Category Archives: economics

From Boomers to Bust

I’ve mentioned before that I am a big fan of Bill Maher, and his “New Rules” segment on Real Time.  Comedians, of course, even more than other artists, tend to have a knack for bringing uncomfortable truths to our attention, in a way that we can process.  Unfortunately, this time, what began as an excellent finale to the segment devolved into a bunch of dick jokes with little to no insight.

But the beginning of this particular New Rule made me think.

As Maher put it, “In the battle for government giveaways, we have to stop thinking in terms of rich versus poor, or black versus white, and admit it’s really a war between the young and the old.  And the old are winning.”

Maher highlighted that federal spending is roughly $3,822 per child, and $25,455 per senior citizen (a difference of $21,633).

Then he began the dick jokes.  And that’s ok, because Bill Maher is a comedian.  It’s his job to tell dick jokes, and he’s really good at it.

That said, I think it would have been nice if some other issues had been brought up.  Like, for instance, the fact that college tuition rates have increased over 1000% since I was born, while at the same time, earning potential has become more dependent on acquiring an advanced degree than ever before.

Medical expenses have also risen over 600%, and food is up over 240%.

And from January of 1975 to January 2005, housing costs increased a stunning 700%, from $39,500 to $283,000.

And all this time, the median household income has remained flat since 1965.

And all we hear is that it’s imperative we all go to college, so we can remain a competitive workforce with the rest of the world.

This brings me to another point in the Real Time episode, when Maher and author P.J. O’Rourke wax nostalgic about their Boomer youth, and make the claim that, though their generation is often called spoiled, they were far less spoiled than generations after.

Why were they less spoiled?  Apparently it’s because corporal punishment was more acceptable then and kids have more sophisticated entertainment available to them now.

But fewer spankings and more television channels does nothing to account for the fact that, as a generation, the Boomers had more advantages and opportunities than any other generation in history, before or since.  And, as is evidenced by the massive discrepancy in federal resources devoted to the young versus the old, that same Boomer generation is still reaping the lion’s share of benefits from our civilization.  And the programs that Boomers use most, Social Security and Medicare, are the only ones no one is willing to cut, while anything that helps out the under-50 crowd is immediately on the chopping block, because those same Boomers don’t want their taxes to be used for anyone but themselves.

Maher says “…let’s not kid ourselves where our tax dollar goes.  It goes to Grandma, because she votes, and young people don’t.”

What he leaves out, of course, is that people over 55 constitute about a third of all voters, and they vote more regularly because they can.  “They have the time to participate in politics… Most of them are retired, largely thanks to Social Security, and they have the disposable income to make campaign contributions…”

It’s a lot easier to get out and vote when someone else is paying your bills, and you don’t have to put in a twelve hour shift on election day.

Seniors vote at higher rates because they have the ability, and the people they are voting to screw are the ones giving them that ability.

Here’s what it comes down to, though.  My partner and I were discussing plans for the future this weekend.  Because we have children, and because both of us have found ourselves remarkably disadvantaged by the utterly ridiculous cost of college (and therefore the cost of opportunity), we have decided our priority is that none of our children will face this roadblock.  We will live meagerly our whole lives if necessary.  We will, if need be when those children are grown, take to a tiny one-room studio, and pour our combined income into making sure our children do not have to pay a thousand percent more, just for the opportunity to earn the same lifestyle that their grandparents had.

We will not sacrifice our children, in other words, for our own benefit.

Because that’s what the Boomers did.  That’s what they continue to do.

If you are a Boomer, know that your generation had every possible advantage.  You came of age when wages were the highest (in adjusted dollars) they have ever been.  Food, housing, everything was far less expensive then than it is now, or was before you.  College, the engine by which so many chose to improve themselves, was damn near free, by comparison.  Your parents’ generation sacrificed everything to make sure you had these opportunities.  It was their gift to you, so that you would never have to know the difficulties they knew.

You took these gifts, enjoyed them, grew fat from them, then turned around and demanded that every generation after did the same, for you.

For you and only for you.

