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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Of Elites and Wage Slaves

What do you think about Barack Obama preaching to the American people about tightening their belts and sacrificing while he and Michelle fly to New York for dinner and a show and take the family to Paris for a weekend sightseeing trip? I've lived in the Washington, D.C. area my entire married life and I can testify to the abundance of professional theatre right here in town. The Kennedy Center, the Folger, the Arena Stage, the Warner, the Shakespeare Theatre, and a whole panoply of semi-professional theatre is available. For heaven's sake, the president has his own box at the Kennedy Center! As for the Paris jaunt, what can one say? Sacrifice is for other people, not the leftist elite. The people can't afford Paris? let them visit London. But Barack is an egalitarian monarch. He didn't wear a tie on the outing to New York.

The journalistic pool, of course, accompanied the first couple on the little NY trip. Here's one report. It gives you an idea of the magnitude of such productions. How many helicopters, planes, limos, Secret Service agents, military support personnel, and police officers from the NYPD, etc. were involved in the outing? How much did it cost the taxpayers who are already in hock for trillions in increasing debt since Obama took over? And what did the Paris trip cost? Who knows? Will we get an itemized bill?

Part of the anger of people over the Obamas' extravagance isn't so much the trip; presidents have always traveled on the taxpayer's dollar. It's the sanctimonious hypocrisy. When GM CEOs came to Washington in their private (already paid for) jets, they were excoriated for their extravagance because of the financial crisis. Obama and other liberals, however, think nothing of using the taxpayers' money to fund their own extravagance despite a severe recession and mounting unemployment. Greed is greed is greed except when you're a liberal and see it as your divine right. (Or should that be divine left?)

I wonder what all the out-of-work GM workers think about the Obamas' trips. Maybe the first family should visit Detroit. Not nearly as much to see as in Paris, of course. And somehow I doubt the streets would be lined with cheering folks. But maybe I'm wrong. The capacity for people to deceive themselves is limitless. (Look at the Notre Dame commencement - those folks are Catholic?) Many probably still believe the Messiah of Washington will save them. They can send their mortgages to the White House or their foreclosure notices.

Unemployment here in the U.S. is reportedly 9.4%, higher than it's been in 25 years. One article I cited below says the "real" rate is 15.8% because of all the discouraged, no-longer-looking folks - and that's from an ultra liberal group that's still blaming the Republicans as they claim "the worst is behind us." What a pipe dream! As if spending three trillion more dollars you don't have can get you out of already massive debt. The solution for them is the money tree. Out of dollars? Get the presses rolling and "stimulate" the economy. Reminds me of my kids when they were little - "Just write a check, Mom." They didn't get the concept of needing money in the bank before you can write a check.

Liberals don't seem to get it either. But neither did the neo-conservatives in the Bush White House who worked for bigger, more intrusive government. Unless the Republicans return to their conservative roots, the U.S. of the Founding Fathers is finished. The American dream is already nearly dead - except for politicians who are becoming more and more the elite nobility instead of the servants of the people and, obviously, the ultra wealthy. Unless the middle class rises up in protest there soon won't be one. We'll see only the politicians, financiers, and entertainment elites at the top, and the wage slaves at the bottom.

For Christians there's always a note of hope, however. Today's Gospel passage tells the story of the poor widow who drops her two small coins in the Temple treasury while the rich contribute large sums. Jesus honors her for giving from her poverty, from all she had to live on, while the rich gave from their surplus. What does it mean in a spiritual sense to give from our poverty? I'm meditating on that question today. If things keep going the way they are, many of us will know first hand what real poverty is, not just poverty of spirit.

And a few articles for those interested:

Obamas' trip to Paris raises some eyebrows

Real Unemployment at 15.8%: Highest Level Since ADA Began Tracking

‘Great Recession’ Will Redefine Full Employment as Jobs Vanish

GOP takes aim at Barack and Michelle Obama's NYC trip

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

As George Orwell put it, "Some of us are more equal than others." Besides, adoration from a fresh crowd is a refreshing change for the One. This guy's no Harry Truman.

Anonymous said...

Control, manipulate, repress and plunder. Those have been the hallmarks of American Government since the beginning. Please read James Madison, he was a founding father of this nation, he was blunt, he told the truth . He writes, the purpose of a democracy is for the wealthy elite minority to control the poor majority. Up until the 1920's that could be done via clubs and bullets. After the 1920's propoganda or the more refined term, public relations/advertising became the instrument for the elite to control the masses. Keep the masses distracted with consumerism ( sports, shopping, travel, TV, Movies, ) and they will have little to no interest in global issues.
America really has no interest in spreading democracy anywhere.
Anyone who thinks that is just not well read. We toppled governments in Brazil, Indonesia, Nicaragua, Pamana, Iran, etc...and installed brutal killers to do what? Spread Democracy? Are you kidding me.
It was to repress the people and exploit the natural resouces and labor of the people. Nafta has killed Mexican farming. We now have tens of millions of Mexicans
headed to America, to find work to feed their families. Their labor will be exploited by American capitalists eager to rid the economy of labor unions, pensions and social security. Soon, it will be every man for himself, with zero government help.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Exactly who is America? The nation was founded as a democratic republic (rule by law, not majority rules) with the people controlling the government through electing representatives who would be their voice in government.

Now, of course, we are more like an oligarchy because in practice the three branches don't limit one another. Congress has the power to legislate and limit the role of the executive and legislative branches, but almost never uses it. Hence the Executive Branch and the courts make laws through court decisions and executive orders.

If we want to point fingers, the dumbed down citizens deserve a fair share of blame. The dumbing down was deliberate, but most of us can read. But even the relatively well-educated seem to prefer to play video games and watch reality shows. More people watched the last episode of American idol than voted in the national election. How's that for a responsible citizenry.

I agree with your comments about consumerism, TV, etc. They are the bread and circuses of our modern Rome.

Anonymous said...

We are a Constitutional Republic.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Democratic Republic : A political system in which a country is ruled by law, has representative government, and is democratic in nature.

Constitutional Republic: Political system where the head of state and other officials are elected as representatives of the people and must govern according to existing constitutional law that limits the government's power over citizens

The second definition is certainly clearer. Thanks for the clarification.