Posted by: JDM..... | August 30, 2015

Sen. Bernie Sanders is wrong….

and here’s why…..

Let’s not beat around the bush.

Senator Bernie Sanders waxes passionate about Democracy, but what he really wants is a Socialist state that wears a Democratic hat.

His favorite whipping boy has been, and continues to be, “the rich”, a quality that defies universal definition just like words such as better, more, less, and so forth. How does one measure a relative quantity? Any way one wants, I suppose. “Rich” is an emotionally loaded word historically used in the pejorative sense to describe one who has great wealth, especially in comparison to the speaker of the moment or to some narrow and specific population. Senator Sanders doesn’t like the idea of billionaires, not because they are bad people, but because they control more wealth than he thinks they should, whether they “earned” it or not. Oddly enough, his answer tends to sidestep the concepts involving proper husbandry of the socio-economic environment so that it might produce a healthier crop, preferring to improve the lot of the struggling farmer by handicapping and essentially “punishing” those who have done well.

I’m not so naive as to believe the wealth of the top echelons is all squeaky clean, but in many cases where it is not, there are also likely to be regulatory holes of opportunity that have been exploited or even, in some cases, ones that were perhaps included by design. It never ceases to amaze me how many people show up in Washington, DC driving Fords and Chevys and leave in BMWs and Mercedes Benzes. Unscrupulously garnered wealth requires collusion or enabling.

I have very little trust in the idea that more laws and more aggressive micromanagement of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness will correct the economic imbalance we see today. I strongly suspect that what has spoiled the soup as much as anything has been government taking over the spoon and announcing “I’ll stir now!” And there are still those who think it would be a good idea to let them write the recipes too?

Let’s take a look at the Twelve Point Plan Senator Sanders seems to think is both a great idea and one that is in harmony with the spirit of the Constitution, not just today but in the future as well. How does one ensure that quality for a future no one can foresee? By allowing our system of government to remain flexible and imperfect:

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We need a major investment to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure: roads, bridges, water systems, waste water plants, airports, railroads and schools. It has been estimated that the cost of the Bush-Cheney Iraq War, a war we should never have waged, will total $3 trillion by the time the last veteran receives needed care. A $1 trillion investment in infrastructure could create 13 million decent paying jobs and make this country more efficient and productive. We need to invest in infrastructure, not more war.

My two cents worth

Senator Sanders is right, of course, when he points out the sorry state of so many of our fundamental services. Many of those systems were once state of the art, built during “boom” times when American Industry was unrivaled. These are not “boom times”, to state the obvious, so I don’t know where he thinks he can find a magic rock to turn over and find $1 trillion. Actually, I think I do know. He’d take it from the “rich”. And then what? The “rich”, whom he and those who share similar views so despise, became rich, if not by being industrious then by being clever, and not always in ethical or legal ways. Does he naively believe they will sit idly by without working diligently to develop an End Run around every Toll Gate he puts up? How does he think they developed their current coping mechanisms?

To saddle either “big business” or “government” with culpability for our shortcomings and challenges is simplistic, but the society today seems only able to conceive of one hand clapping or the other, rarely both, so “either-or” is the way nearly all issues play out. The truth more likely lies in our continued dismissal of Eisenhower’s iconic warning, and the resultant uninterrupted extension of the cozy relationship between “big business” and “government”.

Throwing selected military activities of the past fifteen years into the middle of his comments about our domestic infrastructure was a classic “Straw Man” designed to make his proposed $1 trillion adventure sound like pocket change by comparison. Calling the period following the September 11, 2001 attacks against the United States “the Bush-Cheney Iraq War” is simply the usual political snake-oil salesmanship. The nation’s response to that horrible day is not relevant to the topic of repairing America’s infrastructure post 2016.

Furthermore, truth be told, it has been said that out of the 239 years that we have been a nation, we have been “at war” in one way or another for 222 of them. An important issue, to be sure, and we all dream of peace and prosperity. It has nothing of a direct nature to do with the issue of a crumbling infrastructure either, except that our economy is highly dependent on the demand for the tools of armed conflict. Sanders may sing to a different tune, but his plans still amount to little more than swatting flies instead of cleaning up the mess that draws them.

