America Under Siege - The Enemy Among Us

Democracy Is Dying At The Hands Of Our Government

Who would have ever thought that democracy in America would fall as a result of our elected leaders and the Supreme Court of the United States? There is a power struggle going on in Congress right now. The biggest part of it balances on whether we should continue to enrich the large corporations of America or whether we should take care of the needs of our citizens. Which way it will go is uncertain. The lines drawn between the two ideologies are party lines. The Republicans are for big business. The Democrats are for the people.

There are currently 44 states facing budget deficits of 125 billion dollars. California and Illinois alone represent 35.1 billion of that figure. These two states are home to 50 million people. Many cuts in state budgets will include education and police protection. A recent study by the Wall Street Journal showed that the total compensation paid to employees at publicly traded Wall Street banks in 2010 was 135 billion dollars. This was a combined 5.7 percent increase over the total paid in 2009. So, while 44 states face an economic crisis, bankers on Wall Street were paid 10 billion dollars more in 2010 than these states need to balance their budgets.

The average price per gallon of gasoline in the U.S. on March 7, 2011, three days ago, was $3.52 per gallon for regular. The adjusted gross income (income after expenses) for Exxon Mobil Oil in 2010 was 52.959 billion dollars. The CEO, Rex Tillerman received compensation totaling $27,168,317.00 (27.2 million) in 2009 (latest figure available).

The average monthly health insurance premium for an individual in the U.S. is $218.00 per month, so a family of 4 is averaging about $872.00 per month, if the adult members are under the age of 40. It goes up from there with increase in age. The CEO of Aetna Health Insurance Company made $18,058,162.00 (18.1 million) in 2008 (latest figure available). Aetna's adjusted gross income for 2010 was 1.6 billion dollars.

The average interest rate American Express charges on credit card balances is 14.24% for accounts in good standing. In 2010 the company had adjusted gross income of 4.1 billion dollars. The 2010 compensation for Kenneth Chenault, the CEO was $16,300,000.00 (16.3 million).

The most remarkable thing about all of this is that each of these instances above only represents one large corporation in their industry. All the others, not mentioned, did relatively the same. Now as a result of a ruling by the Supreme Court, corporations can contribute as much as they want to political ad campaigns of our elected officials. In the 2010 mid-term election they paid $300,000,000.00 (three hundred million) for political ads telling us who to vote for and also who to vote against.  They are now the proud owners of the Republican House.

Since 2008, 1,006,024 homes in America have been forclosed upon. The unemployment rate is now at approximately 9.5 %. Bankruptcies since 2008 are at 4,099,171. People below the Poverty Threshold at the end of 2009 were numbered at 43.6 million, up 3.8 million from 2008.

So, my question is this, are we already paying too much for corporate greed? Our Republican Party says no! The figures of profit and compensation above tell an entirely different story, though. Could the oil companies lower gas prices by just 50 cents per gallon? No! Could health insurance companies lower premiums by just $10.00 per person each month? No! Could banks lower the interest rate on credit cards by 2%? No! All these moves would take pressure off the already heavily burdened middle-class, but what we are being told is that the big corporations of Wall Street, publicly traded companies, need to increase their profits. And, the Republican held House is telling us that it must come on the backs of the people.

I consider myself to be an independent and have no party affiliation, but I am an American and I care deeply for this country and its people. The insanity that we are allowing to go on, paid for by your local bank, oil company and health insurance company, will be the death of democracy in America. The people already have no voice in the media. These large companies made sure of that in the mid-term election. Now we will have no influence in the Congress, either. The only say we have is in our vote. Please stop selling America out, to giant business interests, with your vote. Please!

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Comments 29 comments

Fay Paxton 5 years ago

That applause you hear is me giving you a standing ovation.

Everything you said is true, but the real enemy is the division that exists among us. It is just sad.

up/awesome


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

Hi FP, thank you so much for your comment. You are absolutely correct. It is the division among us. When will our concern for each other outweigh our selfishness?


HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

Great Hub. Why is all the talk going on about budget cuts and none on raising taxes? It's because of the lobbying of the corporations and the rich. I would raise taxes to close much of the deficit along with closing corporate tax loopholes. I would have some budget cuts but not nearly the massive amounts the legislatures are calling for.


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

Hi HS, they already voted to extend the tax cuts of the Bush administration, the tax cuts for the rich. This was done before they started talking about trying to cut deficit spending, and what I notice is that all the cuts the Republicans want will benefit big business and hurt Americans. I very much agree with you, make corporations pay their fair share of the taxes and stop giving them all the benefits on the backs of Americans.


someonewhoknows profile image

someonewhoknows 5 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

The fact that the supreme court allowed corporations to make unlimited political contributions speaks volumes about the "UNITEDSTATES" Yes ,there is a "CORPORATION" by that name and it has been in existance for a very long time.More than fifty years ,since brfore I was born.

