Sunday, January 08, 2012

Sunday, Bloody Sunday ...

Better. Never thought I'd say this, but David Gregory made Georgie Boy and Nixon's stenographer look like Romney Olympian amateurs. David did a great job, asked almost every question I had posted as unasked except the one on abortion and Romneycare, with excellent follow-ups. So David gets an A rather than A+. But at least, here he's EARNED the grade.

HUNTSMAN STRIKES BACK — Nothing like a 10-hour simmer, probably with little sleep to bring out the fangs in the slighted candidate. The counterattack put Romney on his heels but the delayed response didn't help Utah's still doomed former governor:
JON HUNTSMAN: "I was criticized last night by Governor Romney for putting my country first. He criticized me while he was out raising money. I want to be very clear. I will always put my country first." ROMNEY, snarkily: "I just think it's most likely that the person who should represent our party against President Obama is not someone who called him a remarkable leader." HUNTSMAN's takedown, described as his "most quotable moment" of the entire campaign: "This country is divided because of statements like that."
SQUISHY ROMNEY, LYING about those terrible European socialist states: One of Mittens' favorite lines of attack against the President is to call him a socialist who wants to turn America into a social welfare state. He gets away with it because no one will contest his lies about European economies. Well, somebody's got to stick up for European (versus American, Medicare/Social Security) socialism. In the Saturday debate Mittens made the misleading assertion that the average American worker has a higher standard of living than the average European. Right ... Did you hear the one about, Bill Gates walks into a bar:
"The claim that Americans have a higher standard of living is based on the U.S. having a higher ‘average income’ than most European countries. But average income doesn’t convey much about income distribution; if Bill Gates walked into a bar the ‘average income’ of everyone in the bar would increase by about a billion dollars!

Besides, Europeans invest their wealth into other important things besides income that benefit everyone equally, such as quality health care, child care, more vacations, more generous retirement pensions, paid parental leave after childbirth, free or nearly free college education, affordable housing, supportive senior care, better parks and more. In today’s economically insecure age, quality of life is not only about income levels but also about adequate support institutions for families and individuals. If the average American has more income than a European, how come Europeans have a much higher savings rate than Americans?"
How about the news that Germany posted its lowest unemployment rate, 6.8%, in 22 years last month? That's right. See, in Germany they do things a little differently. The labor unions have a seat in the corporate boardroom and even have input in selecting their CEOs. Workers have an ownership share in their companies, resulting in collaborative labor-management relations. Their manufacturing base kicked our ass, and last year Germany made twice as many cars as the U.S. They have largely free healthcare, education including college, better unemployment and retirement benefits. Since 1985, hourly worker pay in Germany rose 30% compared with 6% for the U.S. And as a percentage of all income, millionaires did very well in Germany, only they didn't post the indecent transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class to the one percenters of this country the last 40 years.

In 1970, in percentage of all income, the top one percent in Germany owned 11% percent compared with 9% for the U.S. (WOW; that was when we were growing the middle class and had the world's leading manufacturing base). After 30 years of the Reagan Right's destruction of America, that number is still 11% in Germany, but a whopping 20% in America. ONE PERCENT OF THE RICHEST AMERICANS OWN 20% OF OUR WEALTH. The income inequality in America is staggering, equaling the numbers on the cusp of the Great Depression, when a robber baron culture ruled the land.

A friend of mine, longtime GOP voter turned Democrat, once told me his German emigré neighbor never gave up German citizenship though he's been here for decades, because every year he travels to Germany and gets a full physical and all of his health care needs taken care of, essentially for free, as an entitlement of citizenship. By contrast, I went to the local supermarket and walked in on a Depression era bread-line of people queuing up to pay $59 for basic medical screenings, care of a traveling health clinic with a short-term outreach program. Similarly, there was the spectacle recently, in rural Tennessee, of people driving hours to get at the front of the line in pre-dawn darkness for emergency dental and medical care at a free clinic that was only there for two days. They could not handle the overflow crowds. And the infuriating tragedy of it is, these people continuously vote against their own best interests, for Republicans who will cut their Social Security to transfer more of our money to the top 1%.

Ask an ideologue like Ron Paul and his foolish followers, selfish young people with a narrow nihilistic youth-centric Darwinist perspective, of the real life consequences to real live people of their extremist policy abstractions. How much "freedom" does someone who cannot move for fear of losing his children's life-sustaining health care really have? Or, as happens in countless tragedies throughout this country, what's the "freedom" for people whose lives are cut short because they have no health care to treat their cancer? Mr. Paul says we have a "right to life" but not to health care. What he really means is, we have a right, or the "freedom" to die. Quickly. The sooner the better. So those lucky enough to have health care can get a bigger piece of the pie.
FACT: In the United States nearly 14% of Americans live in poverty — about 40 million people — compared to 6% in France, 8% in Britain, and 5% or less in Germany, Sweden and Belgium. Twenty percent of American children live below the poverty line, as do nearly 23% of the elderly, the highest figure by far in the west with the exceptions of Russia and Mexico. The U.S. is ranked 29th in infant mortality, tied with Poland and Slovakia (in 1960 the U.S. was ranked twelfth) and 37th in health care (France is ranked first). The wealthiest 10 percent of Americans now owns 70 percent of the wealth but in Germany the top 10 percent owns 44 percent.
I say, let's hear it for Germany, and not-so-terrible socialism. Let's hear it for Germany, that socialist capitalist state, for producing twice as many cars as we did last year, having an unemployment rate 1.7% lower than ours at the height of its Euro American-style banking and investment crisis, and for all those quality of life stats listed above.

NEWT FINALLY GOES ON THE ATTACK, refuses to disavow calling Mittens a LIAR — see two posts back, accurate if ahead of its time ... for a day.

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