Tag Archives: politics

My Life as a Welfare Queen

(This was originally posted in 2010. I’m reposting for the 4th of July 2018.)

It’s time for me to come clean and admit how much I scam and rip off the government. Yes, it’s people like me that keep your taxes high (not as high as all the other industrial nations, but still, it’s your money).

First, I should tell you, I’m a third generation grifter. My grandparents arrived on these shores via Ellis Island. They were even given an alias. You think Stein is our real name?

They immediately benefited from soft immigration policies, “give us your poor, your tired, your huddled masses.“Yeah, baby! They couldn’t wait to come in and start working that system. Soon they were having anchor babies and sending them to public schools on the taxpayers’ dime.They also enjoyed all those freedoms — religion, expression, press.They even got involved in trade unions and collective bargaining!

Then came the Great Depression. That could have set things right, invisible hand of the market and all that, but noooo! They used their vote to get that disabled guy and his commie cronies in and before you could say WPA, tons of people were grifting the government, building roads and dams, even making art — all kinds of nonsense that the feds had no business going near.

The feeling of unity was downright socialistic! Despite the Depression, both my parents got college educations without paying a dime in tuition! They didn’t even have to fake transcripts or forge checks. The local government made it easy, only requiring they do well enough in high school to get a spot in its city university system. Back then the powerful actually believed that educating the masses would help make life better for everyone and prevent political extremism. The naivety is astounding!

Then World War II came and all that touchy-feely propaganda actually helped strengthen the country. I guess even a broken clock is right twice a day.

My father, always the schemer, joined the army.What did he get out of it?A little something called the GI Bill.That’s right, folks for a couple of years of service, (more like a paid vacation to the exotic Philippines) my father came back to find graduate school paid for AND a rent subsidy.Talk about living high on the hog!

He was then able to grow a business because he hardly paid any rent! Not only did New York come up with a sweet scam called “Rent Control,” but they also had housing projects, which before they were allowed to fall into decay and dangerousness, provided housing to plenty of opportunistic ex-army guys and their baby mommas.

As for my mother, she put her “education” to good use getting herself a cushy job as a “teacher” in one of those public schools. Union benefits! Set up for life. Sweet.

With that government tit to feed us, my father continued to build his business. He didn’t even complain about the “tribute” his Uncle Sam wanted every April 15th. Figured it was his duty or something. Guess he was getting soft.

And even into old age, both my parents kept up their ripping off the government ways, benefiting from those major giveaways — social security and Medicare. They didn’t lose all the money they’d saved when they got old and sick. My mother cleaned up in the end, selling the house, cashing out, and spending her golden years in a swanky assisted living facility. Give me dignity or give me death, baby!

With this kind of background, of course I was heading toward a life of stealing from hard working American taxpayers!

Not only did I attend public universities, I also didn’t have to shell out much for cars because here in New York, we’ve got a little thing called mass transit. There aren’t as many opportunities to feed at the trough as there used to be, but thanks to the “education” I was able to acquire, I found some creative ways to beat the system. There are little things that I hardly even notice most of the time like the fact that I have “protection” in the form of police, fire fighters and even sanitation workers who work for “the public”. Yup, that’s me! Jane Q Public, enjoying those services! Hey, unlike most of “the little people” in those poor countries, I even get safe drinking water and a system that keeps people from selling spoiled and unsafe food. It’s like having a personal food taster or something!

So given that it’s a beautiful Memorial Day, I think I’ll go out and enjoy myself.Maybe head over to a nearby locally supported park like that big one in the middle of Manhattan, or the state park they built over the sewer treatment plant a mile or so north. Sewer treatment! That’s something. My government even cleans my shit! What a country!

Or perhaps I’ll just head a couple of blocks west, pay my respects at the national park which happens to be a government supported mausoleum for some old President who was himself a welfare king who never made a dime at his failed business attempts, but managed to graduate  from a publicly supported military academy and went into politics — that last refuge of the scoundrel — after his army stint.

