The Agitator #125: The Potemkin Village economy
by Oliver_Halle
 The Agitator
Jul 17, 2014 | 379 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
The stock market is roaring and unemployment is down. Inflation and interest rates are still very low. These indicators would seem to suggest that the economy is getting better. The reality is otherwise. Not even taking into account the number of people who aren’t considered unemployed because they’ve given up looking, so many of the employed are underemployed, working part time or several jobs just to make ends meet. A goodly percentage are making half or less than they were six or seven years ago. It’s easy to blame Obama for the bad news because he’s America’s favorite punching bag. Even though he’s not responsible for the stock market and low interest rates, you would think that he’d get credit for it since all the negative factors are attributed to him.

Those in the stock market should be making some good money. Sadly, fewer people since the recession are in the market because they don’t have the disposable income to invest. They have nowhere to go to park their money---if they have any---and their current wages are falling further behind those on the upper end who pay lower taxes on investment income and receive salaries way disproportionate to the workers from what they were thirty years ago. The trend is not good for the middle class.

With lower wages and less disposable income comes faltering consumer demand. Corporations are sitting on over three trillion dollars because with demand for product and services down, there is no reason to invest in expansion or to hire. Republicans tout that lowering taxes will stimulate the economy. Has anyone seen a serious effort by the House to come up with a new tax code, one that would lower or eliminate the corporate tax that they say would make the U.S. the center of the universe for businesses? When Congressman Mike Camp of Michigan, a Republican, a few months ago proposed major changes in the tax code, House Speaker John Boehner immediately said that it was dead on arrival and wouldn’t even allow hearings.

What we have today, being the master of the obvious that I am, is a broken Congress. The Republican House offers nothing but investigative hearings, one after another, and over forty votes to overturn the Affordable Healthcare Act. No tax reform, a stall on finding money for the Highway Trust Fund, no immigration reform hearings, no agreement on healthcare reform, no meaningful proposals for dealing with the Iraq situation, false accusations that Obama doesn’t support Israel, and on and on….

All the Obama bashing, which accomplishes nothing, is for political gain in the 2014 and 2016 elections. In the meanwhile the middle class working American will not find his lot improved one iota. If the Highway Trust Fund is not replenished there is no telling how many jobs will be lost in the construction industry along with the ripple effect of that money not going into the economy. On state and local levels, campaign rhetoric focuses on the dire consequences of deficits and the national debt, a fair political debate. But the same politicos promise to keep Dobbins AFB and other bases open whether the Pentagon needs them or not, because these same officials know the loss of the federal dollars will cost a lot of jobs. Doesn’t matter if the jobs don’t add anything to the military mission, only that the local economy needs your tax dollars. These are the same representatives who vote to spend your money for farm subsidies and flood insurance, things that the government has no business being involved with.

Then there is the illegal immigration crisis. Republicans have howled for years that we need to seal the borders. They didn’t seem to mind spending money at a staggering cost to construct and maintain a wall that is only about half complete. Yet when Obama proposed spending $3.7 billion to hire more border patrol agents, increase the number of immigration judges, and add more courts to expedite the hearings that are required by law, it was money that couldn’t be allocated because it would add to the deficits.

Consider this. If the federal government actually cut waste, which would include closing unnecessary military bases, shutting down obsolete weapons systems, discontinued Social Security COLAs, and pared down government payments to the poor through its various programs, we would be in a depression in very short order. Make no mistake. For all the bluster from your representatives, they know this too. They like their government jobs and benefits too much, though, and will do whatever it takes to get your vote even if it’s not good for the country. These are modern day patriots who have mastered the art of deception.
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