I’m not going to go as far as former Colorado Governor Dick Lamm, and claim that you have a “Duty to Die,” but I will say this:

You will be gone, one day.  You can’t suck enough life from the rest of us to stick around forever. One day, your stranglehold over America’s electoral system will be gone, and perhaps those of us who came after you will finally have a chance to benefit all of us, instead of just you.

I do not wish you ill, and I do not wish you pain.  I just wish you would think of someone other than yourselves, or, barring that, at least get out of the way.

We will be better off without you.

*As always when speaking in broad generalities, I add this caveat:  If this post, and my comments on the Boomer generation don’t apply to you, then they don’t apply to you  You know who you are.*

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A Little Perspective

Christmas is a time of year when, we are told, we are to reflect on the birth and life of Jesus Christ.  Of course, I have mentioned before that the holiday, as we know it, has absolutely nothing to do with anything Jesus-related, save for his name (here, here, and here), but that’s beside the point.  What really made me think about Jesus today, more than anything, was this post on Dave Ramsey’s website, and the response to it provided by Cracked.com columnist Christina H (I highly recommend reading her article, it’s brilliant satire).

Dave Ramsey makes it a point to defend Tom Corley’s list, explaining that “This list simply says your choices cause results. You reap what you sow.”  And while this is true, what Ramsey, and any who agree with Corley, invariably fail to realize is that you can only sow what you have.

It’s basic math.

Let’s assume Bob has 100 seeds to sow, and Joe has 1,000.  The most each seed can produce is one plant, each of which can in turn provide 10 more seeds.  Assuming Bob and Joe both work their respective asses off, take the time to learn all the advanced botany necessary to maximize crop yields, play soothing music in the greenhouse, etc., at the end of the year Bob can’t have more than 1,000 new seeds, while Joe now has 10,000.  The following year, Bob has 10,000, and Joe has 100,000, and so on and so forth.  No matter how hard Bob works, no matter how good his habits, no matter what he does, Bob can never have more than 1/10 of what Joe has.  And that’s only if the whole point is just to have seeds.  Isn’t the point of growing crops the production of food?

So now, Bob and Joe have to eat some of their plants.  Growing enough to keep Bob and Joe each alive, at the minimum, will take 10 plants per year.  So now, at the end of the year, Bob has 90 plants, with 900 seeds, while Joe has 990 plants, and 9,900 seeds.  Where Bob started with exactly 10% as many seeds as Joe, now suddenly Bob only has 9.1% as many to Joe’s 90.9%.  Next year, a blight comes along and destroys 10% of the crops, for both Bob and Joe.  But, other than that, their per-plant production of seeds is the same.  Bob has 81 plants after the blight, and has to eat 10 to stay alive.  So he has a total of 71, producing 710 seeds for the year.  Joe has also lost 10% of his crops to the blight, leaving him with 891 plants.  10 these are eaten, leaving him with 881 plants, producing 8,810 seeds.  Now Bob has 8.06% as many seeds as Joe.  Bob’s share of the wealth has decreased by almost a full 2% in only two years.

And this has absolutely nothing to do with habits.  This is basic math, with all things being equal and everyone having the exact same circumstances, abilities, knowledge, etc.  Everything but how many seeds they started with.

But, you might say, what about the cost of growing these crops?  Surely Joe has to acquire more resources than Bob, in order to support a larger farm, right?

More basic math.

Each 100 plants requires 1 tractor to sufficiently plow, weed, harvest, and bundle the seeds.  To acquire the tractor costs 10 plants, and both are fortunate enough that they can pay the tractor manufacturer after the harvest.  Bob starts with 100 seeds, Joe with 1,000.  Bob’s 100 seeds produce 100 plants, 10 of which are eaten, and 10 of which go to pay for the 1 tractor he needs to manage the farm.  This leaves him with 80 plants (800 seeds).  Joe’s 1,000 seeds produce 1,000 plants (10,000 seeds), and after food and tractor costs (a total of 110 plants), he has 8,900 seeds.  Bob now has 8.99% as many seeds as Joe.

