16 January 2007

That Sense of Rising Panic

A quick check-in with The Center for American Progress's daily Progress Report proved panic-inducing. It's a reminder that everything is connected, and it's all been spiraling downwards for some time now.

Why can't we afford universal healthcare? (Forget for the moment that we can afford it; all we need to do is put a whole new engine in to replace the guzzling, wasteful one we have now.) The Progress Report's lead story is how the Bushies are "giving away tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to oil companies already swimming in cash." Royalties from oil companies when they drill on federal land and in coastal waters are the country's second-largest source of income after taxes.

So is the Bush administration fulfilling its obligation to collect those dollars? Are you kidding? They largely rely on the industry's say-so rather than independent audits. This for an industry that is almost unparalleled in its philosophy of entitlement. The healthcare insurance industry does give them a good run for the money.

Link to Kick the Oil Habit to take action against this outrageous corporate welfare — welfare that helps fund CEO compensation packages only equaled by healthcare insurance execs.

This is just one facet of a cancer that's eating away the American middle class and replacing it with an aristocracy. They tried this once before, and they'll try it again. Wealth and power inexorably, little by little change the rules behind the scenes.

Activist labor unions, together with independent newspapers and Roosevelt saved the middle class in the twentieth century. Today, labor unions are a shadow of what they once were, newspapers are owned by conglomerates, and it's hard to say if a Roosevelt could be elected. Who would you rather have a beer with, Bush or some boring Democratic blue blood who talks without a trace of that reassuring, aw-shucks down-home Southern accent?

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