Serving mammon

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(NNPA)—“Thousands of contractors who got stimulus money to do such things as build roads and provide social services owe more than $750 million in back taxes, a federal investigation has found.” This is the lead point in an article written by Jennifer Liberto for CNN Money. The article goes on to say, “More than $24 billion in stimulus money went to some 3,700 contractors who still owe the federal government taxes, according to the report released Tuesday by the General Accountability Office, Congress’ watchdog agency.”

JamesClingmanbox

Do you remember the highway signs that bragged about stimulus money being used to put America to work through “recovery and reinvestment”? Yeah, right! So much for that charade. Billions of dollars paid out to contractors to rebuild roads, few if any Black contractors, at least in my neck of the woods, and now we see that many of them cheated the government out of payroll and corporate income taxes. Stimulus? For whom? Did you get a stimulus yet?

Elderly people on Social Security have gone two years without receiving a cost of living increase; unemployment is off the charts, especially for Black people, which is more than 16 percent now. Losses in housing values have robbed the so-called middle class of much of its wealth; the oil barons are robbing the people blind and lying to Congress while receiving record profits, testifying that they are not “out of touch” with us every day common folks and our economic plight. What a joke! What a scam! What a sham! What a shame!

While the politicians play their games, pontificating on the evils and virtues of oil subsidies, this nation is drowning in a sea of debt, which causes most of us to question if and how we will be saved. As for those subsidies; here’s a solution. The boys and girls in Washington could send each adult driver an equal portion of the subsidy and we could spend it on gasoline. That way, our pain at the pump would be eased and the oil companies would get their subsidy money anyway. That makes too much sense doesn’t it? The government’s answer is to “investigate” high gasoline prices, and Exxon’s answer is to produce an “I feel your pain” TV commercial to educate us on oil sands in Canada.

Wall Street firms that are “too big to fail” have gotten paid; banks that intentionally made bad mortgage deals got their money; health care and insurance companies got their money; and selected contractors got their money, through highway work and two wars, one of which we did not need and the other of which should be stopped immediately, now that Bin Laden is dead. All of this prosperity for a selected few, gained by keeping the majority in abject poverty.

Here is the worst part of this country’s legacy of avarice: Juxtaposed against soldiers needlessly dying in Iraq and Afghanistan and coming home to poverty is the hypocrisy displayed by so-called patriotic politicians who are the first to say we should “honor” our service men and women. They pin medals on them, attend homecoming parades for them, and make tear-jerking speeches at their gravesites, but they pay them meager wages for their service. Consider this idea: Pay soldiers at least as much as the politicians who sit in their cushy office suites “playing war” games. That way, the patriotic rhetoric and that condescending statement, “Thank you for your service to our country,” will really mean something. Of all the folks involved in war, it should be the troops who are compensated the most. Aren’t their lives worth it? Soldiers serve the country; greedy politicians and corporate execs serve mammon.

As some of us know, serving “mammon” is a dangerous thing. Just in case you don’t know that, read Matthew 6:24. Today, in our “get all the mammon you can get” by any means necessary, it’s sad to see the examples being laid before our children. Corporate moguls sit before Congress with their condescending responses to questions; lying and cheating are on display by politicians and lobbyists who are only interested in grabbing as much cash as they can; and flaunting of material things by celebrities and athletes, all on a backdrop of poverty, natural disasters, and economic inequity, will surely prove to be the demise of our society.

Too many people in this country are unwilling to take a real stand against the corruption and greed we see every day. And too many people in this country are willing to serve mammon instead of God. Considering that reality, how long do you think this society of ours will last?

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