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A poor person looks at the American left

How we see you.
The left: Sustainability, blah-blah-blah, diversity, blah-blah-blah, environment, blah-blah-blah, global warming, blah-blah-blah, abortion, blah-blah-blah, Supreme Court, blah-blah-blah, Patriot Act, blah-blah-blah, killer cops, blah-blah-blah, animal rights, blah-blah-blah, support illegal immigration, blah-blah-blah, gay marriage, blah-blah-blah, public employee unions, blah-blah-blah, Iraq, blah-blah-blah, Iran, blah-blah-blah, campaign finance reform, blah-blah-blah, peak oil, blah-blah-blah....

The poor: We need more jobs that pay a living wage.

homepage: homepage: http://portlandwriters.com

living wage only comes with other changes 20.Feb.2006 21:23


But don't you see? To get living wages for people, we need a government not working against the people. And this means not having courts against the people. It means not having a government running the globe/environment directly into a warming trend that will destroy not only living wages but even the sort of living standards we who are poor now have.
That said, having been on welfare with a small child, I know how irrelevant the "politicos" of the left can sound, speaking of change to come globally *someday* while we, not the speakers, are falling off the edge. Let's make sure we who are poor are represented in left organizations, even though that may require groups providing childcare and transportation, for example.

On Poverty 20.Feb.2006 22:03

Commienokaze aka Commie Bastard

The only way to eliminate the poor is to eliminate the rich.

Government jobs 20.Feb.2006 22:51

George Bender

I remember Senator Ted Kennedy saying that once government was considered to be the employer of last resort. Somehow that idea has been completely lost, even among the so-called left. Instead, the left, ranging from radicals to liberals, now talks in terms of government "incentives," meaning tax breaks, to coax businesses into creating more jobs. Their only difference seems to be about what kinds of businesses should be given incentives. It's all very indirect, and very ineffective in creating decent jobs for poor people.

I don't want tax breaks for any businesses. They just rob the tax base, reducing the amount of money we have for education and social services such as Medicaid. Instead I propose that Oregon should abolish all its tax breaks for businesses, and make big business once more pay its fair share of Oregon taxes.

Green candidate for governor Ed Winslow says in his platform: "There are forty-nine tax breaks specifically for Oregon corporations. These breaks disproportionately favor large businesses. If we were to eliminate the tax breaks on large corporations in Oregon and go back to 1975 levels of taxation we would generate about $1.5 billion in additional income each year."

Democratic candidate for governor Pete Soreson writes, "In 1973, Oregon received 18% of its income tax revenue from the largest corporations doing business in the state. By 2006, those corporations were contributing only 5% of our state income tax. Two-thirds of major corporations pay NO income tax at all to the state of Oregon."

A large portion of the income generated by making business pay in taxes what they used to should go to restore funding to the Oregon Health Plan. Another big chunk should be used to directly create jobs for poor people. One way to do that, as suggested by Jeremy Rifkin in his 1995 book "The End of Work," is to give government money to nonprofits which provide social services, so they could pay people who are now volunteers. As a wage I suggest $10 per hour.

Jobs= Wage Slaery 21.Feb.2006 10:02

Jack Straw

The last thing we need is more "jobs", ie more positions of wage slavery which primarily work to enlarge capital, to facilitate the process of capital accumulation, while keeping the wage slaves alive enough to...work another day. This "jobs" bit is vulgar leftism at its worst. Jobs=capitalism, and capitalism=jobs. This system is unsustainable at any pace (there goes one of your favorite buzzwords, but it's true, capitalism is destroying the world minute by minute), we need to move towards another way of being, and we need to do so right now.

Jack Straw 21.Feb.2006 10:48

George Bender

To use one of my favorite lines from a Woody Allen movie, "Excuse me, I'm due back on the planet Earth."

Wow! 21.Feb.2006 12:59

g.d. dem

George Bender really doesn't pull his punches!

