We’re all losing in the class war in America

Reader Teri L sent a link to a post that sums up a lot of what I’ve been trying to say- but never as eloquently, that we’re in a class war, and as the economic divide widens, eventually, we’ll implode and kiss it all bye-bye.

America will be a third world nation, if we’re not already there now by many standards.

Read this post in its entirety- I think it’s worth a discussion here:

this is class warfare, and it is becoming worse in the US than at any time since the 1930’s. And the outcome of this will be a fundamental test of the US commitment to its republic.

The media stokes the viewing public into emotionally-based and virulently distracting arguments about liberal versus conservative, while the gentried class skins them all alive.

One only has to watch the “news shows” on American television to see the lack of real content and discussion, with diametrically opposed “strategists” hurling sound bytes at each other with all the depth of a schoolyard standoff.

It is comfortable to retreat into an “us versus them” view of the world, and the noble class in the States is all too ready to facilitate that appeal to the darker emotions. People know deep down that it is a scam, and believe that it is easier to go along and get yours while you can, than actually attempting to change a system grown corrupt in an aging empire….

“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” Warren Buffett New York Times, November 26, 2006.

“The class warfare is over — we lost. I want to make that announcement today. Working people lost. The middle class lost.” Dennis Kucinich, 18 December 2009

And in the short term there will be quite a bit of jostling at the middle of the ladder, by those who fancy themselves, or their children, suited for the new nobility and so seek to perpetuate the status quo, with a lot of kicking and dog eat dog going on at the lower levels as the ladder shortens, trying to knock the immigrant, the less connected, off into the abyss, to feed the beast.

Out of all of this will come something different, and most likely something unexpected. It’s an old story, one that replays over and over. The remedy is sound reason and the Constitution, but these forces have been in retreat for the past ten years at least. Reform and justice have few friends while the looting of a generation is in progress.

via Jesse’s Café Américain: Class Warfare American Style.

With a failing fourth estate (the news media)- and a totally unregulated campaign finance system- there is little hope that the rich won’t be able to continue their dismantling of the middle class until the people rise up and try to put a stop to it.

I have thoughts of what that may look like- but they are too grim to share here. Our systems are so intertwined and interdependent, that even small disruptions can cause massive ripples. Look back to Katrina or 9/11 to see how our economy has reacted.

In these mid-term elections, it’s our duty as voters to start asking candidates hard questions about how much longer we’re going to tolerate bonuses for executives that robbed our pension funds and then taken a golden parachute ride. It’s time for clawback, prison and some serious payback.

The question is, will it be done in an organized fashion, or by a lynch mob.

If you question the possibilities of the latter- spend some time at a Tea Party rally looking at the signs- they should give you a good indication of how ugly it could get.

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14 Responses

  1. truddick January 6, 2010 / 9:21 pm
    The Tea Party crowd are on the side of the privileged elite.   They aren’t themselves privileged, but they’ve been convinced to argue virulently against anything that would do them good.  It’s rather the opposite of how representative democracy is supposed to work, with citizens voting in favor of their personal interests.
  2. Ice Bandit January 8, 2010 / 8:57 am
       The Tea Party crowd are on the side of the privileged elite.   They aren’t themselves privileged, but they’ve been convinced to argue virulently against anything that would do them good. (Truddick)

       Yes, dear Truddick, the Tea Party crowd are just like a bunch of potentially self-destructive children; constantly doing the political equivalent of running with scissors or sticking their fingers in exposed light sockets.  Lucky for us, we got folks like you and David Esrati to point out the error of our ways and steer us back to the sendero luminoso. Now the Old Bandito, who has seen this planet take a few spins, has watched government proposals and programs come and go. And El Bandito has observed that government programs do three things; cost unimaginable amounts of public money, limit freedom and thirdly and most importantly, fail. From LBJ’s Great Society programs, which didn’t eliminate poverty but institutionalized it, to the stupid War on Drugs, which fills our prisons, limits our freedom and makes the purchase of three bottles of cough syrup a crime, any attempt by the state to disparage a behaviour will do nothing but exacerbate the problem.
    And by the way, dear Truddick, just which elites have the Tea Bag folks wearing cheerleading uniform and sporting megaphones? Certainly not the Hollywood elite, who think that by being able to recite a line after only 25 takes qualifies them to comment expertly on political issues. Nor could it be the media elite such as CNN and the Dayton Daily News, who cannnot even thru their veneer of fake objectivity conceal their contempt for those who disparage the Great Helmsman. Nor could it be the increasingly unpopular and dangerous political elite, who ignore the will of the electorate on such issues as illegal immigration, serfdom taxation  and bolshevized health care. No dear Truddick, the Old Bandito fails to recognize even one set of elites that champions the Tea Bag crowd. And that’s the point; nothing frightens the genuine cultural and political  elites like a spontaneous and leaderless uprising. And what does this rabble want from the government? Basically, to get back to the core duty of protecting the citizenry, and that done, just leaving the citizenry alone…………….

