Communique 8-16-2020 Trickle Down Poverty
By Philip Drucker
I have always viewed living in the Coachella Valley as an unusual opportunity to see first-hand information and evidence of social and economic inequality largely driven by racism, elitism, lack of knowledge, and fear and loathing, not quite in Las Vegas, but darn close to it.
Go West, and some of the most elite, sequestered behind walls smallish communities are hiding an enormous amount of wealth within their city limits. Go East, and the effects of lack of economic opportunity and the resultant poverty are open and in plain sight for everyone who cares to see.
Out here yonder, very few persons know how or why the money flows. We all know where it doesn’t. Tennis gardens are built for the upper crust to play in while the Salton Sea continues to threaten the lives and health of all those who live within an area the size of however far the wind can blow microscopic and highly toxic dust into the lungs of the possibly unknowing by mostly unwilling but with no place else to go.
Lately, we have been watching our politicians, I hesitate to call them leaders since leading is for the most part verboten in favor of towing the many disparate lines of economic industry and economic “prosperity” for the few than attempt a plan to combat the Covid-19 virus in a manner that follows science and hence, might work. Instead, they wax and wane philosophically about opening nail salons, bars and restaurants and whatever products and services are deemed “essential” all the while making no coherent plan that places the health, safety and welfare of their constituents as priority numero uno.
This strikes me as particularly odd as from the Constitutional perspective, under the 10th Amendment, virtually the States, and hence municipalities, only directive is to act according to the “Police Power” and provide for, you guessed it, the Health, Safety, and Welfare of their citizenry. Yet somehow, the Salton Sea never gets fixed. The Covid-19 Pandemic is treated more along the lines of inconvenience to those who want a haircut as opposed to a serious pandemic.
When the lack of common sense attention to the fact that dead people don’t purchase anything is added into the political equation, well, at least we know where the now dirty blood money flows. Into the political coffers of the very persons who are tasked with protecting us from the ravages of a world where unemployment and pandemic live side by side and continue to grow, unchecked and with no end in sight.
Masks work. But where are they? Social distancing works, why isn’t it mandated? What are we, the voters supposed to do? We can try our luck at the ballot box, but with so few candidates available who would buck the establishment risking their donations of light, dark and all monies in-between, we end up with a professional class of pol hacks willing to prepare, unveil and perhaps enact any number of meaningless, hollow, toothless, I call them feel-good gestures or agendas with no real plan of attack or possibility of attaining adequate funding. Here’s a whopper for you.
On August 4, 2020, our Riverside County Board of Supervisors unanimously declared that racism is a public health crisis and vowed to take steps to deal with the issue. Seriously, I’d laugh if it weren’t so darn not funny. These are the same supervisors who only weeks earlier completely and utterly voted 5-0 to ignore their own medical experts to re-open the economy without any actual, enforceable restrictions. The unbelievably predictable results were a spike in the infection rate and death.
All the while, press-releases filled with what I can only guess were meant at the time to assure us the Board was acting with deliberation and caution assurances if things went south we still had enough hospital and ICU vacancies to handle any sudden surge in occupancy. I expressed my displeasure by emailing my Supervisor that my impression of their actions amounted to societal triage and the inevitable adoption of acceptable losses in the name of our economy when in fact, that number is and will always be zero. Don’t ask me or my friends, or anyone to die so the Denny’s in Mecca can stay open and pay its workers minimum wage while they serve up death-burgers for lunch.
America is not its economy. It is its people. It is those who live here, legally or otherwise. It is those who work here, legally or illegally. It is those who pay their tax burdens based on the amount of resources they use. In most instances paid for and/or owned by us, meaning We the People. In some instances, it may not be illegal, but it is never an act of patriotism to pay no taxes. Never. It is never an act of kindness to force your burden to be carried by those around you that did nothing but help pave your way to success. Some people call a great majority of these people who made you rich workers. Some call them cannon-fodder, the “chafe” stupid, lazy, unproductive and get this, greedy. I suppose it depends on which side of the moat you reside on.
