Saturday, October 04, 2008

Back Street Gets the Shaft While Wall Street Gets Welfare & Main Street Gets Conned

We hear a lot about Wall Street and Main Street these days but the politicians and the main stream media are doing their absolute best to ignore the Back Street as usual.

Every single Democrat and Republican who is supporting the Wall Street welfare plan is nothing but a hypocrite!

Republicans voting for the $700 Billion gift to the rich, whose platform is to oppose the "welfare" state, are completely hypocritical because they support the welfare-for-the-rich state. Hating the very word "socialism," the Republicans eagerly engage in privatizing their profits while socializing their risk.

Democrats who are voting for the boondoggle are hypocritical because, while they may support welfare (as I do), they are not giving the welfare to the people who need it and instead are giving it to the rich who don't. While claiming to be for working people the Democrats are working against the interests of working people and those on the back streets.

This scenario is as old as our nation and is the direct echo of the first Congress' consideration of the first funding bills in the new Congress of 1790.

Among the most important of the very first issues the new Congress had to deal with was the funding crisis. The primary issue was paying off the national debt owed to people holding Continental Dollars that were the script issued by the Revolutionary Army to fight the war. Most of the debt was owed to farmers and shopkeepers when the Army was taking supplies to fight the war. Much of it was also in soldier's pay some of it held by the widows of the soldiers. The Continentals had the name of the person they were issued to written on them along with the dollar amount. They were more like today’s checks than currency.

During the time of the Articles of Confederation between 1783 and 1789 there was no assurance at all that these Continentals would be paid by the new nation while the Confederation Congress fought over whose responsibility it was to pay, the states or the federal government.

Some states, like Pennsylvania, just went ahead and honorably paid off the Continentals. Others did not, claiming it was the National debt.

When the first Congress convened under the new Constitution the debt payment issue came up again. In the mean time speculators had been going around the country buying up Continentals paying widows, poor farmers and other note holders at only pennies on the dollar. While the debate was going on in Congress, many Congressman were buying up Continentals using agents and brokers.

The Debate boiled down to the positions between Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. Hamilton wanted to give anyone currently holding the Continental its full dollar value. That of course meant that anyone holding them in speculation having paid only pennies on the dollar would make a giant windfall profit. Hamilton used the exact same arguments we are hearing today: it is necessary to being about confidence in the financial system, the people who bore the risk should not have to lose anything, it is good for the country.

Madison's position was that any original note holder currently holding a Continental should be paid full face value but if the current note holder was not the original person it was issued to then the current holder should only get a reasonable rate of interest on his investment and the remainder should go back to the original note holders, the widows, farmers and merchants who had to sell them to survive while Congress diddled.

Needless to say with so many Congressmen themselves holding Continental notes in speculation the Hamilton position won out and the rich shared in the spoils at the taxpayer's expense.

The parallels should be obvious today as we watch the rich both inside and outside of Congress put out the phony claim that this is needed for Americans to have "confidence" in the system when what they are doing is actually a confidence game on American taxpayer no less egregious than Hamilton's was.

There are many good solutions out there but the majority in Congress are not interested in listening. They know where and how their bread is buttered and even with all their stated concerns about Main Street, their only care is for Wall Street. And Wall Street is only a legalized gambling institution.

Where are the Back Streets in this debate?

Some Democrats and Republicans supporting this Wall Street welfare would tell you that there is help for Main Street in this package. But I don't take tax breaks for Microsoft, Wal-mart, and Harley-Davidson to be helping the people on the Back Streets. I don't see the tax breaks for toy wooden arrow makers in Oregon and Wisconsin to be helping the Back Streets or Back Roads. Those business interests are on the up side of the tracks and such pointed specific tax breaks are exactly the kind of special interest loopholes that the people want Congress to stop dealing out.

The increase of FDIC insurance from $100K to $250K isn't about the Back Street or even most of Main Street. The people I know are going from pay check to pay check and if they have $10,000 in the bank they feel lucky.

Only the Progressive Democrats like Dennis Kucinich, Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, Lynn Woolsey, et al., have so far seemed to really care about the Back Streets of America.

What does the Bible have to offer?

As a Buddhist, I find it very hypocritical of Republican and Democratic congresspeople voting for the Wall Street welfare package to be claiming to be good Christians in this con game.

It used to be--in the long ago days before Nixon and Reagan--that good Christians saw Wall Street as a dens of gamblers who were nothing but parasites on society. Nixon began and Reagan solidified the unholy marriage of fundamentalist Christians and Republican Wall Street gamblers where each agreed to ignore their animosity for the other if they agreed to support the specific narrow issues of the other. Essentially Wall Street speculators said, "If you support us and stop calling us parasites we will support you and you anti-abortion crusade."

Of course the fundamentalist evangelical Christians were sold on that con-game and even though the promise was false from the beginning-- because Wall Street knew it could not deliver--the gamblers of Wall Street have reaped the profits of their con.

If anyone considers themselves to be a Christian, then I tell you the Bible couldn't be clearer: the rich are not on your side, they are not to be trusted, they are not to be honored, they are gamblers and thieves who are parasites on society. There is nothing at all in the Bible about being against abortion, yet how many Christians really take the teachings on riches to heart?

Sure there are some nice rich people, but the fact remains that no wealth has ever been amassed in the entire history of the world that was not at root ill-gotten gains, created in some manner by greed, hatred, or ignorance.

Most of us know the Jesus quote from Matthew 19:23-24:
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
How many really give it their attention?

And take these for instance:

Proverbs 28:5-7:
5 Evil men do not understand justice,
but those who seek the LORD understand it fully.
6 Better a poor man whose walk is blameless
than a rich man whose ways are perverse.
7 He who keeps the law is a discerning son,
but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father.

Proverbs 28:27:
He who gives to the poor will lack nothing,
but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.

Proverbs 20:9:
A generous man will himself be blessed,
for he shares his food with the poor.

Proverbs 22:16:
He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth
and he who gives gifts to the rich—both come to poverty.

Proverbs 22:22-23:
Do not exploit the poor because they are poor
and do not crush the needy in court,
for the LORD will take up their case
and will plunder those who plunder them.

Psalm 49:16
Do not be overawed when a man grows rich,
when the splendor of his house increases;
17 for he will take nothing with him when he dies,
his splendor will not descend with him.

Micah 3:
9 Hear this, you leaders of the house of Jacob,
you rulers of the house of Israel,
who despise justice
and distort all that is right;
10 who build Zion with bloodshed,
and Jerusalem with wickedness.
11 Her leaders judge for a bribe,
her priests teach for a price,
and her prophets tell fortunes for money.
Yet they lean upon the LORD and say,
"Is not the LORD among us?
No disaster will come upon us."
12 Therefore because of you,
Zion will be plowed like a field,
Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble,
the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.

Micah 6:
6 With what shall I come before the LORD
and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

What's the point? The Wall Street Welfare for the rich has nothing to do with benefitting the people of Main Street or the Back Streets. Those who support the Wall Street Welfare are not doing so for any religious or moral reason. So, why are they doing it?


1 comment:

hrtbeat7 said...