  3. David Esrati January 8, 2010 / 10:11 am

    2 things about IceBandit:

    1) He’s not running for office. With such great wisdom, shouldn’t he be a shoe-in? Elected instantly-

    2) I agree with him 100% about the war on drugs, the hollywood elite, and the DDN- all useless.

    As to the Tea Bag crowd- and the ‘ol bandito- how about WHAT you are for- instead of all you are against?

  4. Brian January 8, 2010 / 11:41 am
    One large problem with “the Tea Party crowd” is that it’s not at all one easily defined, homogeneous group.   There are a bunch of well-meaning libertarians who I probably agree with on most of the issues, but they’re surrounded by an odd mix of crazies carrying signs with racist, nazi, and “this time my gun isn’t loaded…” signs.  These folks clearly detract from the message and credibility of the overall group.
    These same folks believe there’s a plot to kill grandma, and that our president was born in Kenya, and Sarah Palin is a maverick.
    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, frankly.
    And then there’s the fact that these “grass roots organizations” are funded by multi-multi-millionaire oil magnates, etc.   It really would be funny if it weren’t true and happening in my country.
  5. Robert Vigh January 8, 2010 / 12:20 pm
    I went to a tea party meeting on healthcare. It was really cool. They had assembled about 7 speakers on the topic of healthcare and each gave their viewpoint from their profession. The speaker for the evening announced that interruptions would not be tolerated as it was funded by the speaker at a private setting. He asked for small donations at the end because it was all self funded.

    It was very informative and had people that asked for elaborations as well as challenged what was said. I am drawn to the events, because it is primarily libertarians and people that are beginning to realize that freedom is a key ingredient to everything.

    To David Esrati: I think it is very clear what Ice Bandit is for. He is for freedom. One does not compromise one’s freedom, one pursue’s their freedom as an absolute. Other people find infinite # of ways to destroy the freedom of others. Consequently, it would appear that Ice Bandit is against everything, but truly and noticeably our well versed friend is only against one thing: The disparagement of freedom. The fact that others can bundle that disparagement into infinite disguises should not reflect onto El Bandito.

    Ice Bandit, hopefully I have not misrepresented you.

  6. Robert Vigh January 8, 2010 / 12:41 pm
    And regarding class warfare, well, follow the constitution. Stop allowing the use of force to seize the assets of people via the government. Limit the governments role and consequently, you limit the amount and effect of lobbyist and private companies to siphon off wealth from the middle class.
  7. David Esrati January 8, 2010 / 12:53 pm

    @Robert V. “Freedom” – has all kinds of connotations- and who are we granting that freedom to? So far, it’s been to the robber barons on Wall Street- the freedom to pillage our economic system.

    Yep- to have a civilized society, one must have rules- and rules curtail freedom- it’s all just one big slippery slope.

  8. Robert Vigh January 8, 2010 / 1:11 pm
    Society has to have laws that protect our natural rights. Such as, do not steal and do not fraud. That is not a very slippery slope.

    Anyone that has pillaged the economic system has done it lawfully through means of lobbying, greasing politicans palms to utilize regulation to their advantage. My point, is remove the politicians ability to institute that crap, stop their ability to take from the public and private entity’s will not be able to pillage. Very simple.

    Unless of course you believe the entire world should simply be made of angels who will organize our society for us. Freedom wins, even though you attempted to disguise it once again.

