Wednesday, September 01, 2010

A Slow August?

Was it a slow August? I don’t know, perhaps, perhaps not. I suspect the low number of posts has more to do with my growing pessimism on the state of affairs and potential survival of civilization.

I’m seriously concerned that my generation will be the last to live out their lives in relative peace and prosperity.

At the root of it all is ignorance. I never cease to be amazed at the number of people that are so certain about the solution when they don’t even have an understanding of the problem.

The first rule is to realize that if the problems facing the nation weren’t so complicated, they would have been solved already. So what do I see as the major problems?

Problem #1 – Income Inequity

To my mind the Income Inequity that has developed over the past 30 years is at the root of the current economic weakness. After consuming based upon credit, the American economy has finally gotten to the point where we can no longer afford to deny the endemic weaknesses that have been created over the past three decades.

I’m not about to pontificate a solution because the causes aren’t all that clear, but the first problem is to get this recognized as an issue. Increasing the real buying power of the working and middle classes would strengthen the foundation of the economy and feed needed funds into local small businesses and industries.

Notice that I said “real buying power.” What I mean by this is buying power based upon increasing the income available to be spent and not a buying power based upon credit. Substituting credit based buying power for income based buying power is one of the reasons we’re in the economic mess we’re currently in.

Problem #2 – The National Debt

This is closely related to the first problem. Things simply cannot continue the way they are. The budget deficit has to be addressed by resolving the raising health care costs and then the deficit needs to be brought down to a more manageable level. I am absolutely NOT in favor of a balanced budget amendment. There are times when deficit spending is necessary.

I suspect that the solution to this issue lies in tax code reform. I think, I’m not certain, but I think, we should be taxing consumption more than income. Income taxes should perhaps be restricted to the higher income brackets and a progressive consumption tax, where the tax rate increases with the expense of the item should be instituted.

A sweeping tax code reform would also help to address the first problem.

Problem #3 – Immigration Reform

For both economic and security reasons we need to get control of our borders. I’m not in favor of kicking out all of the hard working illegal immigrants nor am I in favor of a blanket amnesty.

I think a set of qualifications should be established for gaining resident status. These would include no criminal record, gainful employment, a permanent residence, English proficiency and a limited time frame to obtain U.S. citizenship.

Problem #4 – Education Reform

There is something fundamentally wrong with our educational infrastructure when so many people are so ignorant about so many things.

You should NOT be allowed to vote without demonstrating a reasonable level of general knowledge. I would have a mandatory High School course called “Stuff You Really Need to Know” and not give anyone a diploma or voting rights that didn’t pass a final standardized test.

I suspect part of the problem is the “one size fits all mentality” of our educational system. Let me tell you a secret. Not everyone is intellectually and physically equal nor is there anything wrong with that. We need to get back to High School graduates being armed with the knowledge and training they need to make a decent living without the necessity of getting an undergraduate degree.

If college is your thing, great, if it’s not, also great. There’s nothing wrong with a good technical or administrative education. The Liberal Arts aren’t for everyone.

Problem #5 – Social Values

We spend far too much time and energy sticking our noses into other peoples business and trying to restrict the rights of people we happen to not like. It’s a waste of time and energy.

Abortion is a medical issue and is no one’s business other than the people directly involved. Gays are citizens of the United States and entitled to equal rights and that includes the right to marry.

If you believe abortion is murder, don’t get an abortion. If you believe homosexuality is immoral, don’t participate in homosexual acts. Why do people have this need to enforce their opinion on everyone else? Where I come from “keep your nose out of other people’s business” was a survival imperative and that’s the way it should be.

Ok, so much for venting. It’s not going to accomplish anything but its fun.

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