410 Comments
Sep 25, 2023Liked by Robert Reich

Every time I read a post of yours I am overwhelmed by your intellect and empathy. You do not disappoint today. I had to comment because this is the essence of what needs to happen to save our country. If this problem of income inequality isn't solved the USA is doomed. My mothers Sicilian father worked in Pennsylvania as a coal miner. Luckily he eventually moved to Connecticut, where I was born. On my father's side, I have a great grandfather, grandfather, and father who worked for the New Haven railroad. Union men. The yard where my dad worked is gone. How ridiculous that something vital such as a railroad, is gone. We have sold our birthright for nothing. The excessive love of wealth is insanity. I am not a writer and it's 4:30 in the morning, but I had to take the time because this is so important. Thank you for every thing you say or write or video. Never stop. Some might find this strange but you are my hero because you speak the truth thank you. I think I'll go to sleep now. Your words are so powerful.

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Sep 25, 2023Liked by Robert Reich

I agree, this is a truly wonderful column. We are living in a new Gilded Age, ushered in by the Ayn Rand-inspired Ronald Reagan and his lickspittle economist Milton Friedman, fueled by the cutting of capital gains tax to 20%, exemplified by I-did-it-all-on-my-own Howard Schultz. The demise of unions in the last 40 years is no coincidence.

What an opportunity for Biden to channel FDR!

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I hope he does!!! Standing on that picket line with the UAW, I hope he sings out to the CEOs and mega money people that their day is over. It is time to spread the wealth and equalize our country again. Have respect for your workers and share those huge profits with the very people that made that happen!!!

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Asking President Biden to blame CEOs for their greed is asking the DNC to commit Hara-Kiri. The latter could not care less about popular support; they want money support for their political campaigns. Granted, Biden could do it for optics while telling big corporations, as he already did, that nothing will fundamentally change. I doubt, however, that the DNC would allow it. Potentially too dangerous for the status quo.

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Well then, we will need to find someone who is willing to do the hard work necessary to take down these CEOs a little bit. Americans need to figure out ways to not give money to the CEOs. We need to buy from the local small businesses. We need to support the businesses that are not major conglomerates. There is the free TV project for tv. Find a local internet provider for internet. Shop local grocers (produce stands, local meat markets) and learn how to do without those things the corporations are telling you "you have to have"! There are ways to bring these greedy power-hungry people down. Americans came together during the war and sacrificed in order for their country to stay together. We need to do that again.

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The first thing that must be done is END Citizens United, which terms the unfettered donations to political figures by corporations "freedom of speech." And get rid of everyone who had a hand in approving this outrage.

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Steve Doll - You are SO VERY RIGHT!! That should be one of two or three very hard-line issues for Democrats - and yet it never even gets mentioned.

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Peggy, thank you for all your suggestions. Couldn’t agree more.

It all means nothing if the citizens of this country are not awakened to the fact that big corporations are successfully becoming the power behind the thrown, so to speak. They, by-in-large are the ones pulling the strings of the politicians.

It’s necessary for Pres Biden to speak out against corporate greed, but it doesn’t mean much if the DNC continue to court big donations and claim as most other politicians that the fund raising process is such a constant process that our representatives must whore themselves to the PACS that represent the very organizations that tie politicians to anti-union, deregulation and anti-environmental legislation.

Union representation helps create a strong middle class and even more, they promote an attitude within the employees themselves that they have a place at the table, too. The labor force of any company are in an integral part of the process and are just as important to the company as the CEO the Board or shareholders. The employees are not just some afterthought to be ignored, dismissed or worse disdained but are in fact the other half of the coin in any manufacturing and service corporation. They not only make that company exist but even more, give it meaning.

But the final piece to the whole of the thing is the public, themselves. We the people who may or may not be employed by these corporations and big conglomerates have a powerful voice with our vote and purchasing power. We can’t forget that the workers and also the people outside the corporations are the vast majority and it’s for us that these corporations should be existing, not the other way around.

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absolutely. Union is an exercise of unity= power-in-numbers. The same must be exercised with our votes and our wallets. However, the 'powers that be' (billionaires and corporate interest) also know this, and continue to undermine this effort with promoting no education (anti-woke); miseducation (misinformation); divide and conquer, via 'culture wars'; voter suppression; gerrymandering and the like; court packing... Their efforts to divide prove that our strength is in numbers= Unity.

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I think you hit the nail on the head, Peggy. In a democracy, it all comes back to the education of the citizenry. This is not easy for anyone but the alternative is to live under the rule of an omnipotent master, such as big corporations today. I would add that, being their voice, mainstream media has a huge responsibility in our deliquescent state of public debate.

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Exactly, Peggy. Prof. Reich, in his Wealth and Poverty class, asked students at Berkeley whether they prefer to live in a place with mom and pop shops or big box stores. They overwhelmingly chose mom and pop. Then he asked whether they look for the best price when they shop. And there it was; they look for bargains and end up shopping in big boxes/online rather than supporting small businesses. And to your second point, it is probably that a lot of what people buy, they really do not need.

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I understand the need to find the best price. I just feel that a lot of things people think they 'need' aren't really things they need. I think about Ukraine and the people there. Even though they are fighting for their very lives and way of living, they will smile and talk to reporters. They have even a hard time getting essentials let alone wish items!! Americans need to go without the luxuries in order to make a point. CEOs and major corporations need to get hurt in their pocketbooks for them to understand what the working class is telling them.

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We could have gone with Bernie or E. Warren!

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Or better yet: Bernie AND E. Warren.

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"Asking President Biden to blame CEOs for their greed is asking the DNC to commit Hara-Kiri."

