Trumpmerica

I love Donald Trump.

Jesus God, I despise Donald Trump with nuclear-fusion heat of a million stars. Wait—a million’s not huge enough. A billion stars. Quality stars—like a billion red giants. Not a bunch of brown dwarf losers. Terrific stars.

I’ll explain.

What I love about Trump is the spectacle. Trump is nothing if not a glorious showman—a megalomaniac with no filter whose sole interest in life is promoting himself. His posturing, braggadocious, say-anything style is entertaining in the context of a political contest. As a reality TV star, Trump didn’t hold my attention for five minutes—he was just another coarse East Coast loudmouth, like a member of the cast of Jersey Shore or the Real Housewives of New York. But on the campaign trail or in GOP debates? He’s terrific. Huge.

What I really love about Trump is far more important than the theater: Trump has completely monkey-wrenched the Republican Party. The GOP establishment’s leaders are now looking around for Who To Blame—and of course, it’s the media.

That’s not to excuse the media of blame for the rise of Trump. They shower rock-star attention on the dude, while largely ignoring Bernie Sanders (the other anti-establishment guy). Why? Bernie doesn’t have Trump’s showmanship, and the media—especially TV, where most Americans get “informed”—are looking for a car chase on the freeway, not substance.

As the late Hunter S. Thompson put it: “The TV business is uglier than most things. It is normally perceived as some kind of cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of the journalism industry, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs, for no good reason.”

But blaming the media trivializes the importance of what’s happened. Trump’s ascendance is more important than the lurch to the right represented by the Tea Party movement, which some time ago sank under the weight of its inability to get anything done other than lecture others on its self-perceived monopoly on correct interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.

What’s happened is a populist revolution by the GOP’s groundlings. The rank-and-file have finally realized that the people who run this country—the Republicans and Democrats who truly steer the ship—form a plutocracy, and do the bidding of that plutocracy. Millions of people who have been thoroughly chumped finally realize that they’ve been getting hosed for 35 years—that the middle and working classes are worse off than they were before—and they’re pissed. Pisssed off enough to kick some establishment-types to the curb.

I tip my hat to those groundling Republicans. In the face of frenzied efforts by establishment Republicans and the right-wing media to dump Trump, they’ve had the huervos to fight back. Democrats have had the same chance with Bernie, and shamefully it looks all but certain that they’re going to try to anoint President Clinton II. Gutless.

Of course, there’s also plenty to dislike about Trump: The man is a collection of bad traits, many of them fairly repugnant.

As an orator, Trump has all the skills of a strip club MC. “Let’s hear it for Kitty, people! Isn’t she terrific? Aren’t those fantastic bolt-on bazooms? Incredible quality! For the next 15 minutes, lap dances are half price!” He’s celebrated as being the antidote to what has become oppressive political correctness. As someone who chafes at political correctness and often flouts it, I get it. Unfortunately, Trump’s refusal to kowtow to PC often takes the form of xenophobia, sexism, ethnocentrism, several other –isms, and just plain blowhard buffoonery.

As a policy maker, he’s going to build that wall, and Mexico will pay for it. He’ll put an end our botched World Police interventions and nation-building adventurism, but he’s going to kick ISIS’ ass. He’ll ban people from entering the country based on their religion. How can anyone take any of this stuff seriously?

As a leader, Trump has shown little evidence that he’s ever cared about anything beyond promoting his brand—and his brand ain’t all that great, people. It’s a brand that was actually enhanced by his stint as the host of a God-awful reality TV series. And while people are fed up and are clearly looking for someone who isn’t going to continue on the path of always putting the best interests of the plutocracy first, shouldn’t we be concerned that Trump is a member of that cohort? And that his business model is that he’s always for sale?

Finally, there’s what’s most concerning about Trump: His nods toward authoritarianism, and his appeal to those among us who admire the authoritarianism of Vladimir Putin. What if, as some worry, Trump is our Mussolini? Around 80 years ago, fascism emerged as a populist movement in Europe. That didn’t work out so well.

Steven Towers
Steve Towers is co-owner of a local environmental consultancy. After obtaining his Ph.D. from UC Davis and dabbling as a UCD lecturer, he took a salary job with a Sacramento environmental firm. Sitting in stop-and-go traffic on Highway 50 one afternoon, he reckoned that he was receiving 80 hours of paid vacation per year and spending 520 hours per year commuting to and from work. He and his wife Elise sold their house and moved to Redding three months later, and have been here for more than 20 years. His hobbies include travel, racquet sports, taking the dogs on hikes, and stirring pots. He can be reached at towers.steven@gmail.com
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51 Responses

  1. Hollyn Chase says:

    Bravo Steve! Well and truly said. The problem is: I don’t know whether to laugh or cry . . .

