The President has been promoting a grand bargain for some time now. He has been touting a balanced approach to solving our fiscal problems, our budget deficit and our national debt. Republicans on the other hand have been insistent in balancing the budget on the back of the middle class even as they want to increase military spending. This is not partisan rhetoric. This is fact. If we are to balance the budget with no tax increases, it would require cutting entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) in a draconian manner.
The hypocrisy of those that are attempting to push these cuts, push limited government, cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other necessary programs that comprise our safety net is astounding. Two of the biggest proponents, Texas Governor Rick Perry and Texas Congressman Ted Poe are the biggest culprits of governmental double and triple dipping even as they want to cut government programs to the neediest.
According to The Texas Tribune Governor Perry is privy to overpaid CEO type pay at $240,000 per year. That is your tax dollars going the small government preacher, Governor Rick Perry.
Perry makes a $150,000 annual gross salary as Texas governor. Now, thanks to his early retirement, Perry, 61, gets a monthly retirement annuity of $7,698 before taxes, or $6,588 net. That raises his gross annual salary to more than $240,000.
On a swing through Cherokee, Iowa, Perry was asked why the Employee Retirement System should be paying his retirement while he’s still collecting a salary.
"That’s been in place for decades. … I don’t find that to be out of the ordinary,” Perry said. "ERS called me and said, ‘Listen, you’re eligible to access your retirement now with your military time and your time and service, and I think you would be rather foolish to not access what you’ve earned.’”
Well, “we the people” made a promise to Social Security and Medicare recipients, and they would be foolish to not hold their government accountable to those promises.
The kicker however is Ted Poe. Listening to his pontification on limited government would lead one to believe he would see the hypocrisy in triple dipping from taxpayers. The Beaumont Enterprise reports his triple dipping as follows.
Former judge and current Southeast Texas representative Ted Poe.
In addition to his $174,000 congressional salary, Poe “dips” into the public trough TWICE; earning himself an additional $139,382 in 2011.
According to the Texas Watchdog (WOOF!), Poe is the leader in the clubhouse when it comes to double dippin’.
Of the state’s 34-member U.S. congressional delegation,12 are taking a pension from a public retirement plan, according to financial disclosures filed by the politicians.
Among the best compensated in the pack is Republican Ted Poe, 63, a former prosecutor and judge in Harris County whose district includes Kingwood and Beaumont, who reported dual pension payments in 2011; he was paid $82,153 by Harris County and $57,229 by the Texas County and District Retirement System.
While this political class is allowed to double dip because of the rules this political class created, the bastions of our society, the one profession that ensures we move our cumulative knowledge from generation to generation, our teachers, must forgo any ability to double dip. As stated by a friend and previous teacher Deborah Mowrey,
“Oooo, This topic really gets me going! When –Texas- teachers must deduct their TRS from their Social Security because it’s "double dipping" why on Earth are these politicians allowed to do so???”
What makes this sad is that over the last 30+ years the same people that would be cut, the middle class and the poor, are the ones whose wages, income, and wealth have been flat or deflating. Note this occurred in the context of middle class income staying stagnant and minimum wage income actually falling. The figure below illustrates this clearly.
The reality is that President Obama should not be attempting a balanced approach at all. The current tax structure has ensured that income and wealth migrated to the top by a corrupt tax structure and an aberration in capitalism. Let me explain.
The vast majority of Americans make below $113,700. That means the vast majority of working Americans pay 6.2% of their wages for Social Security taxes on ALL of their income. Small business owners pay 12.4% for Social Security taxes on ALL of their income since they are employer and employee. All income above $113,700 pays ZERO taxes for Social Security. This means the wealthy’s Social Security Taxes approach zero as their income swell (small numerator with huge denominator).
To add insult to injury, given that the wealthy derives their income mostly from investments as capital gains, their maximum tax rate is 20% while the working person’s income tax rate can go as high as 39.6%. This is a built in bias that ensures that the wealthy get wealthier and the poor and middle class get poorer. Many would say that this is a call to class warfare to which I say ABSOLUTELY YES! The poor and middle class are being slaughtered mercilessly. The problem is that they are under the mild anesthesia of ignorance which is why they have yet to revolt through the ballot box by electing REAL Progressives and Liberals throughout the nation.
Many would make the claim that this income and wealth disparity, however systemic, should not be a problem because under an increasing growth model, the middle class will do just fine. Unfortunately the charts below disprove that.
The chart below clearly shows over time, increases in income went to the top. And increases in wealth went to the top.
And the chart below clearly shows the increase in wealth went to the top as well.
The video below is probative. It should be spread throughout the entire country so Americans can get the scope of our problem. Relying on the current mainstream media is pointless as they do not have a vested interest in an educated populace. Their ads are purchased by the corporatocracy and owned by the corporatocracy.
If this article concerns you, makes you mad, or simply leave you feeling helpless, please share. Most importantly, please get engaged. This is our country and we decide the type of country we want. Human beings decide morals. The crony market, the Plutocracy that has indoctrinated Americans for the past several decades using a lying class to effect their misdeeds must come to an end now.
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Copyright 2013 Egberto Willies