The Weiner Component V.2 #50 – Cycles of Wealth: Part 2

English: President Barack Obama confers with F...

English: President Barack Obama confers with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke following their meeting at the White House. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mitt Romney, when he ran against Barack Obama for President of the United States in 2012, specifically stated, more than once, that had the major banks faced bankruptcy when he became President he would have allowed them to go into partial bankruptcy.



He would have had them to go into Chapter 7, wherein the courts would have declared their common stock worthless.  That way the stock holders would have taken the loss but the banks would have continued to function.  The banks, where they were retrievable, would have been able to release a new issue of stock which could have been sold to raise necessary funds.  That way the banks could have continued to function and would not need funding or loans by the Federal Government.


Would it have worked?  That’s an interesting question.  We’ll never know the answer because it wasn’t tried.  Had it been tried and failed then the entire financial system of the United States would have collapsed.  Apparently President Barack Obama and Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke, were not willing to take the chance that it might not work.  Their method of reform was far safer.


In addition a number of banks like Countryside were allowed to go under.  Their remaining assets were taken over by continuing financial institutions like the Bank of America.


Romney’s method of reform has been invariably tried out.  In many instances it has worked, one relatively recent case was with General Motors which took loans from the Federal Government and also utilized Chapter 7.  Their common stock was declared by the Court as having no value.  They eventually sold a new issue of common stock and the company continued to function.


But there have been many cases wherein the public refused to buy the new issue of stock and that particular company has gone under.  No one can totally predict the future.  There is no way of absolutely knowing what will happen.  A bad guess would have thrown the country into a long period of economic disaster.  President Barack Obama and Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke did not take the chance.


The results of Obama and Bernanke’s decision further slanted the distribution of the National Income in the direction of the well-to-do.  If we consider what the next President, Donald J. Trump, has done with taxes we are seeing the bulk of the money go to the upper one percent of the population.  They are in the process of having their taxes reduced while the remaining middle and lower classes will have their taxes gradually raised.


Interestingly the American public is currently in an historical situation not unlike France was in 1789 just before the French Revolution.  Since there is a midterm election coming up the first Tuesday in November of 2018, ten months from now, we will be able to miss all the excitement the French had and vote out those individuals who would cause us unhappiness by extending the unfair situation.  In fact we can begin the process of reversing the situation.  This was historically done by Theodore Roosevelt after he became President at the beginning of the 20th Century.  He had the Progressive Movement functioning on a Federal level.


Currently as we’ve seen from the few special elections, both statewide and nationally, the elections, even in strong Republican Districts like the state of Alabama, have gone to Democratic candidates.


In the 2016 Presidential Election the Republicans achieved a majority in the House of Representatives.  They got 239 seats.  The Democrats were able to get 193 seats.  There were 3 vacancies.  In the Senate the Republicans were able to get 52 of the 100 seats.  The Democrats got 46 and the Independents got 2.  They always voted with the Democrats.  That gave the Republicans a majority of 2 seats in the Senate.  They lost one of those seats when Jeff Sessions became Attorney General.  A Democrat was elected in his place giving the Republicans a majority of one seat in the Senate.


Using that majority and voting strictly on a party basis the Republicans were able to pass their tax relief bill for the rich strictly on a party basis.  Every Republican voted for the bill and every Democrat voted against it.  The Republican President happily signed the tax lowering bill for the rich which, no doubt, saved him millions of dollars in a tax bill which was funded by deficit spending.


After the Midterm Election of November 2018 the probability is that the Senate will pass to a Democratic majority and the House of Representatives may also do so.  A number of Republican House members are retiring. Particularly those in Districts that voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential Election.  Will enough Democrats win to make up a majority in the House?  There’s a good chance.  But we’ll have to wait and see.


Prior to the 2018 Midterm Election the probability is that the Republicans will attempt to pay for the tax relief for the rich by gutting Medicare and attempting to privatize Social Security.