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The United States must lead the world in reversing climate change and make certain that this planet is habitable for our children and grandchildren. We must transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energies. Millions of homes and buildings need to be weatherized, our transportation system needs to be energy efficient and we need to greatly accelerate the progress we are already seeing in wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and other forms of sustainable energy. Transforming our energy system will not only protect the environment, it will create good paying jobs.

My two cents worth

Why limit ourselves to just “leading?” Furthermore, while it may be possible to arrest some of the progress of “climate change” so that we can minimize potential future consequences of the late great Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, I seriously doubt that even Al Gore himself could reverse it, or that it would be wise to do so if he could. Rather than running around in circles like “Chicken Little“, spitting out misstated crises and grandiose designs to solve them, I should think it more productive to acknowledge a circumstance and come up with strategies to stop doing whatever it is we are doing that makes matters worse. Then, we need to address the matter of dealing with the negative effects thus far experienced, without simply coming up with new ways to make matters worse.

It’s too bad that “discussions” of such primary issues invariably become prescribed, two-options-only (my way or the highway) matters. I agree that our planet is undergoing some climate changes.  Heck, I can see it.  I don’t doubt that humanity most likely has had an exacerbating role in that circumstance. It is true, in my view. I tend to root through the scientific observations and analyses of scientists for signs of scientifically intelligent life, however, when I want to learn about something in that field. I am really not all that trusting of reheated leftovers served up by folks with ancillary political agendas attached to the information.

I sometimes wonder if the first thing our predecessors did upon stepping out of the primordial soup was set about the business of making their new digs feel just like home. Let’s face it, the world has been humanity’s litter box and dumping ground for millennia. Our parasitic and short sighted relationship with our planetary home started coming home to roost when advances in science, the Industrial Revolution, and an 8,264% increase in our own population alone over the past 225 years or so joined forces to convert some perfectly natural environmental rumblings into a looming toxic crisis.

Does this have to change? Yes, of course. Whether we “lead”, follow, or simply cooperate isn’t the issue.

We need to participate in the development of rational strategies to answer the challenges of science without sacrificing the independence and freedoms of our society, or the building blocks of a healthy economy. A healthy national economy in the future will have to play by new rules without abandoning our founding principles. Exploring all opportunities and new ideas is, as the Senator points out, crucial. Where we differ is in methodology. Sanders is of the school that touts large central government with the authority to micromanage where and when it pleases.

I think it makes more sense to mine the experience-bank of successful people from the various areas of concern for ideas to accomplish what we know needs to be done. We do that, but the rats nest of excess and corruption we are faced with today was created and nurtured by unholy relationships and cryptic deals with bureaucrats and elected officials over dinner in Aruba, Dubai, and so forth.

There are some very real economic challenges to be met in transforming our entire concept of “energy”, its production, and its distribution. The global economy, including that of the United States, is a fossil fuel based organism that involves a great deal more than just products to meet our transportation needs, make electricity, and heat our homes. It might surprise many to learn that other items made from petroleum include, clothing, pharmaceutical and personal care products, agricultural chemicals like fertilizer and insecticides, toys, appliances, just about anything made of plastic, and much more. No windmill or solar panel can do those things or support the industries that produce them. Those industries and businesses must transform too, if our divorce from fossil fuels is to move us forward into a robust future instead of back to the Pleistocene.
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We need to develop new economic models to increase job creation and productivity. Instead of giving huge tax breaks to corporations which ship our jobs to China and other low-wage countries, we need to provide assistance to workers who want to purchase their own businesses by establishing worker-owned cooperatives. Study after study shows that when workers have an ownership stake in the businesses they work for, productivity goes up, absenteeism goes down and employees are much more satisfied with their jobs.

My two cents worth

That’s a lot of stuff to cram into one point!

1-new economic models

The “corporate welfare and corporate greed” drums have been beaten into dust for decades, and that same one note dance number with no steps is still being played.

