America Is NOT Broke
the Madison speech by Michael Moore
Madison, Wisconsin on Saturday, March 5th, 2011.
IF THE BAILOUT WENT TO CORPORATIONS WHO WHINED THAT THEY HAD TO HONOR THEIR CONTRACTS AND GIVE OUT BONUSES THEN YOU HAVE TO HONOR TEACHERS CONTRACTS TOO!!
America is not broke.
Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that
you’ll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life
your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long
shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It’s just that it’s
not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in
history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the
portfolios of the uber-rich.
Today just 400 Americans have the same wealth as half of all
Let me say that again. 400 obscenely rich people, most of whom
benefited in some way from the multi-trillion dollar taxpayer
“bailout” of 2008, now have as much loot, stock and property as the
assets of 155 million Americans combined. If you can’t bring yourself
to call that a financial coup d’état, then you are simply not being
honest about what you know in your heart to be true.
And I can see why. For us to admit that we have let a small group of
men abscond with and hoard the bulk of the wealth that runs our
economy, would mean that we’d have to accept the humiliating
acknowledgment that we have indeed surrendered our precious Democracy
to the moneyed elite. Wall Street, the banks and the Fortune 500 now
run this Republic — and, until this past month, the rest of us have
felt completely helpless, unable to find a way to do anything about it.
I have nothing more than a high school degree. But back when I was in
school, every student had to take one semester of economics in order
to graduate. And here’s what I learned: Money doesn’t grow on trees.
It grows when we make things. It grows when we have good jobs with
good wages that we use to buy the things we need and thus create more
jobs. It grows when we provide an outstanding educational system that
then grows a new generation of inventors, entrepreneurs, artists,
scientists and thinkers who come up with the next great idea for the
planet. And that new idea creates new jobs and that creates revenue
for the state. But if those who have the most money don’t pay their
fair share of taxes, the state can’t function. The schools can’t
produce the best and the brightest who will go on to create those
jobs. If the wealthy get to keep most of their money, we have seen
what they will do with it: recklessly gamble it on crazy Wall Street
schemes and crash our economy. The crash they created cost us
millions of jobs. That too caused a reduction in tax revenue.
Everyone ended up suffering because of what the rich did.
The nation is not broke, my friends. Wisconsin is not broke. Saying
that the country is broke is repeating a Big Lie. It’s one of the
three biggest lies of the decade: 1) America is broke, 2) Iraq has
WMD, and 3) The Packers can’t win the Super Bowl without Brett Favre.
The truth is, there’s lots of money to go around. LOTS. It’s just
that those in charge have diverted that wealth into a deep well that
sits on their well-guarded estates. They know they have committed
crimes to make this happen and they know that someday you may want to
see some of that money that used to be yours. So they have bought and
paid for hundreds of politicians across the country to do their
bidding for them. But just in case that doesn’t work, they’ve got
their gated communities, and the luxury jet is always fully fueled,
the engines running, waiting for that day they hope never comes. To
help prevent that day when the people demand their country back, the
wealthy have done two very smart things:
1. They control the message. By owning most of the media they have
expertly convinced many Americans of few means to buy their version
of the American Dream and to vote for their politicians. Their
version of the Dream says that you, too, might be rich some day —
this is America, where anything can happen if you just apply
yourself! They have conveniently provided you with believable
examples to show you how a poor boy can become a rich man, how the
child of a single mother in Hawaii can become president, how a guy
with a high school education can become a successful filmmaker. They
will play these stories for you over and over again all day long so
that the last thing you will want to do is upset the apple cart —
because you — yes, you, too! — might be rich/president/an Oscar-
winner some day! The message is clear: keep you head down, your nose
to the grindstone, don’t rock the boat and be sure to vote for the
party that protects the rich man that you might be some day.
2. They have created a poison pill that they know you will never want
to take. It is their version of mutually assured destruction. And
when they threatened to release this weapon of mass economic
annihilation in September of 2008, we blinked. As the economy and the
stock market went into a tailspin, and the banks were caught
conducting a worldwide Ponzi scheme, Wall Street issued this threat:
Either hand over trillions of dollars from the American taxpayers or
we will crash this economy straight into the ground. Fork it over or
it’s Goodbye savings accounts. Goodbye pensions. Goodbye United
States Treasury. Goodbye jobs and homes and future. It was friggin’
awesome and it scared the shit out of everyone. “Here! Take our
money! We don’t care. We’ll even print more for you! Just take it!
