Money is definitely a problem in the United States. I will not say otherwise. I mean, the fact that Congresscritters have to spend nearly every waking hour trying to raise money so they can keep their jobs is a major problem. It’s also a major problem that the holders of broadcast licenses make shitloads of money every election by selling airtime on the PUBLIC airwaves; time that should be free, since we own them. Citizens United has to go, absolutely, as does the very notion that money equals speech. Such a concept is nothing short of insane; the Koch Brothers should not have more “free speech” than the customers who made them rich.
There are other examples of where money is a serious societal problem. For example, the concept of private prisons should be offensive to every American who believes in a fair and equitable justice system. If a company’s profits are based on the number of people who are jailed, that’s a serious problem that needs to go away. If Bernie and the professional left wants to break up something, the priority should be the prison industrial complex, not banks.
I spent a night in jail once, many years ago. It was in a tiny rural county, in a jail that was run by the county sheriff, whose wife made money off the food served at the jail. I actually received too much food for dinner and for breakfast the next morning, and she and the sheriff made a profit from it. Anyone who makes money off the suffering of others should be ashamed, and let me tell you; many of the people in these jails shouldn’t be there.
Which brings me to the “drug war,” which is the most corrupt enterprise this country has ever engaged in. Up until Obama ended the practice a few years ago, for about 35 years, local police departments were actually allowed to keep any money or other goods they recovered from suspected “drug dealers.” I put that term in quotes because we’re not talking about convicted felons here. We’re talking about people who police suspected might be drug dealers had their bank accounts attached or were otherwise robbed, for lack of a better term, by said police and the only way they could get their money back was to spend a lot of money on a lawyer to challenge the police and force them to give it back, a process that routinely took years.
In one case I remember, a friend of mine had a housekeeper from Jamaica who worked her tail off and put her money away for her family. Once a year, she would take about $10,000 cash out of the bank and fly to Jamaica to help her family. However, one year, she was about to get on a plane when the local police were called. The reason? She had (gasp!) paid cash for her ticket, and police had to be called when that happened. And, of course, local police were called and found that she had about $9,000 on her and they confiscated it, leaving her with a “receipt” explaining how she could get the money back, which required hiring a lawyer and filing suit against the police department, which she couldn’t afford, especially since she was $9,000 lighter. She actually had to prove that she wasn’t going to Jamaica to buy weed and resell it, which is, of course, the opposite of how the Constitution is supposed to work. That is corruption that Obama and AG Holder stopped, but which is still on the books, meaning that any Republican regime could pick it back up again. Republican-chosen SCOTUS Justices also upheld the practice, so we need that to change, too.
All of these are examples where money is the root of something evil. All of these need to be fought over and stopped. Every single practice in which money has led a segment of our society to be corrupt needs to end, and soon. Like now. However, there’s a problem. The loudest segment of the progressive movement, like PUBs (Progressive Unicorn Brigade) and the professional left, constantly muddy the waters with their constant railing about money in a way that makes everything about money seem corrupt.
For example, there is no question that, if we are going to get money out of the political system, Democrats will have to win elections. In order to do that, however, they will have to play by the rules that exist right now, which means raising shit-tons of money to beat the Republican Party, who love the current rules. The Koch Brothers (I think you’ve heard of them!) have suggested they will spend upwards of $900 million on this election, which is only a great thing if they do it and lose badly. That means, we have to raise enough money to offer up a challenge to them, which isn’t going to happen by raising money from old ladies and college students at a $27 per person clip. I mean, there are principles and there is stupidity. If Bernie would have won the Democratic nomination, he would have no choice but to break his own self-imposed rules and raise a lot of money from sources he claims are disgusting. There would be no choice. As long as Citizens United is the law, you have to live with it. It’s childish and asinine to pretend it doesn’t exist because you find it icky. Let me tell you a secret; if Trump or Cruz get in the White House, they will get to make Supreme Court nominations, and they will perpetuate CU, guaranteed.
I know, some of you think Hillary won’t want to overturn Citizens United, but then, you like to talk from both sides of your mouths. You claim that she’s always doing things based on the polls, right? You say that everything she does is about political expediency, right? Well, then, if you can get enough people upset about Citizens United to want to do whatever is necessary to overturn it, why wouldn’t she go along with that? Seriously, folks; do you realize how ridiculous you sound? I can guarantee you that no Republican will ever consider overturning Citizens United, for the same reason they wouldn’t even discuss a gun bill supported by 90% of the American people.
