Friday, October 17, 2008

Is Politics Religion?

A Mel Toast Exclusive

That Old Time Religion

Politics is religion.

The oft-maligned Christian fundamentalist groups have always been referred to as the “base” of the
Republican Party. But I wonder, who represents the base for the Democratic Party? Without a doubt, one group that qualifies must be the civil service, made up of mandarins (and their various eunuchs) in thrall to the Holy Grail of big government—lifetime pensions.

Christian fundamentalists may be crucified for seeking the right to life for the unborn at the expense of a certain liberal or libertine lifestyle, but government workers also seek a special right, the right to a sinecure—a taxpayer-secured pension for life—and that would be at everyone’s expense.

Taxpayers should not be responsible for the pensions of government workers, be they elected officials or their appointed underlings. Taxpayers should also be free from paying the pensions for firefighters, police officers and teachers. Salaries, yes. Pensions no.

We must all learn to carry our own weight. The cost of living today is just too high to be letting anyone off the hook. Communities owe their “servants” no debt beyond their years of service to the community. And unlike
Social Security, which is a minimal, federally administered, taxpayer-shouldered provision guaranteed for all, work-life pensions should be a personal, not a public responsibility.


Mel Toast


2Truthy said...

The Christian Right can go get crucified until Kingdom Come for all I care, Mel, but your point about why I should be setting up my mailman for a secure, early retirement while yours truly will be toiling away for another generation in the furnace of some Silicon Valley precocious start-up pitching half-baked schemes to shady Israeili investors is very well taken. And how much $$ do these annointed officials in Congress and the State Department pull down?

Why do you think Obama has had this thing in the bag? Why do you think the GOP is imploding? Because the GOP wants to offload these zealous wackos who are dragging them down. Not that the GOP shouldn't be dragged down, mind you -- but the Democrats this time around have attracted the Republican kool kids with their Green Shirt, Fascist model of all things corporatocracy. They too, want a place in the crowded line at the trough. Although, I hear Libertarianism is all the rage.

prezdumas said...


The Democratic "base" sinecure identifies with the white collar class, upward mobility dream, eschewing Joe the Plumber. It is no small wonder that the Democrats are having some trouble appealing to blue collar voters. In the end, however, it appears that McCain has lost, despite his hollow, however broad appeal to blue collar America. Obama has sewn up this election with viral marketing money and executives targeting college voters and minorities on his team. As 2truthy points out, his major support is coming from the bipartisan hubris class.

Citizen Carrie said...

Ahh, a delicate subject for me. If it wasn't for tax-supported government pensions, I'd be sharing my house with and financially supporting one of my pensioner-widow relatives. Or, actually, my HUSBAND would feel like the aggrieved party.

I do agree that government salaries and benefits are supposed to be comparable to what's happening in the private sector. (And, hopefully, wouldn't be in the top percentile as far as generosity.)

There might be a disconnect between reality and what is perceived to be the average Joe's and Josephine's wage and benefits package? There might be a lot of government decisionmakers who think we all make top dollar, have all of our health insurance paid for, and will all be retiring by age 55?

Patrick said...