Joe can take that extra 1% (11 plants, more than an entire year’s worth) and give it to Randy, who is able to program the tractors to run on their own so that Joe doesn’t have to spend the extra time driving them all.  Now, Joe is able to steadily increase his share of the seed wealth, while doing hardly any work at all.

And this is exactly what has happened in the United States.  Simply replace seeds with dollars, the farm with the financial markets, and Randy with hedge fund managers, and you have the entire story of why the rich are richer and everyone else is poorer.

Poverty is not a character flaw.  And calling it one is tantamount to Social Darwinism. Ramsey can say “Is this list a way of hating the poor? Seriously? Grow up,” but part of growing up is learning basic arithmetic.  And obviously Ramsey has decided to ignore that in order to make himself feel better about getting rich from selling his bad advice to desperate people.

Dave Ramsey and Tom Corley, for all their bluster and self-righteousness, are crooks like every other “let me show you the secret to getting rich” crook.  They are swindlers, thieves, and con-men.  Worst of all, by hiding behind “biblical” wealth-building principles and Jesus Christ, they are the absolute worst kind of hypocrites.

At least I believe that to be the case.  Because, after all, behind every great fortune is a great crime.  And that passes the common-sense smell test as well as anything ever has.  And I think Jesus would agree.

Just a little something to keep perspective when you go Christmas shopping.

Lottery Tickets: Stupid or Desperate?

Since Pedro Quezada won over $300 million playing Powerball, I’ve been thinking about something I’ve heard periodically from people who don’t play (like myself, frankly).  People have a tendency to call the purchase of lottery tickets a “stupid tax,” implying that the purchasers are idiots for wasting their money on something they are almost certain never to win.  But the more I think about it, the more I wonder; considering that virtually all the income growth in this country over the last decade or more has gone to an increasingly small number of people, and that while the DOW is on the rise, the only other thing rising as quickly is poverty, maybe the lottery isn’t a “stupid tax,” after all.  Maybe, instead, it’s more accurate to call it a “desperate tax.”  Just a thought, what do you think?

Dining and Dashing on the Debt

Alliteration in the title aside, there’s a new debate starting over the damned Debt Limit again.  Even after Boehner and McConnell promised not not.  But is there any surprise at all that this is happening?  Of course not, we knew they were snakes when we put them in our pocket.  For more on how utterly stupid this is, may I refer you to someone who’s already made a far better argument than I would?  Awesome.  I knew you’d say yes.  Enjoy

Going Galt

You know what I hate?  “Vanity” license plates.  There, I said it.  At least I have the balls to take an unpopular position.  There’s something about the vanity plate that just screams pompous windbag to me.  I don’t know why.  Maybe it’s because the space limitations, combined with bad spelling and peoples’ desire to try and say something profound about themselves, make many vanity plates hard to read, and create a dangerous distraction.  I know word puzzles are fun and exciting and all, but they should be done on the toilet, or waiting in line, or something like that, not at 70mph.  Half the time, the only thing you can really discern is that someone wanted their vanity plate to say something, but there is no way in seven hells you’ll ever figure out what it is.  Yeah, I hate that.

You know what I hate more?  Sometimes, it’s really easy to figure out what the vain driver in front of you is saying with their license plate.  And sometimes what they’re saying is that they’re a complete and total ass.

Such was the case several months ago.  I was behind some luxury SUV (I can’t remember if it was a Lexus or an Infinity; it was one of those and to be honest they have equally no reason to exist, but I digress), because he had cut me off while yakking on his phone (shocking, I know).  Normally, I don’t get really bent out of shape over such things.  I figure letting some dick with no human courtesy ruin my day with his asshattery is giving him way more influence in my life than he deserves.

But this guy… Oh, this guy was special.

His vanity plate, displaying what he must consider to be the most important thing people should know about him, was JONGALT.

