Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Defining Society

I get accused of being a "liberal", as if that were a cuss word but the truth is I am pretty conservative. I am pretty consistent and tend to keep things I am familiar with.  I have lived in the same house for over 40 years. the very same wife for almost 45 years, the same telephone number, yes I have a land-line! for over 45 years!  I don't make changes easily.  I have been self employed and in business for over 35 years, sometimes having more than 15 employees.
     It seems to me that when it comes to voting there are only two choices.  I vote to draw the circle closer, keep what I have and maybe get more, vote for benefits for me, tax advantages for me, me, me, me.
Or I vote to enlarge my circle, vote because I have a concept of what a society should be.  I love great wealth and rich people.  Although not one myself, I make my living from people with excess money, wealth for the nicer things in life. I do not believe that wealthy people work harder than I do nor harder than most people do.  They "do it differently" and that is one of the best things about our society.  We are allowed to and given opportunities to do it differently.  Somehow our society allows for people like Michael Jordan to endorse shoes, and although he may only get 50 cents for each shoe sold, it totals millions of dollars. It is a wonderful society in a lot of aspects but it is "the system" which allows for this kind of wealth, not really hard work on Michael Jordan's part.  He is skilled and clever and maybe should be rewarded, but I think he should pay his taxes just like we do, the same rate we do.  Why this makes me a "flaming liberal" I have no idea?
    I am in favor of things that cost money.  I am in favor of things that make a society and a culture.  I like a good road system, bridges and trains to cross this wonderful country.  I am in favor of a good educational system and willing to define this.  A good educational system would expand our concept of Democracy, encourage debate and discussion and our willingness to vote.  A good educational system would, if not make us better human beings, at least more literate humans, better read with an understanding on how we got to where we are and a sense of where this will lead us.  Yes, it might even get us jobs and help compete in this new world economy.
   I believe that a society will be judged, if not by God then by other's, by how it treats its elderly, infirm and children, the weakest amongst us.  These things cost money.  There are 40,000,000 Americans without health insurance and another 40,000,000 with less than adequate insurance.  We are the only industrialized country in the world without some kind of national health care.  I have good insurance, the best even.  My fun little bout with cancer cost over $130,000 and my insurance paid for all of it except the first $1,000.  I am not in this battle for me.  I don't need it.  I am in favor of National Coverage for everyone because I am conservative.  Yes, you read that right.  I am a businessman and this makes for good business.  It is fair, it is less expensive.  That simple.  It has good math.  Instead of fighting and keeping to myself what I have, I want to enlarge this circle and bring others into it.  Everyone.
    There is more money available now than there ever has been on the history of the Earth.  It is just being distributed differently.  There were more "middle class" people in the United States in the 1950's than there are now.  We are dwindling.  As a percentage there are fewer wealthy people too. They just have more money.  When the middle class was biggest and controlled more wealth and paid their taxes, life was more optimistic.  Now this wealth has shifted to the top 2% who control over 40% of this wealth.  Frankly this is so much money we can't even imagine it.  We couldn't count it in a lifetime and we couldn't begin to spend it.
They don't spend it either.  There is no "trickle down" anymore.  This is wealth that has been invested and taken out of circulation.  No one is paying taxes on it.  It is like playing the game, "Monopoly" and taking the money off the board.
     To me, equal taxes for everyone makes me a conservative.  Wanting to take care of children, the elderly,
the weak amongst us and the sick makes me a reasonable, decent human being.  To do this because ultimately it would save money and give better service makes me a good businessman.
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