Michael Moore had a column yesterday at Truth Out, responding to the biggest rightwing lie since "Saddam Hussein has WMD's":
America is not broke.
Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you'll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It's just that it's not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich.[...]
The truth is, there's lots of money to go around. LOTS. It's just that those in charge have diverted that wealth into a deep well that sits on their well-guarded estates. They know they have committed crimes to make this happen and they know that someday you may want to see some of that money that used to be yours. So they have bought and paid for hundreds of politicians across the country to do their bidding for them. But just in case that doesn't work, they've got their gated communities, and the luxury jet is always fully fueled, the engines running, waiting for that day they hope never comes. To help prevent that day when the people demand their country back, the wealthy have done two very smart things:
If you prefer numbers, if you want a second opinion, or if your head explodes when you hear Michael Moore's name, Bloomberg said pretty much the same thing yesterday:
House Speaker John Boehner routinely offers this diagnosis of the U.S.'s fiscal condition: "We're broke; Broke going on bankrupt," he said in a Feb. 28 speech in Nashville.
Boehner's assessment dominates a debate over the federal budget that could lead to a government shutdown. It is a widely shared view with just one flaw: It's wrong.
"The U.S. government is not broke," said Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy for Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. in New York. "There's no evidence that the market is treating the U.S. government like it's broke."
The U.S. today is able to borrow at historically low interest rates, paying 0.68 percent on a two-year note that it had to offer at 5.1 percent before the financial crisis began in 2007. Financial products that pay off if Uncle Sam defaults aren't attracting unusual investor demand. And tax revenue as a percentage of the economy is at a 60-year low, meaning if the government needs to raise cash and can summon the political will, it could do so.[...]
Cost of Insuring Debt
Financial markets dispute the political world's conclusion. The cost of insuring for five years a notional $10 million in U.S. government debt is $45,830, less than half the cost in February 2009, at the height of the financial crisis, according to data provider CMA data. That makes U.S. government debt the fifth safest of 156 countries rated and less likely to suffer default than any major economy, including every member of the G20.
Creditors regard Venezuela, Greece and Argentina as the three riskiest countries. Buying credit default insurance on a notional $10 million of those nations' debt costs $1.2 million, $950,000 and $665,000 respectively.
"I think it's very misleading to call a country 'broke,'" said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist for IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts. "We're certainly not bankrupt like Greece."
There's lots more at Bloomberg. It's a paper for financiers, not rubes, so they don't mind telling the truth about economics every now and then. It's hard to be a robber-baron if you don't know how the world works, just as it's to control a populace that does. It's also easier to get people to give up what they have if you threaten them with something even worse.
This is also pretty much what we're asking for when it comes to employment anti-discrimination legislation. We want the ability to hold a decent job with dignity, to have enough money to live a decent life on, and the peace of mind of doing it while knowing that sexual orientation and gender identity and expression won't make us feel different, not just get the words "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" on the books to satisfy an ego trip.
We want our piece of the pie, but the pie has been shrinking away as the wealthy take more and more wealth away from everyone, queer and straight. Without addressing that reality, we're basically fighting with straight people who may be more economically oppressed than we are over some scraps. When discussing the pie, all pie issues need to be addressed.
This isn't a call to coalitional politics among queers (coalitions between whom - nonprofits? coalescing how - with press releases?) or superficial pluralism among liberals (as if they're on the brink of solving economic inequality). This is a reminder that most of us are negatively affected by income inequality, by the cheats and criminals (if our system were more sane) on Wall Street who crashed the economy and took us hostage until we gave them a ton of money and now want us to lose our jobs, pensions, health care, and quality of life so that they can get ready for the next go-round.
That a minority of LGBT people aren't negatively affected by this and have abandoned the rest of us, telling us that it doesn't really concern us because it's not about sexuality or gender, is a mere footnote.