There is a lot of needed legislation.  For example a needed functioning immigration policy is long past due.  A realistic Dacca program is desperately needed for those who were brought to this country as small children.   While they know no other country and are not citizens of the United States they are currently being used by the Republicans as a form of blackmail.  There are also needs to upgrade the infrastructure, help states and regions like Puerto Rico recover from massive storms.  This is to just name a few of the present needs.  It does not count military operations or other needs.  The United States is at war in the Middle East but Congress has taken no responsibility for this military action.  The probability is that the current Congress will ignore these and other needs and spend its last year in office trying to fund its tax relief for the rich.  It would seem that the Republicans are more interested in serving their own needs than those of the country to which they have taken an oath to serve.


If we take a close look at the images that emerge from Congress we come to a very disheartening conclusion.  Our current Republican dominated Congress is paying back its major contributors for money they have given in recent political campaigns.  The wealthy members of Congress are also reducing their own taxes.  The large contributors are being encouraged to share their future reductions in taxes with their favorite political party.  The whole thing smells like a room full of rotten fish.  One can ask: What happened to honor and integrity, and an oath to the Constitution of the United States?  Are we truly back to exploiting the poor for the benefit of the rich?


There is an interesting note of irony to all of this.  Many of the well-to-do may be sadistic and enjoy seeing homeless in every major city living under bridges out in the weather, essentially doing without many of their needs.  But by limiting the potential for increased productivity they, the rich, are also limiting their own potential for becoming richer.


The wealthy tend to store their excess funds leaving them dormant while with a reasonable or fairer distribution of funds to all classes of society the money tends to be spent over and over again producing a far greater Gross Domestic Product than would otherwise be made.  With a more general distribution of the funds there is a far greater GDP and everyone does better, including the rich.


The country seems to be entering a new period of greed.  The laws now passed by the Republicans in Congress and signed by the President are moving the country in the direction of Government of, by, and for the Rich.  This can continue through 2018 but the next Congress will be better balanced.  The Republican control will again be limited.  In order for laws to be passed the government will have to have the cooperation of both political parties.  We will either have cooperation or total inactivity between the two parties, with no laws being passed.  If it’s the later Congress will not even be able to fund the Federal Government.


It would seem that even with a Republican President and a Republican majority in both Houses of Congress there are still problems getting bills through Congress.  For example it would seem that some ultra conservative Congress members in both Houses of Congress are against funding the Federal Government.  In order to get a bill passed the Republicans need Democratic help.  But if the Democrats cooperate with the Republicans they want something in return.  These trades take serious negotiating.  They are not easy to do nor are necessarily always successful.  There may be problems just funding the current government, even with a Republican majority.

The Weiner Component #137B – Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, & the Current State of the Republican Party in the 2016 Presidential Election

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is important to keep in mind that the current Republican Presidential Debates and the Democratic one that will occur beginning Tuesday, October 13, 2015 are only for choosing the major party candidates for the oncoming 58th Quadrennial U.S. Presidential Election of November 8, 2016, about 13 months from now.  The last reform movement for choosing Presidential Candidates put the responsibility largely upon the people of the country by holding elections by political party in all 50 states.  These are done at different times prior to the Presidential Election.


Interestingly in the one held in Vermont in October of 2015 the three leading Republican candidates, each with 12% of the vote, were Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Bernie Sanders, who is an Independent Senator from that state who caucuses with the Democrats in the Senate.  All the other Republican candidates got single digit results.  Sanders will also be running in the Democratic Primary.


Mainly what has occurred up to this point in the Primary election is that in campaigning for the 2016 Presidential Campaign two figures have arisen, one in each major party, that according to some political commentators, are two sides of one coin representing voter protest.  On the Republican side it’s Donald Trump and on the Democratic side it’s Bernie Sanders.  Both have appealed to large numbers of the populace that are essentially disgusted with their political parties and the general verbiage thrown at them for their votes.


