Sunday, May 20, 2012

Arg!!!


Recently, my musings (internal - obviously not written here) have revolved around politics, a part of our human social structure that I find as distasteful as chewing glass.  I truly do not want to talk about our current political situation but I can't completely ignore it.  I heard Herb Londen, our public radio station's token conservative, going on about The Death of Liberalism, Thomas Nelson, 2012, written by R. Emmett Tyrrell, a book about how liberal politics have caused the economic situation we are in.  In the course of his report, he highlighted that entitlement programs in government make up something like seventy-one percent of the budget.  The programs he mentioned were: food stamps, medicaid, medicare, and social security.

What brought me up short in this is tagging medicare and social security as "entitlements".  I hear this all the time and it is rarely if ever questioned.  All of us paid into social security and medicare during our work lives.  We did this, as required, because it was an insurance policy, not an entitlement, us old farts are collecting on it.  Are they in trouble? Depends on who you ask.  Probably they are not funded to the extent they could have been.  Why?  Well, from my personal experience I think we weren't funding it properly.

I say this as one who, for a large percentage of my half-century working life, paid into FICA only part of the year.  I reached some limit late in the third quarter, or early fourth, I don't remember clearly, and for the rest of the year that money  became part of my net income.  It was a nice little treat but I can't say I needed it.  It struck me early on that continuing to take that money out for the entire year would cause me no hardship.  What was even odder was that the amount, the upper limit, was the same across all salaries.  That means that some executives would have satisfied the limit in a month or so.   Do you realize that, had the amount been taken out for the entire year from folks earning millions, we wouldn't even be wondering about social security solvency?  Just sayin'.

We have a broken society, a society based on greed rather than true wealth.  A society that rewards the ultra-rich with benefits and penalizes the rest of the population to cover it.  True wealth is found in the community, the friendships of others, the ability to call on a neighbor to give or receive help.  Most of us do not live in gated communities surrounded by high fences and patrolled by private security.  Most of us aren't afraid of our neighbors.

I'm not sure I have any thread here but I kinda don't care.  I'm tired of politicians claiming we pay too much taxes, that "entitlement programs" have to be cut or we'll go bankrupt as a country.  I'm tired of hearing the super-rich called "job creators" (check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBx2Y5Hhpl ).  I'm tired of hearing people who have lots of things saying people who have nothing deserve their situation.  We are a single human race, not many different ones.  There has to be a way to make folks who have everything look for ways to help others, and folks who have nothing look for ways to lift themselves up.

There has to be.

I now have a great granddaughter whose survival depends on it.

Hopefully that diatribe will have cleared the crap from my brain for a time.