—It’s time to stop and frisk the other guys
By Donathan Salkaln
The poor have never had a big-time lobbyist to protect them, anywhere, and so, our society’s watchdogs have policed every system that helps them. As a by-product, today’s Social Security, Food Stamps, housing, welfare, and senior programs are the best systems working toward their intended use. It is time for the watchdogs to turn their attention to policing the systems that aren’t working. And the poor has finally got a big time lobbyist to back it up: ‘Occupy Wall Street’ represents a new and very angry, poor.
After millions of jobs went overseas and others were eliminated by the Internet, the reservoir of our country’s money dried up. Millions of us are now sliding down the reservoir’s shoreline into poverty. And while most Americans work for an honest buck, pay an honest tax, what many of us are now seeing, are the greedy ones all around us. When the money reservoir is dry, greed has nowhere to hide. It’s like that car that shoots past your car, and then cuts into your exit lane far down the road, only to be followed by another car, and then another. They’re so exposed, and yet they get away with it. It's easy to blame the wealthiest one percent of our country, but many of us see widespread greed that has become the norm.
Corporate System: Failing public company’s execs receiving fat bonuses and golden parachutes? Other companies, as big as GE and Bank America, somehow sidestepping taxes? Headquarters moved off-shore? The IRS letting the rich pay a less percentage than the poor? A minimum wage that keeps the poor, poor. Systems running amok!
Banking System: Bankers made a cruel joke of making tons of money on toxic mortgage loans to people with no money or assets. Just as the watchdogs got money back in Wall Street’s Madoff ponzi scheme, the money bet in derivatives against the poor, should be returned to the system. It worked for the rich, why not the poor?
Charity System: Revelations of crooked politicians with charities in which they wielded power and influence only to enrich themselves, their family and friends, is a charitable system flaw and opens our eyes to other phoney charities. Close to home, many 9-11 charities are now under investigation. With over 1.2 million charities in our country and a new one opening it's doors every ten minutes, more oversight needs to be done to make sure charities are not used as family cash cows living in tax shelters.
Autonomous Public Agency’s like The Port Authority and MTA: When you hear about Port Authority toll collectors making over $100,000 a year and bridge and tunnel police making over $220,000 a year, you know the system is flawed all the way to the top. If you think a few ‘greeders’ don’t add up to too much money, think about the 800 MTA Long Island Rail Road Workers who paid corrupt doctors in awarding the workers disability claims of a potential billion dollars. That’s a lot of tokens to be sold for so few workers. And then there are agency executives giving themselves raises, while those actually doing the work, get laid off.
Municipal Unions: Unions are great. But there are many union members that are gaming the system. Double dipping is now popular, with workers collecting pensions and salary. Others are using and buying overtime so their last three year’s salaries, which is the basis of a pension, is astronomically larger than the system’s design. Municipalities across our country are headed for bankruptcy.
Health care, The Captive Customer: Just as stadiums charge fifty bucks to park a car in a swamp and charge ten bucks for a beer, the health care system also charge whatever they want. I even know people in debt for Veterinarian bills of deceased pets. It’s like our cable bill only offering bundles of channels we’ll never watch—or medical procedures that we don’t need. We have little choice. The Health care System will bury this country in debt unless something is done.
Whistle Blowers: There should be protection for whistle blowers. A recent NYPD Officer is fighting for his job after exposing the NYC’s ticket scandal, in which tens of thousands of dollars or more were denied in our city’s coffers. There’s a scam around every corner and rewards and recognition by our elected official’s should be offered. All whistle blowers need to be protected if all our systems are to be put back in line.
Voting: Instead of making it easier to vote, states are enacting stricter voter ID requirements, eliminating early voter periods and restricting registration drives, creating roadblocks for the poor to vote.
Good News: If each of the current 46 million recipients of Food Stamps invite a few others to dinner once a week, the entire country’s populous could break bread, talk the truth, and make a change. It only took 69.4 million to elect President Obama and he’s already started the process.
We have great systems with foundations built on the sweat and perseverance of those before us. We need to begin policing all our systems, not just those of the poor.
Posted on Wed, December 14, 2011
by Richard Prestia