Candidates, particularly Presidential Candidates, make all sorts of promises and then fail to deliver what they presumably stand for.  Of course what is promised is what the candidates would like to do.  What actually happens after the election is that in order to bring their promises to fruition the candidate needs the full cooperation of the two Houses of Congress and even sometimes the cooperation of the Supreme Court.  This generally does not occur.


To the leaders of the Republican Party Donald Trump, currently aged 69, is the emergence of the Frankenstein Monster, set loose from the forces of chaos, over whom they have no control.  Since he is “really rich”, a billionaire, and financing his own campaign, they have no leverage over him.  To many of the Republican leaders he is a former Democrat and not a true Republican who does not hue strictly to the party line.


Trump states what he believes or says what he believes his audience wants to hear.  Always telling them how brilliant he is, what a great deal-maker he is, and verbally attacking other Republicans running for the presidency.  Jed Bush, who was a second runner to him, has been a constant target.  Since she started coming up at the polls, 61 year old Carly Fiorina, has gotten some negative comments from Trump about her looks and of how she ruined Hewlett Packard of which she was CEO for a while.  During the second debate he reversed his opinion about her looks.


Trump implies that he has never made a bad deal in his life.  He has gone through bankruptcy four times.  With my limited exposure to the business world I know of one specific deal where Trump lost probably millions for his investors and possibly for himself.


His slogan, which he wears written on the front of his hat, states that he will “Make America Great Again.”   He is implying, of course, that America is currently second rate.


Trump is, to quote him, “not politically correct;” that is, he will say almost anything.  His statements are general, criticizing everything that the current administration does or is doing, without any specifics on how he would perform as president except that it will be better and make America great again.


What I found enlightening when I looked up Republican candidates for the 2016 Presidential Campaign on the internet was that Donald Trump was not on the list.  It seems that many Republicans are still not taking him seriously as a potential candidate.  It’s an interesting phenomena, he’s leading in the Republican poles but is still considered undesirable by the party.


On the Democratic side there is Bernie Sanders, a 74 year old Democratic Socialist, who has run as an Independent from Vermont, first in the House of Representatives from 1991 – 2007 and then in the Senate from 2007 on.


Bernie Sanders has caucused with the Democrats, been a voice of protest against the seemingly incapability of reform both when he was in the House of Representatives and then in the Senate.   In 2015 he decided to make his protest against the inequities of our political system public by running for the presidency in 2016.


Senator Sanders has raised several million dollars by taking only small contributions and refusing larger ones.  He represents the common man against the influence of the upper percent of the population and the large corporations.  In essence he is the voice of the common American protesting vociferously against the highly inequitable distribution of income in the United States.  He is the voice of every lost cause that is generally opposed by the plutocrats and the lobbyists.


Surprisingly, especially to Sanders himself and a goodly percentage of the Democratic Party, the number of people who have come out to hear him and support him has been phenomenal and continues to grow.  He is currently a serious candidate for the Presidency of the United States.


Both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are the two dynamic candidates.  Both are symbols of how the American people feel about the inaction of the Federal Government to really solve any of the major problems facing the country.  They represent the two major political parties within the country.  The people are tired of Congressional inaction, a government shutdown, of nothing happening.  They are fed-up with seven years of warfare between Congress and the President.  They want a functioning Government that is positively leading this nation.


The reality of the situation is something else.  Trump talks about what he will do as president.  Listening to bits and pieces of his speeches over TV one get the impression that he thinks he can run the country the same way he runs his company as its CEO.  No even Louis 14th of France, the most absolute of the absolute kings could do what Donald Trump says he will do as president.  One gets the impression that he’s never read the Constitution of the U.S. which gives the power to make laws to Congress and makes the President the Chief Administrator of the country.  Either he is totally impressed with himself or he is totally ignorant of our form of government or both.  Even if he were to be elected President and had a totally Republican Congress he would not be able to do even a small percentage of what he claims he’s going to do to “Make America Great Again.”  There is no way Congress, even a Congress with a majority of Republicans in both Houses would support him.