Planet Earth 21.Feb.2006 13:03

Jack Straw

Excuse me, but wage slavery is the reality on "Planet Earth", wage slavery is the very core of capitalism, the relation which in fact defines it as a social system. Socialism is a society of freely associated producers who do not sell their labor power for a wage, be it to a small business owner, a corporation, the state, or a non-profit, and do not sell their products to each other. Go read Homage to Catalonia, which took place right on "Planet Earth", if you wanna see what doing away with this system is. Begging for more slavery positions is what the "left" has been reduced to over the last 100 years, making the "left" merely the left wing of capital. This "practical" leftism is little more than a disguised form of surrender to capital's imperatives. Inherent in the assumption of $10/hr jobs is the very existence of that money, as if money is simply here, like air. "Money for jobs" is the cry of would-be bureaucrats, not of revolutionaries. As Marx said way back in the 19th Century, and the IWW realized early in the 20th Century,our demand should be not for more jobs, or better wages, but for the abolition of the wages system,

Enclosures 21.Feb.2006 13:56

Jack Straw

Readers are encouraged to go look at various writers regarding the topic of the Enclosures, the process by which the large majority was separated from the land and all means of producing their survival needs directly, making them dependent upon the sale of their labor power for their very survival. This is the basic process which led to capitalism. Amongst other references, see The Origin of Capitalism by Ellen Meiksins Wood, and Enclosures articles at Midnight Notes (which has a website, easily found via search). The Enclosures didn't end with England and the rest of Britain, they became global, are now bigger than ever, taking place in locations such as Mexico, Brazil, China, Indonesia, New Guinea, India, Nigeria,......The Economist, in an editorial in May '86, quite openly admitted that without Enclosures there would not be capitalism. Wage labor is a facet of the Enclosures, and support for wage labor is support for capitalism,however "humane" or "compassionate" one wants to pretend s/he is.

Poor? How do we know? 21.Feb.2006 17:31

Virtual Bender

How do any of us know you're poor? Honestly! I don't know but it seems to me that in the wake of "natrual" disaster, after political fiasco, "leftist" politics are gaining traction. You can bullshit all you want about how the left is somehow "other" as if the political ideas you're shit talking don't rise out of the class you're speaking for- but that don't make it so. Maybee the leftists you know are all intellegencia, but as far as I'm concerned the movement has moved on (weither they have or not.) We're quite capable of organizing without them. Telling us that "we're bored" when you don't even fucking know us, says to me that it's probably you that's board.
Sounds like a priveledge to me. I work like a dog for what I have, and I've never been more than a few paychecks away from hungry. Last time I checked I didn't vote for you, especially not on the "board" platform.
The real challenge nowadays is to keep that special class of collaborating liberal swine that think they own the left from dragging us back into another round of reactionary, dead end, reformist politics.
Think about it.

Oh ,Yeah!? 21.Feb.2006 18:47

Ben Douglass bendouglass@cheerful.com

Until the poor are no longer jonesin' for food to feed their family or a job that pays a living wage they will turn a deaf ear to the most logical rhectoric about "wage-system slavery."

If you have any desire to ally yourself with the poor fill their bellies, THEN sit them down in a community meeting and talk "wage-system slavery." Otherwise, they won't listen.

Says who? 21.Feb.2006 19:48

Jack Straw

The IWW was not created by intellectuals, but by workers trying to "fill their bellies", who concluded that as long as there is a wages system, as long as they have to sell their life force in order to survive, they will be fighting to merely fill their bellies,to maintain themselves as capital's wage slaves, which is why they decided to make their platform "the abolition of the wages system".

In the Amerika of 2006 21.Feb.2006 22:28

who isnít a slave?

We all want control over others. We are all slaves to making more money. We are never satisfied with our lot in life.

