Sunday, October 31, 2010

States' Rights

This post should be read with Taylor Swift's inspirational song Change playing softly in the background. I humbly submit this proposal as a peace offering to John Boehner, John Cornyn, and Mitch McConnel. Since they have no plan, here is one for them. Though I could be wrong, I believe they will adopt and embrace it since it encompasses their political philosophy in its purest form. Heck, they may even make me an honorary Tea Party member.

Let's abolish federal taxes altogether and let our federal government send a bill to each state based on the population of that state. It will be up to each state to take responsibility for collecting the taxes and, through this plan, all citizens will pay equally for the costs of maintaining our country. We already do a census as mandated by an act of Congress signed by many of our founding fathers, so this plan will save lots of money.

And, since we don't want any more bridges to nowhere, the federal government will also bill the individual state for federal projects that the individual state is not able to complete on its own. This should put an end to special interests and pork!

The possible downsides to this plan are that the leaders in a lot of red states would have to grow up in a hurry and deal with the economic realities of running America. And, the cookie jar would be a lot less accessible to them. And, a lot of strip bars on K Street would probably close.

We could have one big census before enacting this to prevent states from "deporting" citizens to neighboring states and, using the Bill of Rights, the federal government could enact and enforce huge economic sanctions and penalties against states that practice this and don't pay their fair share. It wouldn't be long before we had a balanced budget again.

Wake up America. See you on the Marrakesh, I mean Tea Party Express with Sarah.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Is America Being Purchased?

Just when I got over the fact that Sarah Palin was the vice presidential nominee in the last presidential election, along comes Christine O'Donnell. Damn you Tim Leary, when will this end?

Like Palin, only to a greater degree, if that is possible, O'Donnell lacks depth, substance, insight, integrity, et al. Like Palin, what she does possess is a folksy charm tethered with a certain amount of grit, that is disarming and causes some people to embrace her. But you just have to ask yourself, "How can any sane person view her as competent to be a Senator?"

Though many will cry conspiracy theory, this caliber of candidate is cropping up all over the country via the Tea Party. These candidates have accomplished little academically, little professionally, and often have trouble with the truth. O'Donnell had to dip into her campaign contributions to pay her rent. And with recent revelations about the United States Chamber of Commerce using foreign contributions, as well as huge sums of money from people including Rupert Murdoch, to run attack ads against opponents of these candidates; it may not be so far fetched to theorize that global corporations and the super rich are trying to buy control of America.

I never thought that I would ever agree with Donald Trump on anything. But in a recent television interview,  he acknowledged that, in the last decade, America has been hoodwinked by China in business and international trade. Trump failed to mention that China bought a lot of bad paper- specifically mortgage backed securities- from the powers-that-be over time. This supports my point. The American people are the real losers in all of this. Sorry, Donald.

Global Corporations and the wealthy cry for less regulation and lower taxes. Through their "Stepford" candidates, they argue that with the fragile state of the US economy, it will have a crippling effect to do otherwise. The reasoning behind this is the tinkle, I mean trickle-down approach to economic policy. And this is just complete balderdash.

During the Bush administration, consumer spending, including sales and related services, accounted for roughly 70% of all economic activity. Insane? It wasn't so long ago that many people spent money they didn't have and, with hindsight, were/are not able to pay back.The crux of the problem is that under Bush, the economy became dependent disproportionately on consumption, and, at the same time, a significant number of Americans were loosing their real disposable income.

The further concentration of American wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer, including foreign interests, while passing the expenses of America on to the vast majority that have less and less is beyond insanity, and a recipe for the death of democracy. Additionally it will facilitate the creation of poly-economies. You see the wealthy need only so many toilets. The responsibilities and obligations of this country should be shifted from those in the middle to those at the top. Our democracy, like any structure, needs to maintain it's foundation or it will crumble.

We need to create and keep high wage jobs in this country. We need laws and regulation. As Montesquieu said of democracy, "In the state of nature all men are born equal but they cannot continue in this equality. Society makes them loose it, and they recover it only by protection of the law." To paraphrase Warren Buffet, "The wealthy are obliged to take responsibility." And we must get stronger in international trade and the way we do business in the world. As Trump pointed out, America- the country- is getting "body slammed" in the world arena.