This says something about someone well beyond your typical HISNHRS, or DADSTOY, or something like that.  For those of you who don’t know, John Galt is a character in the seminal work of noted sociopath and tea party hero Ayn Rand.  He’s the one who sets up a cloistered, separate society where the “producers” of the world (in Rand’s world, these are also known as rich people) go to enjoy their own kind, away from all us leeches who actually mine the coal, build the cars, maintain the electrical grids, and teach the children.

The guy in the SUV obviously relates to that sentiment.  Sure, he’s probably on his way to create some derivative-style financial tool that will create fake money out of nothing and thereby enrich himself and his friends while contributing nothing of any inherent value to civilization, but it doesn’t matter.  He’s well off, and therefore better and more productive than the rest of us, and those he pays to maintain the ridiculous machine transporting him are just scum, sucking at the teat of his largesse as long as they can, until he gets it in his head to “Go Galt,” as the term has come to be known.

I, for one, think it’s a fan-damn-tastic idea.  And there’s nowhere better to “Go Galt” than Glen Beck’s proposed Independence, USA.  I’m sure he will be missed.

Why, without people like him, my own significant earning power will be… unchanged, actually.  Although, actually, my income probably would go down, since I would likely go back to teaching.  See, without Mr. JONGALT and his ilk running around, there won’t be nearly as many people to fund anti-school legislative lobbying, and maybe, just maybe, the rest of the country might get back to thinking public education is something worth actually paying for.  And the demand for teachers would likely increase, which would be cool.  Not just for me, mind you, but for the future of civilization.

Without the Galts, we could have pension funds again, and there wouldn’t be some greedy asshole “producer” looking to get his grubby mitts on it, so he can drain it of its value and steal the hard-earned savings of thousands of employees before shipping their jobs off to China.

Without Randinistas like him, who would vote Republican?

Yes, what a world of hurt we’ll be in when the “makers” decide to give us all the finger and “Go Galt.”  They will be sorely missed.  Or something like that.

Here, Mr. Galt, let me help you with your bags.  No, no tip necessary.  I wouldn’t want to leech your wealth from you.  Have a good time in Independence, USA.

Bon Voyage, and don’t let the door hit you where the good lord split you, asshole.

Now We Can Start the Party

So it’s plain to see, for anyone with an IQ over Pi (rounded to ten decimal places, anyway), that the Republican party platform includes some of the most undeniable ignorance the world has seen in at least fifty years.  Between the abortion stance held by Todd Akin and Paul Ryan (all based on the bible, of course), denying that climate change has any veracity (again based on the bible, because God would never let that happen to mankind; He’s changed after the last dozen civilizations he destroyed, just like an abusive spouse, but I digress yet again), refusing equal rights to all citizens because they’re “icky” (more bible there, I think I’m seeing a pattern here), and all the other crazy  nonsense, it just seems like the party of stupid and ignorant.  It might seem that way to you, gentle reader, and in many ways you’d be right.

The people who primarily vote for this kind of platform are indeed ignorant.  Of science.  Of history.  Of economics.  Of any number of things deemed “elitist” or “liberal” by the party elite, who set the tone for the party faithful.  But, regardless of how it may appear on YouTube comment threads or FOX News discussion panels, the majority of Americans are not willfully ignorant or hostile to knowledge.  We liberals would do well to remember that, if only because of image and branding.

That’s right.  I’m about to go all Mad Men on your ass.

See, there’s an image associated with liberal intellectuals specifically, and liberals in general.  It’s not a nice image…

To each according to… ME!

Just add a beret and one of those long, skinny cigarette holders, and you have what damn near every “conservative” voter thinks of damn near every liberal.  But what’s the image of the conservative voter?

Boots & Asses… and PAYDAY!

Granted, Toby Kieth is more offensive to me than shaken baby syndrome, but you have to admit there are a lot of people who’d rather be associated with a strapping guy in a military garb and an American flag than that pussy liberal V.I. Lenin up there (if they could, in fact, recognize Lenin’s face, what with all their edumacation and all, but I digress).  Plus he plays guitar?  Dude, the guys in high school who played guitar got all the chicks.  I want to be him!

