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​Electricians or Lawyers?

Gadfly | September 26th, 2021

By Ed Raymond

It’s Time to Elect Electricians Instead of Lawyers

Lawyers have been screwing the American people for over a century. Currently we have 214 lawyers and only one electrician in Congress. It’s time to have 214 electricians and one lawyer because the BS slingers have been outgunning the electric slingers in bringing darkness to homes instead of light.

What would our country be like if we had nine electricians and no lawyers on the Supreme Court? It takes a rational mind to wire a house or a nuclear submarine. Our constitution was signed before electricity, flights to Mars, supercomputers, Twinkies, internet, in-vitro fertilization, and railroad tracks.

We now have Supreme Court justices who insist that citizens can own machine guns that can fire 700 rounds a minute because of words that were written when a musket that took one minute to fire one round was used for “personal” defense. So if we kill 44,000 and wound 100,000 babies, teenagers, adults, and have hundreds of school shootings a year---what’s the big deal? It says so in the almighty Constitution; some lawyerly BS about an armed militia and the Second amendment. Will it take 300 dead first graders or five dead congressmen in mass shootings for lawyers to act? That’s the real “reality.”

Why Doesn’t the Majority Trust Government Anymore?

Wars often force countries to take one step back, sacrificing people, materials, and wealth to win on the battlefield. But after victory, because of numerous inventions, strategies, and pent-up desires, the victors often take two steps forward. Economies boom and people with rising incomes want a better life. Adequate food, clothing, shelter, and freedom create a thirst for more and better. People get angry if their thirst is not satisfied. Governments must make it possible for everybody’s thirst to be quenched. If wine has not been vinted, governments lose trust.

The University of Michigan’s American National Election Studies poll asked voters in December 1958, if they trusted the federal government. A solid 73% said they had confidence in the government doing the right thing. They asked the same thing in 1966 and 77% said yes.

But then came the civil-rights movement and urban warfare by disgusted and discriminated-against Blacks and Browns who wanted to be treated like Whites. Flames erupted over many city blocks.

The Vietnam War came and drafted the poor and deferred the rich Donald Trumps, the political Dick Cheneys, and the senators’ sons until the draft cards were burning as young men got Canadian addresses.

Women threw their bras away and told the patriarchs to go to HELL. The LBGTQ+ community opened closet doors and took over neighborhood bars and dance clubs.

Tricky Dick Nixon was sent to political purgatory for trying to tape Democrats in the Watergate and every conversation in the Oval Office. Jimmy Carter suffered through the oil embargo, the hostage crisis in Iran, and 20% inflation because we had screwed around with the government of Iran.

When the Michigan poll was taken in March of 1980, trust in government had gone over a precipitous cliff, to 27%.

Then We Elected a Class B Actor and Politician From California

Ronald Reagan in his inaugural address in 1981 said: “In this crisis, government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.” Actually, it depends on who’s elected to govern.

The California Mafia had defunded public education so much it fell from being rated #1 to close to Mississippi in #50 in following years. Reagan yelled “SOCIALISM!” whenever Democrats tried to pass universal health care like every other industrialized nation had done. He opposed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, Social Security, Medicare, and saw Black welfare queens in their new Cadillacs touring the ghettos at all hours.

Reagan never seemed to understand that twice as many Whites live in poverty as Blacks and more than half again as many Whites receive food stamps as Blacks. He never balanced a budget or eliminated a major program in his eight years in office, and constantly criticized FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society. Reagan led the campaign to destroy public and private unions that had built the middle class after World War II. To win the Southern White vote, he started his 1980 campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi where the Ku Klux Klan had murdered three civil rights workers in 1964.

In the 50 years after the 27% trust factor, the poll has stayed between 30 and 40%, never gaining a majority. If we had had only one lawyer in Congress, we would have been much better off—and certainly the trust level would be way above 50%.

The 89th Congress, under the two-thirds Democratic majority in both the House and Senate, and with LBJ in the Oval Office, passed the following legislation:

Medicare—Medicaid—Department of Transportation—Department of Housing and Urban Development—National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities—Higher Education Act (federal aid to elementary and secondary education)—Water Quality Act—Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Act—Highway Beautification Act—Highway and Motor Vehicle Safety Acts—Demonstration Cities Act—Clean Waters Restoration Act—Fair Packaging and Labeling Act—Immigration and Nationality Act.

I have two questions: (1) Did these acts improve life in the US? Yes___No___, (2) Would Trumplicans support these acts today? Yes___No___.

How Can You Pack $1 Trillion Into a Seven-Passenger SUV?

