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Controversy

May 1, 2012

Prince‘s fourth album Controversy was released 30 years ago this year… back when Ronald Reagan was president. Oh how I hated Reagan then, but MAN, today I’d elect him in a second over this new crop of right-wing zealots.

Sorry. Got sidetracked.
1981:

MP3: Prince- Let’s Work

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3 comments

  1. First things first – Thanks for that Prince track! That guy knows how to rock! I like the Title track on that album too. My other favorite is Alphabet St. off of Lovesexy – it puts me in a good mood.

    Now, since you brought up the 80’s & Reagan, I’m gonna get out my soapbox for a minute and try to educate with some unbiased factual information about Ronnie’s policies and the continuing negative effects of those policies.

    1. Air Traffic Controllers strike. Reagan broke the back of this union (PATCO) under the guise of the Taft-Hartley Act which banned strikes by government unions. This set precident for the dismantel of other unions. 30 years later we have near mid-air collisions, controllers sleeping on the job due to unreasonable working hours, and a system operating far past it’s capacity today. Do you feel safer flying?
    2. Reagan did cut taxes and raised NET revenue to the government by gutting government programs designed to support the middle class and help raise people out of poverty. Honestly, I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want their taxes cut, but at what cost? Let’s examine:

    Reagan cut federal assistance to local governments by 60%.
    He cut the budget for public housing and Section 8 rent subsidies by 50%.
    He eliminated the antipoverty Community Development Block Grant program altogether.

    I don’t care how much of a personal income tax break you give to individuals, it will NEVER amount to an equal 1-for-1 trade off of those program cuts, especially for those living in inner cities with limited options. Those programs were designed to help promote entrepreneurship within inner city communities, provide the establishment, upkeep and improvements on inner city housing, provide job training and re-training programs and educational and cultural development initiatives

    What were the effects of these cuts at the bottom of the wealth scale?
    1. The “crack epidemic”. With near non-existant ability to make a better life for themselves through ethically acceptable traditional channels, young entrepreneurs took their cues from entertainment, most notably Al Pachino in Scarface. When the end result is either making money or getting 3 square meals a day and a roof over your head in jail, where is the downside?
    2. The collapse of Inner City Schools. Outdated textbooks, over-filled classrooms, delapidated buildings – many inner city youth saw it as a joke to go to school. Today, we still haven’t solved the problem of declining property tax revenues. Instead, we try to “put a band-aid on a gunshot wound” and offer Vouchers. The result – It moves the same inner city problems to the suburbs and places the burden directly on the people in those communities. We’re paying for it still, just in a different way, but the end result will be the same.
    3. Lack of Urban business. If you haven’t spent time in an urban area, you have no idea of this problem so don’t try to tell me you understand. Without urban entrepreneurship, there are NO JOBS. The prgrams Reagan cut were previously responsible for nearly 2/3 of all business creation in urban areas. Local businesses hired locals to work. Take away the business, take away the jobs.
    4. City taxes drive out remaining businesses to the suburbs where higher property tax receipts offset the need for city taxes.
    5. No work, no income, no self esteem, no pride = NO SOLUTION TO THIS DAY to fight poverty.

    This very thing happened here in Detroit back in the 1930’s. It was called the “Ford Hunger March”. If you don’ know what this is, I suggest you do some reading. The Ford Hunger March was a response to economic devastation. No city in the United States was hit harder by the Great Depression than Detroit. By 1932, some 10,000 children huddled every day in Detroit’s bread lines. Eighty percent of the auto-building capacity lay idle. Wages had dropped 37 percent for those lucky enough to have a job. The average monthly caseload of the city’s welfare department had increased almost 10 times – from 5,000 cases in 1929 to nearly 50,000 in 1932.
    The Ford Hunger March was organized to press 11 demands, including jobs for the jobless; the seven-hour day; the end of speed-up; no racial discrimination; abolition of the Ford Service Department; and winter relief.

    The result? 4 dead protesters and the beginning of the UAW. It went further. Economic programs were enacted by Roosevelt and expanded by other presidents over the next 40 years that helped to protect the “least of those among us” (a good Christian ethic) by offering support from poverty, a sense of self-pride, and a morally sound way to a better life through direct federal funding for urban development.

    You may hate the idea of “wealth redistribution”, but your grandparents understood the importance of dignity, compassion, and equality that lasted 45 years until Reagan — the worst president since Hoover, in my opinion. You may disagree, but you have your work cut out for you to present facts that will change my opinion. You see, I’m a “reformed republican”, and I’m feeling much better now – morally and ethically speaking.


  2. The crack epidemic WAS the birth of Hip Hop. Poets and drug dealers told the story of how political policies devastated whole communities and left so many without hope. It’s their story, it’s the story of how history repeats itself if we refuse to learn it’s lessons.


  3. If you have 5-10 minutes, take a look at these two clips. (Colbert Report from 5/1/12)

    As it turns out, Paul Ryan’s budget takes the same approach as Reagan – to cut programs for the poor that not only give them hope and dignity, but a means to work themselves out of poverty. Why the need for these program cuts? To give tax breaks at the top that don’t result in increased national debt levels. Ryan would have us try the same tactics as Reagan and expect a different result than what we know to be true. That is – cutting those programs results in increased poverty, increased dependence on Welfare programs, declining small business creation in urban areas (the engine of job creation, if I’m not mistaken) where jobs are most needed, increased numbers of school closings and declining property tax receipts. If Romney is elected, the implementation of this budget plan will be the first order of business.

    Why would we expect there to be a different result today from those same policies?
    Wealth does NOT trickle down, folks! Economically speaking, a rising tide does not lift all boats — beacuse so many people out there don’t even have a LIFEJACKET, let alone a boat!
    Why else would the top Income Tax rates have been 50+% for 50 years?
    Why else would Capital Gains taxes have been 70% for 50 years?
    Because its the job of government to be fiscally responsible AND to redistribute wealth into programs that INSPIRE people to want a better life for themselves by doing something productive that benefits everyone. Being a productive, upstanding citizen who makes a positive contribution to society because they were given an opportunity to do so.

    Businesses only care about Shareholders and Owners. Governments care about all citizens, and they are the means by which everyone gets a fair chance to make a better life for themselves – equal opportunity. Of the people, by the people, and for the people.

    Oh, that reminds me — the entire National debt from the Great Depression AND World War II was nearly paid off in the late 1960’s due to those policies. How is our debt looking now? Inner city poverty was also at an all time low back then. How are we doing on that front today?

    Huh. Better cities, better schools, less poverty and ZERO national debt all because those who are the most prosporous pay their fair share?!? Inconceivable!



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