But, please, leave our lives alone, PLEASE!”
The executives in the board rooms and hedge funds could not contain
their laughter, their glee, and within three months they were writing
each other huge bonus checks and marveling at how perfectly they had
played a nation full of suckers. Millions lost their jobs anyway, and
millions lost their homes. But there was no revolt (see #1).
Until now. On Wisconsin! Never has a Michigander been more happy to
share a big, great lake with you! You have aroused the sleeping giant
known as the working people of the United States of America. Right
now the earth is shaking and the ground is shifting under the feet of
those who are in charge. Your message has inspired people in all 50
states and that message is: WE HAVE HAD IT! We reject anyone who
tells us America is broke and broken. It’s just the opposite! We are
rich with talent and ideas and hard work and, yes, love. Love and
compassion toward those who have, through no fault of their own,
ended up as the least among us. But they still crave what we all
crave: Our country back! Our democracy back! Our good name back! The
United States of America. NOT the Corporate States of America. The
United States of America!
So how do we make this happen? Well, we do it with a little bit of
Egypt here, a little bit of Madison there. And let us pause for a
moment and remember that it was a poor man with a fruit stand in
Tunisia who gave his life so that the world might focus its attention
on how a government run by billionaires for billionaires is an
affront to freedom and morality and humanity.
Thank you, Wisconsin. You have made people realize this was our last
best chance to grab the final thread of what was left of who we are
as Americans. For three weeks you have stood in the cold, slept on
the floor, skipped out of town to Illinois — whatever it took, you
have done it, and one thing is for certain: Madison is only the
beginning. The smug rich have overplayed their hand. They couldn’t
have just been content with the money they raided from the treasury.
They couldn’t be satiated by simply removing millions of jobs and
shipping them overseas to exploit the poor elsewhere. No, they had to
have more — something more than all the riches in the world. They
had to have our soul. They had to strip us of our dignity. They had
to shut us up and shut us down so that we could not even sit at a
table with them and bargain about simple things like classroom size
or bulletproof vests for everyone on the police force or letting a
pilot just get a few extra hours sleep so he or she can do their job
— their $19,000 a year job. That’s how much some rookie pilots on
commuter airlines make, maybe even the rookie pilot who flew me here
to Madison today. He told me he’s stopped hoping for a pay increase.
All he’s asking for now is enough down time so that he doesn’t have
to sleep in his car between shifts at O’Hare airport. That’s how
despicably low we have sunk! The wealthy couldn’t be content with
just paying this man $19,000 a year. They had to take away his sleep.
They had to demean him and dehumanize him and rub his face in it.
After all, he’s just another slob, isn’t he?
And that, my friends, is Corporate America’s fatal mistake. But
trying to destroy us they have given birth to a movement — a
movement that is becoming a massive, nonviolent revolt across the
country. We all knew there had to be a breaking point some day, and
that point is upon us. Many people in the media don’t understand
this. They say they were caught off guard about Egypt, never saw it
coming. Now they act surprised and flummoxed about why so many
hundreds of thousands have come to Madison over the last three weeks
during brutal winter weather. “Why are they all standing out there in
the cold?” I mean, there was that election in November and that was
supposed to be that!
“There’s something happening here, and you don’t know what it is, do
America ain’t broke! The only thing that’s broke is the moral compass
of the rulers. And we aim to fix that compass and steer the ship
ourselves from now on. Never forget, as long as that Constitution of
ours still stands, it’s one person, one vote, and it’s the thing the
rich hate most about America — because even though they seem to hold
all the money and all the cards, they begrudgingly know this one
unshakeable basic fact: There are more of us than there are of them!
Madison, do not retreat. We are with you. We will win together.
Madison speech by Michael Moore Congratulations to the 14 Senators for refusing to participate in the scam of the century. Fight for the teachers to bargan.
America Is NOT Broke