On the contrary, this is the one great opportunity for the DNC to rescue itself from irrelevance. If they had just heeded Sanders in 2016, they would have won in a landslide, and Donald Trump would have remained known as a failed casino operator with an obscure, defunct, TV show.

The blame for what actually happened, i.e., a man totally unfit for office, who became President, a man who brought us to the brink of fascism, a man who attempted to overthrow the government, that blame lies squarely on the shoulders of the DNC.

Time for a change.

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The DNC and the Republican party will ALWAYS side with the money that pays for their political campaigns. Until that changes nothing will change but will get even worse. We own the air waves. So we should make the stations that we license give free air time to anyone running for office. Laws to make internet users give equal time to every politician also must be passed. Any contribution to a politician more than $1,000 should be made public. Until this happens the slow corporate coup will continue to its ultimate goal is reached: dictatorship.

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It is funny, in a way, to think that the ability to buy the sheriff, the judge, the attorney general, the president, and all kinds of law-makers is a uniquely US problem among modern democracies. Elsewhere, and certainly in Europe, campaign financing is strictly defined by law, totally transparent, and mostly public. That is not hard to figure out.

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I agree with your first sentence, except that I would change the word "will" to the word "have." There is nothing stopping the DNC creating a much more liberal platform, then seeking small donations from ordinary people. This is the modus operandi of Sanders, and, as he has shown, you can outraise the GNP this way. There is a huge amount of pent-up anger in the 70%, to be tapped.

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Alden Thayer ; Not all media is on the 'air waves'. much of it is privately owned. We may need to do a general strike! They are heading us over the cliff of a Government shut down. That is no way to treat those who are actually doing the work. It is indecent ; there should be consequences. It's getting to be a habit. put the entire country over a barrel and extort US unfairly. This is war! vote like your life depends on it, because it does.

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I agree, Michael. As you say yourself, the blame "lies squarely on the shoulders of the DNC." They did not rig the election against B. Sanders in 2016 out of absent-mindedness but through definite calculation. He was a serious threat to the corporatocratic status quo DNC elites live for. They don't want to commit Hara-Kiri.

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Could not agree more on all points, Michael. Especially about the DNC's culpability for Agent Orange.

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Philippe - onehomeplanet.com ; Would it change much if the DNC "committed Hara-Kiri"? It might improve things if we had truly progressive candidates who were not sell outs, dancing to the 'moderate' fair and balanced ' musak!

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Philippe - onehomeplanet.com ; What do we need the DNC for anyway!? What does it do for average working humans and the poor, who may be under -employed, or unable to find a job or unable to work, because of age or physical and/or mental challenges.

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That's my point, Laurie. The current DNC's political direction goes against the common good.

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I agree with your assessment but I don't think Biden's stance would be that different from the DNC's, as you describe it. I read today of all of the trump "policies" that Biden campaigned against and has left in place. I don't think Biden has ever realized that he was elected to oust trump and all things trump from our government. Even in areas where he has NOT been obstructed (yet anyway) by the "republican" MAGAts, he has not ousted trump. I don't think he has fully embraced the differences between being a very long-term Senator and "old pol" which he was and being President.

Otherwise, I think your assessment is accurate.

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Sep 25, 2023Liked by Robert Reich

I feel the same and have since I began to read Robert's substack.

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Trump has been asked not to show up in Detroit. Its odd his mother made the same request before he was born.

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You sir, are my new best friend.

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Susan--I have a friend with the same last name.

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Interesting, it's not a name I hear often. In fact, I think I've only met one other person with the same last name, which is one of the reasons why I'm replying.

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Susan-- it a family name from a branch off the old tree. Don't worry I don't bite, I lost all of my teeth years ago. I did however just finished a verbal altercation with a guy I basically wanted to gum to death.

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Thank goodness for humor, I am overjoyed that the late night shows will be beginning again. I very much appreciate humor it is the only way to cope with the daily insanity. I'm too tired to think of anything else.

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Susan, I have noticed that in the British Isles - especially in older films - St John is pronounced "sin-gin". That really intrigues me! The first time I noticed it was in a film adaptation of Jane Eyre. I have read the book several times and watched almost every film version, so I couldn't help but notice it. Are you aware of this? Just curious 🤔

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Yes I was aware of that pronunciation and had a substitute in high school once address me that way during attendance. One time, someone pronounced it as, Stuh John, which was quite funny.

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Too funny! Agree wholeheartedly. Even though there is indeed nothing funny about how #45 has tried to wreak this country's democracy since he rode down that escalator in 2015, some humor is needed to keep the sane among us from going absolutely wacko.

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Irma--AC/DC sang a lovely little number that described Trump's decent. Highway to----!

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Janet--I will do my best to keep you smiling as long as it's considered legal. See right there I'm different than Trump.

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You are so right. Professor Reich speaks truth to power and I hope he never stops. It saddened me to hear of your father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. They had my dream job!! I wanted so badly to work on the railroad!! Back in my day (I'm what they call a senior citizen!) I absolutely loved taking the train to anywhere!! I would love to see the railroad back again! It is a great way to travel!! C'mon Mayor Pete! Get those rails singing again!!!

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Oh, don't be sad for my great-grandfather and grandfather, it was just as you imagined it would be, men playing with trains. My dad worked very hard and I know he loved his job however it all began to deteriorate and he was forced to move from the tower in the yard to being a conductor which he disliked immensely. I believe it was the last three or four years of his career so he didn't suffer too long. Your romantic vision is spot on I always felt that the men loved working with the trains we're proud of their jobs and basically even though it was hard work enjoyed their careers. When I see bullet trains, beautiful stations, and other wonderful real systems in other countries, that's when it breaks my heart and if my father was alive it would break his heart too.

