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Dear Dave:

I used to be a dedicated follower of your program. I bought your books, software, envelope system, and I even came to your live event here in Birmingham with my wife in 2007. I wanted to get out of debt and make a better financial life for my family than it was currently projecting to be. Then, well, a year later the whole financial world turned upside down. Unfortunately, I am still in debt, although now making solid progress. I'm working 60 hours per week at nights as an RN, so I am quite busy, as you can imagine. I still get your emails and follow you on Twitter because I still find good insights from you. That said, I just read your message to the Occupy Wall Street protesters.

I have two questions for you...What planet are you living on??!!?? Where have you been for the last 30 years?? I'm only 31 years old and I think I've been a lot more cognizant of what's going on in this country than you in the last 30 years. For someone who talks about "throwing the bums out of Washington" so much you clearly have no idea what's really going on in Washington. So let me provide you with a little history lesson and then maybe you'll understand why folks are occupying Wall Street.

It's simple really. And it's really not so shocking why people are so upset. I'm not even going to get into all the specifics. I've done so before here in my blog and it's well documented elsewhere, not to mention, it's history. This stuff really happened. Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980 and famously said in his inaugural address, "...government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." And thus began the era of "Reaganomics": deregulation of Wall Street firms, tax cuts that were mostly beneficial to the wealthiest Americans and largest corporations, and a promise of "trickle-down" effects for the rest of us. Because "a rising tide lifts all boats." Republicans and Democrats (but especially Republicans) have been responsible for the repeal of many regulations on the financial sector, many put in place after lessons learned from the Great Depression. And why has our government been so interested in the last 30 years in deregulating and tax cutting and creating tax loopholes?

Greed! You were right in this part of your message. Greed is bad. It corrupts. The point of a company is to make money. I get that. Everyone gets that. I'm cool with that. But in the last 30 years these Wall Street firms and largest corporations and the wealthiest individuals have been lining the pockets of Congressmen and women and Senators and donating to their PACs and now, thanks to the Supreme Court's Citizen's United ruling, Super PACs to get their agenda pushed through congress as legislation. Never in the history of America has there been so much special interest and monetary influence in our government and politics. Can you imagine? A corporation is a person? Can a multinational corporation go to the polls and vote? No, but it can donate unlimited amounts of cash to influence that election. Most Americans don't have unlimited amounts of money with which to influence their congressman or Senator. So the corporations line the pockets of the politicians and the politicians craft laws that make the corporations rich beyond their wildest dreams. And the real constituents of the Congress is Wall Street and the corporations, no matter who voted them in. Our government is corrupt, and the Occupy Wall Street protesters know it.

As the corporations have gotten their way with our legislature, they've also become greedy in another way. They've found that they can move production of their products to third world countries where labor is much cheaper. Millions of good American jobs have been slashed and shipped overseas. And the CEOs of these companies, they've earned a nice fat bonus!

You know it's funny, I've heard a lot of conservatives protect these CEOs and their wealth just like you do, saying, "leave them alone, the government shouldn't increase taxes on them, they've worked hard and earned their money." I know a lot of them have worked hard to get where they are and to earn their money. But when an executive uses that money to influence (bribe) their government in an effort to keep even more of his or her money, that executive is corrupt, and is no longer working hard. And sadly, more often than not, this is the case.

Your whole section on "Wall Street is Evil" is disingenuous, and you know it. These people do understand what is going on in this country. People understand history. The protesters understand the corruption in our government and that our government is bought. They want money out of politics. They want their voices to be heard through their votes, not their pocketbooks. But no matter how much they vote, they know their politicians will never legislate in a way beneficial to them. The tax cuts and loopholes are being kept for the rich.

I'm calling bull-crap on your "wealth redistribution" nonsense. I am sick and tired of hearing that the poor and the democrats and the liberals and President Obama are a bunch of socialists who want wealth redistribution from the rich to the poor. Again, what planet have you been on for the last 30 years? The last 30 years have been nothing but Republican tax policies that have redistributed all the wealth from the poor and middle class to the rich. Wages for the working class have been stagnant for the last 40 years while CEOs' pay has increased 300%. It's sick that the top 0.1%, 400 individuals, have more wealth, than the bottom 150 million Americans combined. None of this was true in the 1960s and 1970s. It all started with Ronald Reagan and tax cuts and tax loopholes for the wealthiest Americans and the largest corporations and financial firms. And now, since the meltdown of 2008, the wealth gap is at its widest since the 1920s! Just like it was before the Great Depression. Corporate profits are at an all time high, and so is executive pay. You can quit this "wealth redistribution" crap. It's been redistributed in the last 30 years all the way to the top. So when we say "Tax the Rich", it's because they've got all the money! Or should I say, You've got all the money! This country has been great to you in the last 30 years, I think it's time for you and the rest of the 1% to contribute back to the country that made you so wealthy, to the recovery, to the debt repayment, and to the shattered economy that was caused by the 1%. Yes, it was caused by the 1%

