River of Tears in the Social Fabric

In 100-Year Flood, River of Tears, Tears on August 31, 2011 at 2:12 am

This is when the greatest accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few large corporations since the previous robber baron era burns the most.  Timely relief for all these stranded flood victims is the difference between life and death right now, and in the coming weeks.

The fact that so many lives may buckle financially as swiftly as Vermont’s iconic covered bridges were swallowed by raging rivers should rightfully cause surges of outrage among ordinary Americans–the majority of us who are not sitting on trillions of sidelined cash that private companies are enjoying while our government deficits grow faster than the flood waters.

The oil/energy, banking, health insurance, & other industries enjoy lavish subsidy and favor from our governmental policies that have allowed them to accumulate what, rightfully, is the collective wealth of our nation, the collective result of our productive contributions to such industries.

For those corporations to sit on piles of cash, while the government is so cash-strapped it is telling its citizens that rescue/relief money must be balanced by cuts to other budgets, at a moment of emergency and massive devastation such as this, is heinous, to put it kindly.  I think I could find a jury of my peers who would agree such action is criminal.

To think that, yet again, just as when a person faces a catastrophic illness and finds that injury coupled with the insult of tens of thousands of dollars of bills even WITH insurance, so now all these victims will face thousands of dollars of high-deductibles or lack of coverage between flood and hurricane insurance.   We love to punish the weak, infirm, and unlucky with hefty monetary penalties.

But those rich–well, somehow, throwing piles of cash around into stocks or complex financial instruments or creating asset bubbles of all sorts is “hard work,”  so they deserve to keep every dime of it.   Clearly harder work than digging trenches or leveling roads or working heavy machinery.  Or racing to take care of 10 patients in a nursing home as the only nurse.   Or teaching an elementary class whose size has swollen to 40 from 20.  So we need to let them keep that money, we wouldn’t want to tax it.  They might sit on their wealth elsewhere and ignore the hard work of that country’s citizens, after all!   We prefer to keep their indifference to disaster couched right here where corporate tax rates remain low, with  the goal ever lower, with our populace obviously primed to vote in such policy.
The private sector’s power and wealth grows while government’s shrinks, yet the private sector does not recognize the merits of saving the lives of its customers.  Only the government recognizes the moral imperative of saving the lives of its citizens.  As long as we let this vast inequity of wealth persist, the private sector will turn a blind eye, and the government will cry broke.

The floodgates of wealth into our political system that were opened even wider with the Citizen’s United ruling are literally  drowning us while those anonymous pools of money remain awash in cash, impervious to the suffering of nations or the identities of citizens… Would that a hurricane of revolt by the American people would create new channels and estuaries to restore money back to its purpose–exchanging hands as proxy for productive activity, not sitting useless in  the bank or blowing up false, unproductive bubbles.


I second Karen’s concerns for Marie…but considering the center of the “inside-the-beltway” area was without power for 2 solid weeks last summer despite the area of our microburst being relatively small (about a 2 mile radius), it would not be unusual to not hear from Marie for weeks. May she resume renewed with the force of fiercsome rivers crying for justice for all people!   Yet I  fear that just as Mississippi and Louisiana are still recovering from Katrina, so the northeast will be facing the aftermath for many years to come.

  1. I came across a new term creeping into economists’ scholarly papers: The Precariate. That’s us, or at least most of the people who are walking around this side of Wall Street and beneath the penthouses of our well-bonused CEOs.

    Members of the Precariate once came from the solid middle class but are now people caught in an increasingly precarious economic condition, thanks to the good work of our justices, legislators and the chief executive himself, all of whom have done their utmost to guarantee continued income disparity.

    The Precariate defined: the people whose savings and income and political rights keep heading south to a shaky hover point somewhere above the miserably poor. People get classed out of the precariate by sliding further south into the ranks of the poor, where they are then at the mercy of agencies less and less able to help them because of budget cuts.

    Let’s not get into the reasons why we are known as The Precariate. I merely wanted to clue you in on the lingo describing the widespread phenomenon.

    The Precariate. Get used to it.

    Jay — Ottawa

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