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You know, you put it best 'playing with trains'! I loved trains growing up but because I was a 'girl' my mom wouldn't buy me a train set! I had to wait until I grew up and had kids of my own to buy them train sets so I could play!! I am sure your great-grandfather, grandfather and father did enjoy their work tremendously. I suppose being a conductor was just not as much fun as being in the tower in the yard!! I agree with you, it breaks my heart that we do not have a rail system as grand as they do overseas. I'm hoping with the infrastructure in place, we might start seeing an improvement in that regard!

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Both of my grandfathers, one of them Mexican born, the other a Mexican from an old Arizona family worked for the Santa Fe railroad at a yard that now handles twice the freight with fewer than half the workforce thanks to automation. The town it is in, Barstow CA, has fallen on hard economic times since Clinton slashed public assistance and drove hoards from LA to its lower cost of living, making it one of the crack house capitals of the US. We were taken away from there in 1970 thanks to my dad's union plumber job. He had started at Santa Fe as an apprentice diesel mechanic before getting into the union, one of the first Mexican Americans allowed in.

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Such a shame that your family had that experience. It's so tragic to think of how many people have been adversely affected by changes in the railroads in America. I'm glad your dad was able to find another career

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I think Professor Reich is the hero of ALL who come daily to listen to Ms. Chatbot speak his eloquent words. If only he could live ANOTHER 70+ years to see the inevitable Gopless PROGRESSive future that awaits us thanks to him and other "soldiers of sanity."

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Susan: I completely agree. Full stop.

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I agree with your comment Susan! Nothing strange about it to me- Robert is a hero and I also really appreciate his wisdom and clarity.

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Yes, Robert, CEO's, etc. are to blame, but individual law makers have enabled them and the news media has been extremely lax in reminding the voters how the Eisenhower was able to build the Interstate Highway System and why people my age (born in 1940) think of the 50's as the "Golden Era" because it was good. Top tax rate was 91% I believe, then dropped to 71% by JFK, 50% by Reagan, etc. We need to overhaul the tax code entirely - income, estate and corporate.

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Sep 25, 2023·edited Sep 25, 2023Liked by Robert Reich

I also remember the Eisenhower recession of 1959. Since then we've taken one step forward in terms of civil rights and due process and two steps backward economiclly. The middle class and main street that existed during the 50's is gone. Detroit is part of a rust belt that began during the Nixon administration, exacerbated by Reagan and culminated under 2 Bushes.

IMHO the union memebrs who supported Trump in 2016 and 2020 agree that the CEOs of America’s big corporations who are now raking in more than 350 times than they do should have to share their good fortune. Biden on the pickket line is good PR to bring unity to the union membership and some sanity to people who voted contrary to their own economic and physical well being.

In the auto industry the big three has competition in non union companies that are mostly foreign owned, but are mainlly non union. So is Tesla, controlled by a whacko.

Trump is telling the people on the picket lines that they are negotiatiing themselves out of a job because all of our domestic product will be EVs rather than powered by fossil fuels. Many of those folks, brainwashed by Fox and other right wing media, belive that global warming is a hoax and that electric cars are a Chinese/Japanese plot.

IMHO OPEC/Saudi/Russia are working for Trump. trying to raise oil prices and thus increase domestic inflation. Saidis own the largest US oil refinery and control US companies like Exxon.

Trump prefers temprary Balkan workers over hiring Amercans or green card holders at his Florida proerties. The joke about his cuttent plea to auro workers is that he had his suits and ties manufactured offshore and his daugher got breaks from the Chinese government, at the same time she was supposedly a government employee. It looks like he has been advocating for Russia, Saudis, anyone he thinks can help him financially. His most recent financial statements show that most of his income is derived in Oman and Saudi Arabia. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/07/13/donald-trump-financial-disclosure/

Saudi/OPEC/Russia have been undermining our economy by fixing energy prices and burning up the planet. Sue the bastatds. Recoup losses due to price gouging. California has the right idea! https://www.npr.org/2023/09/16/1199974919/california-oil-lawsuit-climate-change?fbclid=IwAR39HNUmpsdIXP3cfXIAcGvucH8pynEmA1BpYxUjUuEWxae4Bu-Xo_ldBtQ

No mention of fixing prices, price gouging. IMHO the state has lost trillions due to price fixing and price gouging by oil companies......

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The Saudis will definitely have an impact on our elections by controlling gas prices.

Saudi Aramco, the kingdom's state-owned oil behemoth, took 100% control of the sprawling Port Arthur refinery in Texas on Monday, completing a deal that was first announced last year.

Port Arthur is considered the crown jewel of the US refinery system. The Gulf Coast facility can process 600,000 barrels of oil per day, making it the largest refinery in North America.

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That’s what we get for supporting “democracies” like Saudi Arabia, Hungary, and Turkey.

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Good grief. Thanks for eye opener.

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Get this out there on Bill Boards!

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@Daniel Solomon, on what basis are Trump et al not under indictment by DOJ for treason?

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Treason is a violation of a citizen’s allegiance to the U.S. by betrayal or aiding the country’s enemies. We're not at war. Insurrection involves actual acts of violence against the state or its officers. So far, Garland has not brought either charge against Trump. although DOJ has brought about 1000 cases of insurrection and a dozen or so cases of seditious conspiracy under Title 18, Chapter 115. .https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2381

I certainly don't speak for Garland but I think he fears that any case under Tile 18, CHAPTER 115—TREASON, SEDITION, AND SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES against Trump will be tied up on appeal for years because as president, he was immune from prosecution and argubly would have a presumption that he was acting accordingly.

It took Garland and the FBI over a year to investigate Trumo and his inner circle. As of today, I don't think they've investigated many other potential defendants, like MC Carthy, Gym Jordan and others who were eyewitnesses and others who asked for pardons.

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You sound like a far right propaganda outlet. Tune into NPR News Hour for a change of perspective.

