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An Invitation To The Tea Party To Join #OWS

Dear Tea Party,

I am writing you today to extend an olive branch.  I know you and I haven’t gotten along at all, but perhaps the time has come to put your behind in the past and give this a fresh start.

First off, I want to thank you for saying things, pushing policies, and supporting politicians that have enraged a large percentage of the nation.  You see, you’ve finally pushed a great deal of us over the edge.  No matter how we tried to dismiss your protest movement as inconsequential, the money that’s flowed in through the corporate powers that be has kept you going.  You’ve also been helped by a corporate media structure that, no matter how crazy or out of touch the things you have said or done have been, keeps putting you on the air because it boost their ratings.  As we all know, ratings = money, so I’m sure they’re grateful to you for boosting the ‘lamestream’ media’s bottom line.

I think the straw that broke the 99%ers back was what you supported in Wisconsin.  You supported a Governor that pushed through legislation that undid 100+ years of progress for people like you and me, undoing labor rights that Americans have fought, bled, and been killed by big business for with the simple stroke of a pen.  The rationale was that collective bargaining rights had to be eliminated to save the state money.  Just a few problems with that.  First, even Governor Walker admitted that stripping collective bargaining rights wouldn’t save the state a dime.  Second, if public sector unions were the problem, why did he exempt those that backed his campaign? But mostly, if this were about economics, why did he reject an offer where the teachers union agreed to all the economic demands but rejected losing collective bargaining?

There’s obviously something much larger going on than what’s on the surface.

We understand, times are tough all around and nobody, save the top 1% income earners, is exempt.

We also understand that something desperately has to be done to trim the government’s deficit and debt problems.  Perhaps we should return to the PayGo rules that were in place from FY1991-FY2002?

Believe me, we get it.

However, the government does not operate in a vacuum.  Over the last 20+ years, lobbyists have been successful in getting Washington to undo protections put in place after the Great Depression to prevent another Great Depression from ever happening again.  The repeal of Glass-Stegall and other legislation that removed the rules that protected your money, your investments from dangerous speculative trading have made a tiny few very rich regardless of how you did.

They gambled with your retirement, your mortgage, your financial future, your children’s future, and when it came time to pay the house, they left you with the IOU.

Now, honestly, does that seem ethical or fair?  Really think about that.

While yes, Congress and previous administrations from both parties have passed these giveaways, what is the commonality found in each piece of legislation that protects you?

Money.

Corporate money, in particular.  Buckets of cash allowed to pollute our political system because somewhere the belief that money = protected speech became sacrosanct.  Now with Citizens United, even more money can roll in, anonymously, into the political process further drowning out the voices of people like you and me, the voters.

Your $20 contribution is not going to get the same attention as a $5,000 a plate fundraiser.  That’s just reality.

The current collapse of the financial sector is the same as the collapse of the Savings and Loan industry in the 1980′s.  Lobbyists got Congress to eliminate regulations, a select few got very rich, the industry collapsed and guess who was left holding the bag?

Yup, you and me to the tune of about $500 billion dollars on a ‘loan’ that won’t be paid back until 2030.  Oh, and did I mention the millions in tax credits to “healthy” banks that bought up failed S&Ls?

Sound familiar?

Same thing happened with regular banks and financial institutions and, well, here we are again.  As Mark Twain said “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme”.

I know you say ‘vote them out’ and, hey, I agree.  But that only fixes half the problem.  You should know this because the candidates you put into office to fix the problem in 2010 are now part of the machine, soaking up corporate donations and doling out earmark money like it was candy.

You’ve traded one group of paid for politicians for another.

Erik Erickson has started a Tumblr blog called We Are The 53% which is based on the wildly simplistic, and intellectually dishonest, claim that 47% of the country pays no taxes.  While it is true that 47% pay no net Federal Income Taxes due to tax credits, etc, it neglects the reality that there are other taxes they do pay, including payroll, state, local, property, etc., and that the lower income earners actually pay a higher percentage of their income in total taxes than the top 1%.  Don’t believe me?  Then read this report from the Institute on Taxation and Policy and see for yourself.

Aside from that, you do realize that Erickson is mocking you, right?  The three jobs he works are a gig on CNN, his own radio show, and his blog RedState.  How that compares to a middle class family where the parents are working multiple jobs to keep their heads above water in his mind, I’ll never know.

I read the stories and they’re the same as those of the 99% you openly mock.  Stories of working multiple jobs, of being underemployed or unemployed, of skyrocketing health care costs, of mortgages being deep underwater, of mounting student loan debt…. stories that each and every one of us share.

We’ve all done what we were ‘supposed’ to do to achieve the American dream…studied hard, went to college, got a good job, bought a house, and we saw our financial security, our retirements, our net worth plummet while those responsible got wealthy on our misery.

We all share the same stories, we all agree the system(s) are broken, and we all agree that something has to change.

This is why I’m asking you today to join us in the Occupy protests.

The root of our entire system has rotted…. it’s time for a change.

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