Our economic model is viable and as valid as it has ever been, but it isn’t being allowed to function normally. Short sighted regulatory processes, and the government trying to micromanage more, both directly and indirectly, contribute to inefficiency and corruption.

When governments in the past have taken it upon themselves to develop “new economic models“, the results have been disastrous. To wit: China, Russia, North Korea, and so on. Interestingly enough, over the past few years, while the United States has pursued “progressive” philosophies, the USSR collapsed and its former component parts have been frolicking with “capitalism” and creating billionaires; China has entered the modern age and taken over world markets, not by force, but by participation. Granted, their political structure has enabled them to stack the decks by exercising absolute control on the home front, but they, and Russia, have nevertheless pursued our traditional economic model, while we have begun to toy with theirs.

2-stop with the tax breaks

Tax concessions to attract business development is a commonly used tool, but such incentives should come with adequate “checks and balances” and real consequences for those who would exploit the system. These “deals” become problematic when government representatives provide faulty or inadequate oversight of the process, not because The Corporation just unilaterally decides to start screwing people.

3-support small business establishment

Supporting the establishment of new businesses and worker-owned cooperatives is best done by creating a regulatory and tax environment that makes such endeavors viable. Throwing “government money” at the idea, which always comes with heavy duty cables attached, is a “response”, but not a “solution.”

Government has no money to throw around that it hasn’t either confiscated from the people who earned it, or borrowed it on the world market, deferring the Day of Reckoning to the future when they are long gone and enjoying a juicy retirement.

Government does not produce anything that contributes to the economy; government creates instruments for claiming rights to the productivity of the workforce and business sector.

Those points aside, there is much government can do to encourage the creation of new businesses, but not by saddling them with a dependency on federal life support just so “the numbers” look good at the right moment.

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Union workers who are able to collectively bargain for higher wages and benefits earn substantially more than non-union workers. Today, corporate opposition to union organizing makes it extremely difficult for workers to join a union. We need legislation which makes it clear that when a majority of workers sign cards in support of a union, they can form a union.

My two cents worth

While it may be true that union workers who are able to collectively bargain for higher wages and benefits earn substantially more than non-union workers, the rest of the story might be worth considering as well. Perhaps it’s time to stop using the same bumper sticker that has been used for the last hundred years or so anyway. Be that as it may, there is no reason in this world why workers who wish to form a union should not be able to do so unimpeded. By the same token, those who do not wish to do so should not be forced to do so or to surrender tribute to their union coworkers in exchange for being allowed to get or retain their jobs. I have minimal personal experience in this area, but I remember it well.

I had taken a year off from college, and taken a 40 hour job in the meantime. A week or so into the job, a guy came up to me in the locker room one morning a asked me why I hadn’t joined the union yet. I told him that I really wasn’t interested in joining and…..

He cut me off, …..and just looked at me for a second, and then told me in no uncertain terms that, in that case, I might as well leave right then because I wouldn’t have a job if I didn’t sign on. He was, shall we say, intimidating. I later learned that it was indeed a “closed shop”, but that I had a grace period of a few weeks before I’d be terminated. I didn’t need it. I left that day. I don’t put up with Knee Breakers.

Terms of employment rightfully are between employer and employee. What Sen. Sanders is saying is that if a union can organize in a workforce, everybody has to pay up and do as they say. The historical relationships, both real and mythological, between unions and organized crime are well known. Government’s responsibility is to fight such activities, not to join them, and certainly not to direct them.,

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The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is a starvation wage. We need to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. No one in this country who works 40 hours a week should live in poverty.

My two cents worth

Government has a difficult job trying to work both sides against the middle, and that is just one of the unpleasant facts of life. Nevertheless, history has proven that restraint invariably outperforms force. I understand the idea of “minimum wage”. As with most areas of daily life, government does have a role in such matters. Ideally, any role must be as remote as possible, at least from the perspective of those who tend to sit on the more conservatively oriented side of the room. Thus, the idea with minimum wage is that government should be extremely cautious lest they create a back-fire worse than the original problem.

