“Will Someone Please Explain This To Me?”

Okay, President Obama has proposed his 2012 budget.  Among the cuts are those for home heating bill assistance to poor families.  That would be fair provided that areas where rich families were affected were also cut.  But the rich got tax breaks, not cuts in support.

So explain to me how we are going to survive when the rich can keep what they have while the poor, who have nothing, have support taken away.  Oh, I know that the Republicans in Congress are all for jobs – it is one of the mantras we hear so often today.  But what kind of jobs are we talking about?  Not the kind that will move this country into the future – President Obama is for jobs as well but his budget doesn’t support the jobs that we need.  And education is getting cut as well – as I wrote the other day (“Who Will Be The Innovators?”), if we don’t support education, innovation and creativity are impossible.

And I seem to recall that the Republicans in the House proposed increasing defense spending while wanting more cuts in social programs.  Another mantra that we have heard is “stability”.  But it is just another word for repression and control.  We have watched our freedoms be stripped away and we have forgotten what it is that this country is about.  Or we have decided that it is our best interest to rewrite history.  We have already rewritten the history of Christianity to make it subservient to the political and economic powers of this country; we might as well rewrite the total history.

At some point, someone is going to have to explain this to me – how we can keep pouring money into wars in Afghanistan and Iraq while taking money away from the poor and needy at home.  At some point, perhaps in the very near future, the imbalance between rich and poor in this country is going to explode.

Forget labels – just tell me how we can justify what we are doing?  Who gains in all of this?

I will also say this – I voted for Obama but I will not make that mistake again.  I will not vote for any of the possible or potential Republican candidates for the simple matter that they are worse than the Democrats.  I have the application to change my political affiliation sitting on my desk and I will move from Democrat to something more progressive in the coming months.  I am looking for a progressive candidate and hoping that I will find one.

So explain this all to me.  Explain how by pouring money into military-industrial complex and by allowing the rich to keep what they have stripped and stolen from the rest of the country and then telling the poor and middle class that they must pay for this and cannot expect anything in return, this country will be remain in existence.  We saw what happened in Tunisia and Egypt – what will we see hear?


4 thoughts on ““Will Someone Please Explain This To Me?”

  1. There is little appetite for running up even more federal debt. How we got here is because for years we have spent and spent without regard to the bills coming due. They are now coming due. Costs projected to grow in health care, social security, interest on the debt and many other areas. Since the only place we can cut now and make an impact is discretionary spending then cuts will come in the government safety nets. Both parties seem enamored with defense spending. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will be with us for a while. As for the rich, they have their money and who are we to try and take it away? However they got it it is theirs. I do not accept your statement that the rich got that way by exploiting the poor. Bill Gates is wealthy because he developed a product everyone wanted. Who gains by this? The avergae tax payer that is who. If we want innovation we need to let innovators keep the money they earn.

  2. Kevin,
    Thanks for the comment. I would agree that there is little appetite for more federal debt, just as there is little appetite for state or local debt. But discretionary spending is not the only place where we can cut; it just happens to be where there are very few defenders.

    What would happen if the Defense Department were audited? There are reports out today (see http://www.truth-out.org/fix-pentagon-part-i-create-independent-audit-agency67799)that say that the Defense Department and its associated contractors cannot account for all the money that has been given and appropriated over the past six years (and perhaps even longer). If the DoD cannot account for its funds, why shouldn’t Congress be doing something about it.

    Yes, the wars in Iran and Afghanistan will be with us for a while; we have decided that peace can only be obtained at the point of a gun and what we spend there really doesn’t count.

    I have nothing against the rich earning money but the gap between the rich and the rest of the population has been growing over the past dozen years and you have to wonder why and how they get the money. What John Wesley said many years ago still applies – one may earn all that they can but do not do it on the backs of the workers. And then, having earned all you can, save all you can and give all you can!

    Bill Gates is wealthy because he developed a very interesting business model. He didn’t develop a product that everyone wanted; he developed a product that everyone needed and then he made sure that there was no competition. Everytime someone came up with a new type of software, Microsoft either made a copy that would be included in their package or they simply bought out the competitor. And while I know there are long-time employees at Microsoft who are wealthy because of their stock options, check out the treatment of the temporary workers that were hired by the same company. Back in the 1990s, one could be a temporary hire at Microsoft and be working 40 hours or so but not receiving any benefits. This was deemed illegal and any company who has workers working more than part-time must give benefits. There was a simple solution to this – now companies simply make sure that their workers don’t work more than 20 hours per week; that way they don’t have to pay benefits.

    Finally, I agree that we need to allow innovators to keep their money. But where are the innovators? They aren’t in our schools because we are producing them. I realize that President Obama’s proposed budget contains funds for education but I doubt that 1) those funds will stay in the budget if the Republicans have their way with the budget and 2) the funds are more for the status quo – testing and more testing – than for the creation of programs that generate thinking and analytical skills.

  3. You want too audit the Defense Department? Good luck. Congress appropriates various different monies which must be spent within a specified amount of time. There is one year dollars, two years dollars, multi year dollars and these are sent to all the services who then contract it out in various ways. Congress also puts in special items in the defense budget that all have special tracking considerations. There is no master ledger of dollars in DoD. Each service and various agencies within each service have their own unique accountig systems. I recommend you read DoDBuzz each week for a few weeks. Then ask yourself what can be done about it.

    Wesley’s approach to money seems great but I do not know how to apply it.

    Voting for a candidate more progressive than Obama next election is a great idea. As a Republican I would encourage more of Obama’s former supporters to do that.

    • Kevin,
      You just explained the problem. The Republicans and Tea Partiers came into Congress with the goal of cutting down government. If the Defense Department accounting systems are so convoluted that they cannot be audited (and as at least one report has indicated, they don’t want to be audited), then that is one of the first things that needs to be addressed.

      The fact that the Republicans and Tea Partiers would rather cut social programs than tackle the real problems with government spending tells us where their heart lies (or perhaps the lack of their heart).

      Wesley’s call to save and give as much as one can was not simply a call, it was the way that he lived. He drove the British tax people crazy because they couldn’t figure out where his money was going – they figured that he must have hidden it somewhere because no one gives away literally 90% of their income. What he did was decide what he needed for living expenses and everything else was given away. Living within a budget- isn’t that what the Republicans and Tea Partiers want the government to be doing? Or do they have another agenda, one that involves suppression of rights and the restriction of freedom?

      If, by your last comment, you are suggesting that any of the Republican candidates that are or might consider running for President in 2012 are progressive, rethink it. What the Republicans have shown in the past week alone is a complete disregard for human rights. The political attack on workers in Wisconsin, the political act on women in the House of Representatives, the disdain for comprehensive healthcare program in this country – all show the Republicans and Tea Partiers to be regressive in nature, not progressive. There is this mantra for jobs but all the present Republicans seem to want is jobs for themselves and not for this country.

      There are individuals out there in this country who see what is happening and they aren’t buying the rhetoric. This country may very well be on the verge of demonstrations like those in Tunisia and Egypt; let us hope that they don’t turn into the demonstrations in Bahrain and Libya.

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