Why so many people loathe Congress

Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower Author, Commentator, America’s Number One Populist

Uncle Sam wants you!

Not the Uncle Sam who’s the symbolic caricature of our country, but Sam Johnson. Although he’s been a member of Congress more than a quarter of a century, it’s unlikely you’ve ever heard of him, for Sam’s been what’s known in legislative circles as “furniture.” That’s a lawmaker who holds a congressional seat, but just sits in it, achieving so little that he’s unnoticeable.

But – look out! – Johnson has suddenly leapt into action. And we all need to take notice, because this Texas Republican has unveiled what he calls his “Plan to Permanently Save Social Security.”

To get you to support the plan, Uncle Sam wants you to believe that our nation’s very popular retirement program is “going bankrupt.” He knows that’s a lie, but he hopes it’s a big enough lie to panic you into doing anything to save the program. To make his plan easy to swallow, he coats it with another lie, claiming that he’s merely “modernizing” and “updating” Social Security, which a big majority of Americans count on to avoid stark poverty in their golden years.

But on fact, old Uncle Sam is conniving to “save” Social Security by gutting it. The press release announcing his “Reform Act” doesn’t even mention the key fact that it’s based on making workers keep paying the same 12.4 percent tax on their wages, but getting drastically less paid back to them when they retire. How much less? Up to 69 percent less, cutting a total cut of $11.6 trillion in benefits promised to America’s workers.

This is Jim Hightower saying… Meanwhile, Rep. Johnson has announced his own retirement after 28 years sitting sitting in Congress. And yes, he can draw a Social Security check, but he also gets a congressional pension that will pay him more than $70,000 a year. How about we cut that perk and leave the people’s Social Security alone?

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This was reposted from The Lowdown.

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be – consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks. Twice elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Hightower believes that the true political spectrum is not right to left but top to bottom, and he has become a leading national voice for the 80 percent of the public who no longer find themselves within shouting distance of the Washington and Wall Street powers at the top. He publishes a populist political newsletter, “The Hightower Lowdown.” He is a New York Times best-selling author, and has written seven books including, Thieves In High Places: They’ve Stolen Our Country And It’s Time To Take It Back; If the Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates; and There’s Nothing In the Middle Of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos. His newspaper column is distributed nationally by Creators Syndicate.

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Jim Hightower

Union Matters

Failing Bridges Hold Public Hostage

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) gave the public just a few hours’ notice before closing a major bridge in March, citing significant safety concerns.

The West Seattle Bridge functioned as an essential component of  the city’s local and regional transportation network, carrying 125,000 travelers a day while serving Seattle’s critical maritime and freight industries. Closing it was a huge blow to the city and its citizens. 

Yet neither Seattle’s struggle with bridge maintenance nor the inconvenience now facing the city’s motorists is unusual. Decades of neglect left bridges across the country crumbling or near collapse, requiring a massive investment to keep traffic flowing safely.

When they opened it in 1984, officials predicted the West Seattle Bridge would last 75 years.

But in 2013, cracks started appearing in the center span’s box girders, the main horizontal support beams below the roadway. These cracks spread 2 feet in a little more than two weeks, prompting the bridge’s closure.

And it’s still at risk of falling.  

The city set up an emergency alert system so those in the “fall zone” could be quickly evacuated if the bridge deteriorates to the point of collapse.

More than one-third of U.S. bridges similarly need repair work or replacement, a reminder of America’s urgent need to invest in long-ignored infrastructure.

Fixing or replacing America’s bridges wouldn’t just keep Americans moving. It would also provide millions of family-supporting jobs for steel and cement workers, while also boosting the building trades and other industries.

With bridges across the country close to failure and millions unemployed, America needs a major infrastructure campaign now more than ever.

 

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work