Wednesday, December 15, 2010

No Taxation Nation: I utterly fail to see how this tax package can be anything but horrible for the ledger sheet of our country. The Republicans and most especially the tea baggers are supposedly about the mantra that one cannot spend more than one takes in. And yet Congress with significant Republican support, thought to have gotten the ever-so-big message from the American people, will pass a near 1 trillion dollar unfunded tax bill, borrowing the money from who else but China to explode the deficit even more. Worse, the bill is filled with earmarks and pork. I simply do not get it.

The problem is the American people have no idea what it means to trim the budget and how they must sacrifice while doing it. They want, proverbially, to have their cake and eat it too. They cannot. The method for reducing the budget is simple without even touching Social Security and Medicare which so many thank god for every day of their life. A tax cut for the top 2% is insanity. It will not trickle down to create jobs as it has not done in the past and the Republicans darn well know it. The tax cuts for the middle class will be like a drop in the ocean. It will not mean a thing.

What we really need is for the tax cuts to be allowed to expire for each group or, if that will explode the minds of too many Americans, then the tax cuts should expire for the top 2% wealthiest in the nation who can afford it. Couple that with other spending cuts in the military industrial endless black hole (about which even President Eisenhower spoke) with its trillion dollar expensive eternal wars must be reduced to, let's say in Grover Norquist, the president of the Orwellian-named Americans for Tax Reform, fashion, the size of a postage stamp! I am sure spending cuts of other non-essential programs could be figured out as well.

The extra tax revenue the government adds to its ledger sheet when the tax cuts expire should be used by government to spur the growth and repair of infrastructure, create alternative energy and other projects of necessity to create jobs. The tax cuts and even unemployment insurance of this bill will create few jobs. It is a temporary feel good fix.

There is, however, a method to Republican madness. The Republicans are eventually, of course, hoping for the economy in 2012 to still be in the tank. An American public which has about a minute and one half attention span will blame it on Obama who will occupy the oval office then. This time Obama will not be able to say unemployment was not on his watch because it will be and the Republicans will get their true wish which is to defeat the nation’s first black president.

In 2012 my prediction, if the tax cuts are extended two more years, is an economy still in the sewer and maybe worse. Republicans with their tax cut boring mantra which does not work but gets the public all goosepimply will win the whole enchilada – the House the Senate and the presidency. They then will extend the Bush/Obama tax cuts permanently. Republicans will say not enough tax cuts were pursued and unemployment insurance created debt. When in control they will then seek to cut more. Say hello and goodbye to Social Security and Medicare, vital social safety nets for over seven decades first passed in 1935 by FDR after the Great Depression. This is exactly what the Republicans have wanted -- no Social Security, no Medicare, no economic regulation, health savings accounts bought from Wall Street, and taxes for the military only.

Good luck America with that. The Wall Street bubble, soon to be seen again, will by most economic experts’ concurrence eventually burst another time. All that retirement account investment in lieu of Social Security to the tune of trillions for which Wall Street salivates will go into the pockets of Goldman Sachs’s Blankfein, J.P Morgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon and other corporate CEO’s like them – you know, the top 2%. They will laugh all the way to the bank (pardon the pun) with their profits and bonuses courtesy of you and me. We the middle class who are left standing will be standing in bread lines. It is deja vu 1929 all over again. Happy New Year? Nothing happy about it!
The Herculean Holbrook: A relative of mine wrote well about the amazing Ambassador Holbrooke. It sparked some of my own thoughts too. Many of you may know Ambassador Richard Holbrooke died this week. Those of us who follow international relations and US foreign policy certainly knew about him. He had a mountain of experience in the diplomatic arena. He was in part responsible for the Dayton Accords which brought peace to the war-torn genocide of Bosnia/Herzegovina Yugoslavia. Mr. Holbrooke was a towering force for peace in many other world wide conflicts as well. Although some say no one is irreplaceable, I believe he was one of the few who is. He was a strong and an insistent sower of peace for decades. His goal was to end grinding hostility in many places of a world of war and discord. His tasks were not easy!

I was praising Mr. Holbrooke when another writer iterated over and over again to me that I was just part of the sheeple population accepting propaganda about which I had no understanding. Naturally, he was not very complimentary toward Ambassador Holbrooke. I suspect he is wrong on the sheeple part about me but no matter. It reinforces the scientific law that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

How can we know all things? I never knew a person who did not have a side about which I was not thrilled. I have read Ambassador Holbrooke was, indeed, a tough man. Look at with whom he had to negotiate. I might call them tough -- very tough. When some lefties wax extreme and anti everything that is the United States and Israel, my blood runs cold and I freeze myself out of the debate. Nothing is black and white. There are always shades of gray. To quote another humanitarian: “He who is without sin cast the first stone.”

I do not know of a nation on earth that is not deserving of critical analysis and the US is certainly no exception. In our own personal human relationships and experience, however, we weigh the good against the bad on the scales of justice. Even Jesus had another side when he furiously tipped over the money changers in the Temple but he also said “In so much as ye do it unto the least of these my brethren ye have done it unto me.” I’ll take that part of his legacy over any other. It is a metaphor for my feelings about Ambassador Richard Holbrooke. In the final analysis, I think this Herculean diplomat tried do the best for his country and the world in very difficult circumstances. It probably cost him his life. Was he perfect? No. Who of us is? Thank you, Ambassador Holbrooke, for a job well done!