Saturday, 25 October 2014 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

Shark Attack!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014 12:55 By Philip A Farruggio, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Remember the film Jaws? Remember how the whole town was affected by the presence of the predatory Great White? Well, all we working stiffs here in America are just as terrorized by the multitude of sharks that run this country. We have the corporate sharks and their political 'Two Party, One Party' shark allies who run our government. Either way, if you work for someone else or have a small Mom & Pop business, you are meat for these economic predators! 

As a reminder of how bad things have become, in 1965 the CEO to worker pay was 20-1. In 2000 it was as high as 382-1. Isn't it time for some righteous anger from our labor force? Isn't it time for our politicians to be held accountable for doing absolutely nothing to correct this obscenity?

While we are on the subject of obscenities, how about the biggest one of them all: the record breaking military spending? Under the right-wing war mongering Bush gang we saw 50 percent of our federal taxes go for military spending. Under Mr. Hope & Change Obama that percentage is now around 56 percent (2011 fiscal budget). We have over 800 bases in over 100 different countries at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars. We have soldiers in Afghanistan that cost taxpayers over one million dollars yearly for each one! We send out drones that kill more and more civilians each time they go after some so-called 'terrorist' in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan or who knows where else. How would those of you who support our drone program feel if this scenario became real:  A neighbor, let us say a Palestinian engineer who lived right next door, was on an Israeli terrorist Watch List. Let us say that he was found out to have donated money for suicide bombers' families. So, Israel, with not even asking the approval of our government, sends a drone to blow him up in his home. The drone bombing takes out not only his house but the two homes on each side of his, including yours. What would happen if your family was home at the time? Food for thought when the 'chickens come home to roost.'

Focusing still on the domestic front, consider also how the basic services we all took for granted are now under attack. Our libraries, ambulance services, police and fire services, hospitals… Everything we need for safety nets are being cut down. Yet, our cable bills, phone bills, insurance bills (home, auto and health) all go up. Local governments, in order to raise revenues, are nickel and diming us working stiffs all the time, in every way possible. Why? Well, Uncle Sam is no longer sending back a piece of our hard earned federal tax dollars in the form of Revenue sharing or Block grants. These funds historically have paid for many of the local services we required. No more! Now states are actually looking toward becoming sports bookies to make up those revenue shortfalls. Great! Entice more working stiffs out there to gamble more with the legalized state bookie instead of bent-nosed Joe downtown.

Here is the better and easiest solution to this mess: 

  •  Flat Surtax of 50 percent on any income over one million per year, whether it be from salaries, bonuses or whatever. 
  • Immediately cut the military spending 25 percent (which is part of the discretionary budget, so it is easy as ice to do) and begin to close those 800+ bases worldwide. Use most of these savings (which would be over 200 billion dollars a year) to send back to our states and cities and towns to help with those cuts in services.
  • Encourage (and support) local governments going into nonprofit mortgage banking, cable television and electrical power providing. Urge the federal government to open up Medicare for all Americans who wish to buy in, as a healthy competition to the private health insurance industry. 
  • Nationalize all weapons manufacturing companies, and stop selling weapons to any nation anytime! 
  • Make it easier for third parties to get onto ballots for all and any elections anywhere. Urge more working stiffs to support and demand a constitutional amendment to take all private money out of electoral campaignsYou want to reform the lobbying system? This will do it in a heartbeat. 
  • To aid Mom and Pop businesses, legislate a Payroll Tax Forgiveness plan on the first $20,000 of wages a year for both the employee and employer. Imagine if each working stiff had $1500 a year tax free in pocket, and the boss the same for each employee (with a cap for the employer portion of the Payroll Tax waiver at 50 employees). This will solve the underground economy of 'off the books' workers. No employer would ever consider doing that again. It makes no sense. Plus, Mom and Pops could now better compete with the larger chains and corporate businesses. 
  • Institute what the police have with their Internal Affairs departments throughout all city, state and federal agencies. Give real teeth to these oversight folks, even bonuses for digging up the dirt on corruption, complacency, wasted spending and outright laziness.

There is so much that needs to be changed in the shark-infested waters of our economy, government and just plain way of life. I hope I offered a few instances and solutions to consider.

This article is a Truthout original.

Philip A Farruggio

Philip A Farruggio is son and grandson of Brooklyn, NYC longshoremen. He is a free lance columnist (found on TheSleuthJournal.com, Worldnewstrust.com, Democratic Underground, The Intrepid Report, Nation of Change, The Peoples Voice, Information Clearing house, Dandelion Salad, Activist Post, Dissident Voice and many other sites worldwide). Philip works as an environmental products sales rep and has been an activist leader since 2000. In 2010 he became a local spokesperson for the 25% Solution Movement to Save Our Cities by cutting military spending 25%. Philip can be reached at paf1222@bellsouth.net


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Shark Attack!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014 12:55 By Philip A Farruggio, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Remember the film Jaws? Remember how the whole town was affected by the presence of the predatory Great White? Well, all we working stiffs here in America are just as terrorized by the multitude of sharks that run this country. We have the corporate sharks and their political 'Two Party, One Party' shark allies who run our government. Either way, if you work for someone else or have a small Mom & Pop business, you are meat for these economic predators! 