  9. Bubba Jones January 8, 2010 / 2:37 pm
    Brian – Interesting comments.  One thing that I found out the hard way when I was on the front lines of a local political issue is that you wish that 80% of the people that are siding with would be on the other side!! I think that holds true in the Tea Party movement when it comes to some of the crazy signs, etc.
    An interesting thing that I saw on MSNBC’s coverage of a Tea Party event in  Arizona was there inference that the attendees of the event were all racists who were pissed off since there was now an African-American President in office.  The “reporter” for this was their “urban, hip reporter” – a young late 20’s black guy that was trying to look like Lenny Kravitz.  He was decrying the fact that some of the people came armed to the event (many Arizonians open carry) and showed footage of a guy at the event carrying an AR-15.  He went on to say how bringing arms to this event, especially an assault rifle, was all due to angry white folks.  What their carefully edited footage didn’t show was that the guy with the AR-15 was black.  (And you liberals claim that Fox is biased??? LOL!!)
    I’m curious as to your comment about the grassroots movement being funded by oil magnates.  Are you referring to T. Boone Pickins? (No relation to Slim Pickins by the way!!)  If so, I think you have the tea party movement confused with the “Drill Here, Drill Now” movement.  Thankfully the liberals don’t have any millionaires (like George Soros) trying to quietly fund grassroots movements!!  And, thankfully no radical organizations that engage in voter fraud and intimidation like ACORN don’t receive any funding from liberals or from the Federal Government!
    By the way, I am one conservative that knows that Obama was born in the US and I don’t think that Sarah Palin is a maverick (although she’s got a pretty nice set of legs!!).  As for plots against grandma, well……??? ;)
  10. Greg Hunter January 8, 2010 / 3:27 pm
    I’m curious as to your comment about the grassroots movement being funded by oil magnates.  Are you referring to T. Boone Pickins? (No relation to Slim Pickins by the way!!)  If so, I think you have the tea party movement confused with the “Drill Here, Drill Now” movement.

    T. Boone was a funder of the Swift Boat Veterans that helped sink John Kerry.   It represents the bizarro world we live in where an American War Veteran is skewered and due to party lines is not defended by those who served.  They cheapened the Country and their own service.   T. Boone wants the country to be independent of foreign oil by replacing gasoline powered vehicles (OPEC, Venezuela, Nigeria)  with AMERICAN Natural Gas and then having electricity produced by Wind Power, which seems to be in line with a liberal way of thinking on Green Energy and a Conservative Way of Thinking by using our OWN resources instead of killing Arabs for theirs.
    Several salient points I would like to make concerning the loud booming voice of the American Right.  Most of the Corporations that own the media care not a whit about people only profits and maybe not even the profits of their propaganda arm.  For the most part people are barraged by pro corporate messages that are not in the interest of the people that actually believe in the message.   Soros is David taking on Goliath, but analysis is not an American strong suit as evidenced by the comments on this subject.

  11. Brian January 8, 2010 / 8:49 pm
    @Bubba:  Pickens is an example but he isn’t the one I’m failing to remember by name now.   Sorry, I haven’t heard his name in a month or two.   He may be a chemical company owner involved in the oil industry.
    @Greg:  thanks for reminding me of some of Pickens’ past.  Despite some of his past sins, he may be on the right side of this Natural Gas issue.
    I’m starting to remember why I ignored politics for my first 42 years.   It’s very frustrating, and the more I hear from both sides of the issue, the more I realize I don’t really like anyone.   Anyone.  Is this how it happened for you, IceBandit?    :-D
    I just watched 2 hours of Glenn Beck (opposition research?) and realized that, though he may be a raving lunatic, he actually makes a good point on occasion.  I think Olbermann is over the top, too, but I agree with him most of the time.   But Beck doesn’t like anyone either.  He’s all about the conspiracies of the Progressives to remake America for the last 100+ years, and he says Bush and McCain are progressives as well as Obama.   So while I thought he was just railing against Obama, he just doesn’t really like anyone.  He just… sniff sniff… really loves his country… sniff sniff…    Was he this quiet when Bush was president?  Would he be this quiet if McCain were president?   Who knows.  It’s all very annoying.  Where are the easy answers?  :-)
  12. Brian January 8, 2010 / 8:51 pm
    when I typed “quiet” I think I meant to type “loud”.  See how confused this discussion has made me? :)
  13. David Lauri January 8, 2010 / 10:55 pm
    I just watched 2 hours of Glenn Beck (opposition research?) and realized that, though he may be a raving lunatic, he actually makes a good point on occasion.
    God, I’d hate to watch hours and hours of Glenn Beck on the off chance he might make a good point.
  14. James R Herman July 11, 2010 / 4:18 pm
    If you’re looking for class warfare and an easy call then I’ve got one for you. I’m trying to convince my homeowners’ association that I should have the right to live in a home of my own choosing. After being sued and losing for charging fees that 60% of the homeowners didn’t approve, the association is redoing the list of covenants and restrictions and hoping to get that 60% approval this time so they can go on a campaign to persecute and prosecute. Here’s number 12 on the list. “No building of less than 1,200 square feet in floor area, excluding open porches and garages, shall be erected or placed upon premises.” My feeling is that people who supports number 12 don’t have common sense in their head or the golden rule in their heart. Here’s what I’ve sent to the board.
    This preamble should be inserted right after the definitions and before the list of covenants and restrictions.

