bill, which is in violation of the Second Amendment, and other such credible issues. No, we attempt to show we give a damn about Bill and some schoolgirl crush. Pathetic. But I digress.
This book illustrates with concrete examples just how a large man with a gun (the Federal government) steals the wages of a smaller, unarmed man (that would be you) each and every day. You can quibble about the threat of a Cold War, or fighting a war on two fronts at once all you want in order to scare us into boosting our defense budget, but the Pentagon is a bloated, fraud-ridden sinkhole of public funds that accounts for five percent of our Gross National Product (far more than most other nations). It is estimated that waste and fraud account for a loss of 500 million dollars a day. A day. Let that sink into your head while you look at your meager paycheck.
And the Pentagon, while being one of the more notable examples of outright theft, is certainly not the only one. This book admits to only skimming the top of the list of corporate scumbags, but it’s enough to make you ill. From paying farmers to grow tobacco while at the same time spending tax dollars on stop smoking campaigns, our government bends over backwards to “assist” companies by price-fixing that keeps our prices unnaturally high in relation to the real world markets, pays farmers to irrigate farmland that another agency has paid them not to farm. So what do the farmers do? Sell the “extra” water back to local governments — which means we pay for it twice.
When people bandy about the term “welfare,” the image that comes to most peoples’ mind is an inner-city apartment with scores of children running about, and the mother sitting on a couch watching Jerry Springer, arising only to cash a welfare check. While this is certainly troubling, all of the social programs added together only account for a small portion of the total picture. Compare that to something like what Baton Rouge, Louisiana did for Exxon — a 14.4 million dollar tax break to entice the oil giant to create jobs in the region. Guess how many were created?
One frigging job. 75% of Louisiana’s property tax exemptions go to projects that create no new jobs. Multiply this sort of thing by about a trillion times, and you start to see why people are starting to compare our country to Rome before the fall. Our nation is gone, and in its place is a puppet regime of yes men signing checks to hand to faceless, bloated companies and agencies that are immune to public accounting.
Capitalism made the United States into the strongest, most powerful nation in the history of the world. Two grocery stores side by side on a street corner competed against each other, and the one with the best prices and wares won. They hired whom they needed, set the prices that they could live with, and in the end, the best man generally won. Those days are long past us now. Now the corner grocer must pay a minimum wage, which keeps him from hiring more employees. He must pay inflated (by the government) prices for the food he sells, and then is taxed so hard to pay for who knows what all, that it’s no wonder the corner grocery has been replaced by a chain store owned by a conglomerate that most likely got a cushy government handout to open in the first place.
After reading this book, a person of average intelligence will come away seething. So early next year, when you travel to Washington to watch the inauguration of yet another robber baron, don’t bring your camera. Bring a rope. So we can lynch the thieving bastards, just like they once did to stagecoach robbers and sea pirates. They deserve no less for stealing our country away.