Bernie Sanders has stated the legitimate inequalities that exist within the United States.  He would like to see greater fairness for all American citizens but he too would face large scale frustration from Congress.  If he were to be elected as the Democratic President in 2016 the probability is that the House of Representatives would remain with a Republican majority and he would not be able to get any of his desired legislation through.  Even if he were to get a Democratic majority in both Houses of Congress the Republicans in the Senate would filibuster every law he would support.  If by some miracle both Houses of Congress became Democratic, and there was a supper-majority of 60 Democratic senators they would only support a very small percentage of his program.  It would take a multitude of years or longer for the United States to become a Democratic Socialistic Nation.


Bernie Sanders is registered as an Independent but styles himself as a Democratic Socialist.  In fact he is the longest serving Independent in Congressional history.  He caucuses with the Democratic Party but favors the social democratic policies of European countries, particularly the Nordic ones: free college education for everyone qualified to go, free medical care for everyone paid for by taxes, basically true equality for all citizens.


Bernie Sanders is a leading progressive voice on such issues as income inequality, universal healthcare, parental leave, climate change, and campaign finance reform.  He is also known for supporting civil rights and civil liberties.


Both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, as stated earlier, are two sides of the same coin; and that coin is protest against an essentially non-functioning central government, which seems more non-functioning all the time.  They seem to symbolize the feelings and frustrations of a large percentage of the voters.


A little under seven years ago, when Barak Obama was elected to the presidency of the United States, Mitch McConnell, the then minority leader of the Republicans in the Senate, stated publically that the goal of the Republican Party was to make Barak Obama a one term President.  For his first term, 2009 through 2012, the Republicans opposed everything he supported, and this included bills that the Republicans had originated.


When Barak Obama first took office in 2009 he inherited the Real Estate Crash that had begun during Bush’s last year as President.  It was a major depression that could have gone deeper than the Great Depression of 1929.  Obama, with no legislative help from the Republicans in Congress, was able to turn that into a recession and largely but not completely slowly work the nation out of that major problem.


There still, up to today, has been no fiscal policy applied to the problem.  In fact, most acts by the legislature, particularly after 2011 when the Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives, has actually exacerbated the problem, increasing unemployment.


Using his executive powers and those of the Federal Reserve President Obama has kept the nation from major economic disaster.  Today, in 2015, unemployment nationally is below 5% and moving toward additional recovery.  But the poverty rate in the nation has increased and is much too high and inequality of incomes is at its highest point in decades.


What have the Republicans done, since they have managed to gain control of the House of Representatives in 2011 and the Senate in 2014, to help resolve the economic dilemma?  The answer is essentially nothing.  At one point they shut the Federal Government down and were threatening to do it again over the issue of getting rid of Planned Parenthood.  To avoid that potential disaster John Boehner, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, resigned effective October 31, 2015.  On Thursday, October 7 the Republican in the House were supposed to choose Kevin McCarthy, the Majority Whip as the new Speaker.  At high noon on Thursday McCarthy withdrew his name from consideration as the new Speaker.


He did not have the votes for that position.  The 40 Tea Party candidates on the far, far right of the Republican Party would not support him.  As of Sunday, October 11th there is no one to replace Speaker Boehner, who has stated that he will stay on beyond October 31 until a new Speaker is chosen.  That may not be until the end of 2016.  The Republicans in the House of Representatives have reached a stage beyond gridlock!


On Sunday, October 11, 2015 the House Republican majority has reached a point where they will presumably have no Speaker at the end of this month.  Technically they will not be able to even meet as a body.  What is their reaction to this?  It has been suggested by one or more of them that they take a two week break.  It would seem that they are totally separate from the people who elected them and owe nothing to their constituents.  The behavior is unbelievable.


