Inspection- “Entitlements”

I should have written this edition long ago. I kept waiting for those bigger, more nationally known, leftward talkers on the national stage to state the obvious. Sigh.

Intentional.

Has to be intentional.

But you damn near never hear our side of the talking head aisle say it, or the supposed “left wing media” (HA!) or the pols who are supposed to be in our corner of the boxing ring. No, they’d all rather just take the below the belt punches.

Are they hoping for sympathy? Good frickin luck.

Can’t they hear the cheers, the jeers or see the shrugs and yawns of indifference? A mix of the same reactions you had when that jackass bully picked on you years ago. Black eye, underwear up your crack, bike all smashed, humiliated again, but it’s all your fault. Don’t you know that?

Now what do I think is “intentional?” Our side parroting the usage of “entitlements” as if it’s accurate and not purely politically driven. It’s as if they want to lose the debate, something I have considered a possibility even with our president at times. Look if we’re going to talk “entitlements,” here are a few more “entitlements…”

A. Tax cuts for the rich. What else could tax cuts for the richest in society be in a dire economic time, but an entitlement? If it “stimulates” the economy we would have been so stimulated the economy and employment would be smoking, then after that ciggie, going at it again. The few amongst the rich who actually do “drive the economy” by providing jobs are getting richer by taking their business and jobs off shore. That’s right: they’re driving it over the cliff. And making bucket loads of money doing it.

B. Closely tied to A. Being allowed to bring goods into this country via little to no tariffs is an “entitlement.” Allowed to offshore employment to India, or wherever, without that activity being discouraged through heavy taxes, or loss of tax deductions, is an “entitlement.” All a publicly financed scam that allows speculators, and I use that word so to intentionally include gas, and execs to get rich by living off the labor of slaves, prisoners and despots who treat their people as chattel. The kind of treatment offered to those who built the pyramids to their leader deities, then buried alive with these same sovereigns. All part of the “free trade” scam meant to bring us down to the the level of worst of the worst third world countries where you have the very rich and powerful, and the dirt poor… little between.

But they shouldn’t be “entitled” any more than we are, or be rewarded by “entitlement.” America is not some economic whore to be screwed and then beat up by “free trade” pimps for not wanting to get screwed even more.

C. The next one is hard, and I have nothing against soldiers. In fact I agree this should be an “entitlement” to a certain extent. But it should all be on the chopping block just like every other entitlement, if that’s the way we must attempt to solve the current economic conundrum. Benefits to soldiers, and I don’t mean after they leave the service. I mean college benefits, wages, make them buy their own food, pay for their own transportation to the battlefield, medical care after being shot or “finding” an IED, pay for their own funerals or burial on the field… I am not actually suggesting any of this but making a point. These are “entitlements.” If “entitlements” are so damn crucial to cut then let’s talk about them all, not just the Neo Con cherry picked entitlements.

D. Tax cuts, tax breaks, no bid contracts and special offers to big business. Why do you think some of our biggest corporations paid no taxes last year, or even get money back? How can KBR/Halliburton build defective edifices in Iraq for our soldiers to use that have showers that electrocute soldiers, poorly constructed, using inferior materials, but still get no bid contracts? Still get any contracts at all? Blackwater gets to murder anyone they want, enmass, and all they have to do is change their name? Walmart comes to some small town and we all have to abandon our properties, often getting manhandled by gov officials through eminent domain procedures, just so they can put Mom and Pop out of business? All of the above certainly qualifies, if not as legalized or ignored criminal activity, as “entitlement.”

E. War. Undeclared or barely, if at all, declared war. (I’m thinking of Bush II’s taking the resolution ball and running way the hell off the playing field by invading Iraq.) They shouldn’t be “entitled” to steal out of Social Security to do this, steal from the future, borrow from other countries, keep it off the books or drive us deep into debt because they want to fight a war off the books or on the sly. They certainly, more than anything else, are not entitled to the lives of our sons and daughters… even if they volunteered, not for a war, but to serve the country. The process should be more above board and more approved than it is.

F. Polluting should not be an “entitlement.” Companies should not be free to turn our tap water into flame throwers if you put a lighter near it. Frack that entitlement. Auto makers should not be “entitled” to pump crap into the air instead of working on improving what comes out of tailpipes. Some of them will always claim reaching the next emission standard is “impossible.” They need to spend more on making their product safer than the billions you spend on making the next year’s models look different.

G. And we are certainly not “entitled” to governance without funding governance. We do that through taxes. Just cutting anything won’t fill the cookie jar.

Solutions?

Raise taxes and have a debt tax, and I’m all for a very progressive one because you used our infrastructure to make your billions: protected banking systems, roads, business licenses, court systems that protect your “product,” you trademarked or copyrighted ideas. It’s a web of protections and legalese that keeps you in business. Protects you and your interests. So the more money you have made the more you have benefited by our economic system, so you pay more. Just like if you buy out the milk stock at a store rather than just half a gallon. Many of today’s anti-taxers, cut the tax to the rich-ers, seem to want the mother who buys half a gallon to pay more so the rich guy can then get the rest of the stock for free. To quote many a Conservative: “There is no such thing as a ‘free’ lunch.” One way or another we pay, now… or later, and we need to pay according to how much we have benefited being an American.

I’m sure I’ve missed a lot of entitlements, but point made. No one, no corporation, is entitled to our tax money, our homes or our lives. Government is certainly charged with protecting us, that’s why all my qualifiers on C: the military and soldiers. But protecting goes deeper than that. A company’s processing methods so shoddy that they’re killing people with chickens cut apart with fecal matter included, “no extra charge?” Protecting us from that is certainly more worthy of a “entitlement” than making sure some no bid contractor can electrocute our soldiers. Not just letting the elderly or the sick die because they’re poor is certainly a better “entitlement” then letting Walmart have our homes so they can sell lead painted Chinese crap.

Because, in the end, it all can be referred to as “entitlement.” We just have to decide which we think we prefer, and which are what we really don’t need.

Looking at that way, the correct way, the “entitlements” pushed by the Right are worse than bad. In some cases they are homicidal and equal to societal suicide.

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Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.

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