Let Them Eat (Crumb) Cake

by PHILIP FARRUGGIO

Where do I begin? So much to express, so few to listen. Feel like the sane man, too long in the mental institution, who begins to “howl” at the moon…

Paul Krugman, Economics Prof. at Princeton and NY Times columnist (they won’t print my op-eds, lucky Paul) wrote a comprehensive “essay” this past weekend. He stated that the average American’s salary (adjusted for inflation) rose from $32k in 1970 to $35k in 1999- a meager 10% increase over 30 years. According to Fortune Magazine, during that same period the average real annual compensation for the top 100 CEOs went from $1.3 million (39 times the pay of an average worker) to $37.5 million, more than 1,000 times the pay of ordinary workers!

Each time I watch those electoral debates on C-Span- I want to puke! They stand there, two candidates, in most cases, “column A and column B’, Repubs and Dems, and all they do is evade the core issues, posturing instead on the “hot button” junk. Never in any debate have I heard a candidate state categorically “my constituents deserve the same national health coverage that I enjoy – now!” Or how about: ” we need to get all the money out of electoral politics- this corruptive process must end!” We never hear ” I will not send my children or your children to fight and die in Bagdad. This dictator was our ally and trading partner for years while he gassed his own people, using biological weapons of mass destruction. I won’t approve of spending $100 billion on a preemptive war while our own economy sputters- I say spend the money here on rebuilding cities and family farms, and hiring more and better teachers, police and fireman. Let’s also use the $100 billion to jumpstart universal Medicare for all Americans, assure lower priced pharmaceuticals, and institute public funding through Clean Election Laws. That way I don’t have to “sell my soul” for votes!”

It’ll never happen. Know why? Its not them, its us. Its not the few thousand who run this country, this economy, that will keep all the above from happening. No, its you out there, who gets up every AM and treks to work, oblivious to the hype and deceit that dissipates your hard earned income. Its you out there, retired and struggling on that fixed income- you on “the dole” who only sees as far as the mailbox for your next check. If this were France, there would be hundreds of thousands demonstrating in the streets for economic parity. No French Parliament would ever be allowed to give any leader a blank check to start a war, offering up their youth and the other side’s civilians as “collateral damage”. You think the French would allow their gov’t to spend $100 billion on a “war for oil”? No, that money would go for more high speed trains, or to fix broken city streets, pay higher pensions. Its only here in “America the Powerful” that our populace keeps electing fools and jackasses who posture and dance around any and all key issues and concerns. You get sick or injured in France, and you’re covered. No bill collectors banging on your door. Now we come to the blessed media- what a joke! In general, the mainstream media won’t dare touch columns like this one. Turn on the “boob tube” and watch the various talking head shows speak of “When and How” we begin our war “with Saddam” (read Orwell’s 1984 to see where they got that technique from). Its no longer a debate on whether or not we should even conduct a preemptive strike. Alas, long ago our media was bought and paid for by the powerful, who shell out the advertising dollars and subsidize all those “Think Tanks” and “Foundations” (Heritage, Cato, Brookings and countless others). Ever ask yourself, or your Congressperson, who foots those foundation/institute bills? You know, payroll, travel, reports to be printed and mailed out, phone calls, office space etc. Who is the “Wizard” behind the Oz? Surely not Joe the Barber from my old neighborhood, or Solly the Butcher and Ted the Groceryman.

So, we 99% of the populace, we fight each other for “crumbs from the table” of the 1% who control more than 85% of our wealth. Is that what “free market capitalism” was supposed to be about? We have a monopoly selling us our electricity, a monopoly selling us our cable signals. We shop at the ever growing semi-monopoly Wal-Mart store (trust me, when its legal, you’ll know who’ll carry body parts first). We write checks from one of the many Nat’l banks in our neighborhood. In my neck of the woods there are so few produce shops, meat stores, fish stores or bakeries. The local hardware store is fighting for its life in many communities. My state, Florida, does not know what true mass transit, rail transit, is all about. We pay $1.70 at the pump to fill up SUVs that get less than 15 mpg, in this, the year 2002. Did ya ever think, way back in the 70’s, (even just once, come on be honest) “goodness, by the new century cars will be getting 50 and 60 mpg- why, we’ll have electric cars by then- no more dependence on oil, thank the Lord!” And where was the Congress, where were the Statehouse reps, to “cover our posteriors” on economic concerns? I’ll tell ya where they were. They were sitting down (remember Orwell’s Animal Farm?) at the table with the oilmen, the carmakers, the bankers, the entrepreneurs, stuffing their campaign chests in exchange for their lost honor and a few key votes.

How long can any Republic stand and prosper when the general populace eats crumbs and calls it cake?

Philip A Farruggio is a baby boomer Brooklyn NY born bred and educated (Brooklyn College ’74), Currently, he resides in Florida and is self employed as a mfg. rep for an environmental bacteria company. He can be reached at brooklynphilly@aol.com

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