Sunday, May 10, 2009

Let Them Eat Cake?

Well, 100 years before Marie Antoinette, a princess in the French aristocracy said, "qu'ils mangent de la brioche." This has been incorrectly translated as, "let them eat cake." "Let them eat brioche" was callously uttered by an aristocrat when there was not even enough plain bread to feed the poor people, never mind the delicious, butter-rich brioche. One way or another, this kind of callous disregard by the idle rich towards the working poor of those times led to the French Revolution. In fact, Marie Antoinette was dubbed "Madame Déficit" for her active role in overspending the people's tax money. Therefore, I believe it completely appropriate to dub George Dubya "Monsieur le President Déficit" for taking a surplus and overspending the people's money to create the huge deficit that President Obama and the people of the United States have inherited.

George Bush, et al are responsible for the mortgage and financial meltdown crisis, recession and layoffs we now face. The road to our current recession and deficit is long. Phil Gramm began removal of the regulatory protections put in place after the last Depression. Then Enron officials both laughingly and greedily began the recent power surge in unregulated profit dollars, followed closely by other power companies, Big Oil, and the mortgage and financial industry.

When government and industry conspire to grasp more and more of the people's money, the people will throw the "cake" back into their faces. The American Revolution began with the Boston Tea Party because colonists were being taxed without any representation. When government and corporations conspire against the people, they also seem to think the people don't know or notice they're not being represented.

Whenever unfettered greed and abuse of power create a huge gap in income between the rich and the poor, accompanied by the disappearance of the middle class, there is often a revolution. The US government was afraid of a revolution during the first Depression. I’m surprised it’s not worried now. As a teacher, it never ceases to amaze me that people never seem to learn from history, but keep repeating the mistakes of the past. I am noticing many troubling signs, such as tea parties, comments all over the internet, and hearing talk on the street. Oh, I also noticed that the traditionally served little tea cakes were conspicuously absent from the many and very recently held tea parties.

I absolutely do not want to see a similar, violent history lesson repeated in this country. Honestly, I believe people should resort to non-violent means to effect social and political change. I truly hope the current government rapidly takes the proper steps to close the current income gap, and that President Obama and his administration also address the many other horrors of the Bush/Cheney “Reign of Terror” on the common person.

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