Help me here. I need further education on taxes, government, and ethics. I was as interested as the average citizen in government after television and the computer were inntroduced to our way of life. My interest was fairly casual until the first election of George W. Bush, at which time I began to suspect that things were not right. This, in turn, led to true suspicion of Bush and the people around him with regard to their integrity and leadership. And now I not only loathe him and the men and women who support and defend him, I truly fear them and their power and the fact that they still have a whole year to totally destroy the earth and eveything on it. Sometimes I even get to the point of wondering if his wife and his evangelical bible-quoting base have actually convinced him that God wants him here to lead us to Armageddon. After all, I have seen and heard him say several times that God has chosen him for what he is doing now.
Kind of got carried away in that first paragraph. What I really want to talk about is the whole purpose of taxes. I always thought that taxes were our individual contributions to do those things as a group which we could not do individually, like building and repairing roads and bridges, protecting the environment, and caring for each other as human beings.
Silly me. During the past seven years, the American people have been consistently taught that we should resent taxes, especially if they help someone else. No compassion for those with less. If they couldn’t “make it” on their own, they don’t deserve to have help. (On the other hand, most of those of us of the upper classes never have to work all our lives because what we have was inherited wealth. (I am sort of one of those, because I live largely on an inheritance, even though I finally actually went to work in my forties.)
As for the teachings of the Christian religion, the emphasis in doing good deeds is first of all on what MY good deeds will do to pathe MY road to heaven, followed by my concern for the recipients of those deeds.
This blog is an extension of my previous blog entitled More Questions and Comments. A different form of economic order has occurred to me. (I will be bombarded with comments like “Oh my god, she’s really a SOCIALIST!” That is such a scary word, and I’ll bet most people have never even looked it up. I’m not even sure myself that it describes me, but it’s the closest I can come.)
So here is how I look at the problem and how to try to fix it: In the first place, Bush’s plan for giving one-time-and-that’s-all tax relief is exactly the opposite of what it should be. The idea is that the masses will spend it immediately and that will jump-start the economy by increasing the income of employers, which in turn will lead to more jobs, but most of those who needed the one-time boost with shortly be out of money again, and right back where they were before. In the meantime, the government saves money by cutting other aid to the most urgent needs of the nation, such as education, health, and infrastructure.
The ethical responsibility of the nation is to try to achieve as much equality among its citizens as possible by redistributing the nation’s wealth from the top down. The really rich do not need the vast incomes they possess, which is apparent in their lifestyles. And the needs of the poor, on all their levels, should be apparent to anyone who can look beyond himself. Therefore, I suggest that there should be a strong ceiling put on the amount of wealth that any one person can own, and increasingly thick floors should be constructed all the way down to the poorest among us until the distribution of wealth looks like a pyramid. You cannot expect those in need to spend money on goods that will help the economy if they do not make enough money to spend. Almost all people would rather spend money they earned rather than money they receive through charity. This would go a long way toward building self-respect among those who work the hardest at the least rewarding jobs, as well as recognition and acknowledgment by those who have so much.
If you want to call this Socialism, so be it. It is obvious that free trade is not working to the benefit of the masses. If Americans would look at the wider world, they would realize that Democracy, as it is perceived by most of us, is not defined by current reality. Choose another name for our country, if you wish, but let’s put some text to go with the title.
This morning I listened to a “faith-based” discussion with a former member of Bush’s staff re the melding of religion with government. As an atheist, I have been searching for a word to describe how nonbelievers differ from believers, and I think I may have found it when I heard it again In John Kennediy’s wonderful speech on the subject of his approach as a Catholic to his possible election as President of what used to be a country of and tolerance for multiple beliefs. And that word is “conscience.”
Until being faith-based became de rigueur during the current reign of the emperor of mediocrity, you could walk down the street without a passerby being able to recognize your beliefs unless you were wearing the ecclesiastical garb of your office, which in those days, we heathens felt respect for without feeling intimidation in return., and still do. Now, however, religiosity hangs heavy in the air and we nonbelievers feel constrained to speak up and educate the rest of you as to some of our various views, especially the views of atheists. (This is my own definition of atheists, by the way.)
An atheist, as I see it, is a person who does not accept the existence off a supreme being, having to this point had no scientific proof of such a being. There does appear to be some sense of order (or disorder, for that matter) to the creation we see, but I have no proof that that entity is speaking to me. As so often happens as a result of the multitude of tragedies that we are aware of these days, if a child in a crowd is killed, people of faith are inclined to thank God that he has saved their child because he still needs the child here on earth, while if their child is killed, it is because God needs the child in heaven. If a child is born terribly deformed both physically and mentally, it is because God has an even more important job for him in heaven.
And here is where the word “conscience” comes in. You do not realize and accept yourself as an atheist unless you are a thinker, and being a thinker means that you work out a set of principles for yourself as a human being. They may be based on eduction and experience taught by others, but they are your very own peronsal principles, and your own self-punishment is severe if you betray them.
The world is full of people who have no faith, no principles, and no conscience, but they have not earned the right to call themselves atheists any more than they can be called true believers.
Economic Relief According to LittleBill
Your reporter has had no training in Economics, so hang in there with me. As I understand it, lowering taxes for the masses for a bit or a while is supposed to bring succor to the masses. Remember George W. Bush’s most famous words, Go to the Mall and Shop. This is how I think it will work:
If you’re the top rich, you won’t even notice or care how much relief you get. Oh, you might decide to sign on to one of the upcoming tourist trips to the Moon or beyond. That ought to impress people.
If you’re really rich, you may treat yourself and your family to another home to add to the others you already own.