The House of Representatives which meets for an average of 200 days a year has voted over fifty times to do away with Affordable Health Care (Obamacare) which was based upon a Republican plan developed and applied in the state of Massachusetts by its then Republican Governor, Mitt Romney.


Seemingly the plan was, if all else failed, to shut down the United States Government by refusing to fund it if funding Planned Parenthood remained in the finance bill.  Current Speaker Boehner killed this motion by his resignation as Speaker of the House and a bill was put through the Senate by the Republican Majority Leader funding the Government through December of this year which was passed in both Houses of Congress with Democratic votes.


At this point the Republicans in the House, who have a majority, cannot bring its 40 Tea Party extremists to go along with the rest of them in appointing a Speaker or in getting almost any legislation passed.  They are beyond gridlock and this term does not end until the end of 2016.


To a large percentage of nationally registered Democrats, Independents, and even Republicans the central government is not functioning because very little or no legislation is being passed dealing with everyday problems or anything else for that matter.  At this point the Congress is seemingly non-functional.


Interestingly to the Tea Party and many other Republicans the Federal Government is not working because the Congressional Democrats and the President refuse to go along with the Republicans and their solutions to the national problems.  Their version of compromise is to have the other side give in to them completely.


Trump has the support of a percentage of these people and Sanders has the support of a like number of registered Democrats and Independents.

Both of these groups are miles apart and could not even begin to consider the beginnings of a compromise.  What we have is a totally frustrated and angry electorate whose frustrations are based upon their powerlessness.  What will happen?


The Presidential Election of 2016 is more than a year away.  It will be held on Tuesday, November 8, 2016.  Who will be the candidates?  Trump seemingly would like to be president.  Sanders, who is amazed at how far he’s come so far, would probably be even more amazed if he were the candidate.


What is happening now is that the potential candidates are jockeying for position.  There are currently around fourteen Republican potential candidates, who each want to be chosen as the Presidential Candidate and about five people running for the Democratic position.  Trump, who is not acceptable to many Republicans, is currently leading the group on the right and Hillary Rodham Clinton is doing the same for the Democratic groups on the left.  In November of 2016 the voters of the United States will decide in each of the 50 states who the next President of the United States will be.  The probability is that the Democratic candidate will win since they are the majority party, the Senate will in all likelihood return to a Democratic majority, and the House will probably retain its Republican majority.  What will happen over the next four years?  Probably, very little no matter who gets elected.


What does that mean to the general electorate?  I do not want to consider that problem but the probability is nothing or very little.  What could happen in the Election of 2020?  The possibility there is the emergence of one or more third parties.  This is what happened in 1860 with the initial emergence of the Republican Party over the issue of slavery.  Here Lincoln was elected with 40% of the popular vote after the Democratic Party had split into two political parties, one northern and one southern.








The Weiner Component #72 – Economics: 2008 & 2013

The western front of the United States Capitol...

Prior to the housing bubble bursting or the Real Estate Debacle of 2008 it seemed that everyone was living well.  Many middle-class families were implementing their incomes by continually drawing the equity out of their homes that had been constantly increasing in value over the last 30 years.  Corporate profits and executive compensation were also rapidly increasing.  Employment was high with jobs readily available.  Everyone or at least everyone who supposedly counted was doing well, spending freely, and expecting to do better in the future.

And then toward the end of 2008 the bubble burst.  To quote a real estate agent: “Everything went down the toilet.”  Real Estate values dropped like lead weights out of a tall building.  Orders for goods or services were cancelled on a massive level.  Unemployment became rife and growing.  The country was in a massive recession heading toward a giant depression, one far greater than 1929.

