Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Don’t Vote Them In

The first president I remember is Harry Truman. My favorite, Ike, was Republican. I've seen a lot of changes since then and seen several national neuroses, but until now I never thought I'd seen national insanity.

C'mon folks. Taxation is necessary, and godless Socialism isn't the problem. The problem is we are being robbed, and if you've bought into it you're blind to it.

Did anyone really think that Obama or anyone else could clean up this mess in two years? We are faced with economic and environmental disaster brought on by short-term policies favoring individual wealth over all other considerations. That's what's destroying both the American conscience and the middle class.

On September 17, the News-Leader reported that in 2009 poverty increased to 14.3% from 2008's 13.2%. The country is blaming Obama.

A new study released by the research and consulting firm Spectrem Group says the number of millionaires in the U.S. increased by 16% in the same year. So is Obama to blame for this, too? (http://www.spectrem.com/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=AFFLUENTMARKETINSIGHTS2010)

Unemployment remains over 10%, 12 million more home foreclosures are forecast, wages are dropping and college grads are competing for jobs flipping burgers. Department of Labor data says that if this continues, the income gap in the U.S. "will resemble that of Mexico by year 2043." What's really happening is that the widening gap between haves and have-nots is destroying the middle. (http://www.workplacefairness.org/sc/incomegap.php) (http://www.sustainablemiddleclass.com/Gini-Coefficient.html) (http://www.workplacefairness.org/sc/incomegap.php)

The problem is not the so-called "socialistic" policies of the Obama administration but the "welfare at the top and cheap labor at the bottom" policies of the right. To compound the error, tea party carping about going back to the "good old days" before Social Security and Medicare not only offers no solutions, but adds to the problem.

Voting current politicians out of office makes sense for the country, but only those from any party seeking to reinstate tax cuts for the top and remove initiatives for those in the bottom and middle, i.e. hard-line republicans, rogue democrats and tea partiers.

The policies of the present administration have been vilified by sound bites from the right, but facts show the country is making a slow but sure turn-around from the cliff's edge that trickle-down economics has brought us to.

Elect a group of wing nuts like Rand Paul (KY), Joe Miller (AL), Dan Maes (CO), Sharron Angle (NV) who favor abolishing income tax, Social Security and Medicare, and our own tragi-comedy team, Billy and Roy, who will belly up to the lobbyist trough, kill regulations on financiers and corporations in the name of smaller government, and reduce upper crust taxes, and they'll turn this country back toward the brink of disaster at breakneck pace.

Social Security is a universal safety net, Medicare a lifesaver, and "Obamacare" morphed from a 1993 Grassley/Hatch Republican proposal to counter "Hillarycare". (http://trueslant.com/rickungar/2010/03/27/hatch-and-grassley-poster-boys-for-gop-hypocrisy/)

Tea partiers talk of revolution, but "Taking our country back" a hundred years isn't revolution. It doesn't even make sense. Vote only for those who will take us forward.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Left, Right, or Just Wrong?

It has been said that if a politician moved far enough to the right he'd get to the left (and vice-versa). With the emergence of the tea partiers, I began to ponder whether or not that was correct.

The far lefties and the tea partiers do agree on a few things like: concentrating power into too few hands creates problems for the people; the country has moved so far from its original constructs that we are on the verge of needing a revolution; and the people need to wrest power from entrenched politicians (Congress) in order to salvage what potential still remains for the nation.

The differences between the two perspectives re-emerge though, when you consider that the solutions offered from the left include reinstating taxation that tries to reduce the split between the upper classes and the working classes by asking for higher contributions from those who make the most, wage controls designed to return to the wage differentials of the fifties and sixties, and reduction of military spending while solutions from the right call for tax regulations designed to grow corporate strength, smaller government - which translates to relaxed regulation of banking and other financial industries, reduced investment in social programs, and steady or increased investment in defense and other security measures.

In short, the tea partiers seem to feel that any attempt to reduce military, defense or homeland security spending is unpatriotic while the left feels that excess spending in those areas is eating into our ability to take care of our own increasingly needy citizenry.

We all share the goal of a thriving economy with work for everyone, but the dividing line comes from the left believing that the way to do it is to empower the bottom end of the spectrum while the right believes that the way to do it is to empower the top end.

So far, though, what we've created is a system that tends to create a lower class that is dependent on welfare and an upper crust fattened by reduced regulation and tax breaks (hidden welfare) and favored by a constant source of cheap labor; none of which gives the poor a means of pulling themselves up or the nation a stable platform for security. So why are we, the middle class, living in a lopsided welfare state where the bottom gets welfare and the top gets welfare, but the middle just gets the squeeze?

It seems to me that if we want the nation to revitalize we need to devise a way to grow production from the middle. It's probably just campaign season hype, but I was encouraged recently by news of John Boehner's willingness to consider tax legislation that provides support to small businesses even if it ultimately means the end of the Bush tax cuts for the upper crust. If it isn't just hype, maybe it's the beginning of actual bipartisanship.

Well, I can dream, can't I?!