We,the people have let it happen and continue to let it happen.Year after year after year with no end in sight.Unless we,the poeple want it to stop it will continue.No pain no gain.In this case,we the people seem to inflicting it on ourselves much like those people you hear about who inflict knife wounds on their own bodies.It's not that they have a choice.There minds have been taken over by an outside influence.Like someone who needs an exsorcism by a priest.If,we have a choice we should be able to rid ourselves of these self-inflicted wounds.Otherwise we will surely die from loss of blood.


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

Dear someonewhoknows, you are right, these are self-inflicted wounds. Yet, many of the people who vote in the U.S. have NO idea what their elected officials stand for, much less the damage they are perpetrating daily. They are like robots, voting the party line and even though it will soon kill democracy in America, they cannot be bothered to take the time to know who they are voting for. Thank you for your comment. I so appreciate the time that people are taking to read all the pertinent hubs each day and commenting on them.


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK

I can't help you as far as voting is concerned, but you have my best wishes. We need all the luck we can get now.


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

amillar, you are so very right. America is on the brink of self-destruction, and our population is in a trance, mesmerized by nonsense (Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, etc.). Thank you for your comments and wishes. As you say, "We need all the luck we can get now." Best to you, too.


someonewhoknows profile image

someonewhoknows 5 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

I thought you and your readers readers would like to hear a few snipits of David Axlerod being interviewed by National Public Radio.Keep in mind these are a combination of his forward speech the it's reverse.It makes one think about their own reverse speech and what it seems to say about our character.

REVERSE SPEECH OF DAVID AXLEROD OBAMA SENIOR ADVISOR

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gqc4vmirWDQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtZSLesW4uk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wR43kC6_NA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ariA1cvde_w

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIVkQ7puEnk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2d3mHdtws2A


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

Hi someonewhoknows, I went to the sites and I am not quite sure what I should be looking for, so, could you expound a little on reverse speech? Thanks.


Jillian Barclay profile image

Jillian Barclay 5 years ago from California, USA

Dear CreatePerfection,

Everyone needs to read this! We all need to remember that it is NOT the working people, union or non-union, that created this problem. The corporations keep getting richer, yet the politicians give them tax cuts! What a great idea that is! From the statistics you provide, they certainly need the cuts! How would they survive without them? We have to fight this corporate takeover of our government, but first we need to see it for what it really is! This article does that! Again, let me say, WOW!


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

Dear JB, thank you for this encouragement. I read your article on Michigan's governor. It is as if the Republican party has been infected by a disease that robs a person of their mind. If we are holding a hearing on anyone in America who is dangerous to us, surely it is the Republican Party we should be investigating.


someonewhoknows profile image

someonewhoknows 5 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

Reverse speech is recorded speech that is reversed using a computer proogram like audacity or any other recording program that is designed to reverse what ever you are recording.Political speech for example from the radio or whatever source you choose.Youtube has a fair number of examples on Obama his campaign slogan and various speeches he has made and one in particular on former president Clinton where he was being interviewed by Larry King live latenight talkshow where he is commenting on his international charity organization and there us a segment where he says these words together

" It,gives me a " when recorded and played back in reverse says " I am satan ".Now he may not be satan ,but it makes you wonder if,that's how he sees himself subconsciously.In another segment from the very same recording he makes another comment about his ability to influence world affairs and he says these words in reverse " I'm afraid they can make our voice ".If,you want to know what he said originally just record your own voice while saying those words and reverse it and you will know what he said in his normal conversation.

In reverse speech I find much of what is said is clearly understandable forward or backward ,but not all of it.


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

Hi someonewhoknows, thank you for explaining that. Very interesting.


khaberm 5 years ago

Democracy is supposed to be based on an informed population. With so much misinformation going around, it is hard for the average person to sort out the complexity of the modern world. I know people don't like to talk about values, but at some point people have to stand up and live their lives based on values. If you go into most any MBA program today, you will find that most programs start out asking the basic questions about the purpose of the corporation. And it seems the general agreement is the purpose of a corporation is to maximize shareholder value. It is encouraging to see some programs today questioning this short-sighted view. Corporate boards are starting to question whether paying the CEO a fortune really does maximize shareholder value (well, the exception is Steve Jobs who most feel is worth every penny).

I recently interviewed a number of IT executives. When I looked at their resumes, most of them have spent a lot of their time in the last 5 years shipping jobs overseas. Of course, this was in the name of reducing operating costs and maximizing shareholder value. No one considered whether a corporation has any obligations to its employees or the communities where they place their businesses. But, now these are looking for jobs. Ironic.