  2. gmonteri says:

    Very good analysis, but one good thing has come out of the Trump campaign.  He defeated fellow reptile Ted Cruz.  So, we won’t have to worry about Lyin’ Ted until 2020.  If Trump is our Mussolini, Cruz is Hitler.  Trump is more sleazy opportunist than true fascist; that boot fits Cruz.

    • Christian says:

       

      It’s easy to understand how people become attracted to Trump, he’s like a car wreck on the side of the freeway during rush hour. We saw it coming, a reckless loose cannon, blasting his horn, screaming obscenities while driving way too fast, cutting in and out, cutting people off; and then there he is, by the side of the road, jumping up and down in rage, blaming everyone to anyone that will listen, and boy do we.

      Yes, the preverbal highway of democracy is a mess, we have let things go a bit while we work hard to stay afloat, take care of the kids, drink our beer and watch T.V. Democracy is jammed with anxiety, infrastructure problems, people wondering if they’re ever going to make it and see it getting worse, then along come Donald and we get to thinking if this guy wreaked enough havoc, he’ll fire everyone, then maybe people will listen and things will get done for a change!  The problem is if we burn our house down then what? What kind of police state is he going to amass, and I quote, “You’re going to have a deportation force…” to round up 11 million people and deport them? Are you going to volunteer? By the way, thinking he won’t use that force to enforce more of his ideology could be a real mistake.

      His agenda is greed and power, he has made it very clear. Trump is an unapologetic sexist, globalist corporatist who uses fascist racism, classism and raw/unfiltered capitalism, and now the Republican Party, to yell fire though his ever growing megaphone, drawing us in like a moth to a flame. He can say anything “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters” and yes, it’s true as Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus  “people just don’t care…” anymore…. and we love it! Some people that is.

      All the media is talking about it full time, we all are, the chaos is fun, exciting, exhilarating, fresh and we get to thinking upheaval is the answer, maybe it will finally fix Washington. We come upon the wreck and can’t look away, yes it’s gory, causes our adrenalin to flow and then… we start to get reckless. Be careful, lots of wrecks are caused by gawkers staring at the mess and the next thing you know we have a pile up, people get hurt, killed and some lives are permanently changed; it’s hard to undo a wreak.

      Maybe it would be wise to slow down a bit.

       

  3. CoachBob says:

    How about a little balance and tell us some stories about H. Clinton? Top of fold stuff? Front page?

     

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Coach — I think Doni covered this territory in response to your same comment regarding R.V. Scheide’s article.  All you need is a keyboard, something to say, and the willingness and ability to say it.   Knock yourself out.

      • A. Jacoby says:

        Yeah Bob . . . What Steve said: GO FOR IT!! You are always articulate in REacting to what others post. So write the article and post it.

        • CoachBob says:

          Much of what goes on here is “tearing down the building” but not putting up something better in its place! Never believed in just ripping something out and leaving a dead, empty lot to look at. You (Steve) have ripped and ripped….AJ you have, too. So, tell the readers: Now that you’re excercised your right…give us a “take” on what will be  built in it’s place and be better as a result of all the distruction. Ol’ Bernie? The Clinton Crime Family?  A 3rd party person? I’ll wait….

          • Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

            At the risk of redundancy, I’ll repeat myself anyway:

            There is a difference between discussing an article and sniping at people who may hold opinions expressed in the article. Do not attack other people here in the forums, either on a personal level or for their opinions, or your comments will be removed.  This is non-negotiable.

            If there is a viewpoint you feel is not being covered, feel free to submit your own article for consideration.

             

          • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

            Coach — If I Femme de Joie reviews a bad restaurant, she’s under no obligation to provide a list of better restaurants.  She can if she wants to, but the main point of the review is to critique the bad restaurant.  Similarly, in my critique of Trump, I’m under no obligation to provide a better alternative.

            But since you asked, I’ll be voting for Bernie in the primary.  For various reasons—the most important being that I abhor familial political dynasties—I will never vote for Hillary.   When it’s Clinton vs. Trump come November, I’ll likely have to throw my vote away on some third-party candidate.   Throwing away your vote in protest is totally a thing here in California—we all know where our electoral college votes are going.

