Month: December 2012

The Stupidity of the Fiscal Cliff and Other Political Blame Games

Sunday night, 6pm on 12/30/12.

For weeks we have been hearing about taxes going up on everybody or nearly everybody, depending on what type of deal is finally passed by our federal government.

At least one of the cable news channels is counting down the hours until the new year with a twist,  they are counting down the hours until we plunge over the cliff.

It’s hard to tell the political posturing from reality.

Quite frankly the politicians are more concerned with covering their own butts than doing what needs to be done.

One cannot honestly say this is all the fault of Democrats or Republicans.  They are all to blame.

The basic problem is that our federal government is spending more money than it takes in, so we have a budget deficit and we borrow money to make up the difference.

According to my research, our country has had to borrow funds for most of our 230+ years as the United States of America.  The last time we had a budget surplus was during the Clinton years which ended over a decade ago.

Since then we have spent money on multiple “wars”, bigger government, and increased obligations as our population ages. Also our economy has had set backs with a recession.

Both parties want to fix the problem, but both parties want to blame the other for not cooperating.

It’s maddening.  It’s crazy.  It’s childish, and stupid.

Republicans don’t want to raise taxes.  Democrats don’t want to cut government benefits.

And so the petty stalemate continues as the Senators are told they can go home tonight and need to return at 11am Monday.

Look, I understand that we need to make changes.  It’s not an all this or all that solution that will fix this mess.

Instead of being loyal to a political party, our elected representatives need to be loyal to our country.

The gap between rich and poor is turning us into the very model of a third world country.

We need a simplified tax code.  One that a fifth grader could understand.

We need a system of collecting money to run our government that does not punish people from doing well, and does not hold people back who want to do better.

We need a system of meeting our obligations to those citizens whom we have “promised” benefits to.

Too many people are planning on government entitlement programs to simply change the rules and tell them no.

We also need to do what nearly every President has promised to do, and cut government waste.

This is a long term problem that needs a long term solution, not a deal cut in the final hours and minutes before a deadline.

Our money problems are real.

In order to achieve a long term solution, we need everyone to stop being so political.

This stalemate is due to our elected officials doing what they think they need to do to remain in office.

So once again, we need to strip our elected officials of that concern/power/distraction.

Term Limits.

Think it through.

Could we get our elected officials to seriously do the jobs we elected them to do if we limited them to 2 consecutive terms?

It’s worth considering, I believe.

Problem is, how do we get Congress to do this?

A Civilized Debate

Here’s what led to this post:

  1. Name calling in politics
  2. Charges of Racism if someone disagrees
  3. Heated arguments between friends on specific issues
  4. Watching the movie Lincoln
  5. And this picture and quote I saw recently online…

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I am thankful that I live in a country where we still have most of our freedom of speech.

But I also want to clarify a few things too.

If I agree with something that President Obama says or does, that does not make me a liberal, a progressive or a Democrat.

If I disagree with something that President Obama says or does, that does not make me a racist.

If a Republican makes some outrageous, uninformed comment, she or he does not automatically speak for all Republicans, conservatives, or Tea Party people.

Most of the public talk from the politicians and talking heads on radio & television are spouting one sided and fringe beliefs and arguments that make me cringe.

I’ll listen to and watch both sides of an argument.

The answers to most of our problems are not easy.

We have built layers upon layers of “fixes” to systems that are now cluttered with so many rules that most people do not understand the whole picture and all the details.

Taxes for example falls into the multilayered flawed system of government complexity.

You know in some ways I wish we could simply start over and toss out some of the rules and replace them with something that was simple and straight forward.

The perceived problem is that by adopting a flat tax or fair tax system, it would create chaos and throw our economic system into a greater mess as so many individuals, organizations and corporations are structured to take advantage of our current system.  A new system would require a total reorganization and restructuring of financial “stuff” .

But, back to my main point today and that is we really need to be able to talk and debate these ideas and issues with an open mind, knowledge of our constitution, and a compassionate heart, wanting the best not just for ourselves, but for all within the parameters of our basic laws of the land.

Can you participate in a civilized debate?

Fixing the Voting System

We have Presidential Elections every 4 years.

These elections usually have the highest percentage of eligible voters casting ballots.

We have about 204 weeks before the 2016 November election.

We have time between now and then to clean up a number of voting issues.

One of those issues is voter registration.

We need a nationally recognized and accepted method of making sure all who are legally allowed to vote are able to vote and that those votes are accurately counted.

Right now this is left to each state, however I see nothing in the constitution that prohibits a national movement to standardize the system nationwide.

Some folks on the left accuse folks on the right of using voter id laws to suppress voting.

Some folks on the right accuse folks on the left of voter fraud and intimidation.

A national system would give us a level playing field…

Except…

Our House of Representatives is filled with Congressional districts that have been drawn to favor one party or another.  This is wrong and needs to stop.

We need to stop stuffing the ballot box by creating these crazy Congressional districts with wacky boundaries.

(A couple of stories about this are here: http://www.hourdetroit.com/Hour-Detroit/February-2012/Boundless-Confusion/

and http://www.ourdime.us/1710/pure-politics/how-did-kerry-bentivolio-get-elected-to-congress/ )