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Friday, June 18, 2021

American Train Wreck

I was born near the end of the boomer generation in '64. America was a much different place then than it is today. Back then, life was good. We were all optimists. Everything that made America great was still intact. 

That didn't mean we didn't have skirmishes. We had the Vietnam War and the lies generated at the Gulf of Tonkin. We had one of our first mass shootings at the University of Texas in Austin. We had the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King Jr. We had real back of the bus racism. We had demonstrations, women's liberation, the pill, bra burning, and abortion. We had a President commit a burglary to gain intelligence on a political rival which resulted in a very public trial broadcast on every network. We all knew Nixon was guilty. Only a pardon by Gerald Ford saved him.

We've always had conflict in America. 

In 1967, the US dollar was still backed by gold and worth a dollar. We had the strongest currency on the planet. Mothers did not work. Our fathers worked. Mom stayed home and raised the kids. We had two parent families and single parent households were uncommon. This meant supervised and disciplined children. We weren't free to roam the city or get recruited by the Crips. People had good jobs, many of them union jobs. You didn't need a college degree to land a decent job or raise a family.

We went to church which as kids we all disliked. We weren't given a choice. We went to church as a family. Good things came out of those church days. We learned how to dress up, wear ties and tie knots, and shine shoes. We went to Sunday school, had confirmation or catechism, and we were taught the difference between right and wrong. We were given the tools to act fairly, morally correct, and we tried to be decent to others.

That didn't mean it always went that way.

A very bunch of bad things began to unfold in the 70's that would have dramatic and ill effects on America in the decades to come. 

Financing the Vietnam War created huge deficits and destroyed our currency. Although America had been warned by former President Eisenhower in 1961 about the dangers of the military industrial complex- American politicians plowed ahead with the Vietnam War anyway. Military contractors became rich, America lost 55,000 lives, Congress and President Nixon continued to heap on debt. By 1971, Nixon was forced to close the gold window and refused to honor US debt holders' demands for repayment in gold. This started the decline of the dollar, gas shortages, rampant inflation, and a horrible recession that lasted throughout the 70's. 

What happened over the course of those 50 years was like a slow moving train wreck. 

As the dollar continued it's steep decline, government began to raise taxes. American families were hit with a double whammy. High inflation, higher interest rates, and high tax bills. Mothers went to work to help triage the damage our government was inflicting.

The family unit, the one with two parents, began to crumble in the 80's. Divorce rates shot up, and the rise of one parent households complete with unsupervised children began to emerge in earnest.

Unions were busted in the era of Reaganomics and the 80's. Deficit spending began in earnest. American businesses, always in search of the cheapest labor, began hiring illegal aliens by the millions which kept a lid on labor costs.

By the 90's we were in bad shape. Ross Perot warned of the dangers of free trade agreements and how those agreements would cost millions of good paying jobs. His message, perhaps understated, was never taken seriously. One parent households with latch key kids were becoming normal. Inner city kids, many unsupervised, began selling dope and shooting each other. Crime rates skyrocketed and mass shootings emerged.

Oddly and sadly, Christianity began to decline. The morals and values taught to kids at church and Sunday school were in decline as well. Schools quit teaching civics classes. 

By 2000, all of the financial safeguards put into place during the great depression had been removed and just 8 years later we had another banker led depression papered over by bribe taking politicians. This time it was called the "great recession" as though it were an improvement upon the first one.

The American people were then subjected to full blown socialism. We were no longer given the freedom to choose our healthcare- our government would do it for us. They would fine us and demand payment for people who couldn't afford it. We stood in awe as our Supreme Court sided with a bill that hadn't even been read by the Congress which passed it. 

By then, somewhere around 2010, our country become cynical. The rule of law had been destroyed at the altar of nanny government. Laws no longer applied to the politically connected or wealthy- they only applied to the easily convicted working class. Now the race wars began to emerge, distractions from what was really happening in America. The same old haves sticking it to the have nots. A few thousand years of this and yet, people still forget.

The hollowing out and summary execution of the American middle class by the political aristocracy was a foregone conclusion. Invent a tax code which the aristocracy can use to avoid paying taxes- a tax code that essentially eliminates any deductions for the middle class except a nominal personal exemption and eliminate any other deductions for medical care, property and state taxes. That way you can force the middle class to pay for the free rent, the subsidized housing loans, the free healthcare, the free food, and all the other government assistance the poor can consume. 

It's a great plan. The rich can evade the burden of paying for the needs of the poor by screwing over the middle class and getting them to foot the bill for the poor. All the American aristocracy has to do is make sure their Congressional friends remain in office forever through any combination of campaign re-election contributions, corporate contributions, pay to play charitable write offs, backdoor promises and jobs (like Chelsea Clinton's 600k job at NBC in 2011) or any other form of bribery detected or not.

After using the American system of capitalism to achieve vast riches, the American aristocracy can then claim that they are in fact, charitable liberals who care about the welfare of all different races, LGBTQ folks, and the poor. The Giving Pledge and all that other horse shit invented by the aristocracy to make them look like nice people.  

The truth of the matter is quite simply the poor have been lulled into wasting their lives with cradle to grave assistance. The apathetic (I don't pay attention to all that bullshit) middle class have been used to pay for all that charity and plunged actual taxpayers like myself into a debt cesspool we can never escape. The aristocracy and corporate America, with their paid for politicians and Supreme Court shills, have us by the balls.

I cannot think of a better illustration than my own personal experience.

This past winter the IRS sent me a bill for 189 dollars. Although I've been retired for 10 years and I've always paid my taxes on the due date- apparently now our IRS masters have decided that we must pay in advance of the due date. If we do not, they levy a fine without any sort of due process or notification and send it to you. 

I actually used an online calculator to calculate what percentage 189 dollars would be when divided into our 28 trillion dollar debt. The answer was well over 150 decimal places. 

My tax rate is right at 20% of my gross income. Billionaire Warren Buffet paid less than 1% in taxes last year.

The beauty of 50 years worth of bad decisions is that our government and corporate overlords are running out of time. They will soon find themselves with an incurable debt level, horrid inflation, a collapsing currency, and a president with dementia. The overlords will demand more and the minions, like Atlas, will merely shrug. 

My prediction? Within 18 months but probably sooner.