            If you think my treatment of Trump involved tearing down the building, just wait.  One of the reasons why I won’t vote for Hillary is that the Clintons inspire a particularly toxic, hateful, irrational brand of animosity among conservatives.   I’ve already lived through it once in my life—that was plenty.  On the day Hillary is elected, Vegas will be taking over/under bets on the year of her impeachment.

          • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

            One other thing, Coach:  Trump has well-earned a reputation for being a crude, obnoxious, unapologetic cheap-shot artist.  Thin-skinned responses to sharp criticism on his behalf are a bit ironic, don’t you think?

    • Breakfast Guy says:

      For the sake of  “a little balance“, fill us in, Coach.

       

  4. EasternCounty says:

    I keep hoping that a third- or no-party moderate emerges, a true populist.  Wishful thinking, I fear.

  5. cheyenne says:

    I am Trump material.  I am an old white, uneducated(GED), redneck living in rural Wyoming, used to live in Redding before the liberals took over.  I worked my way up from fifty years ago homeless sleeping in my car in San Francisco and forty years later retired with a pension from the school district.  I had a mortgage, raised a family, volunteered in my spare time.  I did it on my own without all the liberal social programs the Democrats have installed over the years helping.  Minimum wage, hah.  Obamacare, hah.  Welfare, hah.  If I could make it there is no reason todays people can’t with all the resources available to them..  Drugs, did I mention that I abused alcohol, marijuana, meth, cocaine and overcame them all, I don’t even smoke cigarettes anymore.

    Whether Trump can right the ship or not things will change.  And what many back slapping Democrats fail to realize is that Trump is winning in some states where independents can’t vote in the primaries, of which there are over twenty states that don’t allow independents to vote for party candidates, local or national.

    A New Day Has Come.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Good on you, Cheyenne.  I would substitute self-educated for uneducated.

    • Damon Miller says:

      I think, in interest of keeping to your anti-government ideals and rugged individualism, you should give that pension back to the taxpayers.

      • cheyenne says:

        Give it back to the taxpayers, Hah.  Just like Social Security I paid for half of my school pension.  I worked 60 hour weeks cleaning toilets if I give anything back it will be what I pulled out of those toilets.  I am not going to subsidize drug addicts, I was one.  I will not subsidize lazy welfare people who won’t work because it would affect their welfare, I tried to hire some of those who wouldn’t work.  I am sick of seeing people try to crowd fund for a vacation, if they need extra money they can get a part time job, I did, and it was no fun umpiring a Saturday night game between two drunk teams.

    • chad magnuson says:

      Cheyenne,  sleeping in your car for a couple of nights while landing an out of area job does not constitute being “homeless”.  It amounts to camping out for a few nights.  Your car was your home.  something many homeless people would consider a major improvement over their current situation.  You have ranted on for many years on the R-S pages about your life circumstances.  Usually demeaning the people who were in the same boat as you were.  You were very fortunate to have a union job, good pay with good benefits and a retirement.  If you think you managed all this without help from “liberal social programs” you ar ignoring basic facts of the job market.

      • cheyenne says:

        I earned that union job by working hard and received no assistance from liberal programs because none existed.  I subbed for over six years, being on call and showing up for what ever school called and was hired because I showed up and worked and could pass a drug test and background check.  And I after I was hired I tried to help the other unfortunates by getting them on the sub list but only one person did so and they were hired.  All the others said subbing would interfere with their welfare.

        And Chad, why are you on these pages?  The fish wrap ban you?

  6. Pamela says:

    That’s what I love:  compassion.  Compassion for others by those who have gone through rough times and pulled themselves up and out.

    On another note, seriously, great article Steve Towers.  You are spot on in terms of the oligarchy.  Too bad Bernie hasn’t gotten the media attention that he well deserves.  At some point in the future, if we don’t self destruct by then or destroy the environment so that it totally collapses on itself, maybe we can have a green party candidate for Prez!  Yep.  That would be cool.

  7. michelle says:

    What a great article. Didn’t want to vote for him because he is sooo inappropriate, but I will since he is it. I will give him this–he is hard working. And he will be have some reasonably intelligent people around him.

  8. Joanne Lobeski-Snyder says:

    Brilliant article Steven Towers.  I am simply bewildered by this whole election.  You, on the other hand have made sense of this phenomenon and expressed it well.

