Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Feudal or Futile?

I need some help understanding just what is going on here. In New York, and nationally, there is strong support for policies that continue to pile the weight of the economic downturn on the shoulders of the middle and lower echelons of American society while extending more benefits to those who need no help.

In New York our legislature and governor voted a tax break for individuals making over $200,000 a year and couples earning more than $300,000 a year. This on top of the Federal tax break these same people received last year when Congress handed them a tax cut by voting to continue the Bush-era tax breaks. This is done, they say, to stimulate the economy and create jobs. How many jobs have the folks on Wall Street, who put us in this bind and are receiving big salaries and big  bonuses created in the past two years? More than they destroyed in the previous two? Nope!

How about multi-national firms ,like GE? Well, we know that they have created hundreds of jobs in their tax evasion departments. Their job is to find loopholes in the tax codes and exploit them for the benefit of the company. It is all legal, and something that virtually any organization would do, if it had the resources. GE paid no U. S. corporate income taxes last year. No taxes on billions in profits. Why? Because they can. They employ lobbyists and political contributions to influence how the tax laws are written and then hundreds of accountants and tax experts to use those laws to their benefit. Ah, if only the thousands of former employees GE fired over the years because their jobs had been shipped overseas had the same kind of influence and power.

Bill Bradley said it well on MSNBC's Morning Joe today when he said that if we don't address Social Security, health care, military spending and taxes at the same time, we will never get the deficit and the cost of government under control. The trouble is, both extremes of the political spectrum want only to confront one or two of those issues to play to the myopic views of the base of their respective parites. Why? Because they care more about staying in office and helping to enrich themselves and their supporters than about solving our problems. It is easier to pontificate, do little of substance, and reap the benefits of office than to attempt to find long-term solutions to complex problems and risk being voted out.

The gap between rich and poor continues to grow in the land of the free, while the politically brave are missing in action. I often blame the American public for not paying attention and continually electing the same boobs and crooks when it is really not our fault. Dave Matthews was right when he wrote in Waiting On The World To Change - It's not that we don't care, it's just that we know the fight ain't fair".

I always said that this current generation is smarter than the Boomers. We beat our chests and banged our heads against the wall and changed little about our society. This group takes a more Zen approach and goes with the flow, knowing that the rapid rush of water that yields to the rock and diverts around it, will eventually prevail and wash the boulder away, winning out in the end.

This grasshopper needs a beer.


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