I’m feeling grateful today: for the people who’ve kept me alive and for a country that will treasure something like “How Many Americans Does It Take To Pull a Plug?” (www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJkcAxn5Bc4) in the Library of Congress (Registration Number TXu001877451).
I hope this means the Librarian still believes in democracy. In any case, the genocidal narcissists in Congress can’t say I didn’t warn them — nor can the genocidal sociopaths at Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and American Express. If I had any student loans, I’d have pulled the plug on them, too.
The Uncle of His Country is no useless windbag.
From my “Dollar to the Giant” archives of April 2012 — April 15, to be clear:
“In every way, we’d all be richer with a poor President”
Exactly thirty years ago, I was sitting in a cafe in Italy, wearing a custom gabardine suit and drinking Campari with my best gal.
Life was good.
A little more than four years ago, I shut down my business to spend my time and savings raising awareness about our country’s economic vulnerability.
Strangely, perhaps, life was even better.
Last night, I flossed and spat another piece of broken tooth — the fourth molar I’ve lost in four years, the fourth molar I cannot afford to repair. I crawled into my tattered sleeping bag on the floor of yet another borrowed shelter, grateful not to be spending the night in my pickup truck.
I hardly know what to say, except that I heartily recommend it to everyone.
President Obama just filed his 2011 tax return. He and Michelle Obama made $789,674 — down from $1.7 million in 2010 and $5.5 million in 2009.
Still, our President is a wealthy man — a very wealthy man.
And, you might know, a very talented performer. I’ve seen him keep a straight face and claim to represent the American middle class — at the same time!
Certainly, there can be no shortage of talented performers among our wealthy Top 1% — or talented speechwriters, I suspect.
Do you think we’re in good hands? Are these wealthy “representatives” of ours capable of representing anything worthwhile?
Do you think they take us seriously? Understand us? Feel what we feel?
I tend to doubt it. Money — especially a little extra money — insulates people from the scary stuff.
A lot of extra money — which, by the way, I never begrudge an honest man — can insulate us from the good stuff, too, if we’re not careful.
Employed Americans, now preoccupied with their own fears, are increasingly disconnected from their less-fortunate brethren. American citizens are turning their backs on one another.
Where’s the incentive for wealthy politicians to feel what ordinary citizens feel — and consequently act in the public interest?
Where’s the self-sacrifice so essential to public service and to public spirit? It’s difficult to imagine any of these Democrats and Republicans voluntarily making any real sacrifices anymore.
(Trading the emotional well-being of one’s spouse and children for one’s personal ambition does not qualify. This is rather the antithesis of real sacrifice.)
In every way, we’d all be richer with a poor President. Material wealth is no reliable indicator of anything but material wealth — examples abound — and we don’t need any more leaders with a lifelong habit of following their greed.
A better-adjusted President could and would devote more of his/her energy to our working and middle classes. More industry and agriculture would create more new wealth. As the real economy grew, even the rich would become richer.
Nothing wrong with opportunity for everyone.
My own poverty might be self-imposed, or it might only have begun with such a commitment. In any case, it’s authentic, uncomfortable, and utterly necessary.
I could not do what I’m doing without suffering what our people are suffering. My personal experience must reflect the experience of my fellow citizens.
As my country declines, so must I. To do otherwise would render me a useless fraud.
As my country’s infrastructure crumbles, so must my personal infrastructure crumble.
When I have the time and money — or if the physical pain becomes intolerable — I’ll see a dentist and a doctor.
Right now, there’s work to do — work that will not wait — and my country is more important than my comfort.
I think every Presidential candidate should have the same commitment — don’t you?
“How Many Americans Does It Take To Pull a Plug?”
No matter who you blame—Washington, Wall Street, the Big Banks, Globalization—they all have at least one thing in common: they all get all their power from us.
Even a young child knows: when a machine goes haywire and the controls don’t work, you don’t form a committee, you don’t stockpile ammunition, you pull the plug.
When a contractor doesn’t perform as agreed—and this applies to social contracts, as well—you withhold payment until he does the job you hired him to do.
Beginning right now, I will do my part as an American citizen—and the guy you could have voted for—to enforce the American agreement of democracy and prosperity, and to prevent a possible genocide.
I’m glad you don’t like that word. For decades now, this country has been in the business of transferring existing wealth instead of producing new wealth. When the wealth has all been transferred, finally—what happens then?
Beginning right now, you can do more than just complain and feel helpless. You can pull a plug. Join me—follow me—in providing incentive by simply withholding payment:
- Not another penny in income tax—personal or corporate.
- Not another penny in payment of student loans.
- Not another penny to any Big Bank—or to any corporation that has taken American money and betrayed American interests.
I am not saying we should all become irresponsible deadbeats. I’m advocating a higher form of financial responsibility, one that considers the difference between virtue and vanity, virtue and cowardice. When our democracy is acceptable, America’s real economy acceptable, when the game is no longer rigged against us, we should be delighted to once again extend our cooperation and financial support—under conditions acceptable to the common man.
Americans in a democracy are all common men.
Every day, somebody tells me our country is doomed, our children are doomed, there’s no future, not a thing we can do about it, and we shouldn’t even try.
They say America is in her final stages of disunity, that Americans couldn’t pull together now if their lives depended on it.
I say they’re wrong.