    Some history.  Mussolini was a respected and admired leader before WWII.  He got things done for the citizens of Italy….public works, roads,  jobs, schools and energy programs for his country.  He was a dictator.  He was racist, and his racist beliefs led to decisions that destroyed his good name.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  9. chad magnuson says:

    Steve,  The very best thing about trump is that he defeated the religious nut ted cruz.  Cruz would be a far more dangerous crazy in the white house than trump.  It was reported on the Thom Hartman program this morning that Romney will more than likely run as a third party candidate.  It will give the delusional republicans something to cheer for if it happens.  Of course of it does happen it will insure a Clinton victory.  I support Sanders and keep my hope alive for  a democrat convention that pushes the progressive envelope.  If not Sanders, I will throw my support for an experienced, knowledgeable and strong democrat Hillary Clinton.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      I agree that eliminating Cruz was Trump’s biggest accomplishment.  Support for Cruz is provided by the Christian evangelical wing of the GOP — the cohort that still doesn’t understand that they are being pandered to by the GOP elite.  Evangelicals are courted as reliable voters, but their interests are never front and center.  How gullible do you have to be to believe that rich Wall Street Republicans have burning desires to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood or eliminate gay marriage?

      Trump voters are people who understand that they’ve been used, and they’ve had enough.  Cruz voters were people for whom that light hasn’t come on yet, and probably never will.

      If I lived in Ohio or another big swing state, I’d have to carefully reconsider the implications of my pledge to not vote for Hillary.  I live in California, so I don’t have to.

  10. Pamela says:

    Go Bernie!

  11. cheyenne says:

    I read in WaPo that the Nevada Democratic Party is accusing Sanders of inciting violence and that the Democratic convention could turn violent.  WaPo compares Sanders to Cruz.  What an interesting election season, it is almost like a reality show only not faked.

  12. chad magnuson says:

    What is WaPo?  A Wyoming newspaper.  Yes the DNC criticized Sanders openly for not controlling his supporters.  As a reminder, we are getting close to the primary season ending and the Presidential campaign moving into a full throttle mode.  Sanders has over and over said he will campaign all the way through the convention.  A promise I think he will keep.  Unlike the GOP candidates who made the same promise but could not keep their word.  Blaming Sanders for inciting violence is  stretch and why it is not making any ground.  I do think the Bernie  or Bust movement is misplaced.  If Bernie supporters  do not like it that Bernie may not make it in the democrat convention, you are essentially supporting trump.  If that is the case I find a voters claim for change and support for the middle class a false belief.

    • cheyenne says:

      Sorry, for the uninformed, WaPo is the Washington Post big brother to the Redding fish wrap.  And in California the state, no matter how Shasta County votes, will go to the Democratic Nominee.  Just like Wyoming will go to the Republican nominee.  And I didn’t blame Sanders I just reported what WaPo said, don’t kill the messenger.

      • I never blamed you for what the DNC said about Sanders.  How do you conclude that?  No I’m not banned from the R-S.  I still post there frequently.  If you really believe progressive labor policies did not have an impact and contributed to the stability of your public school job and eventual retirement, you are living in a republican bubble.

        • cheyenne says:

          50 years ago San Francisco was a blue collar union town, everything was union.  A new arrival like I was didn’t just walk into a union job.  I slept in my car and took manual low cash paying jobs until I landed a mechanics job after six months, that is a lot of camping out.  And even then my boss told me six months was a quick time to find a job in “The City”  Rent was reasonable because all the financial wizs lived in Orinda or Sausalito.  Than those progressive labor policies drove all the union jobs to Texas and today an apartment in San Francisco goes for $4,000 a month.  Wall Street 24/7 had a survey, again I am just the messenger, where California has the largest percentage of its population living below the poverty rate, 23%.  The progressive labor policies in California have made the widest income gap between the 1% and the 99%.  California more than any other state needs Sanders and not Clinton but even Trump would be better than Clinton.

          • Cheyenne  you and I have a lot in common.  I have spent the majority of my 67 years, growing up and working in SF.  Even today I continue to work in SF, while I have lived in Redding for over 25 years.  My retirement is very close so my commuting days are over.  Your claim that “progressive labor policies” are to blame for the widest income gap is foolish.  SF has a $15 an hour min wage.  the silicon valley has created jobs at the higher end of the scale due to IT technologies and the financial sectors.  many of the silicon valley firms have opened offices and created jobs in SF as the Silicon Valley is even more expensive than SF to live in.  Even with the high cost of living in SF it remains one of the strongest Union work places in California.  where plumbers, electricians and even janitors make strong salaries, enough to afford to live there.  I simply find your union bashing, and anti California pontifications to be surprising especially since your livelihood and ability to live where you choose is a direct result of the choices you made while living here.

          • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

            I’m just going to throw into the mix that utopian Wyoming has the highest suicide rate in the nation—twice the national average and three times that of California’s.  California may have crazy income disparity, but Wyoming rules when it comes to deep depression and despair.

            I’ll take SF over Sheridan.

  13. Alicia Armkandy says:

    You people and your Donald-bashing.  I only needed to know a few things about Donald to decide he gets my vote.

    1.  He’s going to keep us safe from the Muslim and Mexican hoards that threaten our way of life.

    2.  He’s filthy rich.  It’s going to take a successful man to make America great again.

    3.  He has strong, enormous hands.

    The first order of business for President Donald ought to be getting the 22nd Amendment repealed.  If Americans want Donald to be President for the next 20 years or more, why shouldn’t we have that choice?

    Victory is coming, and when it’s here, you’re either going to be with us or against us.  Donald is going to make this country as opulent, classy, and exclusive as a Trump golf course’s locker room.  If you’ve ever seen one, you know what I’m talking about.   That’s the club I want to belong to.  Yes.  Trumpmerica.

    Coloro che lavorano avranno il primo posto, perché la Nazione di domani sarà la Nazione dei produttori, e non quella dei parassiti!  

     

  14. cheyenne says:

    Wyoming had 22 suicides last year, per captia we lead the nation in every category, good and bad.  We also lead in attracting stupid tourists.  The latest was some liberal tourists who picked up a bison calf by the road and took it to the ranger station where it eventually had to be euthanized.  How do I know they were liberals, because conservatives would have shot it.  And Steve, apologies to you, I have spent a lot of time in Colorado and cannot understand why someone would move from Colorado to California.  Though I must say I grew up in the northern Rockies and went to California to gain fame and fortune, no chance, and have returned home.

    Chad, you are a liberal and I am a conservative so the two ends will never align.  At election times I sat in the union office on Hilltop Drive and manned the phones to get Shasta County voters to vote for a Democratic state superintendent.  That is probably the toughest job I ever did.  And I campaigned against The Arnold when everybody was star struck.  So don’t tell me I am where I am because of progressive policies.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Cheyenne, I didn’t really have a voice in the matter of moving from Colorado to California, but I’ve always kicked myself that I never made it back home—though there was a bit of a coin flip when my wife was offered the position of running the gifted student program for the school district in Steamboat Springs.  My long-term plan is to build a cabin in Routt County and spend summers there after retirement.  We’ll see.

      At any rate, the high suicide rates in the Rocky Mountain states are strongly correlated with altitude—in general, the higher the county, the higher the suicide rate.  Hypoxia apparently reduces serotonin levels in the brain and exacerbates depression.  It also increases dopamine levels and risk-taking (including, apparently, the risk of putting a gun to your head).

      The father and son who picked up the bison calf were Canadian.  The young dudes who just got caught tramping all over Grand Prismatic Spring in pursuit of close-up selfies (after taking pictures of the “Stay on the Boardwalk!” signs) were also Canooks.  There’s a Facebook page called “Yellowstone Idiots” that you might enjoy checking out.

      • cheyenne says:

        We spent the night in Granby and ate at the steakhouse there and on the menu they pointed out that the owner used to be a chef at Jack’s Steaks in Redding.  My daughter was just down from Alaska visiting and she went to Boulder to see her best friend from Anderson High who is a teacher in Boulder.  A former athletic director at Foothill, who I worked with at Thompson Field, just retired from principal at Loveland High School and his wife I last heard is still in administration at the college in Greely.  Several Redding athletes have made their way to CSU, the latest is Izzy Mathews and did he have a great year as a freshman at CSU.  Several people have moved from Redding to Colorado.

    • Cheyenne,   you do realize that killing an animal after being hit and injured by a car is against the law, at least in California.  It is required that LE or animal control be immediately notified.  It may sound crazy but it is an effort to control the wildly popular sport of poaching.  It is not a liberal consideration to report an injured animal on the highway.  Your rightwing antenna needs to be fine tuned.