"If you have any desire to ally yourself with the poor fill their bellies, THEN sit them down in a community meeting and talk "wage-system slavery." Otherwise, they won't listen."
Substitute 'homeless mission' for 'community', and talk about 'Jesus' instead of 'wage-system slavery', and what have you got? Are they listening?

The poor will always be slaves "as long as they have to sell their life force in order to survive." That includes being forced to listen to narrow-minded, religious propaganda or being forced into a public school system where young minds are prepared only for the 9 to 5 boring workplace jobs -- where independent thinking is frowned upon.

If the poor really don't give a shit about sustainability, the environment, global warming, the Patriot Act, killer cops, public employee unions, Iraq, blah-blah-blah, then they should be pressuring the Oregon Economic Development Salespeople to bring in nuclear power plants, nuclear waste dump sites, LNG terminals, private prisons, and especially -- military bases and defense contractors. Oregon is sorely lacking in military bases and defense contractors compared to the rest of the nation. And we've got forests full of old-growth trees that are just going to waste. Let's get logging rolling again! Fuck the environment!

It's just a damn shame that the poor have to forego all of these well-paying jobs just because 'the left' is so damn concerned about civil rights and the environment. The poor have just as much right to 4X4s, plasma TVs and Nikes as everybody else!

RE: Jack Straw Planet Earth 22.Feb.2006 12:41

Commienokaze aka Commie Bastard

Jack you said, "Socialism is a society of freely associated producers who do not sell their labor power for a wage, be it to a small business owner, a corporation, the state, or a non-profit, and do not sell their products to each other."

This is incorrect. Socialism is actually a system where all capital and means of production are owned by the government, like with the USSR. An even worse example is Nazi Germany, the Nazis being a national socialist party.

What you are actually talking about is communism, which is an ecconomic system where capital and the means of production are owned by the workers, and the worker owns the profit of his or her labor, and is not paid a wage by an owner. That is to say for example that in a fair (communist) market, not a free (capitalist) market, everyone that worked for Microsoft would own the company and production facilities collectively, maintnance to management, not Bill Gates and stock owners; and the collective worker-owners would own the profits of their (capital) labor, not be paid a wage by Bill Gates and stock owners. In fact in a communist system Bill Gates would make no more profit than any other Microsoft worker-owner, and there would be no Microsoft stock for outside investors to buy. But that's fair, right? Bill Gates founded Microsoft, it's his company! Sure it's fair; Bill Gates could keep all the profits of Microsoft, as long as he could do all the work himself, and the stock and investment put into the company should be owned by the workers-owners only, after all it is their capital and their labor that create the profits, so why should anyone else own it? Besides, people tend to be much more honest with their own money.

RE: George Bender Government Jobs 22.Feb.2006 12:59

Commienokaze aka Commie Bastard

Just a little info about Income tax most people are unaware of.

American citizens and permanent resident aliens, living and working within the States of the Union are not subject to the filing of an IRS Form 1040 and ARE NOT LIABLE for the payment of a tax on "income"!!! If this surprises you, you are not alone.† You are among the vast majority of American citizens who have been mislead and misinformed.† Read on.

For YEARS, the Internal Revenue Service has ruled the American people with fear, bluff, and deception, the IRS's major weapons. Americans have been led to believe that they "owe" an income tax on their earnings; that it is their "patriotic duty" to pay it, and there is no alternative to the IRS's abuse. Nothing could be further from the truth! From its beginning, the income tax was levied on non-resident aliens and American citizens living and working in a foreign country and for the federal government.† During World War I, the government requested that citizens volunteer to pay taxes as a way to pay for the war.† During World War II the government employed Walt Disney and his cartoon character, Donald Duck, to increase the voluntary payment of the income tax.† Consider the following facts:

Our Founding Fathers created a constitutional republic as our form of government. The Constitution gives the federal/national government limited powers. All powers not delegated to the United States are reserved to the States respectively or to the People. The Union was created to be the servant of the people! The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the land. (Article VI, Clause 2.)