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In case you missed it, he's suing people like you for defamation.

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Daniel Solomon: the weird thing about Tesla is they were bigger than Detroit, together with all of Germany and almost all of Japan PUT TOGETHER in terms of market capitalization - but their tiny output of vehicles comprises less than 1/30th of all those others.

I find it less likely that there is a Chinese and Japanese plot than that oil companies are paying Tesla to make as few cars as possible, delay EV adoption for as long as possible, much up charging facilities and tangle the process, and keep internal combustion engines dominant into the 2040s. Why? The Chinese would love for America to move to EVs - and would love to move that way themselves - but it's all about relative costs for transition (which is why the US used coal plants for so long after cleaner, more efficient alternatives abounded). But they can't really control the pace of adoption - that's on Americans to install the kit and build the infrastructure.

OPEC doesn't need to finance Trump: there is a domestic extraction industry worth trillions of dollars doing so already. Kings and sheikhs play their part (esp with cash assets) - but everywhere from Eastern Pennsylvania through the Dakotas, down to Louisiana and across Texas - the players in this game are massive and domestic - the foreign dimension a curiosity.

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What you miss is that the Saidiis and the Chinese now own or control our "domestic"fossil fuel industry.

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By the way, Daniel, a truly amazing piece of journalism on the exquisitely local nature of extraction power is "Amity and Prosperity" - a recent Pulitzer winner, which grapples with small town Eastern Pennsylvania (and why so many embraced Trump, though not exactly as a central focus). I know more about the local nature of power than that, but it's accessible and powerful - how even a tiny single family can resist sometimes, but sometimes cannot. Riveting stuff.

But to get to the bigger picture, check out the very first NAFTA arbitration trying to set aside the jury award in this case: https://www.nytimes.com/1999/01/28/business/nafta-invoked-to-challenge-court-award.html

The case doesn't get enough attention. It links to exactly how private equity works in America and how NAFTA can help or hurt, and should be central to our analysis.

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The powers that be in America go back generations, trace through property lines and real estate trusts established back in Eisenhower's day.

You will find Chinese, Russian, Saudi, and other money in crypto space and a massive amount of tech space - but while money can take over plots of land, it struggles to do so quietly, esp when real estate is involved.

Look to water rights fights in AZ as Saudi-backef Al Maria tried with Pepsi to quietly acquire farm plots). Or more appropriately, look to the billion dollar judgment against a Japanese-Canadian firm trying to muscle into funeral parlor space by buying a single funeral home 30 years ago - how and why that unraveled is a big piece of why foreigners have a more difficult time than might be expected intruding into American power.

Money talks, BS walks - but the Saudis have future money based on extraction rates and pricing, not actual money. You'd need to build a dozen more Dubai's to convert future money into present money before you'd make much of a dent in US politics and power. But fossil fuels pay their share in dividends at the local level - every country club regular gets a piece of dividends, either directly or indirectly through the leverage that finances the rest of their real estate.

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founding

I agree we need a major tax code revision that benefits ALL LABOR! The first 40k of wages should be tax free! Estate Tax exemptions need lowered to 4 million from 12 million! Irrevocable Trusts need Taxed at time of inception! We need a Corporate Min. TAX! Capital Gain Tax Rates need to be 40% not 20%! PEOPLE making over 500k need to pay 57% tax not 37% Tax!

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We don't collect all the taxes that are due. https://www.wsj.com/articles/irs-chief-says-1-trillion-in-taxes-may-go-uncollectedeach-year-11618337765

We also don't tax a lot of businesses that sell products in the US. If they make money here, they should be taxed here.

And rwe should be able to sue price fixers and price gougers, like the OPEC/Saudi/Russian cartel that is also a national security threat. Not only should we recoup losses, we should seek damages. Sue the bastards.

The main problem with the tax code is that we gave companies thhe OK to sell out to foreign interests when Reagan reduced the capital gains tax. That's when we sold the goose that laid the golden egg -- manufacturing. As a policy matter, the bottom line should be based on the cost of goods sold rather than from speculation on share prices.

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Amen!

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It’s High Time for Average Middle Class Workers to Take Back Our Country

The richest Americans, major corporations and the majority of Congress, especially the Republicans, have been screwing the rest of us for decades! The best way to send them a strong message is to Unionize. They hate unions! The key to joining a union is that unions must have a strong leader or leaders who can not be bought off by the rich.

What is one of the biggest gripes the United Auto Workers have is that they can’t afford the cars that they help build. Meanwhile the CEOs and company executives and many members of Congress are able to afford the highest priced cars, homes, yachts, jets, etc….

These people wouldn’t have any of those luxury items without a skilled middle class workforce. Yet they refuse to share their wealth or pay their workers a living wage. And unless you are contributing money to members of Congress, chances are you are struggling to make ends meet because most of them don’t care about what you need to live a healthy and happy life.

It all comes down to the Old and Feeble vs Old and Evil. President Biden and his administration or the FPOTUS and his henchmen. Remember when he said “I will have only the best people”. Believe me Donald Trump is not the answer! He hates unions and doesn’t care about anyone! He is an expert @ deceiving us and has been conning the American people since he was a child! He owes most of his deceitful behavior to his father and Roy Cohn.

Unfortunately many Americans are too lazy to get on the internet and vet the FPOTUS . They are acting like The Walking Dead, easily manipulated by his lies and someday soon will come to regret that they got duped including many members of Congress. As for our Media, “Trust But Verify”!

Remember when Trump said “I will have only the best people”. Peter Navarro, former trade adviser, lashed out on Friday against women speaking out about corruption in the Trump White House and implied that women cannot be trusted to hold high-ranking jobs in the United States government.