Keep in mind, our elected, appointed, and wage-earning bureaucratic government “servants” (they serve the nation, by the way…not us) are not bad people and they don’t get up in the morning raring to get to the office so they can start screwing the people. I don’t believe that of them. That is not to say there aren’t people who act in ways contrary to my preferences or espouse philosophies with which I disagree. But, every bad idea starts out as a good idea, and we have some factions that tend to be a bit overly enthusiastic with their spewing of allegedly good ideas.

Amid the rumblings of concern about wages, several employers have taken steps to move on their own to improve their employees’ incomes. It remains to be see how that will work out in the long run as far as full or part time employment is concerned, but I find it interesting that some politicians and their followers are champing at the bit to enact some universal minimum wage laws on the federal level. Why? The only reasonable answer would be to gain control of, and to direct, the re-leveling of wages. Control.

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Women workers today earn 78 percent of what their male counterparts make. We need pay equity in our country — equal pay for equal work.

My two cents worth

I was about ready to graduate from college when the term “Bra-Burner” and related expressions were coined. I understood that to some extent. I grew up in the “Dad goes to work and Mom stays home” age; Richie Cunningham and all of that stuff, so it could be awkward at times. I mean, I was taught to open doors and surrender my seat for women, but after the mid to late sixties I might be cursed as a “Chauvinist” for doing so. My peers and I survived nevertheless, and instead of staying home to bake cookies, women run corporations, perform complex surgery, fly military jets, and bake stuff when they damned well please or if they can find the time. But it’s not perfect yet, and that isn’t acceptable to those whose political philosophies are obsessive about everything being statistically equal.

Appearances seem to rule in these times, and concepts of “equity” are no exception; actuality is secondary, if not irrelevant. But life is not a golf game with Tiger Woods, where members of a “qualified class ” merit a handicaps allowing them a statistically significant chance of scoring…. “equitably“.

Women have achieved a great deal, our culture has adapted quite comfortably to that, and there is plenty of momentum in play without any new intervention by government. The “King of the Mountain” contest would not be improved by the addition of a chair lift.

If government was an unrestrained dog, it would demand ownership of every hydrant in town, and then it would redesign them.

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Since 2001 we have lost more than 60,000 factories in this country, and more than 4.9 million decent-paying manufacturing jobs. We must end our disastrous trade policies (NAFTA, CAFTA, PNTR with China, etc.) which enable corporate America to shut down plants in this country and move to China and other low-wage countries. We need to end the race to the bottom and develop trade policies which demand that American corporations create jobs here, and not abroad.

My two cents worth

I echo Sen. Sanders’ dismay at the migration of America’s brick-and-mortar industries across our borders to countries with developing economies where production is cheaper and less regulated. Twenty years ago, a gentleman named Ross Perot warned of precisely that outcome, but the Literati were more interested in joking about his ears than in examining what he had to say. Today: Enter Captain (Bernie) Obvious, stage left. I would change a couple of his words, however, as I find them selectively misleading.

(1) “Enable“- Alleging that trade policies “enabled” corporations to shut down and move to Cheapsville suggests that said corporations have been champing at the bit to do so all along and that the trade policies were just the ticket. That is not very realistic. More accurately, the trade policies enacted created a business environment at home that interfered with the ability of domestic manufacturers to meet the goals of their owners and stockholders, or prevented it altogether. Sen. Sanders’ assessment is consistent with his general politic in that it suggests a credo whereby corporations exist to provide jobs and fat paychecks to the folks who work there, and that owners and stockholders are the bad guys who need to be constrained and take the leftovers.

(2) “Demand“- Sen. Sanders’ use of the word “demand” is a little too close to the concept of “force” for comfort, but as in the above comments about the word “enable,” The idea of a controlling government is consistent with his general politic. How about swapping that in for “facilitate“, as in proposing legislation and regulatory changes that attracts reinvestment here at home.

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In today’s highly competitive global economy, millions of Americans are unable to afford the higher education they need in order to get good-paying jobs. Further, with both parents now often at work, most working-class families can’t locate the high-quality and affordable child care they need for their kids. Quality education in America, from child care to higher education, must be affordable for all. Without a high-quality and affordable educational system, we will be unable to compete globally and our standard of living will continue to decline.