As a reminder of how bad things have become, in 1965 the CEO to worker pay was 20-1. In 2000 it was as high as 382-1. Isn't it time for some righteous anger from our labor force? Isn't it time for our politicians to be held accountable for doing absolutely nothing to correct this obscenity?

While we are on the subject of obscenities, how about the biggest one of them all: the record breaking military spending? Under the right-wing war mongering Bush gang we saw 50 percent of our federal taxes go for military spending. Under Mr. Hope & Change Obama that percentage is now around 56 percent (2011 fiscal budget). We have over 800 bases in over 100 different countries at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars. We have soldiers in Afghanistan that cost taxpayers over one million dollars yearly for each one! We send out drones that kill more and more civilians each time they go after some so-called 'terrorist' in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan or who knows where else. How would those of you who support our drone program feel if this scenario became real:  A neighbor, let us say a Palestinian engineer who lived right next door, was on an Israeli terrorist Watch List. Let us say that he was found out to have donated money for suicide bombers' families. So, Israel, with not even asking the approval of our government, sends a drone to blow him up in his home. The drone bombing takes out not only his house but the two homes on each side of his, including yours. What would happen if your family was home at the time? Food for thought when the 'chickens come home to roost.'

Focusing still on the domestic front, consider also how the basic services we all took for granted are now under attack. Our libraries, ambulance services, police and fire services, hospitals… Everything we need for safety nets are being cut down. Yet, our cable bills, phone bills, insurance bills (home, auto and health) all go up. Local governments, in order to raise revenues, are nickel and diming us working stiffs all the time, in every way possible. Why? Well, Uncle Sam is no longer sending back a piece of our hard earned federal tax dollars in the form of Revenue sharing or Block grants. These funds historically have paid for many of the local services we required. No more! Now states are actually looking toward becoming sports bookies to make up those revenue shortfalls. Great! Entice more working stiffs out there to gamble more with the legalized state bookie instead of bent-nosed Joe downtown.

Here is the better and easiest solution to this mess: 

  •  Flat Surtax of 50 percent on any income over one million per year, whether it be from salaries, bonuses or whatever. 
  • Immediately cut the military spending 25 percent (which is part of the discretionary budget, so it is easy as ice to do) and begin to close those 800+ bases worldwide. Use most of these savings (which would be over 200 billion dollars a year) to send back to our states and cities and towns to help with those cuts in services.
  • Encourage (and support) local governments going into nonprofit mortgage banking, cable television and electrical power providing. Urge the federal government to open up Medicare for all Americans who wish to buy in, as a healthy competition to the private health insurance industry. 
  • Nationalize all weapons manufacturing companies, and stop selling weapons to any nation anytime! 
  • Make it easier for third parties to get onto ballots for all and any elections anywhere. Urge more working stiffs to support and demand a constitutional amendment to take all private money out of electoral campaignsYou want to reform the lobbying system? This will do it in a heartbeat. 
  • To aid Mom and Pop businesses, legislate a Payroll Tax Forgiveness plan on the first $20,000 of wages a year for both the employee and employer. Imagine if each working stiff had $1500 a year tax free in pocket, and the boss the same for each employee (with a cap for the employer portion of the Payroll Tax waiver at 50 employees). This will solve the underground economy of 'off the books' workers. No employer would ever consider doing that again. It makes no sense. Plus, Mom and Pops could now better compete with the larger chains and corporate businesses. 
  • Institute what the police have with their Internal Affairs departments throughout all city, state and federal agencies. Give real teeth to these oversight folks, even bonuses for digging up the dirt on corruption, complacency, wasted spending and outright laziness.

There is so much that needs to be changed in the shark-infested waters of our economy, government and just plain way of life. I hope I offered a few instances and solutions to consider.

This article is a Truthout original.

Philip A Farruggio

Philip A Farruggio is son and grandson of Brooklyn, NYC longshoremen. He is a free lance columnist (found on TheSleuthJournal.com, Worldnewstrust.com, Democratic Underground, The Intrepid Report, Nation of Change, The Peoples Voice, Information Clearing house, Dandelion Salad, Activist Post, Dissident Voice and many other sites worldwide). Philip works as an environmental products sales rep and has been an activist leader since 2000. In 2010 he became a local spokesperson for the 25% Solution Movement to Save Our Cities by cutting military spending 25%. Philip can be reached at paf1222@bellsouth.net


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