    Preamble: The American Dream is to live in a home of one‘s own choosing. Enchanted Hills Community Association shall establish no covenant or restriction that runs contrary to this dream. For example, no exclusionary zoning or square foot restriction shall be imposed. This preamble is superior to any other covenant or restriction and overrides any other. That being said, 60% of the Enchanted Hills votes, as defined below, have established the following covenants and restrictions to apply to Enchanted Hills Lots:

    Number 12 is classic exclusionary zoning. If you put in “exclusionary zoning” into Bing and then check out Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, listing you’ll see what I’m talking about. Exclusionary zoning has been spreading like cancer across America. In Michigan I would’ve had to go 167 miles further north into mid Michigan to the village of Weidman near Central Michigan University to find a lot where I would’ve been allowed to place my singlewide mobile home and pay property taxes like everyone else. The reasons for exclusionary zoning are primarily to exclude “undesirables” and secondarily to protect property values. Anyplace you don’t see singlewide mobile homes you can bet there is exclusionary zoning keeping them out. Take the town of Grass Lake, Michigan, not too far from Ann Arbor. I noticed there was a 1985 mobile home for sale and I presume that’s about the time exclusionary zoning was enacted there. So only the singlewide mobile homes that were already placed on land were allowed to remain. No new singlewide mobile homes could be placed there. I checked with a realtor in Grass Lake before I decided to move to Rocky Fork Lake about 55 miles east of Cincinnati. Rather than go 167 miles farther north into Michigan I decided to go about 300 miles south and save a little on heating.
    Exclusionary zoning is kind of America’s dirty little secret. Even Dave Esrati, Democratic candidate for congress in Ohio’s 3rd district special Democratic primary, confessed in an email to me that “This was the first time I was made aware of the issues of mobile homes- and I get it.“ People in general are not aware of it or actually vote for it. It’s the local government leaders who pass these ordinances on their own. They don’t come right out and say you can’t put a singlewide mobile home on a lot there. In Farmington Hills they say your home has to be at least 24 feet wide. And the roof pitch has to have a certain steep pitch and the eves have to extend out at least a foot. In order to be able to transport a singlewide mobile home on the highway it can only be so wide and so tall. My singlewide is 15 feet wide from side eve tip to side eve tip so it only extends a few inches past the vertical sidewall. And although it has a peaked roof, the roof pitch is not very steep because you don’t want the structure so tall that you can’t get under bridges as you transport it down the highway.
    The courts have viewed zoning an exercise of police power – to protect the public health, safety and welfare. Generally zoning restrictions are upheld “unless palpably without reasonable foundation.” So weather a regulation has gone “too far” is decided on a case by case basis and it depends on what state and what city etc that you’re in. The Wikipedia Case History is somewhat encouraging. For example 1965 National Land and Investment Co v. Kohn 419 Pa. 504: 4 acre lot size struck down. Also 1979 Home Builders v. Berlin 81 N.J. 127: Minimum floor space struck down. Also 1981 Robinson v. Knoll 410 Mich. 293: Prohibiting Mobile homes deemed an invalid exercise of police power.

