She told the President, "I'm exhausted at defending you" and wanted to know "Is this my new reality?".
Well, I think most of the country is exhausted. Those of us still working are running around like exhausted little gerbils inside our little exercise wheels, running twice as hard as we used to, mostly to make up for all the people who AREN'T working with us anymore. Meanwhile, those above us tell us a) how lucky were are to even have a job and how b) we have to make even more profits for them because they might have to pay more taxes next year.
The top 400 richest Americans have acombined 8% more in net worth in 2009 than they did in 2008, the rest of us have flat or declining incomes. I had someone comment the the other day that just having a job is like getting a raise these days. My, how the exhausted American worker's expectations have fallen in the past several years!
This is NOT the change we all voted for. Ms. Velma Hart said it, I say it and I think there is an awful lot of those in the Tea Party movement who are saying it.....they just aren't articulating it very well.
On NPR this morning, I heard a Pennsylvania senior say it perhaps better than anyone. He complained that the Republican's obviously screwed things up in the past decade so he and many others voted for change in the 2008 elections and yet, despite the advocates who SAID they were going to change things after winning the election, change never came. He sounded quite exhausted.
Like he did to Ms. Hart, President Obama would tell him, "Change is here, I've stopped the greedy insurance companies from some of the excesses they have practiced in the past. Among those changes, you can no longer exclude children based upon pre-existing conditions" and he'd be right, except you can't make them offer coverage if they don't want to stay in that market anymore. So, the five largest publicly traded health insurers in the country no longer will offer the coverage. I could detail the many, many way companies are avoiding the law, but I'd merely be duplicating others efforts here.
The President also touted several other broad initiatives the administration did at his press conference on Tuesday. He outlined several (and here I get Palinesque) "changey things" his administration has done to right the wrongs inflicted upon those who DON'T look for where they are on Fortune's list when its published. Every one of the points he outlined were true.
But not one of them makes me less exhausted. Not one of them lets ME see MY net worth grow 8% in one year, like Mr. Buffet's, Mr. Gates, Mr. Ellison and the other 397 people who hold 1.4 TRILLION dollars of this nation's wealth saw their net assets grow. Well, you may think, Mr. Obama and his administration aren't responsible for your income or your assets, so why blame them? Well, at the core of it all, I'm somewhat of an economic & social egalitarian, that is why. I understand we're in hard times. I "get it". What I don't get is why the American people would put up with a society where, quite obviously, the rich get richer and the middle class is being allowed to disappear at an ever accelerating rate.
What I don't understand is why we've swallowed the myth that "unions are bad" when, despite all their other failings, they produced an average of between 21% and 32% higher wages than non-union workers in the same industry. I wonder if the media moguls who decide what we hear might not be responsible for just a little bit of the negative news & editorial content we see on unions. So, Mr. President, what did you do in your first year and a half in office? You prodded, bullied and shoved Congress into passing a bloated giveaway (with a few protections) of a health care bill full of loopholes, instead of putting your efforts behind something that might make the average lower and middle-class American a little less exhausted (and certainly richer!): Card Check.
And, when Wall Street said that unless they got their "fix", Main Street would jones along with them, you stepped up to the plate and rescued them and more than likely our whole economy. And then proceeded to NOT use your bully pulpit to chastise them when they successfully blocked initiatives such as taxing them at the same rate as their own secretaries. Sure, you mention it when the rich bring it up as a criticism on how exhausting you've allowed their tax burden to become, but Mr. President, present & planned changes are not about to rid us of such injustice (and dozens of others like it!) that we voted to CHANGE!. You said it yourself:
I think most folks on main street feel like they got beat up on. And I’ll be honest with you, there’s probably a big chunk of the country that thinks I’ve been too soft on Wall Street. That’s probably the majority, not the minority.
So, if you KNOW the majority of us don't like it, no way, no how, WHY don't you bring those points up, over and over and over again? Why not, since, by your own admission, WE AGREE WITH YOU for heaven's sake! Let them hear it loud and clear way up on Wall Street. Bring the populist anger out that Main Street feels, for heaven's sake HARNESS that anger, get out in front of the Tea Party set, don't keep exhausting us by making us defend you!
When spending cuts are called for, propose tax loophole closures, propose corporate welfare reductions, corporate subsidies, write-offs. Here's an example: For any and all corporate or individual income OVER $X million in any one year, disallow this set or that of deductions; advance the concept that it will be things that will impact only the top 1%. Items such as corporate jet travel or the deductible expenses of meetings at posh resorts. For heaven's sake, don't say you'll raise taxes, just take away the deductions from excess income that is allowed now. What of subsidies? The list of corporate giveaways is endless! Remember, don't impact the first few million dollars of net income, we all want to get there and a few of us just might. If you just offer up another slice of corporate pork each time the Republicans' bring the need to control spending up, they'll eventually learn how to become vegetarians. They'll get tired of it. Maybe even exhausted!
We'd all be a little less tired also if we didn't have to worry about our jobs going elsewhere. Here is something that you've brought up, which I KNOW resonates with us exhausted people out here, but which you've seemed to forgotten to PUSH: off-shoring of jobs. Companies should be allowed to take jobs off-shore, but if they do, they lose all American tax deductions forever, regardless of country of origin, period. Why should we give them any, since they aren't making a contribution to those of us in middle America? And, to the naysayers who say it can't be done and still let us be competitive, respond by saying "Well, lets just CHANGE it for awhile and see what American ingenuity can do". For once, let's channel the intellectual energy of the financial types into creating ways to make money while KEEPING our jobs, rather than effectively "selling" our jobs overseas. It is a bit harder, but I am sure they're up to it! Let's make them feel a little exhaustion for once. Somehow, multinational companies like Siemens have done it in other countries!
So, you want to fire this exhausted base up? You want us ready to win? Start talking about real, positive change for the rest of the 90-so percent of us who make up this great country and tell the top 1% that its time for OUR change now.
They've had their turn!