The Constitution gives the Congress the power to lay and collect taxes to pay the debts of the government and to provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.† Congress is only permitted to levy two types of taxes.

1. DIRECT TAXES, which are subject to the rule of apportionment among the states of the Union.

2. INDIRECT TAXES -- imposts, duties and excises, subject to the rule of uniformity.

The US Constitution does not allow the federal government to use either of the two classifications to tax CITIZENS or PERMANENT RESIDENT ALIENS of the United States of America, DIRECTLY. The intent of the Founders was to keep the government the servant and to prevent it from becoming the master. (See Article 1, section 2, clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution.)

A federal census is taken every ten (10) years to determine the number of representatives to be allotted to each State andthe amount of a direct tax that may be apportioned to each State. This is determined by the percentage its number of representatives bears to the total membership in the House of Representatives. (Article 1, section 2, clause 3; Article 1, section 9, clause 4.)

It was established in the Constitutional Convention of 1787 that the Supreme Court of the United States would have the power of "judicial review". This is the power to declare laws passed by the U.S. Congress to be null and void if such a law or laws was/were in violation of the Constitution. This was to be determined from the original intent as found in Madison's Notes recorded during the Convention, the Federalist Papers, and the ratifying conventions found in Elliott's Debates.

Due to the characteristics of the SECOND CLASSIFICATION of taxation, the Supreme Court called it an indirect tax and it is divided into three distinct taxes: IMPOSTS, DUTIES, and EXCISES. These taxes were intended to provide for the operating expenses of the government of the United States. (See Article 1, section 8, clause 1.)

Duties and imposts are taxes levied by government on things imported into the country from abroad, and are paid at the ports of entry.

The Supreme Court says that excises are...taxes laid upon the manufacture, sale or consumption of commodities within the country, upon licenses to pursue certain occupations and upon corporate privileges. (See Flint v. Stone Tracy Co., 220 US 107 [1911].)

In 1862, Congress passed an Act (law) to create an "Income Duty" to help pay for the War Between the States. A duty is an indirect tax, which the federal government cannot impose on citizens or residents of a State having sources of income within a State of the Union.

Congress passed an Act in 1894 to impose a tax on the incomes of citizens and resident aliens of the United States. The constitutionality of the Act was challenged in 1895 and the Supreme Court said the law was unconstitutional because it was a direct tax that was not apportioned as the Constitution required (See Pollock v. Farmer's Loan & Trust Co., 157 US 429 [1895].)

In 1909 Congress passed the 16th Amendment to the Constitution that was allegedly ratified by 3/4 of the States; it is known as "The Income Tax Amendment." Bill Benson has gathered the evidence that it was not legally ratified.

Some officials within the Internal Revenue "Service," along with professors, teachers, politicians and some judges, have said and are saying, that the 16th Amendment changed the United States Constitution to allow a DIRECT tax without apportionment.

However, the above persons are not empowered to interpret the meaning of the United States Constitution! As stated above, this power is granted by the Constitution to the Supreme Court, but limited to the original intent. The Supreme Court has no power to function as a "social engineer" to amend or alter the Constitution as they have been doing. A change or "amendment " can only be lawfully done according to the provisions of Article 5 of the US Constitution.

The U.S. Supreme Court said in 1916 that the 16th Amendment did not change the U.S. Constitution because of the fact that Article 1, section 2, clause 3, and Article 1, section 9, clause 4, were not repealed or altered; the U.S. Constitution cannot conflict with itself. The Court also said that the 16th Amendment merely prevented the "income duty" from being taken out of the category of INDIRECT taxation. (See Brushaber v. Union Pacific R.R. Co., 240 US, page 16.)

After the Supreme Court decision, the office of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue issued Treasury Decision [Order] 2313 (dated March 21, 1916; Vol. 18, January-December, 1916, page 53.) It states in part;

...it is hereby held that income accruing to nonresident aliens in the form of interest from the bonds and dividends on the stock of domestic change corporations is subject to the income tax imposed by the act of October 3, 1913.