    The American Dream is to live in a home of one‘s own choosing. No local, county, state, federal or any governmental entity should establish a covenant or restriction that runs contrary to this dream. Specifically exclusionary zoning of any kind should be prohibited. This American dream is superior to any other covenant or restriction and overrides any other.

    This principal is embedded into our constitution which proclaims that all men are created equal and that we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights. That among these rights is the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In order to have life one must have the necessities of life: food, shelter, and clothing. That shelter should be of one’s own choosing. The cancer of exclusionary zoning has spread across much of America. Exclusionary zoning has twisted the American dream into the American nightmare of buying something so expensive that it takes you 25 to 30 years to pay for it and thus puts one into financial slavery.

    Local governments are interfering with the housing market with exclusionary zoning. This prevents us from having welcoming, affordable and competitive places to live and do business. The key is to reduce our cost of just plain living. In the southern half of the state of Michigan I could only locate my single wide mobile home in a mobile home park. That gave the mobile home park owner a monopoly so the lot rent could be raised anytime with the sky as the limit. From August of 1991 to May 2009 my lot rent was raised 91%. From August of 1991 to May 2009 I paid over $55,000.00 in lot rent for a 26 foot by 60 foot lot that’s worth about $7,500.00. So I paid for this lot more than 7 times. The mobile home park was getting about a 50% return on their investment per year. So I paid for the lot every two years.
    Let’s put this into perspective. That’s about $8,656.00 per acre per month. George Bush has a ranch of many acres in Crawford, Texas. Would he pay $8,656.00 per acre per month in rent each and every month just to live there? If I could’ve just bought a lot back in August of 1991, put a singlewide mobile home on it and paid property taxes like everyone else then I’m estimating I’d be about $45,000.00 better off now. And what about all the rent I paid for renting apartments in my life? So this is true for renting in general. The point here is why rent if you can buy?
    It’s OK for a rich man to put his big house on a big lot but he and others like him have passed laws so a poor man can’t put his small home on any size lot. And if they had their way in Farmington Hills, Michigan, then even mobile home parks would be zoned out. You can’t put a new mobile home park in Farmington Hills Michigan and I am not advocating that. Although it’s too late for me, I’d like to see exclusionary zoning eliminated for others.
    The guy across the street paid $170,000.00 for his house and he paid one-third less in property taxes than I did in lot rent. Keep in mind his home and property was worth more
    than four times what my home, including the lot that it sat on, was worth. So I paid six times the rate that he was paying. I don’t mind the rich man driving his $50,000.00 Hummer on the road because I can drive my $13,000.00 Honda Civic on the same road. We both have transportation and we’re both riding. But we both also need food, shelter, clothing and the pursuit of happiness. Our cost of living is higher than it needs to be which leads to homelessness, foreclosures and the gross inequities we see throughout America.
    Wouldn’t it be great if we could structure our society to maximize the probability that people could take care of themselves? Instead of giving a man a fish we should teach him how to fish. And oh yeah, let’s take down the “No Fishing” sign while we’re at it. Instead of treating the symptoms of poverty lets get right at the causes of poverty. Freedom is the key. Milton Friedman, Nobel prize winner in economics, has correctly said that freedom leads to prosperity. That’s why democracies have much more prosperity than dictatorships. But democracies are still flawed in that a majority can disadvantage a minority. That is any majority against any minority regardless of the rightness of the issue. Remember, a majority hollered “Crucify Him!“ when Pilot asked the crowd what should he do with Jesus. AND HERE’S A BONUS. NO ONE HAS TO DONATE THEIR TIME OR THEIR MONEY. WE JUST HAVE TO BE TOLERANT.
    Some worry about housing values going down. The Farmington Hills housing code talks specifically about protecting property values. Aren’t people more important than property values? And why would we value property less if a singlewide mobile home was located nearby? What does exclusionary zoning say about our moral values. Buildings don’t make a community it’s the people in the community that make a community. People should only be excluded if their behavior is bad. That’s what jails are for. Let’s not exclude someone simply because he/she works for less money.
    I do not want exclusionary zoners telling me how I should spend my money or my time. That is anti-freedom, anti-American and just plain wrong. People should be able to live where they want in a home of their choosing. People would then live where the schools are good and the crime is low. People would live close to where they work to minimize the commute. Pretty soon all the schools would be good and crime would be low everywhere. Our country would only be strengthened by people having more financial security and self determination. I don’t believe government’s role is to take care of people from cradle to grave. But I do believe in a level playing field and structuring our society to maximize the probability that people can take care of themselves.