Super-Rich to Middle Class — No More Free Ride You Lazy Bums

Today’s guest blog post has been submitted by a “friend” writing under the nom de plume, Mr. Richie Moneybags Rich:

Once upon a time, back in the 1920’s, there was a lot of new stuff, telephones, movies. A small group of people Everyone was getting cars.  Good times.  Then the stock-market crashed.  Party over for widows, orphans, unemployed all those bums who hadn’t sufficiently diversified their portfolios or got swindled carried away buying on margin.  There are always winners and losers, and generally people get what they inherit deserve.

Then that brash, traitor, FDR got elected and declared class-warfare started the New Deal.  Suddenly it was freebies for everyone!  Even the elderly, people who hadn’t worked in years, could get in social security.  Immigrants?  Give us your poor,except not too many Jews etc.

To be fair, if he’d done nothing, the commies might have stepped in, but surely the Pinkertons could have dealt with that!   Did he have to take things that far?   Granted, roads needed to be built, and dams needed to be constructed, but couldn’t he just have handed out nice big juicy contracts to my grandfather’s company negotiated with the private sector?  We all know how much more efficient private industry is when it comes to building things and it was, after all,  the slaves job-creators who built this country.

Truman tried to continue down the road to creating a stable middle-class socialism with his crazy health-care schemes, but fortunately, Congress could be bought off see his plan could have been designed by the Rosenbergs themselves..  Then that damn LBJ came in and got that garbage Medicare signed, and gave us the Great Society.  What’s so great about paying someone else’s bills?

The rich have gotten fed up with all those give aways.  Like  Alan Simpson said, social security is “a milk cow with 310 million tits.”  Who needs it?  Not people making millions every year off their investments and paying less than 1% 14% in taxes, that’s for sure.  Ditto public education.  I mean really, what kind of concerned parent would send his child to a public school in the first place?  Why should I pay for someone else’s child to get a sub-standard education?  Besides, do you know what they teach in those places? It’s all science evolution and global warming, not to mention their stand on the War of Northern Aggression. Plus, that means I’m paying the salary for some strangers’ kids’ teachers, and we all know how high on the hog those lazy-asses live.  If you’re going to resent somebody, it’s those gosh darn teachers, police, and firefighters municipal workers  that you should look to. And don’t even get me started on Pell grants and low interest student loans.  Sheesh, get a job!

And that’s not all.   Even public transportation is supported through taxes!  Public transportation!  As though I’d be caught dead on bus.  Amirite?  Bastards even get “special” lanes.

And of course there’s Romneycare the Affordable Care Act Obamacare!  Naturally, people are outraged to be paying for equitable healthcare for women some slut’s contraception, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Do you have any idea how much it costs when sick people with no insurance just “show up” in an emergency room?  How could someone be so irresponsible to choose feeding your child and paying rent over preventive care not to plan for emergencies?  Really, there should be a law! Why not just allow people inadequate vouchers  to benefit companies I have stock in or pay out of pocket sell their homes?  Some total loon nice lady politician out West had a plan for bartering for healthcare and just got derided for it by every news outlet except Fox the lamestream media.  And if they can’t possibly refuse to pay for medical care, why treat them at all? If they’d rather die let them do it and decrease the surplus population.  I mean it’s not like you can just walk into a supermarket, say “I’m hungry” and get a bunch of free food unless of course you’re on food stamps, IMHO.

To top it off, these “middle income” slackers get tax breaks!  Mortgage deductions.  What’s that about?  Sure if they lose it, so do I, but I’m willing to find other shelters make the sacrifice.  Deductions for college savings.  Since when did college become something minorities, women, the poor, not our kind of people everyone should have the opportunity is forced to go to?  What kind of elitist b.s is that?  It’s not like you can’t get a minimum wage or lower off-the-books job without a degree.

