Monthly Archives: December 2011

Seriously?

As the saying goes, “never discuss religion or politics.” I, for one, love to debate both topics because I find it thought provoking to hear opposing viewpoints on such controversial topics. Besides, when you’re forced to think outside your comfort zone, it makes your brain grow.

Many moons ago, I leaned hard right. I called myself an independent, but gravitated towards conservative policies. Then George W. Bush came along and cured me of this affliction forever. I am not by any means happy with the Democrats. In fact, I think most of them have Jell-O for spines. But, if you explore every issue, they are indeed the lesser of two evils.

I’ve watched a few of the GOP debates and they have only served to reinforce my belief that the Republican Party couldn’t care less about the middle class. They cater to big business and millionaires and their philosophies clearly support this premise—plain and simple. There is something terribly wrong with a country that has major corporations earning billions of dollars and not paying one penny in taxes, while children are homeless and starving from coast to coast.

I did a little Googling and searched for various web sites that listed President Obama’s accomplishments since he entered the White House almost three years ago. Many of the claims were exaggerated and overblown, but I found a few reliable web sites with accurate information. After reviewing his report card, I can’t quite understand why his approval rating is so low. I’m not going to get into specific issues, but from where I sit—all things considered—he’s done a pretty good job.

Here’s my question—and I hope somebody out there can enlighten me—why in the name of all that’s rational would any middle-class American vote Republican? They’re not interested in extending the payroll tax cut for the middle class, they refuse to impose any additional tax on the 1% of Americans who earn more than one million dollars a year and can afford to pay more without it even remotely affecting their lifestyles, and they want to make the Bush tax cuts, which heavily favor the rich, permanent.

There are other issues, of course: same sex marriages, abortion, foreign policy, healthcare, and the economy, but I still find it hard to believe that any working-class family would vote for a Republican president. Can anyone explain this to me?

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Brilliant Idea

With a presidential election looming in the not-too-distant future, the news media is having a good ole time analyzing every aspect of the political landscape. As always, the Democrats and Republicans are at odds, each blaming the other for the faltering economy, the deficit, unemployment, and an assortment of other inequities.

As I see it, the core issue should not be trying to figure out who’s to blame. All 535 members of Congress are to blame. End of story. But the compelling question is this: how do we fix what seems like the unfixable?

A friend of mine sent me an e-mail the other day with a proposal that Warren Buffet supposedly made. I don’t know if he actually wrote this piece, but whoever did, hit the nail squarely on the head. Here’s a reprint of the proposal:

“I could end the deficit in 5 minutes,” Buffett told CNBC. “You just pass a law that says that any time there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election. The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971 … before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc. Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land … all because of public pressure.
Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise. In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around. *Congressional Reform Act of 2011*
1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.
2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.
3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.”

I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to politics, but I think Mr. Buffet is on to something here.

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