If I had to name one law that was repealed, in the name of deregulation, that had more to do with the financial meltdown of 2008 it would be, of course, Glass-Steagall. The repeal of this law allowed the formation of the financial giant Citigroup and many that followed, financial centers that provided consumer banking services as well as asset management services, ie. playing the stock market. It wasn't long before these banking giants were taking consumer deposits and betting them on complex derivatives and credit default swaps and making bad loans to people who had no business getting them for houses they could never afford. Before we knew it the bottom fell out and all the banks had all these toxic assets on their balance sheets. These mega-banks didn't have our money, the money we deposited for safe keeping, because they had squandered it betting it junk. Then Hank Paulson and George Bush and our bought Congress forced us, the taxpayers, to bail out these same greedy, self-serving elitists, because these banks were now "too big to fail." And once they were bailed out, these executives had the gall to give themselves MILLIONS of dollars in bonuses each! They said they had to keep the best and the brightest on their staffs! And then when a few members of congress decided to stand up and put their foot down, these same executives spent more money and sent more lobbyists to Washington to water down or altogether stop reform legislation on Wall Street. And now these same greedy executives are implementing charges and fees on people's accounts just so they can access their own money. Dave, people are down there on Wall Street protesting these abuses that are systemic in our financial system and aided and abetted by our government, and you're telling us to boycott McDonald's. You insult my intelligence and the intelligence of everyone who is occupying.  No one is trying to take McDonald's profits, and if that's what you really think, then you're the clown.

In your letter you said, "This is the greatest country on the planet, but even here, you're not guaranteed wealth, talent, fame, a full head of hair or six-pack abs." I'm here to tell you that most people don't want any of those things (although personally I would like to be debt free and have six-pack abs). But they would like a government that truly represented them, not the corporations that buys them off. They would like to be taxed fairly in relation to those in higher tax brackets. It really isn't fair that Warren Buffet pays only 17% tax while his secretary pays 35%! These people are not envious at all. They've been knocked down and kicked after doing everything right. It's a statistical fact that there are 5 job applicants for every 1 job available. So when you say grow up and go get a job, I ask, what do you think brought them to march on Wall Street? You might be surprised to learn that many, if not most, of these have graduated from college and cannot find a job, no matter how hard they've looked. And not even McDonald's is hiring that many college graduates for even entry-level jobs. These people just want a fair shake.

Dave, I hope you will read and consider my letter. I hope you will change your views. You constantly call yourself a Christian. Do you believe Christ would agree with the wealthy having lower tax rates than the poor? Do you believe Christ would approve of corporations' influence to write the tax code to benefit them while doing economic harm to this country's working class? Do you believe Christ would approve of your disingenuous letter to these Occupy Wall Street protesters? There are injustices in this country. They are waged by an elite minority at the very top. I have two jobs as an RN and I thank God everyday that I can provide for my family. But I have eyes that see and ears that hear. If I could be there in Zuccotti Park, I would be the most vocal protester. You can live in denial since you live at the top and have your radio show and sell your products. But don't you dare insult the intelligence of the people who are out there and now spread all across this country protesting the injustices of the last 30 years! We will no longer be silent and stand idly by while our futures are torn and shredded by the 1%! We are calling for change and reform and we will not be silenced by the 1%!

Sincerely,
Joshua LaDeau

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Comment Preferences

  •  Um, who is Dave Ramsey? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dwayne, Sylv
  •  My daughter took Dave's classes, bought his books (8+ / 0-)

    and worked really hard on his philosophies. They paid off 2 credit cards worth about $10k, and at the end of 2008 they had $8000 in the bank.

    Then, the bullshit hit the fan.

    Since then, they've eaten all that savings up, and nearly lost their home.

    He's got great ideas, but a shitty attitude. Especially this part:

    “We are the 99% of Americans who don’t have as much as the 1%, so we’re mad and think the government should take their wealth and property away so that I can have a piece of it. Wealth inequality is a moral breakdown! We should all spread the money around so everyone gets a fair share!”

    I have my toughest critique for those who believe this: You are a thief. When someone takes my money and gives me no say in the matter, that’s called theft—whether they’re using a gun or the government. At the core of this demand is envy. And that’s not the same as jealousy. Jealousy just says, “I want what you have.” Envy is a different beast. Envy says, “I don’t think I can ever have what you have, so you shouldn’t have it either.” Decades of horrible economic teaching and the politics of envy have kept this monster alive and growing and moving forward.

    Hey Dave, why is redistribution of wealth okay when it's the 1% TAKING from the 99%?

    "TEABAGGER=Totally Enraged About Blacks And Gays Getting Equal Rights."

    by second gen on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 09:26:10 PM PDT

    •  Yeah somehow we have a moral obligation (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tobendaro, second gen

      to their loan shark pricing.

      They are getting the money for basically free . . . from us. And then charging us 18%+ interest to pay them back. If we walk on the deal we are "morally" challenged?

      Yeah . . . not so much!!!!!!!

  •  Dave Ramsey (4+ / 0-)

    made millions selling common sense to people. Libertarian opportunist who doesn't take criticism well. You can find him on twitter and facebook.
    He's an ass and I'm glad they took him off the station I listen to.