In another Supreme Court decision in 1916, the Court, in clear language settled the application of the 16th Amendment. By the previous ruling [Brushaber] it was settled that the provisions of the Sixteenth Amendment conferred no new power of taxation. Rather it simply prohibited the previous complete and plenary [full] power of income taxation possessed by Congress from the beginning from being taken out of the category of indirect taxation to which it inherently belonged... (See Stanton v. Baltic Mining Co., 240 US, 112.)† And indirect taxes are limited to imposts, duties, and excises, not on the income of individuals.

The United States Constitution gives the federal government the exclusive authority to handle foreign affairs. Congress has the power to pass laws concerning the direct or indirect taxation of foreigners doing business in the U.S.A. It has possessed this power from the beginning, needing no "amendment" (change) to the U.S. Constitution to authorize the exercise of it.

The DIRECT classification of taxation was intended for use when unforeseen expenses or emergencies arose. Congress, needing funds to meet the emergency, can borrow money on the credit of the United States (Article 1, section 8, clause 2). The Founding Fathers intended that the budget of the United States be balanced and a deficit be paid off quickly and in an orderly fashion. Through a DIRECT tax, the tax bill is given to the States of the Union. The bill is "apportioned" by the number of Representatives of each State in Congress; therefore, each State is billed its apportioned share of the DIRECT tax equal to the number of votes its Representatives could employ to pass the tax. How the States raise the money to pay the bill is not a federal concern (Article 1, section 2, and clause 3).

In the Brushaber and Stanton cases, the Supreme Court said the 16th Amendment did not change income taxes to another classification. So, if the INCOME TAX is an indirect EXCISE tax, then how is it applied and collected? According to the Supreme Court, "Excises are taxes laid upon the manufacture, sale or consumption of commodities within the country, upon licenses to pursue certain occupations and upon corporate privileges; the requirement to pay such taxes involves the exercise of the privilege and if business is not done in the manner described no tax is payable...it is the privilege which is the subject of the tax and not the mere buying, selling or handling of goods." (Flint v. Stone Tracy Co., 220 US, 110.) †In other words, if there is no privilege or licensing involved in a business, no tax is payable.

If all RIGHTS are the natural heritage of men and women, citizens of the States retain all RIGHTS except those surrendered as enumerated in the United States Constitution), and PRIVILEGES are granted by government after application; THEN what is the PRIVILEGE that the "income tax" is applied against?

As established in the U.S. Constitution, the federal government cannot directly tax a citizen living within one of the States of the Union. Citizens possess rights; these rights cannot be converted to privileges by government. The only individuals who would not have these rights and would therefore be liable to regulation by government are NONRESIDENT ALIENS doing business and working within the United States or receiving domestic source profits from investments, and United States citizens working in a foreign country and taxable under treaties between the two governments.

Withholding agents withhold income taxes. The only section in the Internal Revenue Code that defines this authority is section 7701(a)(16).† Withholding of money for income tax purposes, according to section 7701(a)(16), is only authorized for sections:

∑††††††† 1441 - NONRESIDENT ALIENS,




Internal Revenue Manual Chapter 1100 Organization and Staffing, section 1132.75 states: The Criminal Investigation Division enforces the criminal statutes applicable to income, estate, gift, employment, and excise tax laws involving United States citizens residing in foreign countries and nonresident aliens subject to Federal income tax filing requirements...

The implementation of IRS Treasury Regulation 1.1441-5 is explained in Publication 515 on page 2, that "If an individual gives you [the domestic employer or withholding agent] a written statement, in duplicate, stating that he or she is a citizen or resident of the United States, and you do not know otherwise, you may accept this statement and are relieved from the duty of withholding the tax.

