photo by Sheri Dixon

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Labels are for Clothing, Not People

OK. Labels are sometimes handy on food.

Also Christmas gifts, unless you're marginally clever like me and just use a different paper for each person's gifts. I say "marginally" because then I forgot who got what paper.

But I digress.

Yanno what pisses me off?

Fine. The list is fucking endless.

How about "Yanno what pisses me off TODAY?"

*Shorter list*

The word games. The political word games and labels- especially when it comes to describing how much money someone has.

I guess first we need to define "wealthy" or "rich" or "upper class" or to shape it to the current discussions where the labeling in question is rampant..."the 1%".

Because just like "average weight", we all believe with our whole hearts that we are in that category no matter how hysterically reality howls at that notion.

If you're reading this, you're not the 1%.

If you ever have to check your bank balance before making a purchase, you're not the 1%.

If you make $100,000 a year, sorry.

If you make $250,000 a year, no dice.

If you make $1,000,000 a year please step to the back of the line and let the rich people go first.

If the question, "I wonder if I'm in the 1%?" ever crosses your mind, you're not.

See? They're a tiny little sparkly star at the top of the Tree of America, and though you may sparkle and glitter and even be NEAR the tippy top, IT'S NOT YOU. IT'LL NEVER BE YOU UNLESS YOU END UP HOLDING A GIANT CHECK FROM THE LOTTO THAT READS MORE THAN A BILLION DOLLARS (and that's never gonna happen, either. Sorry.)

Now that we've got that out of the way, perhaps this labeling thing will become more obvious and nefarious.

Because here's how it goes, over and over again, ad nauseum-

"Why should the people who've worked hard for their money* have to pay more in taxes to support the lazy assholes** who just don't want to work and sit around eating steaks, drinking beer and watching their big screen tv's. I wish *I* had a big screen TV..."

*aka the maligned, overworked and innocent 1%
**aka the worthless, spoiled unwashed mob of the 99%

Seems right, seems fair and seems pretty cut and dried, don't it?

Except it's complete and utter bullshit.

This sentence, nay Clarion Call of the Conservative Right is wrong in so many directions it's like trying to figure out where the end of a ball of rubber bands is.

It presumes that ALL insanely rich people work for their money. Not inherited it, not sit in on board meetings to yawn while brokers report on gains, losses, loopholes and write-offs. It presumes that the very rich even WANT what Walmart sells as a "big screen TV".

I'm not saying that there aren't very nice people in the 1%- people who give huge sums of money to charities and good works. I'm not saying that the result is less wonderful because it's not a sacrifice for them to donate like it is for most of us.

But it's not a sacrifice. Because the money is just there...always there for them...and they are NOT getting up with the alarm to put in a 9-2-5 to collect a paycheck. They are not working 2 full time jobs because one barely covers the house payment and the car payment and the insurances and utilities and the other one pays for luxuries and medicine.

It presumes that ALL people who are on some sort of government assistance are lazy and just need to "take a shower and get a job" (I think Newt said that- what's his job again? Being a rich bastard and failing to become President?)

So, what? I've got 5 people in my family and 4 receive government checks every month-
Edna gets social security because she's 92.
Joe gets social security and a VA check because he's 69 and a veteran.
Ward gets a disability check because cancer and heart disease have both eaten away at him viciously.
Alec gets a social security check because he's under 18 and Ward's son.

Which of the above are lazy unshowered assholes?

OH NO NO NO- we're not talking about THOSE people- the old, truly infirm, veterans, children...those people are A-OK and we're HAPPY to help them.

We're talking about, yanno- those welfare mamas and crackheads.

The evil word ***WELFARE***

Just as scary as that evil word ***OBAMACARE***

But there is no such thing as Obamacare. The big unwieldly law that was passed is the ACA. Affordable Care Act. How many people know that? How many people know that it's working, or that it not only isn't on a collision course to bankrupt the nation but will come in costing LESS than anticipated?

That's what I thought.

Well, guess what, Kids?

There's no such thing as Welfare.

There are multiple programs- from unemployment to aid for single parents to housing programs, to food stamps, to medicaid and included in with all of that is social security, medicare, disability, Veteran's Benefits.

But you can't saunter into a government office flashing yer gold teeth and trailing a dozen illegitimate kids and drawl, "I wanna sign me up for some of that sweet easy WELFARE and live off of the rich folks".

So here's the deal.

When you hear

"Why should the people who've worked hard for their money* have to pay more in taxes to support the lazy assholes** who just don't want to work and sit around eating steaks, drinking beer and watching their big screen tv's. I wish *I* had a big screen TV..."

now you know that it's not saying what you thought it does.

What it's really saying is

The 1% truly obscenely rich people who can afford to buy a herd of lawyers and accountants to cook their books till no taxes come out want more. They want more. And they only have 2 places to get it-

from the shrinking, worried, frustrated dregs of what used to be America's middle class (inserting that THAT is where most of us fall- THAT'S YOU AND ME AND ALMOST EVERYONE WE KNOW)by taxing them more and themselves even less.

They can do this by whimpering about how HIGH their tax rate is (while neglecting to mention that they don't ever PAY anything near their tax rate) and by promising that if we lower their rates even more, they can create more jobs.

This is bullshit. It's always been bullshit and it always will be. Trickle down has never, ever, ever, EVER worked.

The other place to squeeze money out of the system is to take it from the poor people- the women, children, sick people, veterans and old people. Set the middle class against those people and demand that they get LESS...that way there's more for THEM in the form of subsidies and stimuli and grants and stuff.

The main benefit, of course, is making the middle class (us, remember) think

a) someday we may be rich (because this is America) and we wouldn't want everyone else to be mean to us, either and

b) the poor people are after our shit.

Neither is, of course, true.

Synopsis of the rant-

Rich used in this context does not = anyone we know, anyone we've met or anyone we'll ever see in real life

We will never = rich by the above definition

But more importantly-

Rich does not automatically = HARD WORKING

Poor does not automatically = LAZY

Moral of the story is WE need to stop falling for the propaganda and the cliches and the catchy scary crap pounded into our heads till our knees jerk.

Do we as the middle class have a moral obligation to lend aid to those of a different class?

Of course we do.

We need to help the poor without judging, feed the hungry without hesitation, house the homeless without stipulation, offer good quality birth-death medical care for all citizens regardless of ability to pay- all that socialist commie tree-hugging crap a guy named Jesus recommended and that got him nailed to a cross by the 1% of his time.

Then we can band together, kick ass on the money changers, demand they actually render unto Caesar to keep this nation running smoothly FOR THE PEOPLE and carry on the way the forefathers intended it to go.

Happy Easter, ya'll.

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