    You won’t hear exclusionary zoning talked about on the Sunday morning talk shows or see a question about exclusionary zoning come up at a town meeting. Yet we live with the housing crisis. Who ever thought it was a good idea to buy something so expensive that it takes you 25 to 30 years to pay for it? And it’s absurd to expect housing values to double every ten years as the national association of realtors touts in a radio commercial as one of the benefits of home ownership.
    One nice thing about singlewide mobile homes is that you can move them. So in California, instead of just leaving your home and hoping it doesn’t burn down, you can move it. In New Orleans instead of just leaving your home and hoping it doesn’t get destroyed by a hurricane, you can move it. Single wide mobile homes make nice starter homes, guest homes, vacation homes. If we could eliminate exclusionary zoning I believe we’d see the quality go up and the formaldehyde go out.
    John McCain says he’s concerned about veterans. So does Barack Obama. Yet 1 out of every 5 homeless persons is a Veteran. Do you think we’d have more homelessness or less homelessness if we had housing choice? I think we’d have less. Poor people would rather go to the grocery store and buy their own food. At Christmas they’d rather go to the store and buy Christmas presents for a child instead of hoping for a donation by the Salvation Army.
    Are you interested in social and economic justice for all of our citizens? Well here’s an opportunity for you to get on board the right side of an issue that addresses that justice. This is an issue everyone in America can understand. Not everyone understands the Iraq war or the Viet Nam war for that matter. Does John McCain think the Viet Nam War was a good idea? What did we accomplish or even hope to accomplish? The people there voted fairly for communism. John was dropping bombs on them. Did he think they would welcome that with open arms. The best ideas are the ideas that eventually win out. Freedom is the best idea. Capitalism and democracy are winning over dictatorships and communism simply because freedom has a better chance with capitalism and democracy than it does with communism and dictatorships. Exclusionary zoning is not fair housing. Housing choice is the key to a just society. Everyone must be included. Let freedom ring.
    Specifically number 12 does not follow the golden rule. Treat others as you would wish them to treat you. What if we changed number 12 to read as follows: “No building greater than 1,200 square feet in floor area, excluding open porches and garages, shall be erected or placed upon premises.” I’m sure that would upset anyone who would like to have a home larger than 1,200 square feet. I believe number 12 violates one’s constitutional right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
    Exclusionary zoning is the difference between one living a life of dignity or being forced below the poverty line by spending money you don’t have for something you don’t need. If something happened to my singlewide, say a tornado, fire or neighbor’s tree crashing down on it, I might like to just have T K Constructors build a small 400 square foot home as a replacement. I lived in a 300 square foot apartment in Ypsilanti (Eastern MI U my alma mater) for 12 years and that suited me just fine. So 400 square feet would be more than adequate. Right now T K Constructors would charge about $50/square foot. So this small replacement would cost about $20,000. Please realize that inflation has averaged 3.5% for the last 100 years. So in 30 years things will cost almost 3 times what they do today. So in 30 years that small 400 square foot home would cost me about $60,000 to build. If the requirement was to build 1,200 square feet then the cost would be $180,000. That is not doable by me. If I could live in a home of my own choosing then I might have to opt for a travel trailer as a replacement because even $60,000 would be out of the question. Most retired people face the inflation problem and exclusionary zoning just makes this problem so much worse. Government has tried to help with reverse mortgages but exclusionary zoning is the real problem by forcing people into expensive homes to begin with.
    Finally number 12 is hypocritical because most of the homes in Enchanted Hills are less than 1,200 square feet. So even if number 12 is not retroactive, it’s like saying we won’t crucify you, just the next poor Jesus to come along gets the cross. And there’s the problem of replacing your home if something happens to your current home. I believe adopting my suggested preamble will show that we are not hypocrites, that we believe in the true American Dream of owning a home of one’s own choosing, and that the fundamental rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness embedded in our constitution are respected here in the Enchanted Hills Community. I hope that some day soon we can see the scourge of exclusionary zoning struck down by the U S Supreme Court so that America can be greater than she is today. Thanks.

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