Monday, September 24, 2012
What is our American Sin?
Citizens United Supreme Court ruling. The 99%. Taxes. Donations to Presidential candidates.
There are some very bad things going on in America.
We have a lot of talk about the 99% of the country, or obversely the 1%. Then there are the 47% who Mitt Romney says are slackers and who expect handouts.
But what is important? That the rich only pay 15% on their taxes or that the poor pay 35%? But aren't we missing something? Like, the people?
There is an attorney who has been pushing up through the courts to the US Supreme Court, an attempt to see candidate donations be deregulated under the so far successful guise that donating money is free speech. But aren't we missing something? Like, the people? Like all Americans? Inclusively?
Okay, now here comes a mouthful....
If poor people pay a third of their money in taxes, what does that mean to them? Isn't that basically food out of their mouths. Isn't that any kind of a vacation or the ability to go out to a nice dinner and a movie, ever? Has anyone considered that a third of your pay is a lot to a poor person, but paying 90% in taxes to a rich person, doesn't have to make a dent in their subsistence levels or their entertainment expenditures? What matters isn't so much what percent we pay in taxes but how much that affects the person paying those taxes. The rich, and they are if you ask me, anyone making over $100k/yr, don't seem to care that someone making $60k/yr is paying more than $20k/yr, more actually than a third of what they make and it may cost them $40k/yr just to live without a vacation or going to dinner once in a while. While those making millions, to go to the extreme, can pay $9 million/yr and still have $1 million to live on. Are they suffering? No. If they are living beyond their subsistence levels, then yes they may be; but those making very little aren't making a choice to live beyond their means, they are just trying to live on what little means they can make.
Do I think people should give up $9 million for every $10 million they make? No, not really. But you know, it used to be that way years ago. But I'm not asking for that from the rich. I'm asking for the poor to be able to live, to experience some of the American dream, too. We can't all make $1 million or more a year, or even a $100,000 a year.
Is money free speech when given to candidates? Perhaps, in a way, it is. But if it is, then it is a much louder voice than someone who is giving $10 to a candidate, or who cannot even afford to donate to their favorite candidate. So, should someone with a great deal of expendable funds be allowed to speak so much louder than someone who has little or no money to be able to have their voice, their free speech heard? If money is free speech to say Donald Trump, then by comparison he is speaking with a loud speaker and I am speaking with a pillow over my face.
These are some of our American Sins. These are the things we are doing in America that are immoral, unethical, that aren't even acknowledged by those in the GOP, by many of those in charge, by those who are wealthy. they don't want to allow them to have a greater amount of say in what goes on, or to allow them to achieve greater advantages than those who can speak oh so loudly, who take from those people with little or no say in things. If the rich were getting richer and they were helping the poor to get richer too, then I wouldn't mind so much. But what I'm seeing is the rich getting richer at the expense of the poor who are getting poorer.
And it's not just that.
Does America have a great infrastructure? Are our roads and highways in pristene conditions? Does everyone have free internet? Our freeways are free, shouldn't our digital infrastructure be free too? Don't we want roads to be free so people go and buy products? Don't we want people to get on the internet for free so they can go and buy products there too?
Is private owneship of things like the internet (CenturyLink, AT&T, etc.) reasonable and rational? I just had my internet go out at 9AM last week. I work from home and it wasn't until 9PM that night that I got it back, and then they found another problem and it wasn't until late the next day that I got internet back. I had to spend my time at a coffee shop who supplied their customers with free Internet so that I could get my work done. My Internet DSL provider, CenturyLink took forever to get us back online and that was for many people all across Washington state from what they said on their support line. They offered no reason why they were down. But why were they down, how did they go down?
Wasn't the "web" designed originally not to go down even during a nuclear attack? Wasn't that the concept behind the web structure? When one part goes down it automatically reroutes so that the connection is always, connected? Then why is it when there is not even a storm going on, no disaster whatsoever, yet there isn't enough redundancy to maintain keeping the internet is up? I've heard all the technical reasons but really what it boils down to is redundancy, cost and privatization. Should I really have to even know about an outage? Shouldn't another system have been engaged so that traffic was seamlessly rerouted so that the customer never even notices? Shouldn't there be an agreement so that if CenturyLink goes down, they switch to AT&T or someone else, for the time being? Couldn't they create an interactive system of interdependence so that they watch each other's backs and thus, suffer the customer no discomfort?
Why is the American citizen suffering when these great private companies and the free market system who are running things for us should be running things for the better all because of it? If privatization and the free market are so great, why do we keep having outages on our internet, our cable TV, our cell phones, our power grids?
Things are not running how they should and I can only think that it is because of those who are saying that we need lower taxes for corporations (and especially for the rich even though recent research shows their theory on this is fallacious bordering on lies) because our lives will be better; who say that the rich, those who have, should have unfettered access to giving all the money they want to the candidates of their choice so they can continue to be heard over those of others who are suffering; who say that private companies can run our infrastructures be they digital or otherwise all to the betterment of all. When all they are doing is mismanaging and reaping the monetary benefits while disregarding the quality of service they are supplying the nation.
These are just a few of our modern day American Sins.
Someone needs to start doing penance for them. Someone needs to make them stop. Stop trying to limit American voters from voting. Stop keeping down or destroying the American middle class. Start having some social conscience. Start being Americans again, start being Heroes. Start working hard not just to make yourself a buck but to raise the standard of living for every American citizen. Because the only way to find peace in our world is to do that, to raise our standard of living and not ravage it, and thereby to also raise the standard of living, the quality of services for every single human being on the planet.
Be a Hero. Be, an American.