Many former Republicans that have left the party have stated that in private many other Republicans in Congress have admitted and agree that Trump is a threat to our democracy and our country. These Congressmen and Congresswomen are spineless cowards! This will be their legacy.

Last week President Biden went to the UN to make the case for continued military and political support for Ukraine, a sovereign country. What did the Republicans do? The Republicans embarrassed our military, Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy, President Biden and the United States. It’s far more than Putin could have ever wished for! What a travesty the GOP has become! Their families must be so proud of them.

Speaker McCarthy denied President Zelenskyy the opportunity to address a joint session of Congress. The Republicans want to cut funding for Ukraine from the budget bill. They also want to defund the Military. Remember when the Republicans made a BFD when a Democrat, Ilhan Omar, stated in a tweet that defunding the police means removing funds given from police departments and allocating it to other segments of the community. How come the Democrats are not going after Republicans for trying to defund the Pentagon! Hold them all accountable !!! Vet and Vote for adults who swear an Oath to uphold our Constitution and our Freedoms and Rights.

Vet the candidates first then do your duty to protect our country. Vote

For more proof of how despicable Trump really is read today’s Heather Cox Richardson’s Substack about General Miley

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Sep 25, 2023Liked by Robert Reich

It's time for all in the "working class" to take back our country...not just the middle class, which is part of the working class. If you're not a 1%er then you're working class...you are a 99%er. Remember Occupy Wall Street...it represented the 99%ers.

Also, I just read Heather Cox Richardson's excellent Substack regarding General Milley and thin-skinned Trump's social media comments about him. Everything Trump said in his social media about General Milley really applies to Trump in reality. He is the one who has committed treason by not honoring his oath of office and his allegiance to the Constitution.

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I was thinking the same thing. Every time the GOP points a finger three more are pointing at themselves. They will never get the stink of Trump off of them. I don’t care how they live with themselves, after this. In my book their Honor, Integrity & self worth are gone & “Shame on them”.

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Always projection.

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Well said, thanks for your comment. It means so much when I read that I'm not alone in my thinking, and you said it so perfectly..

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Yes, get rid of corporate subsidies like those that go to the fossil fuel industry & industrial agriculture. Make it much more difficult for corporations to take over or merge with other corporations. Greatly increase the progressivity of our income tax system, exempting the first $50K in income & assessing a 90% tax on any income beyond 1 million dollars. Double the minimum wage. Impose wealth taxes. Tighten regulations. Include externalities like environmental or societal harm in cost. Impose triple damages for harm to the environment or society. Get the ratio of executive pay to bottom rung employee pay back down from 400:1 to its square root, 20:1.

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And Nazis rule Russia, not Ukraine, which has fewer Nazis/fascists in power than the US.

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We'd better not stop if we don't want Russia to keep invading & conquering countries in its centuries long obsession to expand empire, which won't stop until either they're stopped by force or they conquer the world.

This is the most important conflict since WWII for us to prevail in & it's a relatively small investment & great deal for us in that we don't have to do any of the fighting. All previous conflicts since WWII we probably should not have gotten involved in, but this 1 is critical.

And how we stand to Russia may very well figure into whether China follows suit & invades Taiwan & other nearby countries. They've already threatened Japan with a nuclear attack.

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As I said, the US would've been better not to have gotten involved in (or started) previous conflicts since WWII. But if you can't see how crucial it is to stop Russia from willy nilly attacking its neighbors to keep acquiring more & more territory, then it is you who are blind.

The Communist Chinese have never controlled Taiwan & the Taiwanese certainly don't want to be controlled by them.

You are so quick to condemn the US for actions that you readily accept from Russia & China. It is clear you don't care for liberty, democracy, sovereignty or self-determination & are fine with large countries bullying, invading & brutalizing their smaller neighbors.

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So the punishment of Libya was led by France & the UK (or was it Germany?), dragging the reluctant US into it. I was against Bush's invasion of Afghanistan & Iraq.

The question now is Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine. So just because the US was wrong in the past, you're going to excuse Russia's atrocities now? That shows you have no principles whatsoever & therefore no credibility at all.

Putin is acting just like Hitler. Domestic fascists are a much greater danger to the US than they are to Ukraine. Russofascists & republofascists are more corrupt than anyone in Ukraine & they're the great danger to the US, Ukraine & the world.

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Sep 25, 2023Liked by Robert Reich

Touché, Professor Reich. This letter hits the mark. I hope you mailed it to the White House and as an OPEN LETTER to the major newspapers of this country. You have spoken for all of us who toil day in and day out with so little to show for it at the end of the week.

I greatly appreciate this.

Your friend in MD,

Anne

🌻💙🙏

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The letter needs to be elevated and amplified! It needs to be read by everyone!! However....most are too stubborn to read anything that casts the previous "president" in a bad light. If they didn't know who wrote it...they'd probably all agree with it. Until they found out who wrote it....then they'd find every reason to bash it. It's really really becoming a sickness.

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America is a brainwashed society. People have been brainwashed by the media in its various forms for centuries,by the white supremeist churches and politicians. All at the behest of the elite to protect their power,control and most importantly their wealth. The USA is sleepwalking into utter disaster.

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Holding the CEO's to their greed is an idea that looks so necessary but doing it is another story. When will we learn that when we all thrive, we all thrive. When we value EVERY individual as essential in our ability to survival, we all walk away with The Common Good. It is an attitude and perspective. Frances Perkins brought that to FDR's attention as the positive route to move forward from the 1929 FUBAR.

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President Biden hopefully will be channeling FDR when he stands with the workers at the picket line. I try to tell everyone I know how very, very important it is to vote. If we don't, we will wake up in a country being run by a fascist!

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This good-will doctrine sounds like capitulation to the current robber barons. Give them an inch and they will take 350.