I say moat for we are living in nothing less than a modern-day version of feudalism. What’s the golden rule? Whoever has the gold makes the rules. In a democratic republic, where the serfs elect their representatives to represent their best interests, this return to a time of an institutional caste system based on the ownership of land/property is opposite of a land supposedly predicated on being if nothing else a land of unlimited opportunity, for all, should be anathema.
But don’t worry. We’re going to treat racism as a disease and I image we will somehow inoculate ourselves with a magic vaccine from its admittedly morbid effects on our society. This is particularly galling as we all already know the “cure” to racism requires an open mind, familiarity and exposure to persons of different ethnic backgrounds and education. But the silly, pointless and in many ways degrading and insulting platitudes for a better tomorrow will continue, mostly unabated, if we don’t get serious about the current state of the large and in charge driving force behind the pursuit of happiness. Greed.
I have often and openly said when it comes to politics, power and societal responsibility, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Today, I find this little ditty more relevant than I might have previously envisioned. We will always have greed. Some might even argue a little greed every now and then is good in business. You know, pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered? But today, there is a meanness I have not previously witnessed. Something along the lines of, I’ve got mine, and even better, I got it at your expense, from you. I am reminded of a cartoon I saw some years ago. Two dogs are sitting in a board room. Behind them, there is a profit chart with the arrow going up, up and up as one dog says to the other,
“It is not enough that we succeed, cats must also fail.”
This is the disease that has infected our nation. Can I get a resolution or something to the effect that greed is a disease? If you ask me, it would be far more effective for what is economically and sociologically ailing up right about now. You doubt me? All the warning signs of the dilatory effects of late-term capitalism are there.
Where is the true entrepreneur spirit gone? Can you really invent the next generation of technologically attractive to the consumer products in your garage without running into a preexisting patent for a product or admittedly similar that the owner is still waiting to produce when all the sales are wringed out of “this year’s model”? Haven’t thought about it? Try it and see what happens.
Our environment is under attack for the allure of a few more pennies cast into the wishing wells of companies in obsolete industries that should have been out of business long ago. Why do we allow fracking, a practice that clearly harms our environment when there are any number of safe, green technologies available? Pouring radioactive coal ashes into our waterways to support an industry that no longer has a viable market? The federal government promoting mining activities in national parks? Do any of these realities strike you as the results of innovation through competition?
Is there anybody out there that still believes the stock market is an accurate indication of the state of our economy? Is there anyone willing to “let the market sort it out”? How many years now has that missive made the hearts of wannabee corporate raiders flutter? Do you think they’ll still buy it said one to the other? Cue the laughter.
In a society driven by greed, trickle-down economics is nothing but an illusory promise. That somehow, “you” will get “this” if “they” get “that”. Problem is, for the “they”, “that” is never enough creating an unending circle of economic injustice and inequality. Money in a corporation is not necessarily capital circulating through our economy. Money in an offshore account is not only not helping our economy, it isn’t even in our economy. Don’t kid yourself. These funds are not coming back when times are better.
Didn’t you just say the stock market was at an all-time high? Greatest economy ever? During a time of rampant, out-of-control unemployment and soon coming to a theater near you, unthinkable homelessness, cancelled health insurance, and yes, Virginia, record numbers of children going to bed hungry not knowing where their next breakfast is coming from, or if at all. All this from the richest country in the world. Is this your idea of a healthy, wealthy and wise nation? I think the early bird is out of the barn on this one.
There is a cure and it is within our grasp. But we must do nothing less than transform our thinking and act accordingly. First, we must stop giving power over our lives to those who are nothing more than hoarders who get their jollies by counting the number of zeros following whatever is the first number in their bank accounts. Remember, for those suffering from I-me-all-mine-it is, enough is never, never, never enough and never, ever are we going to get back together.
Once these lunatics are on the sidelines again, we must replace greed as our motivating factor. I can only speak for myself, but I recommend we try a far more holistic approach. It works when times are good, and it works when times are bad. It has carried us to great heights and back. It is celebratory of success, and ultimately forgiving of failure. What is it?
It’s called kindness, yes kindness. That and then we overturn Citizen’s United. I mean, we do have to keep it real, right? Those boogers are not going away by themselves. They are to say the least, mean and yes, mean people suck.