My two cents worth

Interesting. Just recently I saw a commentary on some news program about how our perception of the “College Degree” as the key to the Universe is a little out of date and off target. As has been the case so far, Sen. Sanders’ observations are generally right on, but his assessments of the circumstances, and proposals for remedies, are consistently myopic. Education is indeed out of sync with the times and the projected demands of the future. However, Sen. Sanders, and others who drink from the same well, propose to “fix” perceived inequities by, well, fixing them. It might be useful at this point to recall pet presidential programs promising to do just that. No Child Left Behind and Common Core come to mind, among others. The outcome of such political toys, of course, is that precious teaching time is spent testing and chasing the numbers for some inane federal fantasy.

The federal government has had its foot in the door of public education as a matter of course, but the establishment of the Department of Education in 1979 changed things. Supportive functions took on a more directive tone over time. Naturally, when those entrusted with managing the affairs of government dole out seven and eight figure treats coast to coast for Department of Education Trick or Treat, I want to feel confident that the money will be well spent for reasonable items contributing to education. It’s annoying when the local Podunk school can’t get money for textbooks while the big regional school down the road builds an indoor swimming pool next to the gym. A certain amount of oversight is reasonable and necessary. But an ugly sideline activity has developed as a part of the process of supporting and supplying tools for education. As in other areas, federal money may be a tool for local interests to address local needs, but they have also become powerful tools for Washington to define what those local interests need to be and to direct how they will be addressed. The other part of that formula is how the federal government passes unfunded mandates, and then establishes grant programs so communities can apply for funds so they can be in compliance, Misbehavior of any kind caries the tacit threat of denial of those grants, ergo, noncompliance. Private sector corollaries might be termed “extortion”.

The government needs to support crucial educational needs. The government needs to be barred by law from micromanaging some 13,600 school districts. Any federal money for education should be transferred to the states and the states move it on down the line from there according to local requirements. Dictating what must be taught or not taught under threat of withdrawal of funds differs little from the tactics of your local heroin or cocaine dealer.

So, yes, let’s beef up and modernize our educational systems. First step: toss out the cookie cutter and the Department of Education.

As for the questions of “free” or highly subsidized higher education, the word “FREE” simply means somebody else pays the tab. But it does get paid. It’s not “FREE“. Such redistribution of assets requires an expansion of bureaucracy, and rules…lots of rules…and forms…

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The function of banking is to facilitate the flow of capital into productive and job-creating activities. Financial institutions cannot be an island unto themselves, standing as huge profit centers outside of the real economy. Today, six huge Wall Street financial institutions have assets equivalent to 61 percent of our gross domestic product – over $9.8 trillion. These institutions underwrite more than half the mortgages in this country and more than two-thirds of the credit cards. The greed, recklessness and illegal behavior of major Wall Street firms plunged this country into the worst financial crisis since the 1930s. They are too powerful to be reformed. They must be broken up.

My two cents worth

Au contraire, as the saying goes, Sen. Sanders…. The function of banking is to produce wealth for its investors and financial participants., It does that in part by supporting and facilitating the flow of capital through customers and clients. The qualifying mantra of “productive and job-creating activities” is just political feel-good wrapping. The banking institution’s primary responsibility is to see that money going out the door comes back bigger. If it does so effectively and ethically, wealth will be created and people will feel good.

Business world sins occur for the same reason government sins occur: because they CAN. One cannot attack the Petri dish of their inception, because that is Liberty. One must be wary of the potential for wrongdoing, but not by destroying the freedom to err or by taking control of the doing.

Along those lines, Sen. Sanders bemoans the sins of the financial world and proposes the usual Big Government solution….wreck ’em and then put ’em back together according to politically powered plans.

Any greed, recklessness or illegal behavior on the part of the major Wall Street firms, or any other mega-corporation for that matter, can only develop with provision of a government Hall Pass or supportive regulatory and legislative activity. That’s where the work needs to be done once the effects of this corruption are addressed and resolved. Again, attacking the fundamental origins involves abridging, amending, or destroying Liberty.

