George in Chicago hey George thanks for listening to Chicago’s Progressive Talk, what’s on your mind? Thanks to you and your staff for everything you do. A thought occurred to me, when you had Professor Wolff on. You had let off with talking about how Germany is on the knife edge of a recession or a depression. But it highlights the difference between their system and ours. If they go into an economic downturn and people are put out of work, well they’re taken care of with generous unemployment insurance. They have national health care so nobody has to worry about losing their insurance. They have extensive programs for training and retraining, so you can upgrade your skills. Or get . . Free college education. Free journeyman apprenticeships things like that. Yep. And that you’re paid to get to participate in those things.
Right whereas here as you pointed out numerous times wages and salaries for working people have been staying that are gone down since 1981 Bill Clinton ended welfare as we know it so the people at the bottom of the pyramid Struggle more and more unemployment used to be up to 65 weeks now it’s 26 and We still have to pay enormous amounts of money for health insurance Germany has 12 percent of their GDP for health care and they cover everybody We do 18 percent and lots of people aren’t covered and what we continue to do is reverse Robin Hood we enrich the rich at the cost of the working people and the poor yeah and I just wonder if the Fed had a counterpart organization that was as interested in sustaining the working people Instead of rewarding the bankers that continually put our economy and a pail spin and then get rewarded for it with Subsidies and no prosecution in other words if the money was coming up from the bottom Maybe we wouldn’t have the problems we have yeah well I think a large part of our problem George is is money coming down from the top to extend your metaphor when the Supreme Court 1976 said that billionaires can own politicians and that that’s considered First Amendment free speech and that they can and that they can pour unlimited amounts of money into camp into elections even you know for things like ballot initiatives so they can change the course of American political history that was the beginning of the basically of the collapse of America I mean that led directly to Reagan you know four years later and that led to reaganism which we’ve been living under now for forty some odd years and and and Germany has not gone down that road and you know the UK did where they got Thatcher and we got Reagan and that’s why the United States and the UK are both you Know we’ve seen our middle classes wiped out but the rest of Europe didn’t make that stupid mistake and you know spot on and you just you did a brilliant job of laying Out all the reasons why thank you for that appreciate it David and Stella Koon Washington am I. Santa right David yes they come how you doing there Tom great what’s up pay for it first of all first of all corporate welfare to You know big companies there on the public trough that’s not socialism That’s corporate welfare yeah you’re right one thing cuz it Doesn’t help Society you’re right it’s not socialism what One thing one thing that you know what things that we could all do today is That would you know to me Socialism is economic democracy Well we can do today each of us is go down to a our firmly local credit union open an account and then step number two would be to get down to a bank, where you’ve got your your you know a college your money and Transfer it to your friendly local economic democracy credit union which in that that would keep the money here that would keep the money in your neighborhood instead of ship looking off to Wall Street that now that to me is socialism Yeah, I you know but I mean that’s not the generally Accepted You know notion of socialism but I absolutely get what you’re saying and I knock receipt Yeah, there you go very very well said David Ross far Glee you have no say-so your credit union you vote for years the CEO you vote for the leadership you’re absolutely right well you can even run for Leadership you’re absolutely right I mean, they’re co-ops essentially you know local credit unions and and I participate one I think everybody should get out of the big banks and Get into your credit unions amen Brian and grant Michigan let’s down am6 1688 grant what’s up Hi down, by Brian you would like to see from democracy from socialism mmm-hmm and I’ve got a couple things the main one is I think we have to do the same thing with high-speed Internet that we do with telephones and Electricity in the 30s Tom n oh there’s a lot of us who live out in the middle of nowhere who are stuck with why was he an expensive satellite internet and run wines and and creating an internet infrastructure for the country I think would be a great thing we needed another re a the the You know the the program the the rural electrification administration Is what that was with the the program that that brought telephones to rural America the program the brought electricity that was the REA the the and and then you know we need a an RI a yes I’m with you yeah the other thing I’d love to see is whenever companies soul there goes bankrupt hmm that the Workers get their pensions first before anybody else Yes and that was that was by the way that was the case prior to the Reagan? presidency it used to be that the law was that companies had to book their pensions as as Liabilities in other words if a company had five million bucks in the bank That was pension money that had been taken out of their workers paychecks that money actually was considered to be the property of the workers and If the company went bankrupt they had to give it back to the workers because it was taken out of their paychecks Or even it was matching money you know out of the largesse of the company it was still considered out of their paychecks because it, was in lieu of some other benefits that they would have gotten and So the you know so when a company went belly-up or When it been bankrupt or when it got acquired by another company Whoever it was whatever the situation was those workers had to be paid back first before anybody else got their piece the pie regen changed those rules will Congress change those rules at the request of the Reagan administration to say that pension funds were no longer Liabilities on the books of a company they now were assets So if a company was sitting on, five million dollars in their pension fund and another company bought them yeah they could take that five million dollars and convert it to something other than pensions and and you know we saw that in a big way in the 80s with the with the bankruptcy you know the acquisition by Carl Icahn of TWA One of the things that funded that was he took down the pension the same thing with Eastern Airlines I mean there was just a bunch of these high visibility things where where people where workers lost their pensions and Billionaires took that pension money used it to buy the companies used it to increase their profits and and the workers got screwed Spot on Brian thank thank you very much that was an excellent one Marty in Eugene Oregon hey Marty thanks for listening at 1350 a.m. What’s up Hey, Tom thanks for taking my call I appreciate it I’m surprised I got in them I just my point is that I think we should be embracing a lot more Socialism in our economy after all the Constitution and in my view is a social Socialist manifesto yes and as I mention it’s a general welfare three different times it is socially different time it’s all about We the People and It’s supposed to be doing where it’s supposed to be functioning doing things for us that we can’t do ourselves individually so yep But that’s my point okay amen well said Marty thank you for the call Edie in climbeth Falls Oregon. Hey ed what’s up Thomas I think you’re being unfair with your characterization of do people want free stuff That they want free medical care do they want free dental do they want free I mean they want free everything of course people will Always say yes But the same studies when they do that if they ask the people How about paying for it do you want your taxes to double or triple so you can pay for all that free stuff to people Saying, no we do not want that I think Americans are taxed enough I you know at least Americans who make less than two hundred thousand dollars a year I think they’re paying plenty of taxes or maybe a hundred thousand dollars a year but the people at the high End who are who are paying half the tax rate that that you know the people who work on this show are paying the people at the high end they’re not paying anything close to the taxes they should be paying and the corporation’s in America during the Eisenhower administration fully 1/3 of the federal budget came from corporate taxes now it’s 6% Corporations are walking away with this stuff and creating billionaires in the process those taxes need to go up. You’re listening to Thom Hartmann