Dear Ms. Carrie,

Greetings. Long time no blog. Tax-supported pensions. I dunno. Just seems like such a bad idea to me and this idea came, like many of my ideas, from my dad. He worked for Mobil Oil. For 38 years. He bought some stock along the way. And when he retired he got a pension. And he and my mom were OK when he retired. No one had to take a penny out of their paycheck to pay his pension EXCEPT, of course, for Social Security which is a deal that all of us, rich or poor, can get a handle on. Frankly, I am even for "means testing" (Jesus what a "congressional" term THAT is!) What I mean by "means testing" is yes, if you are a rich bastard and now you are a retired rich bastard and you want to claim Social Security, maybe we shouldn't give it to you. Or maybe we should reduce it. OOOOOOH!!! Cue the "socialist" boogey (technically "bogey" from the city Bugis on the Straits of Malaka but I will bore you with this linguistic analysis at some later date) man here, as Senator McCain would try to do. I am no socialist but if this temporary and specific act of "wealth distribution" is socialism, so flippin' be it! We have already "socialized" the banks and by that I don't mean that they have invited me to any oyster bar lobby buffets of late. OK, where was I. Taxpayer-funded pensions. It's just a bad idea. People, like the ant in that damn Aesop proverb (although I LOVE the Graham Greene variation!) should save for their OWN pensions. It's not mean. It's really very simple and very basic. My father died in 1983 leaving my mom with a paid-up home and some Mobil Oil stock. And the only fixed income mom had was S.S. and she never really worked after she married so her "take" was rather small but she did well enough. I helped put new windows in the house. My brother helped me put a new roof on. Neighbors and friends helped us repair her garage. Hey, I'm not Amish or anything (and, by the way, if ever there were a model for recalcitrant, warlike, hemorrhoid-riven, Quranic-literalist muslims, it would be the Amish . . . they hate the capitalist, materialist "West"--the English as they refer to the rest of us iPod-toters--but they have simply retreated to the edges of society, they have not driven their explosives-laden buggies into ourMcDonald's for cryin' out loud) but I digress . . . where the hell was I? I am starting to sound like that one-eyed homeless guy you see in the alley every day when you walk home from work . . sorry . . . hell, I'm just tryin' to flirt with you Carrie, not make you ill . . .

I'm not Amish or anything but we all quietly helped each other and we all got by. Who did your husband work for? City, state, federal government? Just curious . . . look, I don't want to hunt down old folks and shake the shekels out of their torn aprons . . . but I think the system--going forward as the cliche-clogged ad world likes to say--could use a little tweaking.

And don't get me started on "average Joe the plumbers."

250K a year and he can't cough up a couple extra bucks in taxes?? Please. Or is it puh-lease.

And now, time to return to the exercise wheel here at the ad factory, they have recently halved our ration of sunflower seeds around this joint. And rumor is they are mixing asbestos in our nesting material.

2Truthy said...

A couple of things: First, either give us all pensions or scrap them. Just keep it level.

Second: We had a plumber out here recently and this guy charges $95 an hour.

And $250 K per year is not considered real money out here, folks. (Most programmers out here don't earn $95 per hour.) The whole $250K number being bandied about is suspicious, as yours truly maintains that the Feudal Lord caste system of have and have nots that Emperor Barry is going to lead will rely upon making sure that nobody outside of the inner circle "privileged class" of self-designated elites take home a penny beyond that magic number.

As far as they are concerned, white collar, non-"connected" trash with advanced degrees and years of experience can 'wallow' with Joe the Plumber or get jobs driving taxis because the ivy league seats are going to be sold under the Barry regime to third world students, who U.S. taxpayers subsidize and the plum white collar jobs will go to those third world students before the resumes of U.S. college grads and professionals ever get a chance to see the light of day on a corporate HR screen.

Never forget the lessons gleaned from Cohen & Grigsby, my friends.

Citizen Carrie said...

Whoa, there Patrick. I'm a small-town daughter of Depression-era parents. I know how to help out family and neighbors, and how to make a dollar stretch.

I can see my comment was pretty unclear. My husband is a 401(k) slave-wage-earner just like everyone else. I have several elderly people I look out for, including an elderly "aunt" (more like a cousin) who is, shall we kindly say, is a bit eccentric. If it wasn't for her modest government widow's pension, she could conceivably be living under our roof, much to my husband's consternation :-) It sounds cold, but we need to keep space available for closer relatives when the time comes. At this point in our lives, we wouldn't exactly be leading the parade demanding the sudden cessation of government pension payouts.

Fortunately, for all parties, my "aunt" is able to live in senior housing. I monitor her health, her assets, her living arrangements, her monthly expenses, and the mortality tables to make sure she has enough money to keep her going through her projected lifespan, and I make necessary adjustments accordingly.