      • cheyenne says:

        Chad this was not an injured bison calf, it was one that was alone by the road and for whatever reasons these tourists put this calf in their car and took it to the ranger station.  The rangers took the calf back to the herd to try and get the herd to take it back and the herd rejected it.  So the rangers euthanized the calf.  My comment about liberal and conservative was just sarcasm, I won’t do it again.

  15. Frank Treadway says:

    Cheyenne and Chad…when it comes time to apply for your Social Security, you will refuse to take that Liberal program’s money, right ?  Love it when folks call MediCal, CalFresh, a living wage, the WPA and all the other life saving pieces of legislation, Liberal acts of  disaster.  Fact: most folks on the aforementioned programs are either Seniors or disabled youth.

    • cheyenne says:

      Frank.  Myself and every other person who receives SS who worked, paid into our own social security.  Comparing Medical and Calfresh, where the people who receive those programs never paid into them, the tax payer pays for them, to SS is not a comparison.  I never said anything against living wage but $15 an hour in SF is not a living wage, it is a joke.  The only place $15 would be a living wage is in so called red states.  Nebraska did a survey and concluded that for a worker to pay for the basics in Nebraska, rent, food, utilities would take $12 an hour.  And I would question your conclusions about seniors and disabled as most of those on those programs are the poor including the working poor of which I was one until I was able to work my way up, just as any able bodied person can.

    • Frank, I draw my Social Security and have absolutely no conflict in doing so. I also continue to work and will be retired in July 2016 from the Union with a good retirement and benefit program. My small business will additionally provide me with a great buy out plan. I will not need to touch my investment plans for another several years. When it comes to SS it is not a right or left issue for the recipient’s. Same as Medicare The debate between Cheyenne and me is over the union retirement. He is adamantly anti union and cannot understand that his union benefits are the result of liberal and progressive policies. His feeling concerning this have me baffled. He did not create those benefits he is receiving from his union tenure. He worked hard during his lifetime and seems to have considered his future when he was still a young man. But facts remain Liberal policies created the union retirement and benefits. Which proves that union membership is not a partisan political entitlement. It is a reward and a payback for hard work regardless of your political persuasion.

      • cheyenne says:

        I am not anti-union though at times it may seem so.  I was a shop steward where I had to listen and protect union members even when I knew they were in the wrong.  As a union negotiator I fought for and created some of those union benefits.  As I have stated before I manned phone lines during election time for union candidates.  If I am guilty of anything it was in negotiating higher pension percentages instead of pay raises.  But my union members voted for it so they must have been happy.

  16. Frank Treadway says:

    Cheyenne. Social Security is a Liberal/Democratic program and its author, so please don’t talk out of both sides of mouth. And we all pay taxes in one form or another, even poor folks. Yikes, and I’ve been drawn into an endless debate over Progressive programs that most folks don’t even realize benefit them.

    • EasternCounty says:

      Since we working stiffs were forced to pay into the Social Security program, it can hardly be called an entitlement when, at retirement age, we withdraw the funds from a program that we paid into for all of our working years.  And if Congress stopped using the program as a piggy bank to fund other programs, it would last indefinitely.

    • Virginia says:

      Having been a bookkeeper for a long stretch, the employee and the employer pay into Social Security.  If the Gov’t hadn’t begun to use the fund during Johnson Admin., which should have been illegal to balance the budget, there would be plenty of money in the fund!

  17. cheyenne says:

    Frank, I paid into SS all my life, 7 1/5% of all my earnings went to SS.  When I started working for the school district I paid another 7 1/5% into CALPERS.  That is 15% of my wages went to mandatory retirement in addition I also paid into Medicare and my share of employer sponsored healthcare.  In addition I paid extra into investment funds which I took when I reached 70 and my wife will take hers out when she reaches 70.  So excuse me if I get upset when someone compares SS and CALPERS to Medical, Food Stamps and other safety net programs.   And I don’t dispute those social programs because they are needed.

    If Warren Buffet, a Democrat, had been in charge of Social Security SS would now be flush with money instead of IOUs that the Republicans and the Democrats used to finance their own agendas.  That is why I am glad to see both Trump and Sanders shaking up the “politics as usual” crowd.  I truly would like to see a Trump versus Sanders campaign but it appears that won’t happen.

    • if you are suggesting social security contributions be invested in the public market place, we need to have a talk.