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The United States must join the rest of the industrialized world and recognize that health care is a right of all, and not a privilege. Despite the fact that more than 40 million Americans have no health insurance, we spend almost twice as much per capita on health care as any other nation. We need to establish a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system.

My two cents worth

According to the Bill of Rights, generally speaking, I have the rights to life liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I could go down the list of specifics, but that would deny those who wish to know them the opportunity to find them out for themselves. However, I will address what I do not see as a right.

True, I , like every other citizen, have the right to healthcare. I also have the right to purchase a house, a vehicle, or an ice cream cone. What I do not have a right to is to receive any of those goods or services gratis . I don’t deserve to be mandated to purchase any good or service under penalty of law and threat of confiscation of my property by the Internal Revenue Service, either! What the hell does income tax have to do with health care or insurance anyway? What next, the Department of Weights and Measures prescribing my medications and policing whether I take them accordingly or not?

The grossly misnamed Affordable Care Act comes from the same roots as the also ironically named “Managed Care” essentially launched when Congress passed the Health Maintenance Organization Act in 1973. Promising improved efficiency, improved quality of care, and financial savings, the plans were becoming a source of controversy by 1990, having delivered the opposite in many cases.

I worked during the local application of “Managed Care” as a part of the Behavioral Health Department of a local medical center. I was conducting client assessments and referrals to either inpatient or outpatient treatment programs under the supervision of an A.S.A.M. certified physician and a clinical psychologist. When Managed Care came on the scene, promising improved efficiency and reduced costs, the scheme inserted an entirely new level of intervention between the provider and the patient. I spent countless hours consulting over the phone with someone a thousand miles away, struggling to convince that person on the other end of the line that the guy sitting four feet away, on the other side of my desk, had the symptoms I said he had, that those symptoms indicated what I said they did, and that the “insurance company” should pay for the course of treatment recommended. Managed care meant dealing with what we called a “hired gun” whose JOB was to save the insurance company money. Period.

Meanwhile, while those with the Power of Permission and those with the Power of Payment continued to stir the soup, increasing the complexity of getting healthcare, increasing the cost of getting healthcare, and thus, in my opinion and in spite of amazing advances in diagnostic tools and treatment options, quality of care either diminished or failed to improve the extent of its potential.

I recall what the senator said earlier,…regarding the benefits of government funded and facilitated work cooperatives and start-ups. He pointed out that people do better when they have a stake in what they are doing. That applies in the healthcare field as well, for both patient and provider.

The “ACA” or ObamaCare as it is sometimes called, is NOT the boon to people it was sold as. I resent those commercials that cheerfully go on about how many millions of people have signed up for ACA programs. That’s insulting. I would like to see a believable statistic about how many would have signed up if they had not been threatened and forced to do so. That’s like the school bully bragging about how many of those nice little kids had donated their lunch money to him around the corner by the lockers….

The ACA doesn’t necessarily cover anything, requires very high deductibles, and it isn’t cheap or “free” even to those who pay little or nothing. A “basic” $500 per month policy is invoiced at just that, followed by notation of a “credit” of whatever it is determined their circumstances warrant. Any glitch in paperwork, misunderstanding, or just a mistake can result in the IRS confiscating any alleged “undue credit” one might otherwise be due. What about those who really, literally, cannot pay or don’t have anything to confiscate? Well, bottom line is failure to obey the law and purchase an approved insurance plan is a crime. You take it from there.

It has been said many times down though the years that the best way to control a population is to [1] bury them in debt, and [2] make them criminals. So far, so good…..

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Millions of seniors live in poverty and we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country. We must strengthen the social safety net, not weaken it. Instead of cutting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and nutrition programs, we should be expanding these programs.

