Those damned rich people
“Billionaire Oracle Corp. founder Larry Ellison will join film director George Lucas and 38 other mega-wealthy people in following a call by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates to pledge to give the majority of their riches to charity.” – Wall Street Journal article, Aug. 3. 2010
“While this country has a devastatingly high unemployment rate, a huge debt, massive unmet needs and a widening gap between the very richest people and everyone else, we are providing enormous tax breaks to millionaire and billionaire families. This is insane!” – Sen. Bernie Sanders in Politico, Aug. 3, 2010
So in other words, Senator, it’s insane that they get to keep more of their money and give it to charitable causes of their choosing, rather than funneling it through the federal government to benefit causes of your choosing?
The all-powerful corporations are coming?
After the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission, there were dire prognostications from liberals who claimed it would be the ruination of American democracy. The decision shot down the government’s ability to ban corporations from political spending during elections, in what conservatives called a victory for freedom of speech.
President Obama called it “a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.”
Ah, we unsophisticated everyday Americans – too dim-witted to recognize corporate BS and propaganda when we see it, and too tongue-tied to come up with a reply even if we don’t agree with it. We’ll all be at corporations’ mercy, surely.
And then Target comes along to show us how wrong that assumption is. Freed up by the Supreme Court decision, the nationwide retailer gave $150,000 to a pro-business group in Minnesota, which also happened to support a candidate with anti-gay stances. Oops. The threat of a nationwide boycott, organized by “everyday Americans” using Facebook and old-fashioned letter-writing, prompted the company to issue an apology and promise to be more careful how they donate to politics.
I guess President Obama’s message that we’re powerless to affect big corporations didn’t quite sink in. If it had, these “everyday Americans” would have realized that they simply cannot get a corporation with a market capitalization of $38 billion to recognize their concerns.
Medicare vs. Medicare
“The Medicare trustees report released Thursday found that despite the recession, some Medicare programs are now expected to see substantially reduced costs and remain solvent 12 years longer than reported last year. The trustees report attributed the change to health care legislation passed by Congress in March.” – Wall Street Journal article, Aug. 7, 2010
“[The trustee estimates] do not represent a reasonable expectation for actual program operations in either the short range . . . or the long range.” – Chief Medicare Actuary Richard Foster, Aug. 5, 2010