Ownership Society

This is why I hate the concept of the “Ownership Society” and I think we should perish that thought.

In an ‘Ownership Society’, according to Bush administration, people would be able to take a portion of their tax dollars that would traditionally go into a communal fund OUT of that pool and put it IN their personal accounts. “Let the people have control of their money” is the concept.

But that concept is so wrong and short-sighted. It’s the rich/middle-class that will own, and it’s those classes of people that will have the opportunity to “own”. And poor people will continue to be poor – they already have the hard reality of how expensive it is to be poor: their votes don’t count, they are the lost constituency that politicians don’t care for, and everything they pay for costs more – housing is always the no-win renting to a slum lord, the food they can afford is unhealthy, and they get no respect. Life for the poor, is the day to day struggle to barely meet needs. So to even suggest that poor people will have the available funds to invest into their retirement accounts is ludicrous – why, I don’t even think that the poor are a part of the equation.

It breaks my heart and makes me mad to think that policy makers are abandoning a big slice of America when it comes social policies. Have we forgotten history and what life was like before social safety nets like social securities and welfare, to name the two big ones, were established? People were starving to death, elderly folks who worked hard, but couldn’t rise above the poverty died in poverty – life was cruel. It was the hard-nosed “help yourself” mentality and society that left the helpless despondent. The rich were definitely owners, owning and profiting on the backs of the middle class and especially the poor. This great nation was build on the backs of the poor and helpless.

Then the Crash of 1929 just about leveled the playing field. Then people of former riches felt the collective hardship, hunger, and pain of poverty of the poor. And then everyone gave a great clamoring shout to be heard and cared for. And so evolved a society of social safety nets. We work, we contribute, we share our resources, we care for each other.

And have we forgotten the horrific lesson of what happens to money invested in the stock market? 1929 was bad, that happened long ago, we have regulations… goes the rationals. Just above 5 years ago, the dot-com bust and the stock market killed many portfolios – the only people unaffected by this were the poor who didn’t have money invested to either lose or gain.

And to put such faith in regulations, and the honesty of corporations to safeguard retirement savings is like putting your money in the hand of tailor-suited thieves. I will say two words: Enron, Worldcom.

Leave social security alone. Stop giving tax breaks while running up a huge deficit, fix the leaks.

One night, we were watching “Spiderman 2” with the kids and my son asked me: Mom, what is Spiderman?

“He is a social safety net.”

“Alexis, pleeeeeease!” – that was Hex.

“Yes, he is. Think about it. Why do we have superheros? It’s because we want a safety net for us.”

Since we don’t have superheros, and we have each other, why not help each other. Aren’t we, supposedly, brothers and sisters in God’s family? That means we are famblee-amblee right?

Pass the sugar! I’m feeling myself lean “liberal”. I guess I’ll go to the fat section now and feel the love. (If you don’t get this reference, check out the blog: My Leanings.)

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