My two cents worth

Social Safety Nets are more aptly described as Federal Fly Paper, in that they create dependency rather than foster independence. By federal standards I am a “senior citizen living in poverty”. I’m retired. I have Social Security (which I paid into for fifty years, by the way, starting at age 14 when, with my parent’s permission and signatures, I began working as the part time stock boy, window washer, and floor sweeper for the local five and dime. My first pay envelope held $8. I stuck part of it in my pocket and opened a bank account with the rest.) I don’t think of myself as “poverty stricken”. I have a roof over my head and a vehicle in the driveway. Both are completely paid for. However, I don’t have a vacation cabin in the mountains, a yacht down at the coast, or any of that. I think those that do have those things are both very fortunate and most likely earned them. What I have, I too, earned. Bully for both of us.

I am not interested in attaching myself to ANY federal teat, despite government’s aggressive and perpetual campaign to convince me that ..you know the drill….:” try it….you’ll like it“… When that doesn’t work, they move on to “…It’s your RIGHT!” (wrong, Grasshoppah…it’s your LEFT…) pardon the pun. When all else fails, and evidently it has in their estimation, such a government will pull out the big guns….and they have begun. They MANDATE your cooperation and obedience.

You will become B.O.R.G…..you WILL be assimilated…resistance is futile…

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At a time of massive wealth and income inequality, we need a progressive tax system in this country which is based on ability to pay. It is not acceptable that major profitable corporations have paid nothing in federal income taxes, and that corporate CEOs in this country often enjoy an effective tax rate which is lower than their secretaries. It is absurd that we lose over $100 billion a year in revenue because corporations and the wealthy stash their cash in offshore tax havens around the world. The time is long overdue for real tax reform.

My two cents worth

As I wrote with admitted sarcasm on Number Seven, essentially, this is not news. No epiphany here, folks; move along, please.

On the other hand…. PART of it is true….. PARTLY…which is what makes Sen. Sanders so charming: most of what he says is is true….. PARTLY….

Income disparity occurs because some people earn, save, inherit more than others. That is not unfair. Nor, is it unequal, because under the law, each has the exact same right to accumulate wealth. Neither simply has a RIGHT to it. It is no small irony that government, which is more like a gang or a corporation than an individual, presumes the RIGHT to a certain percentage of what any and every citizen produces, saves, or inherits, and will TAKE that tribute, ultimately at the point of a gun, if it is not surrendered “voluntarily” (remember the lunch money story?).

Any perceived cheating or criminal behavior, as described in number 12 above, is a direct result of, or outgrowth of, actions taken by the United States government.

There are many reasons and justifications cited by pro-big government, centralized control advocates, to throw money at the problem, jack up the federal income tax, and adopt every multi-trillion dollar brainstorm someone comes up with.

Granted, even if government would stick to its primary responsibility, protection of the homeland from enemies foreign and domestic, and to defend the rights of the citizen as spelled out in the Constitution and initial Amendments, the government would need money to do its job. At first that was done through domestic taxes on liquor and few other things, then through various tariffs, and then in 1913 the income tax became official, even though it had been tinkered with a couple of times, ostensibly to fund various wars.

We clearly require a source of national income in the twenty first century, and if the only practical source of that is an income tax, a number of changes need to be carried out for it to continue.

A Progressive income tax is not the answer. Success and good fortune should be neither punished nor discouraged, yet it is today, indirectly. Listen to someone with more Democratic, “liberal” political leanings say the word “PROFIT“…..they look like a Bible Belt Christian tying to spit out the “F-Bomb”. It’s a filthy word. Why? and, according to whom?

Not according to those who still think President Kennedy’s iconic speech about serving the country instead of expecting it to serve us is a valid principle. An element of the culture is shifting toward philosophies and values not compatible with what was envisioned by those who led the creation of this nation more than 225 years ago.

No, having gone over Sen. Sanders’ viewpoints and designs, I have to conclude that he represents a model of an American system of values diametrically opposite to the one I believe in. Problems of note, especially ones with potential political currency value, are often the unintended consequences of somebody’s “really good idea” for solving an earlier glitch. It’s not that I think the Sen. is a bad person or that he has some devious plan to destroy America. All I know of him is what I can read somewhere or watch on You Tube. The only fundamentally evil people I know of, and I’ve met a few, are locked up somewhere. I just think he has good intentions but that what he considers to be “good ideas” are shortsighted and doomed to metamorphose into extremely BAD ideas rather swiftly.

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