Most giveaways are not for the poor

    I appreciate the diversity of opinions you publish. Our country needs a well-informed electorate more now than ever. There are a diversity of opinions, but not everyone who speaks out is well informed.

    Many people believe we have a great country because “...people take responsibility for their own well-being...we are rugged individualists...we are not dependent on others...” But history shows (I am not talking about TV shows and myths about the mountain men), we all depend on others and good citizenship requires that we consider the needs of others, not just ourselves.
    Most people have or had a family that supported one another. Children in public schools have a whole system designed for them to get ahead, assuming they are white. I am certainly not against individuals striving to improve and do their best, but there are few of us who are not connected with a wider society.
    I am an angry white male, but not because I see “the other” getting things they don't deserve. As an aware white male in our society, I know I have and have had many benefits not available to others of different gender and skin color.
    I am angry because in our racist and patriarchal society people of color and non-males are denied good health, good education, and access to opportunity. We have enough wealth to lift everyone up, but we allow our institutions to be run for the benefit of the few. We are all in this together but we do not all enjoy the same opportunity.
    If you look at the facts, the people who benefit from government “giveaways” are not the poor but the wealthy. One small example are the 2017 tax cuts.
    According to Forbes magazine,” the bottom 95% had an average 1.2% increase in their after tax income, compared to a hefty 8.5% increase for the top 1%.” That means the top 1% each were given a tax break over 200 times of the bottom 95%.
    Tax cuts for corporations were used not to produce jobs or raise wages, but for stock buybacks to increase CEO pay and shareholder income. “The most certain effect of the tax cuts has been to help fuel a massive increase in the federal deficit and debt.” (Forbes Sept 2018)
    Now the administration's budget calls for cuts in programs that are designed to help people and calls for increases to support the “military industrial complex.” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics “Real manufacturing wages and benefits” have decreased from $38 in late 2017 to $36.31 in late 2019, a yearly decrease of 2.7%.
    Many are roused to anger because of “the other,” if it is foreign countries or “illegal aliens.” It is “us” versus “them.” They have fallen for a common method of control, “divide and conquer.”
    Instead of developing systems that will deliver “the greatest good for the greatest number,” we have a system takes from the economic bottom 80% and give it to the top 1%. The real barrier to a great country is the control moneyed interests have over our institutions: courts, media, financial system, economic system and their political system. It takes little effort to know that international corporate interests are instilling the idea that the problem is “the other” rather than their control of the system.
    There are many more examples from this administration that show the goal is to enrich the wealthy and well-connected at the expense of the rest of us. In spite of campaign promises not to cut social service programs, Trump's budget proposal has significant cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security programs. Our enemies are not the “the other,” but the people who put profits before people.
Jim Vokac
Willow Springs, Mo.

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