Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn was on television early this morning talking about the “big” problem, which is a lack of leadership. He says, both parties are afflicted with this malady. Just no leadership, nowhere.
Coburn says politicians do not treat the public as adults. Coburn thinks the public is mature enough to handle the bad news. The feeling, among politicians, is that if you did tell the public the facts about entitlements etc. you could not get re-elected. So, politicians must tease the public and tell them less than the whole truth in order to get re-elected. But, that is not leadership.
Coburn was asked about the inequity in the tax system. The fact that corporations and millionaires might not be paying a fair share. Coburn seemed a little less enthusiastic with his reply, but that may be just my suspicions.
Our acute fiscal, debt, and income inequality problems begin in the 1980’s, gained momentum in the 90’s, and accelerated in the first decade of the 21st century.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office did a study, once upon a time, on income maintenance among the citizens. The CBO findings were: “by the end of 1988, 80 percent of families will have seen their incomes decline since 1977 when adjusted for inflation, CBO concluded. But the richest 10 percent will see an average increase of 16 percent, the top 5 percent will average a 23 percent rise, and the richest 1 percent will see their incomes grow by 50 percent.
The year of the report was 1987.
The “Occupy Wall Street” movement moved to Tennessee this past Saturday morning. The locals did not call their rally “Occupy Wall Street”, but rather occupy Johnson City, the local site. Occupy Johnson City seems to have more possibilities.
We can count on the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street to stay around awhile. For now, both groups have some scary looking characters associated with their movements. But, appearances will go through an upgrade; and become, more mature, more sophisticated, and better informed in the days ahead.
Both organizations, and I assume it is fair to call them organizations, have many similarities. They approach the inequity condition, from slightly different angles and their solutions could provide quite different results. The Tea Party opposes the concentration of government power, mainly the central government. They see bureaucratic intervention as obstructing progress. Occupy Wall Street sees oppression in the concentration of economic power. When 1% of the population have such a dominant ownership of the wealth of the whole country something is malfunctioning. Of course, both groups are on the bulls eye. Concentration is the opponent, both economic concentration and the consolidation of political power to the central government. Bureaucrats and business maintain their position in tandem. They have interdependency. Wealth could not be so concentrated without an accommodating central government.
The emergence of these movements has been possible due to the vacuum in political responsiveness. The traditional parties have become sort of irrelevant. Certainly dysfunctional !
I am sorry I could not check out the local rally. I spent the day in North Carolina inspecting some of God’s handiwork in our glorious Appalachian mountains.
It irritates me to see government austerity measures, either here or in Europe, being bad-mouthed by economists and editorial writers. The reasons given for opposing austerity is the reduction of economic activity, which impedes economic recovery. Austerity, in the extreme could freeze the recovery, but discipline in moderation is always timely.
When the economy is clicking and unemployment is 5%, there is no political incentive to reduce the budget. Congress has told us repeatedly, that such an idea is repugnant and like throwing a wet blanket on our economic progress and development. Plus, no body’s complaining ! We need to pour on the coal, create bubbles, and get re-elected.