It’s a pretty noticeable difference, wouldn’t you say?  It’s the choice between a sullen, weak-chinned nerdlinger and a big, strong, American patriot.  How is it that liberals and progressives got stuck with the image they did, when this guy…

The Most Interesting Man in the World only wishes he was this awesome

… is more closely aligned with the progressive world view?

It’s all a matter of marketing.  And who can afford all that?  I’ll give you a hint: it ain’t the workin’ man.

When faced with what appears to be a crisis, people tend to gravitate toward those they perceive as the strongest, and try to emulate them.  This behavior was a safe bet back in the stone age, when the crisis was an angry bear and you needed someone who could wrestle its ass into submission.  So if you want people to gravitate toward a certain mindset, you portray that mindset as the “strong” one, and create an air of crisis around them.  Then you can pretty well bank on those same people trying to be like that character, as they try to show how strong they are in the face of the impending disaster.

So, when some people (who could afford multi-billion dollar marketing campaigns) decided that they wanted the masses to emulate a pro-business, pro-war, anti-education meathead, they poured their resources into convincing the people that liberals are pussies and conservatives are tough guys, and then set about exploiting (if not completely manufacturing) a crisis or two (or three, or whatever number we’re on now after 9/11, two wars, a couple of economic catastrophes, and holy shit the debt ceiling debacle, and others disasters).  It’s like a permanent crisis mode any more.  People’s fight-or-flight mechanisms are permanently engaged, thus cutting off their propensity for rational thought, and making them want to appear as strong as possible to scare away that angry bear.

So, they try to be like Mr. “Boot in your ass courtesy of the USA” Kieth up there.  The epitome of the backward, gap-toothed redneck, just dying for a reason to show how American and bad-ass they are by blowing up a Planned Parenthood or beating some unsuspecting gay dude within an inch of his life, because they’ve been told (by the Pat Robertsons and Glenn Becks of the world) that those people are the reason there’s a crisis in the first place.  Since it’s liberals, progressives, intellectuals, socialists, homosexuals, trade unionists, etc. (I swear I’ve seen this somewhere before) that have somehow caused this problem, then acting in direct opposition to them, in the strongest possible way, is the way to solve the crisis.  But somehow, no matter how many teachers you fire, unions you bust, and intellectuals you marginalize, the crisis only seems to get worse.  Because thinking has already been linked to weakness in the minds of these people, and we have to be strong in the face of adversity, they flat refuse to analyze the relationship to their own behavior and their difficulties.  This is only strengthened by the fact that people have a natural distaste of blaming themselves for their own problems.  So, they continue doing the same thing, doubling down on ignorance and hostility, in the hopes that somehow doing more of the same will yield different results this time.  And the less it works, the more effort they put into it.  Yee-fucking-haw.

But if we here in Denver learned anything from Tim Tebow practicing the same terrible throwing motion 5,000 time a week, it’s that increasing effort without correcting direction only serves to take you further and faster away from your goal.  Einstein is proved right once again, and everything just keeps going downhill.  For most of us, anyway…

Roman consul Lucius Cassius Longinus Ravilla was credited with popularizing the phrase “cui bono?”  This refers to the practice of determining who benefits, when attempting to discover the partie(s) behind an act, and it’s an integral practice in criminal investigation to this day (means, motive, opportunity).  The single most successful politician in American history (you may or may not like his policies, but the guy did get elected President four freaking times), Franklin Delano Roosevelt, adds a crucial observation to this scenario…

“In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”

So we have a situation where we’re in constant crisis mode, with many of our citizens convinced that the way to solve it is to do the same thing they’ve been doing, but harder and with less thinking.  And things just seem to keep getting worse.  It happened, and it’s no accident, everything is going exactly according to plan.  But whose plan?  Well, we must ask, “cui bono?”

This should shed some light on the subject:

Who benefits, indeed.  If you’re looking at that graph and reading it correctly, you’ll notice that while productivity has increased drastically since 1979, the top 1% of incomes are the only ones who saw any significant growth in their share of national income.  In fact, the bottom 80% saw a fairly sizable reduction in their share.  Who’s benefiting there, I can’t help but wonder (sarcasm intended)?
Obviously, it’s those who are already fabulously wealthy who are benefiting from this cycle of crisis, at the expense on everyone else.

