America has an entirely new type of slum we haven’t seen here since the 1930s, the product of 42 years of the Reagan Revolution. We call them “tent cities” & roadsides lined with old RVs and cars…
Thanks Thom, love the quote of the German millionaire who pays 60% in taxes "I don't want to be a rich man living in a poor country". I remember that from when you quoted that almost 20 years ago.
I can’t thank you enough for continuing to enlighten us…homelessness continues to overwhelm our communities, increasing related to the wealth disparity in our country. At 81 years old, the comparison of past to present is particularly profound.
You put into words my lived experience! Thank you so much! I haven't been able to talk to anyone about politics since Reagan. It was clear to me that his actions were not in our best interest but then, I was 10 years older than my college friends.
What few seem to realize is the the Powell Memorandum provided a road map for reducing the power of the workers by disabling the unions. This had multiple benefits as it reduced intergration at the workplace and forced both parties to go to Wall Street for campaign and slush funds.
The attack was enable by Reagan whose administration encouraged manufactures to move jobs (and capital and eauipment and technical know how) out of the United States. First the factories were moved to the deep south and then to Mexico and then to communist China and communist Vietnam (where Intel has its largest chip fab plant outside the US). Now unions to worry about or need to provide safe working conditions or pay for medical insurance or fund pension plans.
The loss of unions shifted the power to the elites and with this power they got the laws changed to provide lower taxes and more tax loopholes and more taxpayer subsidies for their businesses. It is the loss of unions than underlays the decline in the business profits going to the workers and the resulting loss of healthcare and housing and many other public services. It is why both parties work for the rich so it matters very little which party is in power.
As Gore Vidal put it "It makes no difference who you vote for - the two parties are really one party representing four percent of the people."
Anyone who travels to China or Europe becomes aware that the USA operates at a much lower level in terms of transportation services and average worker wages and availability of healthcare and child care and education and healthy food without toxic chemical additves.
When I visited Honduras in 1990 I was struck by how the country had very poor people living without piped drinking water or electricity and the very rich in their homes with bars on all the windows and strong gates at the entrances. I quickly realized that the United States was moving in the same direction with gated communities and tent camps both on the rise.
With the elite class owning the three branches of the government and controlling the military and the U.S. Supreme court, fascism has come to the United States. As FDR stated in 1938 "The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism—ownership of Government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.
It helps to have so many stupid racist Americans that are easy to exploit. Lyndon Johnson observed “If you can convince the lowest white man he's better off than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you."
Our society is driven by greed. The poor & homeless are greed's children. I'm not sure that we can overcome this reality. I've been here too long.
Lost is the embarrassment and shame of hypocrisy.
In America's long, winding soup line, the lucky few at the front can pig-out with all the soup and sandwiches they can possibly stuff into their fat bellies, even hoarding extra for snacking on later. But when the starving hordes at the back of the line whine about the meager crumbs left for them, they are told to suck it up -- suffer and sacrifice for the good of the country.
Bailouts for the rich who make poor choices goes without saying, just part of the deal of doing "business" in America as an unregulated capitalist hoarding the nation's wealth. Bailouts for the poor who can't make ends meet no matter how many shit jobs they work? Well, that would be "evil socialism." Besides, we're making beaucoup bucks selling the tents and sleeping bags lining the sidewalks. Bathrooms? Well, that's what gutters are for.
Again, what exactly is the purpose of government?
Thanks Thom. Your articles never disappoint. Just curious if you have an answer to the question you posed for us at the end of your post. I think we have to motivate people to get off their frightened butts and do the only thing we can legally do, VOTE the greedy out!!! we need to teach the people that paying higher taxes in return for great health care, free education, and a livable retirement for the citizens along with fair housing costs, is a really good trade-off.
It is gratifying to read such accurate, sensible, logical, and sane facts, history, and analyses. We revel in knowing that we have someone who can articulate all this so beautifully and that our observations and intuitions are firmly validated. Bravo for truth, justice and the American way. Maybe people are starting to get the message and see the light. I want to believe that the tide is turning.
Unfortunately, there is a wall around many, many people, such as the libertarian who was given an opportunity to reveal the depth of his ignorance and the degree to which he has drunk the Kool Aid on the program today. Calm, cool, rational discussion and “common sense” do not penetrate that wall. Facts are dismissed as leftist propaganda or as pathetically mis-interpreted data and fake news. History has been presented in a light which distorts and mangles truth to bolster a radically different and ahistorical picture. The talking points and party line have been imprinted on the brain, but regardless, the emotional sensations of being right because of heavily reinforced confirmation of “conservative” (reactionary and superstitious) beliefs are too satisfying to allow any serious questioning of their basis or foundation.
We are aware that Trump was not the cause or the inventor of this authoritarianism and fascist ideology and persuasion. However, Reagan, a major tool of the right, was not an originator or a cause, either. The billionaires are merely opportunists. The deeper problem is the virus infecting the American people and culture. More or less money for schools or more or less excellent civics classes and textbooks were never going to stop the runaway freight train. Fundamental concepts buried unconsciously are the drivers. Erroneous beliefs, fears, and mythologies push people toward the safety of certainty, false leadership, and dogmatism. Harmful and conventional institutions spread the virus, often quite openly. Talk and self-righteousness will never be adequate to overcome this kind of evil influence. Denial is always the number one enemy.