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thanks once again, Bob, for what you do. Today you fired me up to send the following email to

President Biden:

Dear Mr. President, there is so much you are doing for the US and for the 99% that I am thrilled by: what you are doing in terms of creating good paying jobs, of trying to protect the environment, protect women's rights, protect civil rights, restore honor to our international standings. And I'm pleased that you are joining striking autoworkers on the picket line.

There is one more huge thing that I ask you to do, and I copy this directly from Robert Reich: "But you must unambiguously be on the side of working Americans against the CEOs, Wall Street moguls, and activist investors who have been profiting at the expense of the rest of America. ... Go on to criticize the CEOs of America’s big corporations who are now raking in more than 350 times what the average American worker is earning (in the 1950s, they took in 20 times)." You know what I mean here---please do this and historically you will be recognized as one of the greatest US presidents ever.

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The power is there for the people if they elect the right president and senators and representatives in Congress and cast aside the ones who don’t believe our government is for all Americans not just for the corporations (who are designated as a person) for tax purposes and the CEO’S of them. Cast out the un right chess and the power brokers from the temple of our country

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I will believe that a corporation is a person when I see one in jail

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Biden should promote the Corporate Death Penalty for corporations that rip off the people or the government, or otherwise egregiously fail to meet their duty to serve the public according to their government-issued charters.

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That's a great list of government policies that have caused the inequality or nation currently suffers from. But you didn't mention that unions use health insurance as a carrot to organize and keep workers in the union. I realized in the 1990s that the cost of our products includes the cost of healthcare, making it harder for us to compete in the world market with other countries who have universal coverage. Our inion workers have to compete for jobs with workers in other countries who have universal healthcare and don't require a wage package that includes the cost of healthcare. Mexico now claims to have universal healthcare and advertises for companies to relocate there because they don't have to provide the cost of healthcare. Has the US medical industrial complex become so profitable and powerful that we don't even mention it anymore? Thom Hartmann mentioned some statistics on his show recently that expose that despite the fact that we spend twice what countries with universal coverage spend, our life expectancy in the US is getting shorter while theirs is continuously getting longer. I copied Reich's list of policies in this article for my project which is nearly finished.

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Excellent point!

Am curious about your project. Am eager to see it when it's finished!

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Me,too. Gloria Maloney.

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A strong argument for universal healthcare, aka Medicare for All.

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they are not synonymous

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Look forward to reading it.

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I haven't read it, but I will. Thanks.

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Biden would greatly benefit from a consult with FDR.

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The corporate media and Citizens United have changed the game since FDR was president.

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And don't forget in addition to corporate media is the effect of iPhones, AI, Bots, and the lies being told over the internet.

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If you want to know how Biden works read Thomas Friedman’s article on what really happened in the meeting with Netanyahu in the NYT. Brilliant! And remember you don’t always know what is happening behind the scenes.

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I agree with you about the support of labor, unions and the rest, but the deeper problem with corporate moguls and the government is willful ignorance, or deliberate avoidance, of the burning of fossil fuels. Corporations are slowing down the transition away from fossil fuels in the name of their own profits, an act which will damage workers far more in the long run than their gleeful refusal to pay a decent wage. Sadly, for the UAW and the rest of us lower in the economic hierarchy, is that we are being sold a system that is consuming the planet at a rate that is killing us. Unions and all who are potential victims of pending ecosystem collapse are also unwilling participants in that killing with our consumption patterns (promoted ceaselessly in advertising) that burns an enormous amount of fossil fuels before we even wear, use, or turn the thing on. Our transport system is the worst of the lot on this, including cars, trucks, planes, boats and ships. Yes, the UAW deserves a fair wage, but the deeper and more pressing need is for a systemic change. (I am well-aware that this is too much for most people to hear, nevertheless we need to hear it and act or there won't be anyone left to support an economy.)

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founding

Your Right We Need a Major Change..Union Strikes unfortunately only temporarily help just organized labor! Even the wins by the Unions are temporary as the rich just merely raise prices and any wage increases are negated due to inflation! We Need a Income Tax Revolution...where the first 40k a person makes in Wages is tax free. We need to double taxes on Capital Gains from 20% to 40%. We need to Reduce the Estate Tax Exemption from 12 million back down to 4 Million. We need to Tax Transfers to Irrevocable Trusts to avoidance of Estate Taxes. We need a Minimum Tax on Corporate Cash Flow nood Corporate Income. Today Workers and Americans are demanding change by holding Strike Signs...polticians need to take note thatbthe next time Americans and Workers could come carrying Pitchforks!

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Right on, Brent Lambe

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We have perfected a perfect killing machine with our political economy. A machine most deft and powerful in thwarting its opposition. As renewable industry arises to combat climate change that will gradually provide a counter to existing political clout of legacy energy. But that is happening too slowly. So, as climate impacts worsen will the world get it together to respond to the threat or will it devolve increasingly into chaotic reaction? We now have to run much faster to catch up.If I'm a political leader it's much easier to say, let's put on hold a few years those car mileage requirements.

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"Let Republicans obsess about critical race theory, immigration, and sex. You should campaign against how obscenely unfair and unequal America has become."

So obscenely unfair and unequal, America is increasingly seen as an enemy state.

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"You should campaign against corporate greed."

I don't think Joe is that guy; Bernie is that guy. Joe is the guy who said while campaigning that "Nothing fundamentally will change." And his state (Delaware), I believe with his support, has become a mecca for credit card companies, the worst wolves of Wall Street.* Nonetheless, dismissing my concerns, Joe has done well presiding as a near-Progressive; in fact, I'm impressed and very pleased with his policies, words, and deeds. He is a good friend to most Americans. (Of course, Republicans loathe everything about him.)

