Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tea Party, Taxes and Terror

The fundamental issue of the original Boston Tea Party in American history, was taxation by the British Parliament on tea consumed in the colonies. Colonists objected to the tax because they believed it violated their right to be taxed only by their elected officials. At that time, colonists were not allowed to vote for members of Parliament. Their battle cry was: "No taxation without representation." Our constitution gives the Federal Government the right to levy taxes in order to "provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity." The current tea partiers have the right to vote for the president and members of the congress, unless they have blown up a federal building or committed some other heinous crime. The issue is not whether they are obliged to pay taxes or not.

In addition to the right to vote, contemporary tea partiers have the right to refuse government benefits, decline Social Security Benefits, refuse to congregate in parks that are funded and maintained by the government. They can make huge donations to Black Water. Decline to travel on highways. The list goes on and on. It should be noted that current tax rates are the lowest they have been in 50 years. And current American tax rates are the lowest among industrialized countries. Nobody likes to pay taxes, but the freedom and quality of life that we as Americans have, has a price. No democracy without responsibility.

The fringe element of the tea party is another matter. An armed march on the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing  by a militant group, is bordering on sedition. Anyone that doesn't view the actions of McVeigh  as "right there" with the bombing of the twin towers has got a screw loose. Janet Napolitano may want to institute the previous administration's ingenious color code warning system to protect the American public from this threat of domestic terrorism.

It's bedtime for Bonzo and the insanity in American Politics.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

People Are What They Do! Not What They Say They Are.

The reactionary conservative movement in America is taking on a persona that reminds one of a bad science fiction movie. Their claims and analyses are rooted in convoluted logic, manipulated data, dishonesty and outright lies. During the tail end of the Bush years, our economy was in free fall. The stimulus mediated the fall and the markets have rebounded nicely. Recently there was an uptick in the unemployment figures and, unlike during the great depression, we didn't get to a 35% unemployment rate. That is a success. Let's hope the rebound helps more American citizens soon.

The Health Care Bill, over time, will reduce the cost of care by requiring insurance companies to provide preventive care and increasing the size of insurance pools. With preventative care over a lifetime it is not inconceivable that future retirees will be healthier and require less from Medicare and Medicaid. And, at least at the present time, the market dictates that the the greater the size of the pool, the less the cost to each individual in the pool. Most importantly, the bill will lead to a healthier, more productive workforce and a stronger America. But then these objectives are not a part of the conservative agenda.

The reactionary conservatives religiously practice behaviors that they profess to be against. They are like wolves in the clothing of sheep. The reactionaries cry for their "pound of flesh" for every transgression of anyone that opposes their regime yet they absolve themselves from the same moral/legal laws. One can only wonder what Barry Goldwater (a person that many of them may be unfamiliar with) would say? Remember that Gingrich was having an affair when he lead the Clinton impeachment hearings and his K Street Gang took pillaging to a new level. And Bush "went to town" procuring Clinton's surplus. The rules of the game are not for them.

What is truly beyond my comprehension, is that their spokespersons and the media that support the movement express that none of this matters. What they do and say doesn't matter because it's only entertainment. Though it probably won't happen in my lifetime, if the reactionary conservatives gain power, Americans better get ready for Mad Max in the Slums of Calcutta. Now, how's that  for entertainment?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

None Dare Call It Treason

Conservative advocations of late are aimed at fortifying the economic aristocracy and turning  America into a modern version of feudalism. The policies of cutting taxes for the wealthy, plundering the public coffers, and creating huge government debt, without giving significant benefit to society at large; and by doing so reducing the quality of life and chance of economic mobility for the vast majority of American citizens, is akin to an attack on democracy and tantamount to treason.

Let's look at the record. Put simply, Clinton's economic policy, unlike Bush's, sought to restrain government spending, lower budget deficits and open trade with capital infusions from the government. Also, Clinton severely reduced the welfare system. Most importantly, he fundamentally understood that some economic equity was necessary to preserve democracy.

Obama inherited two wars and the scariest financial crisis since the great depression. Though he initially deviated from Clinton's policies "to avert the end of the world", his long term plans are remarkably similar. Let him keep working. Note: Obama did not nationalize the banks. He "capitalized them" and is now pulling the money out.

The party of just say "No", just can't wait to get in power again so it's members can just get their hands in the cookie jar again, all the while cutting taxes, responsibilities and obligations for their wealthy constituents. Again, the record, Palin, the Caribou Barbie was quite effective at bringing federal dollars to her home state. Alaska ranked third among all states and received an almost 2:1 return on federal taxes paid. Pork Barbie?

To paraphrase Warren Buffet, for our democracy to survive, it requires responsibility and obligation. The reactionary conservatives denounce big government but they fight so hard to get control of it. A return to their policies will kill the economy, hope, and the Spirit of America.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Rights of the Individual

The American Constitution guarantees the rights of the individual but not to the point that select individuals can destroy the lives of entire segments of the society. You see, they are guaranteed rights too. The founding fathers were pompous white farmers, and they were brilliant men. Like most brilliant men they realized that they would make mistakes and not foresee all states of affairs . There lies the brilliance in our Constitution; its flexibility to adapt to changing realities. Anyone with a smathering of knowledge of American history could cite the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, the 19th Amendment, the draft and the abolition of slavery as examples of change.

The housing boom in this country was a result of deception and bad economics. The wealth that was created was not real and is being "paid back" today by the American people. And the jobs that were created during this time of "irrational exuberance" are gone forever. A few individuals did make a lot of money. But at what price? It is no wonder that Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, creators of real wealth, jobs and prosperity supported Obama.

I truly hope it is not the case, however it is possible that America may not recover quickly from the damage done during the Bush years. But it is certain that if we continue down the same path that got us into this mess, America, as it was conceived by the founding fathers, and as we know it, is doomed.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Free Market Renaissance

Do politicians understand simple economic realities? Or are they so morally and spiritually bankrupt that all they are capable of is being lap dogs for the special interest groups? During W's tenure, with regulation thrown out the proverbial window, economic models presupposed that the average citizen could afford to spend 60-70% of their income on a mortgage; and if they couldn't somebody, who could, would come along and buy the property. And property values would continue to rise, or at least not fall. There was no need for "truth in lending", or honesty in ratings, or regulation of any sort because the market would police itself. Well, it did.

At the same time this Free Market Renaissance was going on; now remember the 60-70%, the Bush Administration, through it's policies, was waging war on middle class America. There was, and continues to be, strong anti-union sentiment among conservatives in this country. The prevailing thought was/is that American workers are overpaid and under worked. The solution was the exportation of jobs and a slander campaign against unions. The rights of workers in this country were diminished and it was deemed unpatriotic to expect overtime pay or benefits or even a fair wage. Note: America has the highest relative poverty level of any industrialized country. The middle class, the backbone of the America Way, is shrinking! Bush implemented 1/2 of Nixon's policy of wage and price controls and effectively picked the pockets of the American people.

Am I crazy? Am I a socialist? Is this insane? Those scholarly journalists at Fox, the Jerry Springer of news casting, are calling for the same failed policies. Thought their lawyers, they have sweet employment contracts, yet they denounce union contracts and middle class rights. The tea party citizens may be victims of the rhetoric, as so many of them collect government benefits. One definition of insanity is to do the same thing over again and expect different results!