Also, it’s really difficult to explain the actual money issues with people when the loudest voices on our side of the debate are screaming about money in grandiose and wholly irrational terms in a way that makes us sound ridiculous.
Over the weekend, I saw a meme on social media suggesting that Hillary was somehow corrupt because she and her husband — the former President of the United States, no less — made about $28 million in 2014, while Bernie and Jane Sanders made a “mere” $205,000. It was a picture of the first page of each tax return, nothing else, so it’s not known how much either one gave to charity, or how they figured their GTI. It was apparently just the number that made Hillary suspect somehow. Forget the fact that Susan Sarandon may have made more than Hillary last year, and none of the Bernie Stans screaming at Hillary are coming after her. What it does is to justify the Republican slam on “Liberal Elitists” that they have propagated for years. And note that I didn’t say that’s why they use it; it’s what makes others believe it.
PUB and pro lefty rhetoric about money is, pardon the expression, royally fucked up. They slam the hell out of “corporations,” without differentiating between good ones and bad ones, and there are differences. They are quick to condemn corporations for their mere existence, and every time a corporation does something good, they are quick with the “yeah, but…” For example, they are quick to condemn Hillary Clinton for her time on the Walmart board, without acknowledging the fact that it was 30 years ago, and the reason she was there was because Alice Walton wanted a woman on the board to mitigate what the men were doing. There is no talk about what she did on the Walmart board, which was likely nothing much, and yes, overall, Walmart has been a horrible company for years, but treating her like she has the plague because she was once infected, and without considering what she’s done in the meantime is really disgusting.
McDonald’s By the way, constantly invoking Walmart and McDonald’s when talking about the minimum wage is also a major dose of stupidity, especially since both companies have raised their minimum in the last year or so. Speaking of that, the constant screaming about the difference between Bernie and Hillary on the minimum wage is a lot of “six of one, half a dozen of the other” nonsense. They both want to raise it to an acceptable level. However, that points up another problem with our perception of money, and that is the diversity of economies within this country. A $15 minimum will fly in many places, like huge cities with high costs of living, but not in places like rural Mississippi or a small town in the Idaho boonies.
But getting back to the main point, money is the root of evil, but it is also the solution to a lot of problems. This blanket concept that seems present throughout the professional left and among PUBs, that the mere presence of a lot of money is itself evidence of corruption, is killing us, because it makes it impossible to discuss money in any serious way. Consider;
- Not all large corporations are evil. I have worked for several that paid everyone very well. In fact, most large corporations are good corporate citizens, which is why the corporations that aren’t stick out like a sore thumb.
- People who make a lot of money aren’t evil based on the amount of money they have, but what they do with it. Go look up the Giving Pledge and you’ll find a host of billionaires who plan to give almost all of their money away to causes that do a lot of good.
- Rather than call out the Koch Brothers and iHeart Media because they spend so much money trying to promote right wing bullshit, work harder to encourage rich liberals to do the same. For example, ALEC. ALEC is right wingers’ attempt to get state legislatures to write laws that benefit their causes. Instead of whining about them, why aren’t you asking where the liberal ALEC is? Really, isn’t that essentially what Bernie Sanders’ campaign is about? Isn’t he about getting laws passed that benefit the poor and those who have been run over by the system? Where is the liberal ALEC?
- Banks did not cause the Bush Recession. At all. And if you break them up, how do you compete with other countries, which already have banks much larger than ours? PUBs and pro lefties like to tout the fact that our top 6 banks have more than $10 trillion in assets, but most are already dwarfed by banks in other countries, like China; breaking them up isn’t going to make that better.
Like I said, there are a lot of problems in this country and this world when it comes to money. There are systems that need to be reformed because they have been corrupted by money. (I didn’t even get to charter schools.) But if we are going to fix these problem, we will have to concentrate on specific problems and not turn money itself into a boogeyman. We have to be taken seriously, and that can’t be done while a significant number of progressives jerk their knees into their chins at the mere mention of money. This is especially true since not a single one of them would refuse Soros money if it was offered to them. Would you?