Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The real, wealthier, entitlement class

During campaigns for public office it isn’t uncommon for a politician to say something like “I earned the right to run as a serious contender,” although they use different words. Many of them clearly think they’re entitled to have a good shot at that office. What is it that they do to earn the right to run as a serious contender?

As far as I can tell they collected an enormous amount of money which they call “campaign contributions,” and a growing number of people including me are calling them bribes.

They often continue acting as if they are entitled to keep their jobs after they get caught up in ones scandal after another whether or not the scandal is related to important issues. They act as if they’re entitled to the same innocent until proven guilty rights that criminal defendants are supposed to get when they stand trial to defend their freedom. Many of these politicians are simultaneously trying to reduce the right to a defense for many of the defendants and even though they feel they should be entitled to a rigorous defense to keep their job they often argue that corporations should have the right to fire people with little or no defense for the employee.

On at least a couple occasions I lived in one of the poorer blocks in rural towns where many of the people whose “entitlements” are allegedly a major drag on the deficit. I don’t remember seeing many people that actually got these “entitlements.” Nor do I remember anyone who earned the right to run as a serious contender for any political office. Not that I think many if any of the people there should have been elected to political office; the point is there was never any chance for any of them to get a good education that they would need to qualify as a serious candidate. They weren’t for the most part entitled to anything at all except to provide cheap labor at the local factories which may be mostly gone by now. This wasn’t even the projects that they had in the cities; they didn’t have any of the so-called support system that was weighing down the deficit.

Nor did they have the right to police services; if someone called from the local payphone (no one had enough money to pay for phone service.) for the police for one reason or another they would be ignored. If on the other hand the local businesses needed the police then many of these people would get plenty of attention. In fact that was the only chance any of these people had for the famous “free room and board” the official welfare class is supposed to be “entitled” to. The offenses that many of these people were charged with were almost always petty; and for the most part they weren’t really entitled to lawyers that actually did anything. If they didn’t go to jail it was because the state didn’t want to pay to house them for petty offenses and the factories didn’t want to lose their cheap labor pool. There were some exceptions, allegedly; one guy was supposedly set for life due to a workers compensation claim that involved losing his arm which went through an industrial planer. This story was passed around a lot and many people acted as if he was living the good life.

There was one problem; they paid for his mechanical arm and sent him back to work. They didn’t give him enough money to get out of that town. Nor would they pay him disability; since they could find something for him to do and this would be cheaper for the corporation. The version of the story was that he could get away with anything at work; yet he didn’t seem to be taking advantage of this.

The working class contributes a lot to society; however they have little if any control over how the most powerful institutions work. In order to have their fair share of control they would have to have access to the education and information they need to make important decisions. The current system doesn’t give them that for the most part; although there are a handful of exceptions where a small percentage of the public takes the initiative to educate themselves with what little resources they have. There are some examples where the government has provided the social programs that are necessary to address some of the biggest social problems; however these are for the most part the exceptions, especially after thirty years of get tough on crime and cuts to social programs that started in the Reagan era.

The truth of the matter is that if many of these programs were done right they would be far less expensive than the problems with crime and poverty that are resulting by the lack of these programs. Prisons cost much more in the long run than the social programs that help reduce the contributing causes to crime and it is much less effective. There is an enormous amount of evidence to back this up, some of which I have addressed on other blogs; however for the most part the majority of the public isn’t entitled to easy access to this information. Instead they’re given an enormous amount of propaganda that suits the purpose of the real wealthier entitlement class and helps them preserve their power.

I don’t think the choice that should be presented to the public is either the current batch of political candidates and these uneducated people that clearly don’t have the education to do the job. There are many other people in other parts of the country that clearly have much better education and many of them would be much more willing to look out for the best interest of the workers and the consumers if they had a chance to run for office and they received the attention they needed to have a chance to be elected. For the most part I don’t even know who these people are; however I have no doubt that they’re out their somewhere. In some cases I have read plenty of sincere authors who have written about many important subjects that aren’t being addressed properly by the government. If many of these authors ran for office I have no doubt that they could do a much better job than the current batch of politicians being presented to the public. The problem is they’re not from the entitlement class nor are they willing to cater to the entitlement class. Therefore they don’t have a chance to collect the enormous volume of bribes, usually referred to as campaign contributions, nor do they have a chance to receive any positive attention from the corporate media. In both cases the only source to collect the volume of bribes necessary to run and the positive media coverage is from the multi-national corporations. This effectively gives them a veto power over all contenders for political office.

Commentators on TV often seem to have the same sense of entitlement as the politicians. They act as if no one should have any right to interfere with their right to free speech; however they should have the right to drown out anyone they disagree with. There have been just as many scandals for many of these media people and even when they are fired for a little while the same people just keep coming back. These are the same people from the entitlement class. When they have serious scandals in the media they don’t give other people with more sincere records a chance to speak or express different points of views anymore than the politicians do. These people are entitled to decide without input from the majority of the public what view should be repeated over and over again and wheat views should never be mentioned at all, if possible; when these unauthorized views are forced on to the news the entitlement class has the right to present them in a manner that is clearly designed to distort them and make them seem absurd without giving the people who believe them a chance to put them in the proper perspective. Chris Matthews has his regular feature “let me finish” as if someone is trying to stop him; this doesn’t mean he is required to let his guests finish or to even let people from the wrong entitlement class to speak at all.