You're correct, though, Bob, that this is a class war: the small, but powerful number of rich and thus powerful people against the working classes, which includes the middle classes, although many of them, especially the upper-middle class, I fear, support the rich, because they fantasize that one day they will join that inner circle. And some will: "In the U.S., 1,700 people become millionaires every day." And as common wisdom has it: That first million is the hardest to make. Most of them will only grow their wealth; well, good for them, up to a point -- what? $10 million?

If left alone, societies naturally group into haves and have-nots, royalty vs. peasants, an upper-class and a working class, as we see in Mexico. The middle class is a contrivance of government, which is a wonderful accomplishment, a wise and noble goal. Our middle class is currently badly decimated; you either move up or move down and out for good. It's America, 21st-century style.

Unions are the working person's very best friend. My dad, who worked for the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad frequently told us, his family, that "Without the union, we wouldn't have nothing," which was a fairly decent lifestyle, nothing fancy to be sure -- we lived in a small rent house with a one-car garage that had no door, but we never missed a meal, and I once counted that I had 30 shirts, two pairs of dress shoes, and one pair of sneakers. One could get by with that. Plus, after high school, before Vietnam, I was able to buy my first car, a 1956 Chevy, for $200. It was a hot rod, although you could also label it a shot rod: Its better days were behind it. (I sold it because I thought I would be killed in Vietnam, so why not settle that affair and not leave it to my parents?)

But the struggle goes on, and Bob is fighting on the front lines, and has been his whole life. He is, as is his wont, pushing the president hard, which is good: no pain, no gain; but Joe, I don't think, is ever going to be Bernie Sanders or Liz Warren. Plus, this nation has so many rabid right-wingers, to go further Left might tip us into a civil war. We're currently a tinderbox. Maybe, all things considered, FDR is not the guy we need right now; FDR got away with radical change because the nation was suffering with the Great Depression; things had to radically change; we needed a New Deal, and the nation, by and large, knew and wanted it. Too many Americans today are selfish; they won't even allow Medicare For All, living wages, or forgiveness of back-breaking college student loans. They think greed is good and that poverty is a motivator. Thus it is that Joe may be wise to act moderately and not like President Bernie would have. The risks are too great.

__________________________________________

* See Greg DeCowsky's correction in his comment below. (I got it wrong; he knows and provides the facts.) Thanks, Greg!

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James M - Well said but I’m not sure I’m with you on taking it too slow either. I think it is high time to show our might. Generally workers negotiate down from asking for everything they want. So let them set the bar high.

We need to teach these Ultra wealthy CEOs that we can continue on without them, but they cannot continue on without workers.

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Yes, maybe because I'm old, tired, and desire some real results finally, a big part of me (maybe the revanchist part) wants to see the union hold out till they win big, an admittedly vague term, but as an outsider and not a labor historian I'm not sure myself what is possible or ridiculous in this case.

I realize now more than ever that "enriching" the lower and middle classes, building up and out, as Joe says, is healthy for the economy. When you give tax breaks, for example, to fat cats, they don't spend it. We need more money in the hands of people who need it and will use it. That's a win-win. Power to the workers!

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Would’ve voted for Bernie if he was a choice, and Bernie would’ve destroyed Trump (he also appealed to the part of Trump’s base that is anti swamp insiders; anti ‘elite’), and he would’ve done much more of what the country still needs doing than Biden has.

But yes, in Trump vs. anyone, I’ll campaign, donate and vote for anyone.

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We must read different newspapers, blogs, etc.: I don't think that Bernie, an avowed socialist, could have prevailed. Republicans would have jumped on that fact relentlessly and extravagantly. That's still a scary word to most Americans; they see, in their minds, visions of Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and the gulag, and themselves in chains or work camps.

Nonetheless, now more than ever, I fervently believe that Bernie is right. America needs strong unions, Medicare For All, living wages for all workers, affordable college tuition, relief for former college students burdened with a lifetime of tuition debt, child tax credits, free day care, free elderly care, and a Green New Deal. (Dream on, eh? We could afford it all; it'd be a major boon to this nation, but we have too many government-haters.)

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Sep 25, 2023·edited Sep 26, 2023

You are correct to expect a President Sanders would have struggled mightily to control his prior use of the term socialism en route to election!

But one benefit of that effort would have been some degree of normalization of the term from its boogeyman status.

Socialism is the heart and soul of all forms of democratic governance; the so-called “free” market (a compounded oxymoron if I ever saw one) is merely an economic tool of both circumscribed and dangerously unstable high utility.

Reread this rousing bit of socialist literature: ”We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of ...”

That storied Socialist document does not give Corporations a misbegotten Right to unlimited government influence, or freedom from regulation, taxation, and liability for deceit.

Corporations should NOT be free to take whatever they can, by the force of bribe, misinformation, and judicial compulsion from those who don’t have lawyers and who don’t own Congressmen and don’t give jet/yacht rides to Supreme Court Justices, or PR to Presidents.

America can stand some reminding that we formed a government to take care of each other… and that the ONLY legitimate role of business and markets in our society is to SERVE that end.

We are SO confused.

US Citizens’ general welfare IS the ‘end’ of our government; our value and our purpose is not defined by our capacity to be manipulated into generating consolidated power for the few. Or for ourselves.

We have so many government haters perhaps because our government leadership and laws and precedents have been co-opted by the non-socially-oriented powers its job was to control. The trumpists who see this are right; their solution isn’t.

Our government IS a failing one. But recourse to authoritarianism is capitulation to the disease.

(mea culpa - I worked in state gov 7 years, federal 6, and internationally for US 14. There are at least as many good people in government as anywhere in the US.) But the senior civil service and appointee leaders of any institution cannot withstand the self-oriented wills of a billionaire class. Lord Acton might have said, if you want to have a democracy, you must prevent the consolidation of wealth/power.

