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I've written several op eds and letters to our local paper trying to sway people who I believe might be sitting on the fence politically. I live in Idaho which is very conservative. I try and walk a line that doesn't turn them off to my progressive message but use examples that show just how unfair and just bat shit crazy our current political system is. It is easier now that almost everyone on each side hates the big banks and, to some extent, Wall Street. Reality is harder and harder to ignore.


Every time I hear that we must cut funds for public school but cannot ask the richest Americans to at least pay the same rate of income tax as the average plumber I get angry. It is as though we have returned the country to a time when there was an economic nobility which was treated differently than the average citizen. If one is rich enough then one is exempt from the same sacrifice that is being demanded of the average American. Income for hedge fund managers and for capital gains is taxed lower and is somehow more valuable than that earned by swinging a hammer or driving an eighteen wheeler. Is this two tier system really the best way to build a strong nation with a strong economy?

I also get angry when I hear about how great our system of free enterprise is and how everyone gets a level playing field. Here in Idaho there is a law that allows a mortgage holder to not only foreclose on a property but also to sue the borrower for any money lost by the lender on a resale. I heard on NPR about a couple in Idaho whose house was foreclosed on when his hours were cut at his engineering firm when the economic downturn hit. Years after the foreclosure they have been notified that they are being sued for $140,000 dollars by Bank of America for the loss it suffered when it sold the property.

So, one of the major financial institutions who helped tank the economy and had to be bailed out is allowed to go after a struggling young couple with two kids who lost their house because of the economic crisis--the same crisis caused by these big banks and Wall Street financial wizards. The couple had no idea that they were liable for anything more than the loss of their house, down payment, and equity; neither do thousands of others who've been foreclosed on. Forty states have the same law as Idaho. Banks are bundling mortgages like these together and selling them to private investors at a big discount. These investors will wait until the time is right and file on those already foreclosed on. Those people who are struggling to put their lives back together and to see a little light will be hit again. And the really disgusting thing is that the money these vultures will make will be taxed at a lower rate as capital gains. The playing field is not level and the irony is thick. Double indemnity is only for the lower class.

Now we are told that the country can't afford a jobs bill that is aimed at rebuilding the nation's infrastructure because to fund it the economic elite, those who make over a million dollars a year, would have their taxes increased by 0.7%. That is three quarters of a cent per dollar. It seems a lot less than in the thirties when the question was “brother, can you spare a dime?” The argument given by those who voted against the bill was that it would hurt the job creators, small businesses. The truth is that only 2-3% of small businesses earn two hundred fifty thousand dollars of taxable income per year, much less a million. Small businesses would have remained virtually untouched by the tax increase. In fact, small businesses have been harmed by not passing this bill as it would have pumped more money into the economy and increased spending. That is what small business needs. It angers me, as a small business owner, to have some political beltway hack who is totally out of touch with “Main Street” economics  use my business' well being as a reason not to slightly tax millionaires more and improve the economy. More reasoning like that will simply shutter small businesses across the country and guarantee more bridges falling into rivers.

We are all Americans. If austerity is needed then it has to be shared by all and not just some. The 99% have already given. That's why you see their real representatives protesting in the streets all over the country.

Originally posted to countwebb on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 12:13 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Where is your nearest Occupy? I'm in (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Louisiana 1976, martini, Ckntfld

    OccupyBoise. If you need help, we are here for you.

  •  This is the kind of diary that can be so helpful (8+ / 0-)

    here in DailyKOS:

    How to.

    How to reach the reasonable thinking people.
    How to reach the politically turned off.
    How to reach people who believe there's no chance or no point.

    "Mr. XYZ NAILED IT!"
    is a nice read, but it doesn't help us advance the cause. That sort of diary is more of a "Yay for our team!" Or "Hey, a famous person agrees with me!"  It is certainly a feel good moment.  But the issue is that someone who doesn't watch Mr. or Ms. XYZ on TV or read them in the news columns or doesn't know who Ms. XTZ is doesn't care and isn't affected.  

    What we need are all the people who are not already on our team to have good reasons - understandable, internalized reasons - to join our team. To shift the world our direction we have to grow the cause.

    Grow the cause.

    We need lots more "Come join our team and here's why: " diaries.  Lots more of them.  "How to convince people to join our team."  "Changing minds and touching hearts." etc.  

    More of this kind of diary right here. Thank you, countwebb

    What a Police State Looks Like: "On one side: soft human flesh, unprotected human skulls, cardboard signs, slogans they chant, armed with belief in 1st Amendment rights. On the other: helmets, body armor, guns, batons, chemical weapons." -- JanetRhodes

    by YucatanMan on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 06:41:07 PM PST

    •  thanks for the input. I really believe whatever (6+ / 0-)

      impact I have is because the people who read my articles know me. They are my customers and locals so it is harder to brand me as an elitist liberal or a pundit with an agenda. Others in the area have started to write as well

      •  on taxing the rich (3+ / 0-)

        I can go with an even simpler exposition. i was speaking with a local farmer who is very conservative, and knows me to be a DHF. He prefaced his comment by mentioning he was aware of my political leanings, then spoke his piece (everyone should pay 10% in taxes).
        I asked him if he believed the argument that taxation was causing businesses to refuse to hire people, or if he thought it was more because of lack of demand. He agreed it was the lack of demand. He also admitted that Obama has not raised his taxes, but that the teevee had been telling him something very different.
        From there, it was easy to make inroads. i will never make this man into a progressive, but he responded to my show of respect and returned it. We left the brief conversation with a promise to resume it later; he complimented me for my poise and grasp of the issue we discussed. I do believe he is slightly less likely to blame those worse off than he is in the future. that is a major crack in the conservative ideology. I think the key is to avoid puncturing someone's argument outright ( like attacking his flat tax statement as the regressive idea that it is), instead asking a related, less confrontational question. The supply & demand thing gets traction because conservatives have been drinking that kool-aid forever.

        so yeah, it can be done. Just not with the teabaggers.

        Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

        by kamarvt on Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 08:37:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  What the hell kind of law is this?: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, rmonroe

    "Here in Idaho there is a law that allows a mortgage holder to not only foreclose on a property but also to sue the borrower for any money lost by the lender on a resale. I heard on NPR about a couple in Idaho whose house was foreclosed on when his hours were cut at his engineering firm when the economic downturn hit. Years after the foreclosure they have been notified that they are being sued for $140,000 dollars by Bank of America for the loss it suffered when it sold the property."

    What other states have laws like this?  

    What a sick system-- the banks get to bundle the mortgages, screw over homeowners, and then turn around and sue the former homeowners for money lost on resale in an economy whose downturn was fueled in part by the bad behavior of banks in the first place.

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 09:29:10 PM PST

    •  States that allow Mortgage Deficiency Judgements (2+ / 0-)

      I am not sure how reliable this source is but here's a list:

      Alabama: AL    
      Alaska: AK    
      Arizona: AZ    
      Arkansas: AR    
      California: CA    
      Colorado: CO    
      Connecticut: CT    
      Delaware: DE
      District of Columbia: DC    
      Florida: FL    
      Georgia: GA    
      Hawaii: HI    
      Idaho: ID    
      Illinois: IL    
      Indiana: IN    
      Iowa: IA    
      Kansas: KS    
      Kentucky: KY    
      Louisiana: LA    
      Maine: ME    
      Maryland: MD    
      Massachusetts: MA    
      Michigan: MI    
      Minnesota: MN    
      Mississippi: MS    
      Missouri: MO    
      Montana: MT    
      Nebraska: NE    
      Nevada: NV    
      New Hampshire: NH    
      New Jersey: NJ    
      New Mexico: NM    
      New York: NY    
      North Carolina: NC    
      North Dakota: ND    
      Ohio: OH
      Oklahoma: OK    
      Oregon: OR    
      Pennsylvania: PA    
      Rhode Island: RI    
      South Carolina: SC    
      South Dakota: SD    
      Tennessee: TN    
      Texas: TX    
      Utah: UT    
      Vermont: VT    
      Virginia: VA    
      Washington: WA    
      West Virginia: WV    
      Wisconsin: WI    
      Wyoming: WY  

    •  Many years ago (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Regina in a Sears Kit House

      when I was under-employed, my house was foreclosed on.  I had consulted a lawyer about declaring bankruptcy, and the lawyer said the time to file was when the bank foreclosed, just to avoid something like that.

      That was in Massachusetts.  I would never have thought of it on my own.  But as my debt problems grew I went for several free consultations with lawyers to help figure out what to do.

      When shit happens, you get fertilized.

      by ramara on Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 01:35:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  your title is the mantra for a new political age: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    spacejam, Catskill Julie, drewfromct

    reaching the reachable.

    what we must do, yet we can't seem to manage to come up with the formula.

    •  I think the OWS/99% peaceful protests and (4+ / 0-)

      over-the-top authoritarian police overreactions are getting to many formerly-unreachables. People who have never participated in a demonstration are enboldened to show up to hold a sign or just add their body to the crowd. I've spoken to some. They can't believe the police response.

      It's hard. I'm angry but not in despair. I feel more heartened than I did a year ago.

      Shocking the stark contrast of Penn State students rioting to support people who protected a CHILD RAPIST in order to keep their SPORTS teams, with the very brave, non-violent protestors in Berkeley demanding their civil rights.

      Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

      by Catskill Julie on Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 08:05:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My criticisms of this diary (5+ / 0-)

    - zero -

    None. Agree with every word. Beautifully written, concise, and compelling.

    The last word in the title is something we could discuss, though. Who are the "reachable"? Is anybody who watches Fox News reachable? How about those people attending last night's GOP debate?

    What about the people interviewed last night on NPR - the Herman Cain faithful?

    The movement conservatives who say "I want my country back" aren't looking for policies, they want scalps; namely, ours.

    Yes, there are people who can be reached. Are there enough of them to make a significant difference? I hope so.

    Every day's another chance to stick it to the man. - dls

    by The Raven on Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 02:47:30 AM PST

  •  This is a difficult conundrum.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hoghead99, TexasTwister

    There are individuals I know who I would like to bring around to my way of thinking, yet I've found that there are no words I can use to make the case for any point on which we aren't already in agreement. I know from past experience that these individuals will automatically push back defensively if I try to make the case for any position or point of view that's different than what they believe. All I know to do is continue to live by what I believe. If I have any influence at all on others' views it's by example rather than argument.

    •  Great post. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dot farmer

      I believe part of the key here is to listen respectfully--which is what you did. Yes, there are times when the urge to leap down someone's throat with actual facts is almost overpowering, but it seldom works to one's advantage. All too often it annoys folks and makes them dig in deeper.

      What usually works for me is to listen closely, and then politely ask very specific questions (to which I already know the answers). For example:

      Statement: Obama is a damned socialist!
      Question: In what way is he a socialist?

      Statement: He wants the government to take over      everything.
      Question: I wasn't aware of that. Can you give me an example?

      And so forth. You can see where this is going. The trick is to not let anyone weasel out of giving specific answers and examples--they'll certainly try to veer off into generalities or attack mode--but polite, interested persistence will keep things on track quite nicely. It's amazing what people can talk themselves into, if you keep asking questions and offer no solutions.

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