    El pueblo unido jamás será vencido. The people united will never be defeated

    by mint julep on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 09:26:56 PM PDT

  •  Just another BS artist motivational speaker (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justus, AllisonInSeattle, dwayne

    His whole schtick is that we all need to save money. Well duh. Who doesn't know that. You know what people, including Dave Ramsey, don't know? This 'saving money ' bullshit doesn't work if everyone does it.  If nobody spends money the economy goes down the tube, and all your savings will be for naught because you'd be out of a job. Somebody has to spend money to keep it going. Everyone can't all be producers but not consumers. In fact, the funny thing is, if nobody saves money, nobody would need to save money. The right wing cretins will never understand this part. It never occurs to them that you could end up hurting your own self interest by selfishly pursuing it; and that you could advance your own self interest by advancing everyone else' interests.

  •  He's raking it in from Christian churches that (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justus, AllisonInSeattle, dwayne

    then offer his lectures to members for a fee.  He's one of the greedy.

    "Repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed." --J. Steinbeck

    by livjack on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 10:04:21 PM PDT

  •  STRONG Tip & Rec! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dwayne, DarkestHour

    Thank you for the time and thought you put into this well thought through diary. Sadly, I believe Mr. Ramsey would simply brush it off, as a piece of dust on his (expensive) sleeve. Him and most of the other greed motivated jerks.
    (rant over)

    Peace

    I used to have hope. Now I just see most Dem's audacity in maintaining the corporate status quo...

    by davekro on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 10:33:12 PM PDT

  •  asdf (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dwayne, tobendaro, Cassandra Waites

    From his letter:

    "...when you build your life around your dreams and passions and hard work, you’re guaranteed the right to keep it."

    Oh, really? What a load of crap. Where's the rest of our 401k, that's tanked how many times in the last decade? Where's my parents' retirement savings? Disappeared, poof!

    Fuck Dave Ramsey, and fuck Wall Street.

    Weathering Michigan's recessions since the '70s.

    by jennifree2bme on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 01:22:30 AM PDT

    •  Gee Dave (0+ / 0-)

      We all did that and YOU took it from us.  Not only did you take our hard earned cash, gamble with it and lose it, we had to PAY YOU BACK for losing our money.  Not only that, we pay for you to make your hard earned money by paying for everything this country is, all of it's assests that you use to make your money.  Dave, you are stupid.

      And she's good at appearing sane, I just want you to know. Winwood/Capaldi

      by tobendaro on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 04:28:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ever since OWS started (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sylv

    my bookmarks folder has been filling up with Dailykos diaries.  And that includes this one.  I can't wait until people start sending me this Ramsey missive (and they will) so I can send this back to them.  Thanks, jladeau.

    At this point, far more people have now been arrested for protesting Wall Street's mortgage fraud crimes than have been for committing and presiding over them.

    by dwayne on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 04:19:49 AM PDT

  •  Curious, isn't it? (0+ / 0-)

    That Ramsey's historical marketing based rhetoric is centered on getting out from under the usurious thumb of financial oppression.

    I've heard this guy (many times) spouting a populist message that truly resonates;  Stop borrowing, and live within your means.  His entire success is based on escaping financial servitude.

    What he doesn't get (or maybe he really does), is that ALL his followers (have at one point or another) borrowed their way into trouble.  

    And have done so, primarily because available credit card lines, home equity, student loans and 401k balances were the ONLY available avenue.  And that income, from working (wages), has not kept pace.  Even with record numbers of women entering the workforce creating double income households.  The two income trap means simply that market prices (for essential things) have only risen to that level, shutting the door on everyone else.

    Our sad truth in America today, is that the fleecing has simply hit a wall of diminishing returns.  And that Mr. Ramsey's business model wasn't needed prior to the emergence of the gross inequities of our current system of wealth and income distribution.

    If OWS messaging hits critical mass, there simply will be no need for the Dave Ramseys of the world.  This is what really scares Dave.

    So here's my message to Dave, on what we demand and how to go about it;

    We return to a simpler time in America, by embracing and instituting the progressive tax policies of the 1950's.  Let's resurrect the spirit of that commie pinko, D-Day commandeering, Republican presidential, Allied Supreme  Commander, John Birch Society fighting leader.  

    Dwight D. Eisenhower.

    Who said simply, (via means of tax policy),
    IF you make, more that 40-50 times the average salary, the Government will take 70-90% of it.

    IF you want to avoid that top tiered bracket, you can do so only when average worker pay rises.  

    When the 99% do well, so do you.  And if not, consider it a donation to the treasury (who will distribute it on behalf of the American People).

    Since the inception of Reagan's trickle down, the 1% have seen incomes grow from 40-50 times average worker wages, to 400-500 times average worker wages.

    That largess of the 1% was supposed to lift all of our boats.  Instead,it's been used to undermine the very foundation of democracy by means of nefarious lobbying, PACS and political contributions.

    It's the inequality, stupid.

    by Boberto on Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 05:58:12 AM PDT

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