Don’t Get Me Started…

While our country teeters on the edge of financial ruin and Tea Bag Republicans point their fingers at citizen ‘entitlements’ to complain that we have our hands out holding the begging bowls, no one seems to have any interest in the facts.  Who really is holding out the begging bowls?  Let’s examine the truth. …and yes, I know it’s the Tea Party, I also know what a ‘Tea Bagger’ is and feel it’s a more accurate label.
Social ‘entitlements’ that are being targeted for reduction are Social Security and Medicare.  These have been funded over the working life of the recipients by payroll deductions that were supposed to sacrosanct, put aside solely for this purpose. Surplus could be ‘borrowed’ by the US Government with an obligation to the recipients to pay it back.  To date the US Government owes 2.7 trillion to those citizens who have paid into this fund, i.e. ‘recipients.  Where are the ‘entitlements’?
The US Congress is established under the Constitution.  It also provides that No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” 
It’s specificity is to underline the fact that an egalitarian form of government was to be established where all citizens were to have equal representation.  That was later further underscored by Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address 
“- that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people by the people for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Once again, on August 26, 1920 with the passage of the bill providing women with the right to vote, the egalitarian basis for the US was ratified.
However, Congress then set itself apart from the rest of the citizens by providing for itself retirement and medical plans far different from those available to the citizens they are elected to represent.  See below.’0E%2C*PLC8%22%40%20%20

At the present time, Congressional ‘entitlements’ will cost the American people 674 billion dollars for the shortfall in Congressional pensions that have to be footed by those people they represent…and accuse of looking at the government with their hands out.  An ordinary American now is asked to wait until age 70 to retire, while Congressmen who have served 20 years can retire at age 50 and have to wait until age 62 if they have served 5 years or more.  The pensions that they receive are for life and are not reduced by any other income they may receive, contrary to basic Social Security if taken early. 
Then, there are a few questions I want to ask…why are oil companies receiving tax benefits?  The US screams about oil imports and rising prices but in fact the US is becoming the worlds largest oil exporter.  
Exxon reported a quarterly profit of 16 billion dollars for 3rd quarter 2012, or 12%.  It seems to me that a company with that kind of profit is a real welfare queen to cry for tax reductions.  How about we increase their tax on the oil they sell off shore and reduce the tax on US sales…provided that doesn’t find it’s way off-shore through shelters.
AIG is advertising that they are back in business and have paid the US taxpayers back in full plus a profit.  What is the status of the other companies the US taxpayers have funded during the financial crisis?  How about the banks?  Wall Street financial institutions?  Those account for the biggest welfare queen scam in the history of our country.  How many and who have paid us back?
Entitlements are an interesting term.  If you really take a hard look at the financial machinations that have gone on under the Bush administration and some of which have followed through to the current administration, it is hard to give credence to the rage of the know-nothing Tea Bag claimants.  It’s on a par with the woman who screamed that she was against Obamacare but don’t let the government touch her Medicare.  
My take on ‘entitlements’ is to put Congress in the same pot as the ordinary citizens, forget any ‘nobility’ they claim, they are as ordinary as the rest of us and let them know it.  It might be interesting to see them squirm when we want to reduce their ‘entitlements.”  
Also, I propose jail time for any member of any US governing body who personally, or through any family member, trust, company etc. receives money or benefits while in office or within ten years thereafter from any source that benefited from a vote cast by such person.  If they go to work for another company on a full time basis, like be at their desk like any other employee, they are off the hook.  No speaking engagements, ‘fake consultancy’ or other scam to be paid off when they are out of office.  I’m sick and tired of elected officials taking ‘baksheesh’ for their votes.  We are worse than a 3rd world country with the graft scored by Congressional members.  They are actually limited to 15% of their compensation from outside sources, a prohibition against ‘honoraria’ and certain other sources of income.
For pity sake, tax the hell out of the oil companies or just nationalize them like they had in Mexico.  They take a natural resource from beneath our country, why not have it owned by the American people?  That way the government gets all the benefits from price increases and foreign sales.
Here are a few more ideas to mull over.  Make advertising of prescription drugs illegal like it is in other countries.  The main cost of pharmaceuticals is advertising and research.  Actual production in most cases is minimal.  Then open the market for prescription drugs to companies outside the USA and allow them to compete in sales.  There is no reason for the escalating cost of drugs other than that the government permits it.  This will certainly help bring medical costs down substantially.
Please legalize drugs and stop the war on drugs.  The annual cost state and federal cost is over 41.3 billion.  It is estimated that 85% of prison costs are drug related.  If the US government taxed drug sales at the same rate as alcohol, the increased tax revenue would be approximately 46.76 billion.  If you add savings and new revenue together it comes very close to 100 billion dollars, give or take a couple of billion.
My take is to legalize the whole bundle of drugs.  If someone wants to snuff themselves by drugs, I say go for it!  That’s their decision.  But think of the ramifications…no drug pushers at schools, no ‘excitement’ of doing something illegal.  In countries where drugs have been legalized, drug use has typically decreased, deaths from drugs and HIV from sharing needles also decreased, taking the experience of Portugal as an example.
My suggestion is to take some of that 100 billion and spend it on education instead and perhaps even a little on rehabilitation of addicts rather than jailing them.
This would also save Mexico a lot of angst, but might increase the crime rate when the drug cartels find they have lost their best client.
And I’ve just begun on the lying, conniving crooks who screw the American people…don’t get me started!