If you’re rich, you’ll probably have a couple more vacations to exotic spots, especially if you can find one you haven’t seen before.
If you’re middle class, it may still be difficult to afford a family vacation, but you might decide “what the hell, if not now, when?”
If you’re lower middle class, you might even decide to spend the whole amount on a new used car. That, however, means you have shot the whole wad at one time and won’t have it for a crisis. Or, you’ll have a fling at the mall for stuff you don’t need and will grow tired of.
And if you’re in one of the most dangerous, unpleasant, or boring jobs with no future, you’ll possibly use it for the only logical purchases of the group, food and secondhand clothes for your family.
That leaves the down and outs, and they won’t get anything, so they have nothing to worry about.
The lower you are on the receiving end, the faster what you spend on trifles or absolute needs will go all the way back up to the top to stimulate growth of their savings accounts and enterprises. And you will find yourself with no money again, in many cases no home, and possibly no job.
The above two subjects are embraced by the evangelical crowd almost more than any other values on their list of good deeds done in the crusade for personal redemption and welcome into heaven and eternal life by their beloved god.
Taking gays first, if you are not gay yourself, it is not unusual to find the homosexual lifestyle strange, even abhorrent. If a family member is gay and you are not, because sex is such a major part of life, the dichotomy of relationships may very well be difficult to accept and deal with.
If, on the other hand, any relationship is casual and does not involve sexual advances, what right does anyone have to attempt to control the homosexual lifestyle? It’s none of our business, and we have no right to try to make laws controlling homosexuals, especially when they seek to pledge their love for each other through a religious ritual.
On to abortion! As with homosexuality, this crusade is undertaken by religious zealots who wish to control the lives of people whom they don’t even know because of their belief that abortion is murder.
Again, if you believe that abortion for any reaon is murder, this will undoubtedly cause a great deal of sorrow and strife between the woman involved and her family or lover. But in the end it is the sole right and responsibility of the woman involved to make the final decision. If you don’t approve of abortion, just don’t have one.
There are many reasons for a woman to want an abortion – rape, incest,, serious deformity of the child, health of the mother to name the most obvious. The reason that is not obvious, but should be, is overpopulation, which will soon make abortion unnecessary because that is already being taken care of by murder, war, disease, starvation, and destruction of the Earth’s resources.
Coincidentally, as I was writing this, I heard Mike Huckabee giving a rousing speech before tomorrow’s vote in South Carolina with major emphasis on getting same-sex marriage and abortion codified n the Constitution.
Hillary: The Movie
What is the best reason to vote for Hill? Because of her enemies! It would be the best revenge!
Make your vote show you cared to send the very best!
More Questions, Comments, and Hoping for Answers, 1/13/08
I’M VOTING FOR KUCINICH, AND I FEEL GOOD ABOUT IT!
1. When I watch debates or candidate appearances on the presidential election circuit to various states, I am very interested in watching the audience reactions. I notice the response, especially the Republican response, to mention of our various current wars and the praise for the courageous soldiers who are fighting in them and “keeping us safe.” Additionally, the audience reassures them that “we” will never give up until “we” have achieved total victory.
It is not unusual for many of the older veterans to feel pride through association. On the other hand, there are many civilians in the audience of military age. Odd, isn’t it, that so many of them, hands on hearts, share the pride without ever having thought of enlistment?
Same subject: I had a note to myself ready to ask what the future holds for our returning veterans. By coincidence, I heard on the radio this morning that a very large and growing percentage of them, because of length of time in combat, and horrendous psychological damage, have not been trained for any other profession than killing, which is culminating in turning to murder here at home.
2. Remember when a child named a teddy bear Muhammad and Muslims the world over were offended? This was way last year, but people are still writing about it. I have meant, ever since that incident, when people of the Christian countries thought that Muslims were insane to make a scene, to write how I feel about it. How do you think Christians, especially in this country which prides itself on its liberal acceptance of various faiths, would react if a Muslim child named his gun Jesus Christ?
3. The main trouble with capitalism is that it encourages citizens to want to acquire more of everything. Not being mentally, educationally, or luckily able to acquire more possessions and privileges than they have makes life difficult and frustrating for those who are forced to live without at least a modicum of comfort and opportunity for their children and themselves. For those on the top of the heap (with the lucky exception of quite a few people who are morally well-endowed) the vast majority spend their lives acquiring and indulging. For all that so many Americans congratulate themselves on our national generosity, it is amazing that our citizens, encouraged by the Republican party in particular, complain about taxes intended to help others and are best satisfied when expenses are cut from the bottom.
4. When Bush threatened to veto the bill for military spending unless the Democrats deleted the demand for a date for military withdrawal, why didn’t the Democrats just let him veto the whole thing and leave it at that? I suppose it was because this is voting season and they were scared. But just think of what a tremendous Surge of Approval the Democrats would have received! As it is, many are considering an Independent option
Our president has recently assured his loyal subjects that our basic economy is doing well. Are you reassured?
For those who have lost your homes through foreclosure, where are you living now? Are your children in their same schools? Do they miss their friends and neighbors. It is said that many people have abandoned their pets as they moved. Did you? Do you still have your same jobs, and are you closer or farther away? Did the president reassure you, or do you now feel that you have lost your home, your neighbors, and all sense of security?
To those of us who have not lost our homes, do you think of the people above who have been forced to move, do you miss them, do you wonder and care how they’re doing now, and do you let them know?
Entirely different subject, but about caring from a different point of view: Capital punishment by means of injected drugs is currently being questioned as cruel and unusual. If there is absolutely no question about guilt and the crime was horrific, who cares?