This is just the beginning of the entitlements the real wealthier entitlements receive. Once they obtain access to power they manage to receive an enormous amount of entitlements that the rest of us aren’t able to get access to. When ever there is a decision made by the government ties always go to the wealthier entitlement class; not only that if it is close but clearly in the favor of those opposed to the wealthier entitlement class then it still goes to them since they can just spin it a little bit. If it is even more obvious that the other side is in the right then the wealthier entitlement class may have to decide whether they want to spend more on public relations so that they can win or if the decision isn’t important enough so they may decide to just let it go. It often seems like they usually prefer to spend the money on public relations. This usually doesn’t involve doing much if anything for society to get them to support their side but it often involves spending an enormous amount of money convincing the public they’re doing them a service. The wealthier tobacco entitlement class has been famous for this; on numerous cases they have spent more money on advertising the fact that they have donated to charity than they actually donated to charity. The tobacco companies have been a big beneficiary for entitlements. They have received farm subsidies from the government for a long time at the taxpayers expense even though they create a product that doesn’t provide any benefit for society; quite the opposite it kills its customers and drives the cost of health care up. They now have to pay an enormous amount of money to help offset those health care costs but that money almost certainly isn’t enough so their still benefiting from it.

Another way the tobacco companies benefit from subsidies is through trade secrecy laws which effectively works as a subsidy since it enabled them to conduct their unethical, and often illegal activities in private before a large wave of whistle blowers ended this, or at least reduced the secrecy. These whistle blowers were threatened with legal action for violating trade secrecy laws that never should been used to hide illegal activity in the first place.

The tobacco companies aren’t the only ones who receive a virtual subsidy as a result of trade secrecy laws. Virtual every major corporation is probably involved in something that would probably be considered unethical or illegal if the public actually new about it. One example is the research many corporations do into customer returns and consumer complacency. Thirty years ago when there was a problem with a product and a customer returned it the store would presumably keep records of it and complain to their supplier if they had too many problems with quality or switch to one that does a better job. If they actually did what they were supposed to do then they would have merchandise on the shelves that is as good as what they sold thirty years ago. As indicated in a previous post about how Complacent consumers have few if any rights this clearly isn’t the case. Thirty years ago a typical pair of sneakers would probably last close to two years; now they routinely fall apart in no more than six months. Just about any appliance has the same problem; coffee machines might fall apart in about one maybe two years when they used to last over five, perhaps well over that, and many other examples. It seems pretty clear that they’re almost certainly using those records to conduct research into planned obsolescence and how to increase profits by gradually reducing the quality of merchandise so people have to buy them over and over again. A more thorough research project would surly indicate approximately how much planned obsolescence costs consumers every years but many of these records are considered Proprietary information, which is by definition a conspiracy. Proprietary information is designed to make sure that the business owners can do a lot of their activity in secret and the consumers and workers have no right to know about the information they need to make important decisions. This often includes when the information they withhold involves union busing activities to suppress wages for those that actually do productive work and consumer fraud of one form or another whether it is faulty advertising, defective products designed to fall apart prematurely or in some case products that may be hazardous to the public and perhaps many other things; however as long as all this information the public will have no way of knowing how much corruption is being covered up by trade secrecy laws. There really isn’t any doubt that these laws have been covering up an enormous amount of scandals since many of them have been exposed by whistle blowers and investigators any way; yet the laws remain unchanged.

The real, wealthier, entitlement class is also entitled to the jobs of their choice and the education that they need to prepare them for these jobs unlike the lower and middle cases. These jobs are often the types of jobs that involve making the laws and controlling the most powerful institutions. One of the most important fields in this category is if course law. In the People’s History of the United States Howard Zinn wrote, “A Carnegie Endowment study showed that two young people of equal standing on intelligence tests (even accepting the dubious worth of intelligence tests for children brought up under different circumstances) had very different future depending on whom their parents were. The child of a lawyer, though rating no higher on mental tests than the child of a janitor, was four times as likely to go to college, 12 times as likely to finish college, and 27 times as likely to end up in the top 10 percent of American incomes.” People’s History of the United States p.663 This is typical of the way people from one class routinely stay in that class generation after generation. There are some exceptions of course; for example many people get ahead as a result of scholarships given out by endowments, often financed and controlled by wealthy philanthropists. One of the most famous of these endowments is the Rhodes scholarship program which Bill Clinton went through. This enabled him to get his start and eventually become president. The scholarship program may be distributed primarily to people that may not be inclined to challenge the current system; although, once again there may be exceptions. Bill Clinton wound up protesting against the Vietnam war while attending college. However by the time he worked his way into politics he presumably went through a screening process where he became accustomed to fund raising and catering to those with the most power and when he became president he stood up for the best interests of the business community and the other members of the entitlement class.
The majority of the public is forced to settle for the education system made available to them and paid for by property taxes.