Spot on. Thank you. Lo, that Carter -- one of the most decent men ever to hold the highest office in the land -- had somehow won the 1980 election. What a world of difference he would have continued to make.
Instead Cheney, Rove and others got an Academy Award winning performance out of a B-actor whose white privilege and ability to deliver the lines meant our nation bought the bill of goods you described to a “T”. Sadly, so many people still revere “the great communicator.”
By dumbing us down and keeping us jacked up on trauma, disinformation, hatred and fear, many have become easily manipulated, which was likely the objective.
But not all of us.
Somehow we’ve got to help people break out of the matrix.
I believe the love of our children is one way of evoking a return to reason.
Nations that love their children have paid family leave, healthcare, supported daycare, tuition, strict regulations on pollution, agriculture, and medicines.
We’ve been sold to the highest bidders by Republican thugs and hucksters but I believe the love of our children could turn committees toward saner policies.
I’ll post a link to a call you all would likely love to hear tomorrow. It is the the monthly Campaign on Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice call. This month there will be an analysis of laws, regulations, and policies enacted or executed in 2022. I am eager to hear the update as there have been some shifts.
I hope , Thom that the Gutless Reagan Revolution can be cut off by some serious principles that work for the people in this country.
Ive been furious that this now accepted practice of Right Wing ‘ ME ‘ people continues to be about them , their greed, their well being and their crisis of ‘diversity pushing them out . ‘
They could be replaced by hardworking immigrants and people of any color with a welcoming and grateful spirit.
You know , like a Democracy , where people had worth with or without money.
Money is their protection from Reality.
Its easy for them to see something and pretend it was something else.
They are terrified of being swallowed up by “ woke”.
Why else would they
carry on so about being replaced by immigrants.
Why do they hate any person that they see as different from them?
LGBTQ is a damn uprising to hear the De Santis’ of the world tell it.
Their not. They are not interested in gathering and indoctrinating children into their LGBTQ world contrary to Desantis’ theory .
They are surely having a hard enough time just being allowed to live their lives under the attack s levied at them. They are not recruiting . Period.
Homelessness is brutal . It insists to kids and adults that they are not even deserving of a roof over their heads.
And it should tell all of us that we’ve dropped the ball and gone about our business.
Talking about ‘woke ‘;
What is it that offends the Right about ‘woke ? ‘
It insinuates that we’ll allow them to be who they are and help them when they need it .
Racial bias is a constant with these ‘white is right ‘
‘Judgement is ours sayeth the Right’ .
Me, too, about how good this is: “I don’t want to be a rich man in a poor country.” I could see a campaign to the rich rich -- that the satisfaction they'd get from making it a better world would be priceless.
I feel and share your outrage and passion for our loss of decency in America, Thom. I saw someone sleeping on the floor inside the post office last night. I hope everyone quietly left him in peace like I did.
As you said, people are finding the homelessness unavoidable, and they don't like looking at it. Those with empathy cry and donate; those without empathy express anger and try to legislate them out of their area.
We had a town hall on the subject last week, and ironically there was not enough room to accommodate the people that wanted to attend. I didn't stay---still too worried about catching another round of covid. The point is there is indeed heightened awareness along with emotion on this subject, and it's about damn time!
It started with the idiotic Reagan policy toward the mentally ill of just turning them loose without alternatives. With the evil enrichment of the rich and the utter disregard for those doing the work, it added yearly to the number of poor and those suffering. It has come back full circle to bite everyone. It is the mental illness that goes untreated with our horrible for profit health care. It is the poverty of being one check away. It is the hateful and brutal policies of the right that has brought us here. The right is consumed by what they want to portray as indecent. Time to show them what is indecent about their abuse of the sick and homeless.
It's an amazing feat: Steal a simple word from your, ah, "educated" so-called enemies originally intended as something positive and enlightening, load it up with every possible negative connotation imaginable, then use it as a cudgel against every possible progressive idea imaginable (read: socialist DemocRAT").
D.I.E. -- diversity, inclusion, equity.
It's an artform really, their mindless propaganda. The loonies on the right fringe have managed to condense an entire universe of "alternative facts" into one, four-letter word. (No, not the "F" one; although, that works too.)
Bam! See how elegant that is? You know exactly what it means simply by proclaiming it with no other explanation required. Ron DeSantis (a former Navy Seal JAG officer) can bark out a one-syllable command, and instantly, like Pavlov's salivating dogs, his conditioned dittoheads fall right in line, magnifying their voices -- pure bullshit --across the entire media landscape. It saves a lot of long-winded speechifying, where one can easily trip over all the myriad of lies strewn everywhere like big rocks on a trail.
That's what dear departed Limbaugh did with the word liberal. (May his confused and broken soul be reincarnated into a poor black woman's body, learn what really matters in life, and begin to heal, Amen.)
The trouble for little Ronnie yammering on and on about his nonsensical thoughts on "wokeness" -- whatever that means in his twisted mind -- is that, according to recent polling, the majority of the electorate still view the progressive concepts behind the word as something positive and worthy to pursue.
Really, most people have no idea what the big problem wingers have with helping and supporting "other" people to lead productive lives and to be fully educated. But woke, woke, woke is a sure winner according to the Florida Man.
(God, another one?! We really do need to get those pharmaceuticals out of the drinking water down there in the swamplands. What are all those diehard Republican goofball retirees in The Villages taking these days anyway? And they still let 'em vote too!)
How can Republicans not see the damage?
I'd love to see some of them