Just put Jeff Bezos in the SUV’s driver’s seat with his six passengers: Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Larry Ellison. Add up their collective wealth and it comes to a cool $1 trillion. Most of them own mansions, superyachts, private jets.

Amazon workers are so pissed at Bezos for failing to pay a living wage that they told him to stay in space. Musk has looted Planet Earth and now wants to do the same thing to Planet Mars. Zuckerberg is always feuding with his neighbors because he buys all properties in sight and out of sight. Page and Brin of Google fame each own several mansions, jet planes and yachts. Ellison owns Lanai Island in the Hawaiian Islands, 11 mansions in various parts, and is known for playing basketball on his 400 ft. yacht. He has a speedboat follow his yacht in case the ball ends up in the water. Bill Gates is one of the major landowners in the Divided States of America, has a house with a 100-car garage, and claims he knows a lot about a lot of stuff.

All are tax avoiders, evaders, cheats, and loophole experts. Some years they pay no federal income tax at all. In an article “This Is How America’s Richest Families Stay That Way,” Robin Kaiser-Schatzheim writes: “For a select few families with vast fortunes amassed over many generations, it means that they can pass down millions or billions of dollars in stock, investments, or real estate without having to pay income or capital gains taxes on many decades, or possible a century or more of gains.”

One system is called the “stepped up basis” in investments: Say a parent buys a stock for $1 and it is worth $100 when he dies. His son later sells it for $150. The son would pay tax on only $50 although it has gained $149 in value. That’s how the rich get to be billionaires, much richer by not paying taxes on money they have “earned” like the hamburger flipper.

In contrast, we have 60.5 million households with 130 million people who live paycheck to paycheck and can’t come up with $400 to cover an emergency. We also have 90 million who are either underinsured or not insured for health care. Welcome to the highest income inequality in the world. As an example, as workers get their W-2s and pay 9% to possibly 20% in federal income taxes on their total income, our 25 top billionaires over the five-year period of 2014 to 2018 paid just 3-4% income taxes on the increase in their collective wealth over that period.

Almost all of the super-wealthy Americans earn their huge incomes from stocks and other investments. In one remarkable day last year, Jeff Bezos, the guy who refuses to pay a living wage to over a million employees and fights unions with every dollar in his billfold, made $13 billion on increases in the stock market. He then arranged to buy two superyachts. On tax day April 15, he didn’t pay a dime of federal tax because it wasn’t on his W-2. This scam, called the “Buy, Borrow, Die,” approved by the Best Congress Money Can Buy, was purchased by the Top Ten percent with millions of dollars that had never been taxed.

This scam would never have been approved if we had had 214 electricians in Congress.

Billionaires: ‘Common Good? Never Heard Of It.’

This is how the seven guys in the SUV made their trillion. It’s a simple scam perpetrated on all hourly workers who have no income other than what is listed on W-2s. They buy an investment or start a company. Then, as their assets balloon in value, they do not sell. In order to live a billionaire’s lifestyle. They borrow spending money against the increased value of their assets whenever they need cash. Then, when they die, the tax liability is wiped off all the gain that’s gone untaxed, sometimes for an entire adult lifetime.

At the end of the scam when Bezos dies, when his children inherit about $200 billion of his Amazon stock, that gain has not been taxed at all. Before that, Daddy, the richest man in the world, has not paid federal income taxes for several years.

Actually, the United States of America, now the Divided States of America, has never been a democracy in its 245 years of life. Not even close. The Scandinavian countries have come the closest with Finland in the top spot. Richard Wolff has a good definition.

“Democracy exists if and when a community organizes its self-governance around the full participation, on an equal basis, of all the members of a community. Autocracy exists when a community organizes (or allows) its governance by an individual or subgroup of that community, a ruler. Universal suffrage is clearly a step toward at least formal democracy because voters elect leaders. How real this formal democracy is depends on the inclusivity of the population voting and the concrete reality of a voter’s equal influence on the election’s outcome. The capitalist economic system generates precisely that unequal distribution of income and wealth that creates and sustains a wide gap between formal and real democracy in the world today. That gap in turn reinforces capitalism.”

Analyze his description by thinking of slavery, Jim Crow, Donald Trump, Emmitt Till, Martin Luther King, Oprah Winfrey, voting rights and wrongs, Texas, Selma, Georgia, Robert E. Lee, Sojourner Truth, Muhammad Ali, George Floyd, Tulsa, and Watts.

The key line: “Democracy exists if and when a community organizes its self-governance around the full participation, on an equal basis, of all the members of the community.” We have never had that.

The Civil War continues in its 161st year. We were in Afghanistan for only 20.

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