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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

January 30, 2008


Real Wages, Real Losses

If real wages were a body of water, it would be a stagnant pool with mosquitoes buzzing above its infested surface. What's even worse is what might be lurking under the surface.

According to the US Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics web site, in seven of the past twelve months, real wages have gone down from its respective previous month. And when you inspect the twelve month difference (month-to-month 2006 to month-to-month 2007), you'll notice an even worse trend. From October '06 to October '07, our real wages have decreased - yes, decreased - by -.4; in November that number grew to -.9; and in the latest numbers, the month of December, it grew still greater to -.9!

Other economic indicators show that our economy is "Surging" in the wrong direction as well. In just one month, November to December 2007, the unemployment rate ballooned from 4.7 percent to a huge rate pf 5.0 percent. In that one month, 436,000 Americans went from the "Employed" row on the BLS report to either the "Unemployed" or the "Not in Labor Force" row. And when added to the 179,000 Americans who joined the "Not in Labor Force" row, it means that 615,000 Americans no longer have the jobs they had in November.

The questions which surround numbers like this are personal to those who have lost their jobs. What do they do about health care? what do they do about the rising cost of gasoline and home heating oil? What do they do about food, clothing and everything else which they need to keep their family afloat in these times of the diminishing middle class?

How does a family, already living hand-to-mouth, cope with the loss of a job? Let's face it, many families already have three or more jobs split between two bread winners, and they're just barely making ends meet. How do they compensate?

It's now estimated that most Americans are only two or three paychecks away from disaster. And that disaster comes in the form of failure to pay their rent or mortgage and losing their home in many cases. And what happens if they lose the job which offers them some health care insurance? what will they do if a catastrophic illness occurs to one of their uninsured family members?

"...they had better do it (die), and decrease the surplus population."
-Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol"

And they will, too.

The trend gets worse for minorities. The unemployment rate for "Black or African American" and "Hispanic or Latino ethnicity" workers has increased at twice the rate (.6 percent) of the overall unemployment rate (.3 percent). Hispanic workers, today, are unemployed at a 6.3 percent rate while African American workers are jobless at a 9.0 percent clip.

In an ironic relation, "Black or African Americans" voted for president Bush at about that same nine percent rate.

Teenage unemployment rose more than any other group by .7 percent. 17.1 percent of all teenagers who want to work (age 16 and above) are actually working. And that number is seasonally adjusted.

While the American worker keeps on stretching their dollar until it's almost transparent, the Bush "base" of "haves and have mores" keep reaping the benefits which The President swears are shared equally among all Americans. The recent tax relief, in the form of a rebate targeted to the middle class, is a good thing, but compared to the billions offered the wealthiest Americans, it's merely chump change.

And although the Bushies are using Ronald Reagan's failed "Trickle-Down" theory of economics, (what his former rival and eventual running-mate George W. Bush called "Voodoo Economics") the same "theory" which caused the "Great Communicator" to finally raise taxes in his final term in office, the only "trickle" the American worker is receiving smells awfully like New York city's busiest subway station at night - stale urine.

And Bush's answer to "fixing" his economy is even more, permanent tax breaks for the rich; removing the capital gains tax, which allows that very same group to keep twice the amount of money that the American worker gets top keep from his/ her paycheck; and ending the inheritance tax, which they call the "death tax", which only applies to estates worth in excess of seven million dollars.

And even when the stock market - the only economic indicator which seems to matter to the Bushies - tanks, as it has done lately, The President merely shrugs it off and tells us all how well things are going for the vast majority of us.

Just add it to the list of lies which come from the White House. We'll tally it up in November.

And President Bush is looking for someone to continue his policies!


-Noah Greenberg

A Disgraceful Speech

I read the text of the speech as I can't stand watching Bush. That stupid smirk on his face is real annoying; almost as if he's laughing at all of us that we can't do anything about his insanity. His speech was chock full of inaccuracies, spins and outright lies. Did you know that just before making the speech he issued a "signing statement" striking out a provision in a bill that prohibits permanent bases in Iraq? Meanwhile, no one is talking about it but the violence in Iraq has increased; at least, 7 soldiers were killed of late. Why do we buy into the nonsense that the "surge is working"? If it worked, we would be making plans to leave Iraq. Enough already, I can hardly wait for Bush to go.

-Robert Scardapane

Bush's "Armies of Compassion"

What did President Bush mean by this statement:

Unleashing the "armies of compassion."

What exactly is the "armies of compassion"? Does this lunatic actually think he did the Iraqi people a favor by invading and occupying (for 5 years now) their country?

-Robert Scardapane

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-Noah Greenberg