As of 2009, 18.5% of families had no liquid assets; they had essentially maxed out their credit cards and spent whatever equity they had had in their homes.  By 2011 this had grown to 23.4% of families.  By July 2008 housing  prices had declined in 24 out of 25 major cities, with California and the southwest experiencing the greatest price declines.  In the year 2008 the U.S. Government allocated over 900 billion dollars to special loans and rescues related to the housing bubble.  On December 24, 2009 the Treasury Department made an unprecedented announcement that it would be providing unlimited financial support to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for the next three years.  It did this despite acknowledging losses of 400 billion so far.

The GDP for the first three quarters of 2008 came in at positive rates of growth.  But the Fourth Quarter was at a 6.3% decline, a drop of 2.5% below advance estimates.  This was the rate that the output of goods and services, produced by labor and property located in the United States, decreased, and decreased virtually overnight.

The decrease reflected negative contributions from exports, personal consumption expenditures, equipment and software, and residential fixed investment.  This was partly offset by a positive contribution from federal government spending.  Imports decreased significantly.   The market value of the nation’s output of goods and services decreased 5.8% or $212.5 billion in the fourth quarter to a level of $14,200.3 billion.  In the third quarter the GDP had increased 3.4% or $118.3 billion.

The slowdown in GDP toward the end of 2008 reflects a sharp deceleration in equipment and software and large decreases in export and in state and local government spending.  There was a sharp downturn in imports, and an acceleration in federal government spending.  Corporate profits decreased $250.3 billion.  The internal funds available to corporations for investment decreased $97 billion.  Taxes on corporate income decreased $130.3 billion.  Dividends decreased $32.8 billion.

What happened was that the profit motif and spending by homeowners had finally gone berserk and many homeowners could no longer afford either their many purchases or their monthly payments on their properties.  Toward the end of 2008 the entire economy faced collapse.  The banks, which in many cases were refinancing properties at 125% of their appraised value, faced bankruptcy.  Some did go under; others eventually were bailed out by the federal government.  It looked like the entire United States banking system might collapse.  This was also true for Europe and Asia.  It did collapse in Iceland.

In the U.S. the federal government bailed out the financial institutions with loans of 900 billion dollars.  This type of action also happened in Europe and Asia.

Toward the end of 2008 the U.S. had a massive economic contraction bringing the country to the point of a major catastrophe.  In 2009 the contraction continued until June, when it reached a trough, and then the economy began to slowly expand.  By 2010 the GDP had gone from -2.8% in 2009 to +2.5%, an increase of almost 5%.  The expansions for the years: 2011, 2012, and 2013 were not as impressive.  But then there was the sequester largely brought about by the Republicans who also held the budget hostage to get federal reductions in spending, which actually slowed-down economic growth and kept unemployment high.

By 2013 the world had largely recovered from the Debacle of 2008.  If we look at what happened it is an interesting note of irony that what led up to this crisis were laws passed and actions taken when the Republicans had control of the government.  Seemingly the blame for all this has been placed upon the back of President Obama by the Republicans.  It’s like causing a mess and then blaming the person cleaning it up for the mess.

There is an unhealthy economic pattern here that needs to be considered.  The so-called prosperity that existed before the Crash of 2008 was on two levels, of which one was false.  The massive spending by the middle-class was based upon their ownership of homes from which they were constantly taking out their equity.  It was a condition whose duration was limited by the amount of the equity and their desire to spend.  This brought about a false state of euphoria among the group.  This bubble, at some point, had to burst.

The second aspect of this pattern was not of limited duration.  This was the continuing rapid growing compensation packages (pay) for the CEO’s and upper echelon of the society.  Their yearly earnings go, in many cases, into the multi-millions of dollars.  For example the CEO of Corning received $11,213,864 million for 2013.  American Electric Power, an eastern utility holding company paid its CEO $10,612,588 million.  Schlumberger, an international company that manufactures and operates drills for oil drilling, paid its CEO $44 million out of a profit of 45 billion dollars.  Its vice presidents received about $8 million each.  This process was speeded up by all the spending that ended in 2008.

