by P. Anthony Farruggio
November 6, 2003
Hoorah, the NFL opened up its season this past September! Or, should I say that corporate America's 'carnival' continues to captivate our living rooms, replete with 'T & A', expensive car commercials and yes, even a football game mixed in! God bless Media America, and thank you Mr. Commander in Chief (who in his youth avoided any battle) for those 'sound bites of wisdom' before kickoff.
This writer, with a flick of the VCR, developed an antidote to "Monday Night Mayhem' many years ago. I now tape Monday night games after the first quarter. Then, real early on Tuesday morning, as the wife sleeps away, I relax and view the action in perhaps 30 minutes. No Buds or Ram Tough hype for yours truly. Whatever gets ya through the night, hah?
What astonishes me is watching the myriads of 20 and 30 something guys in the stands at these 'circuses'. How they dress up wild and let it all hang out for the cameras, cheering and yelling for their team of choice. One wonders how many of them actually vote. Do they have good quality healthcare? Good secure jobs? How many 20-somethings supported this latest war on Iraq? If so, why aren't they patrolling the countryside and the streets where our enemy once ruled? As for the ones against Mr. Bush's preemptive attack, did they attend the peace rallies as vociferously and with as much passion? Dear reader, we both know the answers to most of my rhetoric. So, how do we do reach this 'Sleeping Giant' called young mainstream America?
The current Democratic Party leadership, with its thousands of local chapters throughout America, is missing a golden opportunity to defeat the favored Bush team. Observe the current Democratic strategists and politicos shouting about a couple of hundred bucks for needed Child Tax Credits for the working poor. Yet they totally ignore Robert Reich's Payroll Tax Forgiveness Plan, or the need for Universal Medicare. These two key solutions alone could motivate MILLIONS of young, working Americans to get off their 'potato laden couches' and pull the lever. If these donkeys would initiate a real political ad campaign behind just these two issues, the Bush team, with all its cash cows, would still be defeated.
The Reich plan, hardly ever discussed by our (corporate run) mainstream media, is quite simple. The first $20,000 of wages is exempt from any payroll contribution by both worker AND boss. Thus, employee and employer can each save up to $1250 a year- money spent as one sees fit. Do you think most of the 'Sleeping Giants' in the stands would complain about having MORE of their hard earned wages in pocket? How many companies, with possible savings of $1250 per employee, would be against such a plan? Oh, I can hear the naysayers now. "How are we gonna pay for this?" Well, the Reich plan provides for the current ceiling of $80k a year for payroll tax contributions to be eliminated. Thus, our wealthy multimillionaires (and billionaires), who get so much in the way of 'economic stimulus tax breaks', would have the 6.5% taken out of their pay, no matter what it is. They won't like it, but this is the same group of people who do not like unions, Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, workman's compensation etc. To add 'insult' to their injury, I would include in this new law a feature that treats cash bonuses (including stock options) as wages. No 'creative accounting' 101 - the boys and girls in the stands don't have that luxury when they divvy up each year. Reich's plan also affirms that the ridiculous Estate Tax repeal be voided, thus saving our national treasury billions in lost revenue. Our "boy" in the White House proves the failure of the "legacy" system anyway.
Universal Medicare is another no brainer for our 'Sleeping Giants'. Most 20 and 30 something Americans either currently have no health coverage, or some terrible plan that provides bare minimums. As far as we baby boomers or near boomers (40 - 50's), who could argue against contributing, under Universal Medicare, probably HALF of what we now must pay? The current privatized system just does not make sense! The simplicity of having one central insurer, NON PROFIT, does make sense, and if presented to the public properly, would attract voters. After all, 99% of us are currently 'fighting' to survive and prosper on just 15% of our nations wealth (did I hear 'Banana Republic'?).
So, there you have it. Democratic Party, the time is as 'right' (no pun intended) as it will ever be. Wake up the 'Sleeping Giants' with key issue solutions, and leave the 'Circuses' to the other team. The game is almost over for America!!
Philip Anthony Farruggio is a spokesperson for FAER (Floridia Association for Ecomonic Reform). This Brooklyn, NY born, bred and educated (Brooklyn College '74) son of a longshoreman, has had over 35 columns posted on progressive sites and newspapers since the 2000 election, including NewsInsider.org and Counterpunch.com. He can be reached at PAnthonyF@aol.com.