The ONLY way a United States citizen or permanent resident alien, living and working within a State of the Union can have taxes deducted from his/her pay, is by

∑††††††† voluntarily filing an application Form SS-5 to obtain a Social Security Number.

∑††††††† Then by entering that number on an IRS Form W and signing it to permit withholding of "Employment Taxes" -- "Form W Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate" (emphasis added).

That is why the IRS pressures children to apply for a Social Security Numbers, and for employers to obtain the voluntarycompletion of Form W immediately from all those being hired. However, no federal law or regulation requiresworkers to have a Social Security Number or sign a Form W to qualify for a job.

Internal Revenue Code Section 6654(e)(2)(c) states:...no tax liability...if....the individual was a citizen or resident of the United States throughout the preceding taxable year. IRS contends the success of the SELF-ASSESSMENT system depends on VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE

All human rights are natural and cannot be taken away by any legitimate means.† This is the premise of the Declaration of Independence. †The United States Government can only exercise powers given to it by "We the People" through the U.S. Constitution. The "income tax" is an INDIRECT TAX. There is no section of law in the Internal Revenue Code (Title 26 USC) making a CITIZEN or a RESIDENT working and living WITHIN A STATE OF THE UNION, LIABLE to pay the INCOME (indirect/excise/duty) TAX.

Are you "self employed"? Did you know what the Internal Revenue Code says concerning filing quarterly estimated returns? Read below!


(e) Exceptions. -Where tax is small amount. -- No addition to tax shall be imposed under subsection (a) for any taxable year if the tax shown on the return for such taxable year (or, if no return is filed, the tax), reduced by the credit allowable under section 31, is less than $500. Where no tax liability for preceding taxable year.--No addition to tax shall be imposed under subsection (a) for any taxable year if:

A. the preceding taxable year was a taxable year of 12 months.
B. the individual did not have any liability for tax for the preceding taxable year, and
C. the individual was a citizen or resident of the United States throughout the preceding taxable year.

easy to get plasma tvs, hard to get time with the kids 22.Feb.2006 13:00


The problem is not that "the poor" are too greedy and want their plasma tvs and can't get them. The problem is that poor people, like most people, want a good quality of life, including plenty of leisure time with their families, adequate healthcare, and a sense of living in a secure community. And very few people aside from the very wealthy are able to attain those things in this country. The plasma tv becomes a surrogate for all those vital human needs that can't be fulfilled in this capitalist system. The only difference between the poor and the middle class is that, not only can they not attain a high quality of life, but even day-to-day survival, as in having shelter, adequate nutrition, and so on, is problematic for them.

Middle class people who predominate in the ranks of the environmental and other social movements, because they have better educational opportunities and more spare time, are more likely to be able to carve out tolerable lives for themselves under capitalism. And like most people under capitalism, they usually lack any real systemic analysis. Therefore, they can indulge various enthusiasms that don't bear on their own immediate survival. But they usually have a hard time understanding the lot of people who don't find themselves in such a fortunate situation. The resulting pervasive lack of class consciousness and lack of social solidarity that we see makes it impossible to make real progress on any social justice issue, or environmental issues. And in the meantime, the more comfortable middle class people can smugly look down their noses at the poor, berating them for their laziness, slovenliness, and "greed."

"Commie bastard" is way off 22.Feb.2006 14:59

Jack Straw

"Commie bastard": you are WAY off! In a communist system, there is no money, no exchange. Capital is not "owned" by the everyone, there is no capital, or market. Capital is a social relation between producers and the means of production, in which the means of production are treated as money equivalents that can only be used to facilitate accumulation, ie to turn the money equivalent into a yet larger quantity of money or its equivalent, via production and then sale of commodities. Same re socialism. The notion that socialism or communism involve gov't or even common ownership of capital is totally wrong, that's been the problem with the movement since the early 20th Century. It became a venue for the promotion of "state capitalism", in which capital is the state, or of "worker ownership", in which workers become mini-capitalists who must then struggle to keep "their" companies afloat, often by speeding themselves up, cutting their own wages, or even laying themselves off. Great, if what you want is to retain all the essentials of capitalism, which is the main reason for our continued crisis. Marx wrote of this quite well in Critique of the Gotha Program, 1875. See your local or not-so-local communist/libertarian socialist/anarcho-communist website for analysis on this, i recommend going to the Break Their Haughty Power by Loren Goldner, see his series of links.