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

khaberm, you are so right on, with this comment. Not only do I honor your opinion, I honor your intelligence. I don't know what happened to integrity and decency in the U.S., but America is under attack and the enemy is the huge corporate mentality that puts profits and exorbitant pay for top executives ahead of their shareholders' and their customers' best interests. America cannot long stand where her people are not served by those in government and business. Thank you for this extraordinary comment. And, thank you for taking the time to read my article. Best to you.


Terry.Hirneisen profile image

Terry.Hirneisen 5 years ago from Shenandoah Valley

The GOP almost seems proud of their disdain for the working people. John Boehner hands out checks from big tobacco on the floor of the House when it is in session. They claim thy care about deficit spending but absolutely insisted on tax cuts for the wealthy. It is sad. And then we find out only 6 in 10 can name the Vice President. Maybe Democracy is doomed.


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

Terry, you are absolutely right.

We are being told one thing and seeing another. Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it comes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group.”

Sorry it took so long to acknowledge your comment, Terry. I did not receive a notification from HP and just found it by accident.

Best to you.


someonewhoknows profile image

someonewhoknows 5 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio


sn53anon 5 years ago

Hello Create,

I would like to work through some of you comments one at a time. May I begin with this? You wrote, "There is a power struggle going on in Congress right now. The biggest part of it balances on whether we should continue to enrich the large corporations of America or whether we should take care of the needs of our citizens."

We do agree that there is a power struggle. The difference is that you see this as part of a class struggle between the downtrodden masses and the power elite who own corporation. I see it as one more battle in the struggle between those who believe in liberty (that would be me and my side) versus those why believe in slavery and tyranny (that would be you and your side).

It is understandable that those who are not successful will envy those who are successful. Karl Marx used this brilliant political strategy to save his otherwise lackluster economic concepts. And by golly, it works much of the time.

So what choices do we have? You want a powerful, muscular government that "takes care" of the people. I want self-reliant people who take care of themselves. You want a government who will steal, rob, plunder, and enslave a portion of the populace on your behalf. Your argument is immoral. I want people who will be the very best they can be. I want people willing to make their own choices and who will pay their own way.

And those differences are at the very heart of this battle between good (my side) and evil (your side) playing itself out in Washington D.C. today.


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

I think the only thing you and I agree on is that we both have the right to say what we think.


Druid Dude profile image

Druid Dude 5 years ago from West Coast

Well written hub, with the most important point. Our legislators won't be satisfied until our streets are full of protestors like in the EU. They eliminated the jobs middle class America depended on...now look. My S.I.Law is very right wing...but I suppose he means well.


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

Druid Dude, I think you are right. It will not be long before the protests begin in this country. We may all need to take to the streets. Thank you for your insightful comment and for taking the time to read my article.


Mimi721wis profile image

Mimi721wis 5 years ago

People affected in a negative way from legislation that favors the rich should cry out more. Some of them don't even vote. A few of them sympathize with the rich. Go figure. Just think about it. The top 5 oil companies made over 34 billion dollars in profits the first quarter of this year. They get a 4 billion dollar kick back on behalf of tax payers every year.


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

Dear Mimi721wis, you are absolutely right. We must take back our government. The large corporations spent over 300 million dollars in the fall mid-term election to pay for political ads for the Tea Party and GOP and they were elected to a majority in the House of Representatives. We must all educate ourselves and each other and stop allowing America's wealth to be stripped from the middle class so that they can give it to the rich.

Thank you so much for your comment.


khaberm 5 years ago

It seems that the middle class is always the target perhaps because as a group they are too tolerant. 45% of the population in the country pays no taxes at all. Most people don't seem to get that everyone's wealth is being stripped by the devaluation of the dollar. One could argue this is "fair" since it applies to anyone holding dollar denominated assets. However, in reality, many of the rich and many corporations can hold assets in other currencies. Look at GE. They do not repatriate their profits. Some say it is because they would have to pay high US taxes. In reality, one must suspect they feel more confident holding their assets overseas than in a declining dollar. Eventually this will lead them to then invest this money overseas as well creating jobs there rather than in the US.


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

Exactly right, khaberm. We have to vote our conscienses, but first we have to know the issues and be both intelligent enough and educated enough on these issues to vote for ourselves instead of thieving politicians whose interests are only their own.

Thank you for your comment.


AKA Winston 5 years ago

The only two minor quibbles I have is that the U.S. was never a democracy but a constitutional republic. Democracy is mob rule.

Our present reality is an oligarchy, though, as we are ruled by a small minority who wields power.

The second quibble is my opinion, and that is there is no longer any real separation between parties other than the rhetoric - when it comes to actual lawmaking they both are slaves to the money and power that owns them.

Keep up the good work. It is refreshing to see.


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado Author

Dear AKA Winston, I really appreciate your thoughtful comment. I cannot disagree with a thing you said. Thanks for dropping by and commenting.

Lela

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