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Things of Lesser Consequence

Things of Lesser Consequence

I guess we’re all aware of the “fiscal cliff” that looms ahead of us. Politicians are eagerly jockeying for position, all of whom are making dire prognostications of what will inevitably occur if the other side has their way; the obliteration of the middle and poor classes on the one side, an inexorable slide into socialism on the other.

Everyone seems to agree there are some cuts that need to be made. Where those cuts need to take place is a matter of debate but all agree that things of lesser consequence need to go. But just what are those things?

The conservatives might argue that things like Public Broadcasting, National Public Radio and the National Endowment of the Arts are all frivolous and shouldn’t be supported by tax dollars. Most other countries have some sort of tax-supported arts programs but all right, that’s what they think. Liberals might see the Space Program as a gigantic boondoggle (my feelings on the subject can be found here) and the military as a bloated out-of-control spending spree which needs to be cut back severely.

These aren’t easy decisions. Spending cuts have ramifications  that generally come to roost in the middle and poorer classes whether it be necessary programs being cut or rendered less effective, or in military contractors being forced to lay off because contracts from the Pentagon are drying up. Either way citizens are going to get hit hard by whatever the government decides.

This is why it is critical that revenue be increased. There are ways of doing this but the most noticeable is through taxation. Right now the wealthiest portion of our citizenry is paying the lowest tax rate that they have in more than 50 years. There literally is no logical reason for us not to increase their taxes – except that the Republicans flatly refuse to do it.

Even members of their own party are beginning to look at the Republican leadership with some confusion. There’s a great deal of posturing about the “fiscal cliff” and how the President is about to stampede us over it. The truth of the matter is that the GOP has refused to bend on this issue and that’s a problem. I wouldn’t have a problem with them arguing about how much to increase the taxes, but when the average billionaire is paying a smaller percentage of taxes than the average teacher, it’s clear that a change needs to be made.

I don’t think anyone is saying that huge increases need to be made – nobody is advocating that the richest be taxed at 80 and 90 percent which they have been in the past and continue to be in other countries. However, I don’t think bringing them up another 10% is unreasonable.

It is also being bandied about (unrealistically I should think) that the tax-exempt status of churches should be lifted. It is estimated that if religious organizations were taxed at a mere 12%, we could drop all personal tax rates down to 3% and retain present levels of debt; if we kept the personal tax rates as they are we could eliminate the debt completely in less than four years. However, I would think that most congressmen wouldn’t even consider this sort of revenue adjustment. For those who think that we shouldn’t tax churches, I might refer you to taxthechurches.org for some eye-openining material.

Also increasing corporate taxes should be on the agenda. After all, if we are now to consider corporations as people, shouldn’t they be taxed like people? That would mean any sort of corporate tax loophole that isn’t available or individuals should be eliminated and they should pay the same tax rates you and I do. This also seems somewhat unlikely to happen.

There are a lot of people suffering in this country while a lot of individuals and organizations are cashing in. This is the time when we define ourselves as a people. Are we going to declare that our main motivation as a culture is money, or is it going to be compassion? Are we going to continue to support the rich on the backs of the middle and lower classes, or are we going to start supporting the greater good? This is what we’ve asked our congress to consider and from the mouth of Jim Boehner and other Republican leaders, it sounds like more of the same kind of rhetoric that got Obama elected by a wide margin this past November. You would think that by now they would have learned to listen when the people have spoken so clearly but it is plain that the only thing they’re listening to is their wallets.


3 Responses

  1. There are too many examples of what is happening in this land to ignore and yet many people find it easy to ignore. How about children in America land of plenty not getting enough to eat, how about the increase in homeless families never mind homeless men, how about people deciding on medicine or food, how about people dying because they didn’t have health care, how about kids not going on to university because they had to help their parents or simply couldn’t afford it. There is an overwhelming problem here only something big like a government can solve. And by the way it seems that this government did well in bringing us from the brink of a great depression to an economy that is once more showing signs of life. Try to remember that America’s greatness began at a time when unions were strong,there was a chicken in every pot every Sunday and dad had a Ford or Chevrolet to drive.. Plato said the secret of a happy life is moderation in all things.The balance of power is brought about by a strong middle class and a happy and strong America occurs under these circumstances.

  2. U have a awesome blog over here. I just wanna thank you for all the interesting info on it. I’ll follow your website if you keep up the good work!

  3. What most of us would do and what our “elected” reps would do are often two very different things.

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