What a show ! Sen.Bob Corker, from here in Tennessee, has made the media rounds today,advertising his plan for a fiscal fix. Not all of his proposals are necessarily unworkable, but may well be unachievable, given the current climate in D.C. Apparently, Corker wants to move away from the 250K threshold the Administration demands on tax hike relief up to a higher number. So does Buffett, 500K, but the real meaningful numbers for tax revenue are down.
Corker says he is free from the Tax Reform pledge he signed, now that he has been re-elected to a new term. Mr. Norquist says the pledge is good for the duration of his time in Congress.
Corker wants to cap the deductions at 50K. Probably no serious numbers coming from that change. Does this mean no deduction reform? Tax rates are near historic lows, but Corker don’t want to mess with them. He wants Medicare reform, but keep in place fee for service. That works, if men were angels, but we know better. He wants means testing for Social Security, but that changes the original meaning of the program.
I have a simpler answer; a more sustainable answer; and a boon for the country, but extremely painful for politicians. It is also relevant for the current impasse. But, it would be nothing short of voluntary retirement for many in Congress. It would be like putting the country ahead of yourself. The Republicans would have to abandon “trickle-down” economics or what they call supply-side. A failure of gigantic proportions, that has distorted most everything, economically speaking. Democrats especially, and Republicans alike, would have to abandon the “welfare-state concept”, which provides largess for the many, and the loud, and also the wealthy. It is the road to ruin.
The Chattanooga Times is irate about the conduct of their 4th District congressman, as revelations continue to pour through about his gross indiscretions. But, the Times must remember this man was re-elected to Congress by a good margin this month. I knew about the allegations, way up in the corner of this great state, so people who voted for him must have heard about the charges too. What is wrong with the voters in the 4th District? They have a lot of questions to answer, such as, their obligations, as voters, to acquire sufficient knowledge about those who garner their votes. The information about DesJarlais seemed free and plentiful. If so, for many, there is personal integrity questions. Progress starts when we lay the blame where it belongs; on the voters of the 4th District.
It should be obvious, by now, that political campaigns have light regard for the basic awareness and political enlightenment of voters. Most politicians believe they cannot tell the public the truth and be elected. They seem confident the public does not comprehend all the avenues directed toward truth. Moreover, apparently, they cannot trust the people to make the sacrifices necessary to solve today’s problems. We see this played out in efforts to establish entitlement reform. Everyone agrees it must be done, but there is a chance you lose your job when you take these necessary position.
Even now, after the votes have been counted I still hear the same catch phrases, key words, and sound bites. Maybe, they think if repeated enough, in time, it will produce positive results. The most popular sound bite, by far, is “middle class.” Everyone uses “middle class” generously, as it is widely perceived that the middle class is in a melt mode. But, there are sound bites a plenty, such as: veterans, retirees, pro-life, pro-choice, education, small business, and on and on. Little of substance; just noise.
One of my favorites; the Republicans say they cannot raise taxes from those who earn 250K or more because this would hurt “small business” and thus, hinder the economic recovery. About 97% of small businesses earn less than 250K. Of course, many earn considerably less than 250K. So much for the truth!
People are slowly catching on to the phony ism and all the games politicians play; when it is obvious they are avoiding a dialogue. This years Presidential race was a classic “beauty contest”, with both candidates avoiding candor. This attitude and approach to elections is a disservice to democracy. In the strictest sense, such candidates, who practice their reticent, should be written off. But, like all beauty contests,someone has to win.
I hear Sec. of Defense Panetta wants to institute “ethics training” for the generals. Believe me, Mr. Panetta, it is more than the generals that need an ethics upgrade. You could spread that training around generously, in the town where you work. But, in the end, it is more than educaton.
They are wearing buttons now, that is supposed to give impetus to the Congress, to not force the country over the so-called financial cliff. The buttons are named “rise above”, meaning to rise above partisan politics. How pitiful ! Of course, the Congress is not moved or influenced much by such a juvenile campaign. Recent experience and observation has shown that it is usually money that moves the Congress. But, this is a reminder of the Greenspan acronym WIN buttons(whip inflation now) in the Ford administration. We should have gotten worried about Greenspan back then.
A strange and deep paradox to this comedy is the fact that Congress has roughly a 20% approval rating with the public; yet, they were re-elected at near 90%. It’s the same old story; the voters think their Congressman is defending the country from the radicals that want to tear it down and burn it up. Such a major deception ! Most probably, voters can help solve the nation’s problems by replacing the Congressman in their own district. But, voters rarely penalize a representative for a total lack of influence, lack of ideas, and even character.
100 miles to my south in Knoxville, Tennessee they are prepared to fire another athletic coach; the football coach. The coach is not winning enough games for the “win freaks” down there. Otherwise, he seems to be doing a good job, but otherwise don’t count. On the positive side this coach or staff does not spend so much of their work week in the jailhouse, trying to get errant players back on the field. That is a big improvement. Nowadays, college football is important for it’s entertainment value, and his teams are not dull.
Now, if we could only run through politicians like we dispose of football coaches we would, no doubt, be in better shape in Tennessee. At the Federal level, we did not have any turn-overs. A shame ! I would guess the football coach at Tennessee has a better won-loss record than Knoxville’s Congressman. Overall, the coach is probably a better fit for his coaching work than most, if not all, of the Congressmen in the state, are fit for their work. All Congressmen in Tennessee won their election by comfortable margins. These representatives, for the most part, have not contributed, even mildly, to the vast needs of the nation at this time in our history. Despite their poor records, lack of accomplishments, and general ineptitude; we elect them term after term and for some, even decades of re-election.
All this can only mean one thing; the people in Tennessee know more about and care more about football than politics. Do people value sports and leisure more than their government ? The evidence points that way. So messed up !
The most significant change in the post war era has been the secularization of the American culture. This secularization seems to have accelerated in the last two decades.
Obviously, many of the social problems we face are the result of this momentous change from our dependence upon God to a dependence on ourselves. The end of this metamorphosis is the removal of a moral anchor.
The “big” problems that the politicians, both Presidential and other, are addressing in this election such as energy, unemployment, education deficiencies, middle-class deterioration, and health care cost explosion can be traced, in part, to this secularization. I can see a moral code, or lack thereof, being a factor in most all of these conditions.
Jerry Falwell’s moral majority, it seems, has become, now a moral minority. The political campaigns, not only the Presidential, seem to mention God and faith with some trepidation, almost apologetic. They speak the minimum to anything religious, it appears, as if not to offend a block of voters. Maybe the campaigns know more about what people think then I give them credit. Anyway, it’s a long jump from the days when President Eisenhower prayed at his own Inaugural.
God did not change(Malachi 3:6) - we changed. The whole Western World culture has changed and refocused their aspirations to the secular. Nowhere is this more evident than in our churches. Churches are not distinct anymore ! Churches kind of blend in with the prevailing culture.
So, on the eve of this 2012 election the politicians have missed or avoided, the real important question.