But the words that ring through history are, “Power tends to corrupt; and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” One can't have justice in governance when one doesn't limit power consolidation everywhere.

A popular Bernie or a Bernie-like socialist-lite apologist who can foment an economic values revolution that upends our upside down priorities and “levels”(by ~10x, to start?) wealth/power consolidations as others suggest, is our best hope for future peace and prosperity.

Unlikely, but I'd fight for it; I believe in this country's premise.

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(Let me just throw in an aphorism from my late roommate Vic Sadot, a UAW Chrysler worker and singer-songwriter Find him on YT: FWIW I wrote "Fayette County Snow" and co-wrote "Billboard Bandit.")

"Any argument for insurance is a better argument for socialism." (Victor Rene Sadot)

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Provided one expects the government to be solvent and honoring debts longer than: Berkshire Hathaway, Ping An, AIS Group, China Life, Allianz, Cigna, Zurich Ins, United Healthcare, CVS, Cigna, Centene Corp, Nationwide, Liberty Mutual, Progressive, AIG, StateFarm, MetLife, Allstate, AXA, Humana.

Any imaginable chance US government is ready to shut down first?

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Sep 27, 2023·edited Sep 27, 2023

Your comment is a perfect setup for a joke I heard when I lived in West Berlin in 1967-68. Of course Germany at the time was divided into communist East (DDR) and capitalist West (BRD). The people of the West (especially Berlin, completely surrounded by the DDR) had a very dim and sarcastic view of the East and its government. I heard this from the father of my host family:

An East Berlin pensioner goes into a bank to cash his 100 Mark pension check.

“Do you have an account with us?” asks the clerk.

“Nein! I’ve kept my money in a sock under my mattress since the Russians came.”

“Would you like to open an account? It’s actually safer.”

“How is it safer?”

“It’s protected by the bank, and guaranteed by the City of Berlin, the State of Brandenburg, and the full faith and credit of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik.”

“But what if the DDR goes under?”

“Mein Gott! That ought to be worth 100 Marks to you!”

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Excellent comment, one of the best I've ever read.

I doubt that any system will or could ever purify a nation, make it a just, prosperous, and decent place to live free. But I'm a pessimist, agreeing with Kant: "Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made."

Nonetheless, if Bernie were president, we'd have a real shot at the gold ring. A lot of minds would have to be changed, but if they'd listen, they would, I think, come around to the fact that the federal government is here to help, contra Reagan, and it can.

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Thanks for the gentle good advice. Fixed it. Old enough to know better myself.

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It takes a big man, bigger than me, to own up to mistakes and correct them. Kudos!

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Let me offer a clarification on one point: I lived in Delaware for most of Biden’s time in the Senate. Delaware’s sellout to the credit card companies was the work of Republican governor Pierre S. DuPont IV (yes, THOSE DuPonts, the 1% of the 1%). When Chrysler shut down the Newark Assembly Plant, “Pete” is also the governor whose only help for the workers was to park a trailer across the street with a temporary unemployment office.

Democratic campaign slogan: “Vote Republican, and get an unemployment office where YOU used to work.”

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Thanks, G.D., for the input. I did not know that. I thus stand corrected: The hives of credit card companies, bilking and gouging Americans by the billions, is not Joe's fault. (I just never heard him criticize their nefarious enterprise. Maybe I missed that, too. However, Joe has stepped in it early and often throughout his career, but to err is human [to really mess it up, you need a computer]).

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Sep 25, 2023·edited Sep 25, 2023

"Pete" once unwisely referred to working-class voters as "Joe Sixpack." In response a local newspaper columnist dubbed him "Pierre le Six-Pacque." That appellation dogged "Pete" up to and including his ill-fated presidential campaign.

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I remember that, now that you mention it, Greg...!

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That slogan was also the work of Vic Sadot.

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If You vote for ST. Joe how are you ever going to get out of big money owning Party's.

I think Bernie could have done it but then all the sheep backed out.

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What choice do I have? Vote for Trump? No way!

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3rd Party candidate?

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Voting for a third-party candidate may make one feel good, but in this case, it would help Trump, so that's out of the question.

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Having been a 3rd-party candidate, I sadly must agree with your assessment.

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After I followed you, I noticed in your auto-bio that you disapprove of Nancy Pelosi. Why? (I think that she hung the Moon: Only she stood up to Trump; she got Obamacare through Congress, plus she could successfully herd those cats we call the House of Representatives. What am I missing? Where's my blind spot? [I'm sure I have many.])

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And everyone better know it!

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It´s evil, evil, evil.

What also disturbs (from the point of view abroad) is how global fast-food franchises exploit prison labour, especially young detainees. They´re glassy eyed and on pharmaceutical controls -- and the teenaged are wary of certain shops where predatory incarceration has been claimed. So, not only is at least one global coffee chain guilty of paying a CEO 800 times the average worker, it apparently enjoys collusion with whatever keeps the chain of command comfortable with indentured servitude. Isn´t that what mogul operations are all about? Disgusting.

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Sep 25, 2023·edited Sep 25, 2023

The publicity glows and we´re supposed to (literally) purchase the lies of happy workers, smiling and come from the global palette. One listens and watches; the exploitation is so, um, tasteful, and no one notices the dignity of obtaining meaningful work -- a means of realising marriage, family, private life, community goals -- as ever having existed in the first place.

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From Canada, the Deputy Minister for Finance, Chrystia Freeland (2012): http://digamo.free.fr/pluto12.pdf

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This is SUCH an accurate laying out of what’s going on today and who’s to blame. Altho very long , please take the time toread it as it’s right on the head of what’s hoing on in our country!!!!!

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