We could go on and on naming numerous companies but the point has been made.  The minimum wage is $7.25 an hour; and the House of Representatives is reluctant to raise that.  If we do a careful study of wages, salaries, compensation packages in the United States we find that the divisions become more and more unequal year by year.  The rich are getting much richer and everyone else is getting much poorer.

Overall economic recovery would have been a simple thing with strategic use of both monetary and fiscal policy by the Federal Government.  Monetary policy was applied, in fact it was applied in a new creative fashion.  But from 2011 on when the Republicans took control of the House of Representatives they did not pass one single law that would have helped create jobs.  Actually they did the reverse, limiting federal spending to the point of creating more unemployment directly on the federal level and indirectly on the state level.

Fiscal policy would have upgraded the infrastructure of the United States, brought the country into the 21st Century by creating and replacing the half-century or older bridges, electrical grid, ports, and other necessary parts of this country that will have to eventually be replaced or renewed for the nation to function and compete with the rest of the world.  President Obama proposed some of this in 2011 but it was not even discussed in the House of Representatives.

All of this would have brought unemployment down to 3 or 3 ½%, the level that is considered full employment.  We would be far away from any large-scale unemployment and the GDP would be far higher than it is today.  Our homeless and hunger problems would be essentially gone and virtually everyone, including the upper few percentage of the population, would be doing better economically than they are currently.

While the bubble will eventually be solved with different levels of unpleasantness to many people the distribution of the National Income will not.  It is not only happening in the U.S. it is also happening in many of the industrial nations of the world.  Unless national action is taken to mitigate this problem there will be dire consequences later in this century.


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The Weiner Component #6 – Government of the Rich, By the Rich, & For the Rich

NORFOLK, VA - AUGUST 11:  Republican president...

The United States is facing an interesting prospect in the National Election of November 2012. We could conceivably be entering a situation not unlike where France was in the late 18th Century, just prior to the French Revolution. France, at the time, was one of the richest countries in Europe but her economic system was totally askew. The nobility and clergy lived well and paid no taxes; they were called the first two estates. Everyone else made up the third estate; and among this group the wealthy middle-class (the upper one percent) could buy their way out of paying future taxes by making one large payment. The burden of financing the country, paying taxes, was borne by the small farmers and city dwellers. The privileged classes and upper middle class lived a privileged life; the common man barely survived. Through a nefarious system of taxation not enough money could be raised to meet the needs of the king and the government. This led to the king calling for a meeting of the Estates General, which had not met in over a hundred years, and represented all of the General Public. The first two estates refused to be taxed. After all what was the sense of being a member of the privileged classes if you had to give up some of your privileges. The king’s financial woes continued to grow. He had trouble raising money. The situation ended with the outbreak of the French Revolution. Here the king and queen were eventually beheaded and Napoleon eventually became Emperor of France.

Today, the Republicans, under Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, if elected to the presidency and vice-presidency would, by what they have stated in their political campaign, recreate those conditions which existed in France during the 1870s. They would lower taxes for the plutocrats, themselves and the economic upper class and slyly increase the costs of living for the majority of the population, particularly the elderly, those that have Medicare, by putting them on a voucher system. It would become, with Romney as president and a Republican Congress, truly a government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich. The Middle-Class would be pushed down into the ranks of the lower-class; and they would be taxed to pay the costs of government. The financial base of the country would shrink as more and more money was taken out by the upper echelon. More people would become homeless; more people would see their children go hungry with inadequate nutrition. This, within just a couple of years, would lead to riots against the food filled supermarkets. The riots could grow to revolution and the United States could become another modern-day Syria.

Will this happen? The probability is based upon how the people vote in the 2012 Election. Do they send to Washington a Republican President and Congress in both Houses. If they can be tricked into voting accordingly then there is a possibility of the above happening. But, on the other hand, if the majority of voters analyze their interests and vote accordingly, then there is no chance of the above occurring.

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