This is designed to ensure that the wealthiest people are entitled to the best education as long as they live in wealthier areas.

The poorer people have much less money available to them for their schools. This might be a reasonable set up if the working classes were actually entitled to a fair wage for the work they do and they could live in better neighborhoods; however this isn’t the case.

The working class doesn’t control the institutions that distribute wealth so they get much less than their fair share.

During a recent interview with Chris Christie for a radio show he was asked by a citizen, “You don’t send your children to public schools. You send them to private schools, so I was wondering why you think it’s fair to be cutting funding to public schools?” he of course responded in his usual obnoxious manner; and judging by the majority of the media coverage he seems to have been entitled to positive coverage of this event. I didn’t see one report on the TV that was critical of it; instead they all treated it as a joke and in some cases expressed approval. I had a hard time finding a critical article on it through Google; the majority that I found initially were treating it the same way the Mass media did. The majority of the media didn’t correct Christie when he implied that she asked him where he sent his kids or criticize him for sending them there; instead she asked him why he thought it was fair to cut finds for those that used public schools mainly those that weren’t so well off as Christie. Christie was able to avoid acknowledging the unfair education system and place the blame of the constituent. Ironically this was done in such an obnoxious manner that all but the most loyal followers of their leaders will hopefully see through this even without criticism from the Mass Media so it may still backfire and indicate how biased the media is as well. Those from the wealthier class are of course entitled to the money they need to fund their own children since they control the powerful institutions and then they’re entitled to turn around and slash the funds for the rest even while they continue to give tax breaks to those that donate the most to campaigns.

Efforts to rise up from the lower classes are made much more difficult by the fact that college costs are rising more than the rest of the economy; this is happening at a time when technology has improved many educational opportunities. However these improvements haven’t led to reduced costs for education partly because of the copyright laws that put control of educational material in the hands of some of the most powerful institutions. In at least some cases those that participate in one trade or another often keep that trade within the family, including copyright lawyer Melville Nimmer who passed his copyrights to his work down to his son David Nimmer who is now one of the leading lawyers in the copyright industry. This was explained more in the blog post about Copyright violators are thought criminals. This is just one of the methods used to make sure that those that are in the lower classes stay there unless they go along with the system, with a few exceptions that probably can’t be avoided. Another one is the distribution of real estate and the fact that they are also kept high and out of the reach of most members of the lower classes. The same method of using high costs to keep many opportunities out of the reach of the lower class is used in other ways as well.

This is also accompanied by efforts to ensure that the wages are kept as low as possible for the majority of the working class. The working class routinely does most of the work in manufacturing and services that actually improve the quality of life for the public; however since the ruling class control the institutions that distribute these products and services they manage to find ways to give themselves credits for most of the work; often by claiming that they’re responsible for creating jobs, in many cases even when they’re cutting jobs or shipping them overseas.

The ruling classes are entitled to many other jobs that involve controlling the public or increasing the profits of corporations without improving the quality of life for the public. One of the biggest examples of this is the advertising industry; which routinely spends a lot of money manipulating the public and convincing them to buy products that don’t serve much if any benefit for the consumer. People that research more effective ways to advertise, public relations executives, researchers into increasing planned obsolescence, political pundits, political psychologists that research methods to manipulate the public and many other fields are all paid more than the working class. For the most part, these higher paid people don’t actually do work that improves the quality of life for the majority of the public; instead they do work that improves the profits of the ruling class at the expense of the majority.

Basically the ruling class is entitled to take the majority of the benefits and credit for all the work done by the working class without actually doing anything to really earn it. It is true that some organizational skills are necessary in these leadership jobs and the people that do them should receive fair compensation but they go way beyond that. If the same opportunities were available to more sincere people from the working class many people would be able to do a much better job and they would be willing to do it openly showing the way they made their decisions.

Perhaps most important of all since the wealthier entitlement class controls the propaganda machine they’re entitled add insult to injury by describing the working class as the entitlement class even though, for the most part they have to work for their entitlements and earn them one way or another. No doubt there are some legitimate exceptions where after the grass roots movement managed to obtain a modest amount of services, including aid to families with dependent children, in return for the work that has been done for centuries by the working class, a small percentage of the working class takes advantage of the system. However this small percentage isn’t nearly as big as the richer entitlement class. Furthermore these services are much more likely to result in a sincere investment in society and help reduce the social problems that we have and they would surely reduce many other expenses like prisons if they’re done right. On one other note apparently Kent Pitman has also written about this in a blog about the Entitlement Class which you may also find worth reading.

This blog was a follow up to a previous blog about the psychology of the ruling class. It is also part of a series that was begun with a Truth and Education Commission and the Fundamentals of Psychology.

(For more information on Blog see Blog description and table of context for most older posts.)

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