Plus there’s even a deduction for state taxes.  Why should you get a tax break because you live in a state where you can still find a job with union protection that offers better schools and services?  That’s your choice, not mine, buddy.

You can see how all this is patently unfair to those of us who inherited worked hard  to get our money.  As a job creator in Thailand and China who has saved for a rainy day in the Cayman Islands, I deeply resent paying for programs I personally don’t need and will never use.

I mean, it’s not like I get to deduct for my recreational activities like that horse I took to the Olympics.

What makes it worse is all this petty emphasis on “percentages.”  They don’t tell you what it really means.  Here’s what it comes down to —  if you are supporting a family and I can’t imagine how on a taxable income of $50,000 a year, you’re going to pay about $7,274 in federal income tax.  That’s 14.5% of your income, not counting what they take out of your paycheck for social security.  And what do you get for it?  All those goodies I mentioned earlier.  But I don’t need any of that.  You, the middle class, are in effect taking money out of my pocket to get services I’ll never use.  What if you won 100 million dollars in the lottery tomorrow?  Is that what it would take for you to have a little bit of empathy?

Meantime, do you have any idea of what I pay to support your “lifestyle”? No, and I pay people good money to keep it that way.  Let’s say, I’m paying the same percentage as you, .085% 14.5% on a taxable  income of a modest  50 7 million a year.  I’d be paying over a million dollars in taxes if I paid taxes. Can you even imagine what a million dollars looks like? Believe me, it’s very pretty, and in the right denominations can be packed in a carry-on bag if heaven forbid you ever fly commercial. I’m already paying 140 times as much as you are.  140 times!  I mean what’s “progressive” about a system where one person pays 140 times what someone else pays?

Sure, some people might argue that a strong middle class creates a stronger market like what happened in America after World War II or all that growth during the Clinton years, and that America is falling behind because we don’t have a first rate educational system and they’d be right, but those are the type of  Democrats and anyone even slightly left of Ronald Reagan latte-drinking elitists  that forget that America isn’t exceptional because of our entitlements, but rather America  is exceptional because we have  a very high rate of income inequality compared to other developed countries our Constitution.

The Federal Welfare State of Arizona Can Go F**k Itself

The governor of Arizona just signed the new law that will allow the police to pick up anyone anywhere  for suspicion of being Mexican or harboring  Mexicans.

Could I just remind Arizona that it is a federal welfare state in the middle of a freaking desert? Most of their water comes from the Hoover dam thanks to federal tax dollars paid by the rest of us. Much of what is grown there needs more water than they have, so the rest of us pay for it every April 15th. Plus there’s also farm subsidies making agriculture viable IN A DESERT. A lot of ranchers use federal land which if it were owned privately would revert to desert because of overgrazing. These whiners complain about the feds restricting their use of this land as another example of the government infringing on their freedoms. It’s a car dependent state so our federal highway dollars go to support their roads.

In return for all of this generosity, the people of Arizona hate us and our government. They hate foreigners too, but if all the Mexicans disappeared there’d be no one to pick their supplemented crops which would rot and then they’d ask for a bailout. They think they are taxed enough already and would like to elect someone even more conservative than John McCain. They think the President is a foreigner and want him off the ballot in 2012.

So can we please just let them go? Federal welfare does nothing but make them (and us) resentful.  We’ve been taxed enough (on many levels) and they deserve a chance to develop on their own. They’d be happier without the rest of us. They wouldn’t be forced to celebrate federal holidays they don’t approve of like Martin Luther King day or as they call it, well never mind.  You know damn well what they call it.  Maybe they could elect Ron Paul and Sarah Palin king and queen. Once their land dries up the “illegals” they hate so much will go somewhere else. (Maybe they’ll go home where without having to compete with America’s socialized agriculture they’ll be able to sell their crops at market prices.)

Who knows?  Arizona might thrive without federal interference.  They  can use their ingenuity to make the desert bloom  because they are chosen by God or through the unseen hand of the market or the ghost of Ayn Rand or something. They can make The Turner Diaries the official state book and live out their post-apocalyptic fantasies.