      • K. Beck says:

        YEP! 2008. Clinton I did us in on that one. You know, that “Democrat” who deregulated the banks. That is the main reason I will not vote for Clinton II. Forget about Dodd -Frank we are no better off now than we were after Clinton demolished the Glass–Steagall Act. 401K, 401b? Put in place to benefit companies like In-Fedelity. If you are Warren Buffet, or the other 1%ers, all is well and good. He/They have so much money billions may be lost and they do not notice. They will just manipulate the system and get it all back. Read The Big Short by Michael Lewis. The banks are still stealing houses and throwing people out in the streets. Take a look around at the boarded up houses in Redding. Perhaps not as bad as Detroit, but bad enough.

  18. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    I respect and admire what Cheyenne has done with his life, and I understand and mostly agree with his central premise that this country needs more stand-on-your-own bootstrapping and less culture-of-perpetual-victimhood nannying. I understand why a guy who spent decades working hard toward a solid but modest retirement—paying payroll taxes the entire time and thus contributing to others in need—would think that it’s not impossible for more people to do what he did.  He’s absolutely right.

    That said, it’s tiring to listen to conservatives who avail themselves of socialist programs continue to argue that those programs are something else.  Social Security is not a savings program, and never has been.  It’s a pay-as-you-go program under which today’s workers pay for today’s retirees, and that’s what it’s been since the beginning.  Further, those who are currently taking Social Security benefits will, on average, take out a heck of a lot more money than they put in (even adjusted for inflation), primarily because Americans are living longer these days.  And Social Security was put into place precisely because private retirement programs are unreliable—even well-funded and balanced 401(k) portfolios are at risk of market gyrations.  After the stock market crash in the late 1920s, a lot of people who were heavily invested in the market jumped out of buildings rather than face the prospect of spending their remaining years in poverty. Others just succumbed to that poverty, and suffered.  That’s why Social Security was created.  And make no mistake: Social Security is state socialism, pure and simple.

    • Breakfast Guy says:

      Understood. However, a lot of Shasta and Tehama County voters seem to confuse socialism with communism and speak of them as one of the same. Not surprising though a bit unfortunate for Bernie in CA. Many will end up supporting (unqualified) Trump — bad news in so many ways.

    • cheyenne says:

      Very true, Steve.  This is where I disagree with many as I feel we need immigration to pay into social security, what ever name that program falls under, to keep it funded.  Americans are not producing as many children as in past times and we risk falling into the aged trap that many other nations have, notably Japan, where the older of us vastly outnumber the young.  China has relaxed their one child/one family rule because of this.  I believe we need to let Hispanic families in, many are already here and contributing to America and blending in.  I have never felt my job, low skilled, was ever threatened by Hispanic workers.

      But when it comes to Muslim refugees who don’t want to blend in, I saw it personally in Nebraska at Swift in Grand Island and read about some Idaho towns, Twin Falls and Pocatello, where Muslims were welcomed and then built mosques despite the locals protests.  I do not mind church bells ringing on Sundays but I think I wouldn’t like the Islam multi daily call to prayer.  America needs to do better screening of Muslim refugees.  Being a sheepherder or religious scholar are not skills much in demand in America Though Wyoming does use Basque sheepherders who just got a raise.

      Social Security and Medicare are true entitlement programs because those of us who paid into them all our lives feel we are entitled to the benefits.  Medicaid, food stamps, and even the ACA are social programs that are based on need and most of those receiving them never paid into them.

      As I read the articles and posts on Anews about how bad the current Redding situation is with the homeless and their drug use I think that is what I was fifty years ago.  I raised myself up to be a productive citizen and so can they.  If all those social programs others talk about my using were true than those homeless have the same choices I had.  The big success that liberals point at is the $15 minimum wage increase like in Seattle.  Seattle has a huge homeless camp called “The Jungle” and the city is proposing to build a $1 million fence around it to contain the rampart drugs and crime in “The Jungle”.  Other cities, Denver is the latest, are cleaning up their homeless camps to avoid creating their own “Jungle”.  There has been much written on these pages about Utah’s Housing First, Wyoming has it too and I wrote the article on Anews about helping homeless vets into housing.  That article was a few months ago and my wife and I didn’t just do a one time photo op session like most politicians do, we are still involved.  We just last week donated grills and crock pots we had bought at auctions to the VFW for their latest revamped apartments.

      All those liberal social programs won’t help if the people don’t want to help themselves.  A hand up, not a hand out.

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