Now, the most important thing to take away from all this is the last phrase: at the expense of everyone else.  I’ve often wondered why anyone would ever need to make more than $100 million.  Like, ever.  The difference in lifestyle between $100 million and $1 billion is so miniscule that it’s nigh on impossible to tell them apart, yet one is 100 times more than the other.  I can guarantee you that my lifestyle would drastically change if my income so much as doubled, much less increased 100-fold.  So what’s the point?  Why bother making so much more if it won’t change your lifestyle in any discernible way?  The answer is contained in that all important phrase: at the expense of everyone else.  It’s not about having more money.  It’s never been about having more money.  What it’s about is making sure everyone else doesn’t have it.

We’re only talking about 1% of the population, though, right?  Well, if incomes were capped at $100 million (I’m not advocating that, by the way, because people will always find a way to hide their money, just ask Mitt Romney), we’d be looking at a couple hundred billion dollars (probably more actually, considering that Bill Gates would account for about $60 billion by himself).  That’s quite a chunk of change.  How much more flexibility in life would the bottom 80% have if they had that extra $1100 every year?  A lot, actually (and that’s if it were evenly distributed among 180 million workers, which is actually more than are currently in the labor force).  That’s about a 5% raise for the average American household.

Same with taxes.  I’m on the lower end of upper-middle-class, based on my household income.  Why, then, do my wife and I pay roughly twice the taxes paid by Romney?  It’s not because he needs the extra money to create jobs, because that’s been his tax rate for over a decade, without any jobs being created.  There’s no public benefit to that, and it hasn’t increased Romney’s standard of living one iota.  But, such low taxes do have an effect.  Without tax revenues, government services must at some point be cut.  Safety nets removed.  Benefits stripped.  Soon, working people have nowhere  to go but their employer for all the benefits they used to be entitled to by virtue of their citizenship.  Benefits become tied to life in service of the upper class.  and you’ll only receive their largesse if you’re one of the “good ones.”

Access to additional resources means additional freedom.  Contrary to popular belief, freedom is not the ability to drive a hummer and call people faggots with no repercussions.  No, freedom lies in the ability to say “no.”  The more people have that ability, the more free a society is.  Redistributing wealth and income to the top 1% is not done because they really need the ability to buy another gulf stream.  The problem is not the destination of the redistributed wealth, the problem is the source.  It has nothing to do with money, it’s all about power and control, as we’re subconsciously guided down the road to serfdom (ironically, we follow that path by doing exactly what Hayek recommended to avoid it).
The Republican party has been pushing this agenda, openly, for decades.  For their part, the Democrats have played an all too willing patsy, rolling over with suspicious ease when it comes to right wing tax and economic demands, claiming they do it to save things like a woman’s right to choose, or marriage equality, or any number of other issues falling in that vein.  And they still lose ground on that front, too, again with suspicious ease.

We’re being molded.  When birth control is illegal, education is based solely on easily disproved biblical premises that must be accepted on faith in denial of rational thought, and it is just a fact of life that we have to keep going this route to get out of the slump those liberal intellectuals put us in, power will be sufficiently consolidated in the hands of those who fund and control both sides of the public debate.  Most people will be all to happy to join in, believing the propaganda that’s assaulted their senses for a lifetime.

And the only freedom we’ll be able to exercise will be the right to die if we say “no.”

Notes From the Occupation: Class Consciousness and Loyalty

Yesterday, as many of you know, the Tea Party held a counter-protest opposite Occupy Denver.  Well, sort of.  You see, the counter-protest was officially cancelled, due to the cold, but some people showed up anyway.  But I’m not writing to compete over numbers.  What I want to talk about is class.