One America? Oh really, Mr. President?

Over dinner the spouse and I were discussing a newspaper article about Obama’s having to weigh in on whether gay partners of federal employees should get health benefits. Thanks to the “defense of marriage act” signed by then-President Bill Clinton, the government opposes this, while the courts say yes.

Aside from generally being in favor of human rights, we watch this issue closely. Two years ago we got hitched. We love each other and all that. In fact, the marriage thing was probably the best decision either of us ever made, but it was a calculated decision. (I mean that literally. I used a calculator.) One of us is past the child-bearing years, and neither of us has any great desire to breed or adopt except possibly from the local animal shelter. We did not marry in order to raise a family.

After careful consideration, we married for the bennies. That’s benefits to my friends in more progressive places like, oh, CANADA. In the US there’s no national health and the cost of medical treatment is astronomical. Private health insurance is expensive and mostly doesn’t cover “pre-existing” conditions. I wanted to quit my job and knew that while I could afford to take lower paying freelance work, I could not afford to be without health insurance. The quickest and by far least expensive way for me to get health insurance would be by marrying which would enable me to get on my husband’s work-covered plan. There were other benefits as well. As a married couple, we could file a joint income tax and as I wasn’t making that much money, we would pay a lower tax rate. And then of course there’s stuff like social security and many other privileges available only to those living in wedded bliss.

As we waited for our food to arrive, we reflected on a recent fund raiser we’d attended sponsored by Garden State Equality in which the brilliant comedian Judy Gold did a slide-show about who can get married (Brittany and K Fed, Levi and Bristol, etc.) and who can’t (sane adults who happen to be gay, no matter how much they contribute to society, and not withstanding whether or not they are raising children together).

As the waiter arrived with our dinners, I made the following naive and foolish statement (I’ve gone kind of soft and idealistic since Obama was elected): “But if the conservatives just understood it as a rights and fairness issue. You can’t have some people getting these benefits and others not….”

My husband looked at me like he was seeing the first signs of senility. “But the religious right does get it. That’s the point. They don’t want gay people to have rights.”

“But we won the election. He can…”

“If he has the balls to stand up to them.”

“But they’re not the majority..”

“They are in Dixie.”

Then he went on his usual rant about how the cultural divide in the US could not be mended. Despite our President’s very appealing words, there are two America’s.

“The only solution,” my better-half argued, “is for the US to get out of Dixie. We should have let them go after the Civil War.”

“We’d lose New Orleans,” I said.

He pointed out that even the most backward nations have their points of progress and charming cities.

“Which city do you think New York has more in common with, Amsterdam or Dallas?”

“We’d lose Florida,” I pointed out, thinking about his mother in Boynton Beach.

“We could open up diplomatic relations with Cuba,” he countered.

He was tired of his tax dollars going to support energy policies that it made it possible for people in Houston to run their air-conditioners 365 days a year. He didn’t want to pay to bring water to the Arizona desert. He didn’t want to still be debating whether or not evolution should be taught in schools. Mostly, he didn’t want rapture-ready zealots getting us into stupid wars. He didn’t want to ever see Sarah Palin’s face again.

“There shouldn’t be a debate about what the founding fathers meant by the separation of church and state,” he said.

“Or about who can get married,” I added.

We sipped our wine in the Italian restaurant with its immigrant wait-staff and its multi-ethnic neighborhood clientele. Probably not one person in that room had voted for McCain or believes that god hates the gays. While the Obama presidency has made us all feel very good about ourselves, it’s not clear what can be accomplished if he has to kowtow to the South. I’m no great fan of partition – India/Pakistan and Israel/Palestine being two examples that didn’t work out too well. But as Craig points out, left to its own devices, the South would not be strong enough or powerful enough to be a threat. It’s far more dangerous to the United States and the world as a backward, racist, backwater of a superpower.