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Pelosi unveils a Democrat gun control bill that includes the gun, the knife, the lead pipe, the candlestick and the rope.
Compiled from reports by Zoe Z. Top, Thoebe Tulls,
PHILADELPHIA, PA, April 9, 2010. — Citing impatience with President Barack Obama's program to redistribute wealth, bands of "progressive" citizens across the country have begun a massive grass roots campaign to jump start income parity.
Like the thousands of Tea Party activists who have been overflowing venues in state after state, the Share the Wealth Party has no official leader and recently has been exploding in size and influence. Most of the growth has been taking place in so-called blue states, particularly in low-income areas where residents largely subsist on food stamps, welfare checks, low-income housing assistance, free health clinics, and pro bono legal aid.
"I thought Barack would be helping pay for my mortgage by now," said Wanda D. Moore, an SWP volunteer here in the party's unofficial capital, the City of Brotherly Love. "I need more help from guys like Joe the Plumber, who is obviously flush enough to start his own company unplugging toilets, and he should be flushing money down to me every time he gets a flush going. My family can't afford to be startin' no company 'cept for my brother-in-law, who specializes in marketing South American plant products. He's in the big house right now, so that don't do me no good."
Moore was taking part in an impromptu demonstration on the steps of a Pennsylvania Public Assistance office along with a throng of at least two dozen others. One man was holding a hand-drawn sign, "No job, no money, no food. Share the wealth now." Another woman held the strings to a dozen bright yellow helium balloons, each stamped with a Johnny Hart cartoon showing a cave man captioned "Give me your clams." Another woman held what appeared to be a vintage U.S. Army recruiting poster that featured an old man in a red, white and blue top hat and captioned, "Uncle Sam Wants Yours!"
Abe Eggar, who has been toiling on a 10-foot-section of sidewalk outside the Rittenhouse Hotel since its famous Lacroix restaurant opened in 2003, said he received a spike in monetary donations one evening after a local Tea Party group had dined in a reserved room at the restaurant. The group's waiters were wearing "Support Obama" buttons, which caused one of the customers to ask why the servers backed the former community organizer.
"He's going to share the wealth," a waiter replied.
At the end of the evening, the waiters found notes instead of tips on the tables. Scribbled on napkins, the notes read, "In line with your wishes, we have decided to share the wealth. Thank you for supporting our decision to give your tips to the gentleman working the sidewalk outside."
Salt Lake City's Share the Wealth leaders say their first priority is to eliminate a discriminatory practice that prevents those who have fallen victim to a disease from receiving beds at the city's public shelter.
"It's not our fault that we suffer from substance dependence," SWP Spokeswoman Needa Bier said. "Our disease not only prevents us from getting good jobs but it also keeps us from getting a place to sleep. The situation is so dire that some of us have had to use money that we have earned outside Temple Square to rent motel rooms rather than treat our disease with medicine that we normally purchase from the state."
(Utah law dictates that only state-owned stores may sell bottles of the substances most commonly used to combat withdrawal symptoms, including bourbon, vodka, wine and whiskey.)
SWP efforts in San Francisco received a shot in the arm today when the city's Democratic Mayor Gavin Newsom announced that the city would start wealth redistribution in two weeks.
Beginning May 1 businesses are prohibited from directly paying employees or stock holders except for members of two protected classes, registered Democrats and union laborers. All payments to others must be made to the newly created Department of Income Parity, whose officers (DIPs) then distribute the money equally among all city residents.
Newsom's executive order prohibits DIPs from sharing information on the status of undocumented immigrants with other governmental agents.
To ensure that high income earners do not leave the city, Newsom's order requires title companies to submit proceeds of property sales to the department rather than to sellers.
"It's been my experience that most people who are lucky enough to have jobs or businesses are greedy," Newsom said. "I wouldn't put it past them to try to move away just to try to keep their earnings above average."
New York's SWP members are clustered mostly in the northern half of Manhattan and near the party's rent-free office below street level near Grand Central Station.
"Every morning I wake up to the sound of subways bringing greedy rich folks from Connecticut and Westchester," said one resident, Les Holm, whose transposed name describes his circumstances. "Everything I own fits in this shopping cart, which I borrowed from Macy's 14 years ago when the Republicans took away my assistance check. "It really makes me mad that people who live in nice neighborhoods get more money than someone like me who has to play a harmonica and live in a dungeon to survive."
White House Chief Economist Hardy C. Graffs said the popularity of the Share the Wealth Party is not surprising because the rich line their pockets at the expense of the poor.
"The economy is like a pie," Graffs said. "When someone gets more than his or her fair share, then somebody else necessarily gets less. For example, if I were to start a company that made a gasoline replacement from weeds, the money I would earn would have to come out of the money that somebody else would have received, such as the king of Dubai. You can't expand the economy. You can only subtract from it."
Graffs said there is a consensus among Democratic economists that the only way to reduce the disparity between the rich and the poor is to reduce the income of the rich.
"The poor will always have nothing," he said. "So that means the poverty gap can only get bigger unless we prevent people from keeping more money. Studies indicate that income levels tend to increase with years of education, so it is vitally important that we prevent people from getting too much schooling."
Quote of the Day
"What do you think a stimulus is? It's spending - that's the whole point! Seriously." — Barack Obama