See, the average Occupier is working class (or, looking to find work so as to become working-class).  The average Tea Partier is also working class.  I say working class and not middle class because, let’s face it, the reason both groups are pissed off is because there really is no middle class any more.  There’s the working class, and the ruling class.  And, if one of yesterday’s rallies was in support of the working class and the other was in opposition to it, then the one in opposition must be in favor of the ruling class, right?  And which one does the Tea Party support?

I bring this up so I can tell you a story.  I’ve never really gotten into what I do for a living at this site.  I’ve talked a lot about my time as an educator, and occasionally various other professions I’ve had.  But I’ve always kind of left my current profession out.  There are a lot of reasons for that, but one of the main ones is that my job sometimes makes me feel like a traitor to the working class.  The industry in which I make my living is widely viewed by my fellow leftists as being part of our very own Axis of Evil, and there are times when I look down on the street from my office window and wonder if I am indeed a sellout.

This feeling was brought harshly to the forefront of my mind, screaming and yelling and waving its arms, while I marched with the Occupiers down the 16th Street Mall yesterday afternoon.  Amidst chants of “The People… United… Will Never Be Divided,” my own voice was barely discernible to my friend next to me, as I described to him my fears of being spotted by my colleagues.  After all, we walked right past my place of business, and we walked right past it on purpose, because that part of town is where many of those against whom the Occupation is protesting can be found.

That includes me.

Sort of, anyway.  I’m not part of the 1%.  I make a pretty good living, but nothing close to what would qualify me as part of the ruling class.  And followed by my concern about being seen by the wrong people was an even worse sensation of shame.  Shame that I would ever let something like that get in the way of doing what I know for a cold, hard fact to be absolutely right. So I marched.  Proudly.

But I told you that story so I could tell you this (and thank you, Ron White, for coming up with that ever-so-appropriate segue).

People in the Tea Party never experiences these types of conflicting emotions.

Yes, that is a very broad generalization, I know.  But I hold it accurate.  The Tea Party membership is not self-aware.  Here I must distinguish between the membership and the leadership, because the leadership is, in fact, the ruling class.  They run the Tea Party.  They write its talking points.  They determine its agenda.  Shawn Mitchell, State Senator (and Colorado President of the ultra-right-wing-Tea-Party-before-there-was-a-Tea-Party Federalist Society) was the one who organized yesterday’s counter-protest, which the local news had the unmitigated gall to call “grassroots.”  But the membership of the Tea Party isn’t the ruling class.  They membership is working class, just like those in the Occupation.

Some people recognize our common cause.  This guy does…

… and he recognizes that while there are differences of opinion on how to solve those problems, those differences are based more in the misinformation of some than they are based on the availability of a wide variety of valid solutions.

While Tea Party folk hold that “The Occupy Wall Street movement correctly identifies some of the problems our country faces… However, instead of proposing solutions that would take our country toward renewed prosperity, OWS instead advocates policies that would make things worse. History shows us the way forward: what we need instead are more free markets and more liberty…”

…and Shawn Mitchell tells us that “what we need is not more government, but more freedom… the answer isn’t to kneecap corporations… The answer is to reform government and get it out of the business of trying to manage the economy.”

Of course, what this really means is that we need to cut governmental oversight and social programs, and institute more tax cuts.  Which we’ve been doing for over 30 years.  And it’s worked out really well for some people.  A small group, to be sure, only 1% of the total population.  The other 99% of us, Tea Party membership included, have been getting trickled on by trickle down for at least a generation.

I guess what I’m getting at is this:

If you’re a member of the Tea Party, and you’re supporting plans like those put forth by guys like Shawn Mitchell, you are working against your own best interest.  You might think that history has proven out your assumptions, but I challenge you to find a single example of such a thing actually taking place.  I’ll save you some time; there are none.

Tea Party membership, I leave you with this message:

Stop being deceived.  The people you are following are using you as cannon fodder in your own subjugation.  You are the 99%.  We are the 99%.  We are all the working class.  Tea Party leadership is the 1%, , the ruling class, and they do not have your best interest at heart.  They divide us so as to conquer us.  And as long as they are successful, none of us will ever see our dreams realized. If we are to be free, we need each other.