We are all slaves when we need to bow 22.Feb.2006 21:33

to others and to the system

ne1, I never said that the poor are greedier than any other money-making class in American society. They only want what they are programmed to want -- what others have.

The poor want "plenty of leisure time with their families, adequate healthcare, and a sense of living in a secure community." Do you really think that the rich have plenty of leisure time? They are far too worried about their finances to spend any quality leisure time with their families... unless you think that the wealthy toys of the rich count for any true value.

Yes, they have adequate health care. The problem with many people (rich & poor) is that they get brainwashed into consuming large quantities of pharmaceutical drugs -- just to keep from killing themselves from the adverse effects caused by their previously prescribed medications! This is called sick care.

This is what people talk about when they refer to Medicare and Medicaid. It is called sick care, not health care. Health care is the practice of preventing sickness. You don't prevent sickness by driving your gas-guzzler to the drive-up window at fast food restaurants.

"The only difference between the poor and the middle class is that, not only can they not attain a high quality of life, but even day-to-day survival, as in having shelter, adequate nutrition, and so on, is problematic for them."

And do you blame these circumstances solely on the government and the wealthy? Many poor people suffer from the lack of basic education and self-esteem. In times past, all people were proficient in gathering wild foods, growing their own foods, making their own clothes, furniture, housing, etc. They were able to rely on themselves and on other humans for their survival. They didn't need corporations and the government to take care of them.

I could go on at length here, but I think you're getting the idea. Instead of just giving the poor high-paying jobs, shouldn't we be trying to instill a sense of self-reliance and self-esteem? Getting the poor away from their boring, TV-driven lives is a necessary first step. To just give them high-paying jobs will cause most poor people to fall into the consumption trap - like the middle class. Then we would have no poor -- only a high-paying, high-consuming middle class of amerikans.

Gawd damn! Life couldn't get much better than that!

jobs vs. livelihood 23.Feb.2006 00:22


People don't need "jobs," but they do need livelihood. The society produces enough that no one has to go hungry out of actual scarcity, and if people are starving and freezing right now in the US, it's because of a dysfunctional social/economic structure. We could just give people who don't have enough money credits to go out buy what they need. But there's all kinds of phobias in this society around such a thing ("moral peril" economists like to call it). And there are afterall plenty of tasks that aren't getting accomplished and needs that aren't being met, because they require a social investment to be made.

Therefore, the solution is much as George Bender has hinted at, much as Keynes and Roosevelt and many other reformers have recommended: let the government pay people to perform work that is desperately needed but won't be paid for by the "marketplace." Things like planting both ornamental and food gardens in public waste spaces, creating public art, mentoring disadvantaged youth, etc.

ahistorical gibberish from mr. "dot." 23.Feb.2006 00:40


I'm not a Leninist nor particularly a fan of his, but you should try to bite your tongue and learn a lot before speaking gibberish and making an ass of yourself. Lenin actually promised paradise HERE, on Earth, or at least a great improvement. It didn't work out so great as many hoped, but don't get him confused with Bush, a man who DOES promise all manner of things that bear no material relationship with reality -- prides himself on it, as a matter of fact, while disparaging the "reality based community," as he calls it.

Your "cynicism" is really just blazing ignorance. Cynicism is not a good excuse for refusing to use your brain and analyze the political programs of the various scoundrels who are lusting for power. It's not as useless an exercise as you make out. The conceit that it is is an awful big part of the reason why we're in the sorry mess we see right now.