Threat and Theft

Crawford County, IL family. 1940. FSA/LOC.

Crawford County, IL family. 1940. John Vachon photo. FSA/LOC.

Paul Krugman in his New York Times column offered the greedy a nice title, “robber barons,” but I prefer the action words: threat and theft. For Cruz, social security, an “entitlement” funded by taxes on workers, distributed accordingly, with an extremely low administrative overhead and safe from bubbles, dips, shocks, and recessions, has to be “reigned” in! A worker funded safety net–equivalent to the 5th largest global GDP–“threatens” to bury us!

Yet, private domestic debt is nearly 90 % of GDP (FRED), pointing to wage stagnation and families living on the margin, and draws no concern.

Elections are about political economy, directing power and money toward particular goals and hands, creating acceptance by tying these decisions to cultural and social ideas. Republicans turn-of-the-century lassiez-faire plan increases burdens on the poor, uses statistics to justify its inevitability and expands a monopoly of capital through threat and theft.

Last week, Wells Fargo paid $1.2 billion for bad mortgages; Goldman Sachs has paid $5.1 billion for “shady deals,” Morgan Stanley, $2.6 billion; JPMorgan Chase, $13 billion. Total penalties: a staggering $204 billion!

But the system faces its a quandary: studies show marginalized unemployment no longer produces capital returns; Justice has cracked down on policing poor communities as a source of municipal financing, costs can no longer be assigned to government, and victim blaming doesn’t solve the problem.

Balance sheet politics hides the face of poverty.

Walter, actually businesses fund 50% of the payroll tax (6.2% of employee salary up to cap), with employees funding the other 6.2% up to the cap. Cruz and other republican’s effort to “reign in” social security is a actually gift to businesses to eliminate this (tax deductible) expense. It wasn’t enough that many businesses eliminated their pensions; now they’re going after social security.


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