Sometimes it takes balls to do the right thing. That pretty well sums up the legislative agreement called “The Budget Control Act of 2011”, that set in motion this march toward the much-feared ‘Fiscal Cliff’.
But, is it this bad thing that no body really wanted and only did it because everybody knew the great minds in our Congress would work out a way that everything would be alright and nobody would have to take any medicine. I’m gonna’ take a pragmatic view of our situation and simply say, ‘let’s take our medicine and then get back to work making this country continue to get better. I know nobody likes to do the obvious, preferring to think up all these wonderful tricks that will balance our budget, pay down the National Debt, and project out into the unknown for 10 or 20 years to make it less dark and foreboding.
My real concern is when we gleefully run up and jump off the Gift Cliff, doing the right thing…whose gonna’ take the credit…both sides will try and that’s not fair; I should get the credit…be made ‘King’ or something.
Apparently, when our beloved Congress doesn’t have anything to do, they read the ‘talking points’ notes they’ve stolen from the other side and grind away at how to make the other side look stupid…mostly saying our grandkids should not have to pay for all this ‘fat’ living. Fat Living, let me see, Poverty Level 2012 for a family of 4 is $23,050. Just for grins, do you know what median income is…drum roll please… $32,140.
Here’s my point, the median income of a person with a bachelor degree is $43,143 and 30.44% of people over 25 have one. My little game is to take all the people with at least a bachelor degree out of the income calculation…I hope you get my point, because with only a bachelor degree, I’m not smart enough to figure out how low that pushes the other 69.66% median income down. Again, my guess…it’s pretty damn close to the poverty level.
President Obama talks about higher education much more than the GOP, which seems to think if you have a lot of money, you can send your kid to college and get them into that higher earning level. Duh? (I love writing that word, it makes me feel young and hip…but actually only have a hip that hurts every morning and am certainly not young) Now on to my revelation; poor people at, or below, the poverty level don’t pay income tax. They pay sales tax and property tax, if they are lucky enough to own a home or as part of their rent. Really, they pay very little, or no, income tax. I won’t bore you with the stats on this one, but they pay little or no income tax and an infinitesimally small part of all income tax . I don’t see them sitting around worrying about which of their stocks is paying the highest dividend either. When they die, they’re dead, no inheritance tax to worry about…just poof…gone.
Revelation, revelation, what the hell is my revelation?
Here it is! We get more people with college degrees making more money, paying more income tax…dah-dah (another good one that I actually do understand what it means)…much of our fiscal situation would be resolved. Point in fact…we have slipped from leading the World in the percentage of 25 to 34 year olds with degrees. Strangely, Russia is first with 54%, we’re now 12th with 40.4%.
OK, my revelation turns out to be only simple common sense; a better educated, more productive, introspective, society would produce even greater prosperity for even the lowest end of our citizens. But there is a hidden problem that few seem to realize, one that could doom this country into a slow developing, unalterable malaise that would usurp fiscal resources needed to weed our garden of that evil seed of poverty, rather than going to that widely divergent need of the rich, as they attempt to gather more insulating money while pushing that weed infested garden further from their sight.
If that sounded confusing, try this…the more poor people there are, the more voting power they will have to adjust the economy to their needs. That’s a hell-of-a statement coming from me isn’t it…being the Democrat that I am? My intent is to say that the rich need to do more so they don’t lose control…Opps…did it again didn’t I. Well, here…I’ll try one more time…when there are more dumb people than smart people voting…well…you get my drift…no Opps this time. I give the example in comparing it to the people of Afghanistan with women only now being allowed to go to school…in a limited way…and the religious sects fighting for control of the country. My thought, being respectful of the poorly educated poor people in their society; religious sects rely strongly on limited and controlled education producing conditioned followers that cow-tie to the expectations of their education-challenged leaders. This inbreeding of blank intellectual aspiration produces abhorrence for change that might foster introspection and higher intellectual challenge and greater anticipation for improvement in their collective quality of life. When you beat someone down intellectually and have them trained, generation upon generation to believe their having a goat is the major success in their life; you are limited to a future guided by mass goat herder mentality.
We’ve come through a terrible time in America in the last 12 years; some, not our fault. It seems like Y2K started a decade of anxiety. I had a terribly worried friend that collected survival food and materials during 1999. From there on we just hit one obstacle after another. If Y2K had happened, it would probably have done us and the World in. Without Y2K and 911 we might remember the Bush years as just a pep rally led by a down-home Bubba, resurrected from his evil ways of youth and trying desperately not to cling to anybody’s coat tails while the perception of VP Cheney and Sec’D Rumsfeld using strings pulled from behind to make his mouth move is, and will be, forever strong. What followed those events are reactions that we could have controlled with proper and deep respect for the changing world around us.
Party affiliation has come to take on new meaning; not just the donkey or elephant humor cartoons of years gone by; no, we are now on opposite sides of what this country was founded upon and what was needed to allow it to succeed in the future. Taxation WITHOUT representation, not freedom from taxation, was the cause and with what may be the greatest concluding sentence of any document of any government ever written…our Declaration of Independence says…
“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Devine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”
This fervent ‘declaration’ used to punctuate the conclusion of their dissolution of the King’s power seems quite clear and precise, without condition. Reading The Declaration of Independence you will find that many of the items of what the ‘Fathers’ cited after including this statement…
“To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world”…
are charges against the King of England for exercising his self proclaimed power over them as a means of taxing and punishment when they had no say in how they should be governed.
The current condition of our legislative conflict has merit in questioning the ability of our government to tax the governed by whom and for whom they were created…or elected to office. Many of those ‘Facts’ provided for the ‘candid world’ were monetary in nature. It appears The Founding Fathers took their oath seriously before signing their fresh new document where they pledged ‘our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor”. Was it Socialist in Nature, a mixing of their considerable wealth, thought to be a necessary for the rest of the ‘trading’ world to have confidence in this upstart collection of colonies seeking their place in the formal world of governments? Or was it just a way for this boys club to have a bloodless bonding leading to signing their names? My guess, it was a combination of both; needing to be taken seriously by the people they represented back in their respective colonies, they had to show they had personally invested in all their futures.
Now, in this modern time, as we argue about only rich people getting elected to office, we must look back under the specter that only rich people were entrusted to lead this country to freedom from England. My conclusion is that the King of England, with unimaginable wealth, did hold some sway over the desires and fantasies of the large land owners who mostly made up the Continental Congress. And so…the debate goes on…did the British Parliament act of its own accord or did King George III gain his own resolution.
OK, how does all this connect and make any difference in our confusing modern world? Let’s see…First, it’s always about the money. England had it, the colonies didn’t. Trade was picking up and many merchants in England were doing business with counterparts in the colonies. The Stamp Act and other efforts by England to ‘make’ the colonies pay for what they were costing the ‘Crown’ are significant. You shouldn’t forget that part of the Declaration of Independence called for the colonies to make their own trade agreements with other countries. One of the big issues, involved both before and after the “Seven Years War” was of the English first building and then maintaining, at significant cost, a standing Army in the colonies. The money thing brings an interesting fact concerning then Major George Washington whose brother was an investor in the Ohio Trading Company that didn’t want to lose trade to competing French colonist. The early battle of that French Indian War was under command of Washington.
Second; our current ‘Fiscal Cliff’ is certainly about money…who has it…who needs it…and what right the government, by vote, has to determine what to do with it. It’s obvious to any that care to check…our choices after 911 first invading Afghanistan chasing to punish al-Qaeda and the Taliban, was followed by shifting to Saddam Hussein and his Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq…somehow based on imperfect intelligence. After these misguided adventures in eye-for-eye diplomacy were grinding along, our diverted eyes allowed the Wall Street Debacle based on the Housing Bubble bursting that Alan Greenspan said wouldn’t, followed by a nose-diving economy that was either caused by or supported by the unparalleled and unimaginable expenditures to save everybody’s job here and fight wars for everybody’s freedom over there. Yep…it’s about the money alright.
We did something that no other country on Earth could have even vaguely envisioned…we created an enormous amount of money through deficit spending with off-budget spending that would dwarf the entire economic outputs of all but a few economies. We did that! All to show the World we would leave no rock unturned to find and punish whoever sent these 19 bad guys that flew the planes that killed 2,977 of our citizens…and…we would not let our big banks or car manufacturers fail as a result of years of bad practices. The argument on all these issues will go on forever with little chance of attaining an undeniable truth.
The interesting part of these arguments is their impact on today’s political party disconnect. I’ve said in other articles that we are the ‘vision’ of what the World wants to be and we, with Hollywood and Madison Avenue, are very good at delivering an ‘image’ for the rest of the World to pay homage too. Is that all bad? Probably not…as The Founding Fathers pledged their Fortunes in creating an idea that the colonist could rally behind, our United States of America…today…is working hard to project an idea the rest of the World can look to for guidance.
I know my circles of logic are expansive, often seemingly with no hope of returning to their point of origin…but please, stay with me just a little further; by education we can develop the body politic possessing the intuitive ability to interpret the cause and effect of this modern world on those miraculous seeds sewn by our Founding Fathers way back there…granted, the garden does need weeding from time to time. The more obvious effect of increased graduates of higher education is our combined productive ability to generate the meat and potatoes, tools and utensils, science and technologies, and fits of fancy that keeps the rest of the World hoping we can and will continue to do this thing we do, and just maybe helping them get to their own brighter, greener pastures.
They are watching; let us not fail them by polarizing our society between the have and have nots. Let us demonstrate once again our reasoned, intellectual wisdom used back there in 1776 when we “mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”
You’ve got to admit, that was one strong declaration.
Sadly, we must now pay the piper for our gallant effort related to war and jobs. The loss of the $2,500 tax relief we all got some 8 years ago under Bush II will hurt. The defense budget cut will hurt. Rich people won’t make as much money when the companies they own don’t make as much money. We will all hurt to some extent, so here I go…toes hanging over the edge, back straight, arms held out to my sides… with a little flex of the knees lean forward and sail out over this physical cliff with eyes wide open, enjoying my view having just pledged my life, fortune, and honor to make this country continue to do the right thing…for everybody’s benefit.
Just to let you know, the bottom we will hit after going off the ‘cliff’ is a mushy mess down below. I got some bumps and bruises, but was mostly just bounced around by self serving, selfish attitudes of special interest groups that had already decided and slipped slowly down the cliff over the previous years.