March 6, 2012

I need a hero…or, enough of this shit already.

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 4:21 am by openendedcomment

From a presidential candidate’s speech at a religious organization’s meeting:

“While the so-called religious issue is necessarily and properly the chief topic here tonight, I want to emphasize from the outset that we have far more critical issues to face in the…election; …the humiliating treatment of our President and Vice President by those who no longer respect our power–the hungry children I saw in West Virginia, the old people who cannot pay their doctor bills, the families forced to give up their farms–an America with too many slums, with too few schools….These are the real issues which should decide this campaign. And they are not religious issues–for war and hunger and ignorance and despair know no religious barriers.”

This is not Obama, not Clinton, not Romney and certainly not Santorum.   This was Fifty-Two Years ago.  John F Kennedy during the 1960 campaign for the Presidency.  Aside from a few, short lines removed regarding communism and the space race…it is all still true.

Enough of this.  Enough of this political posturing and bargaining and..well…bullshit.

I am an American and as an American I demand that we do better.  Try harder.  I demand on the backs of my grandparents and great grandparents and on the lives of their families, friends, brothers, sisters and fellow citizens who gave everything they had and everything they were for our right to live in this, the greatest society ever known to man, to do better and Knock. It. The. Hell. Off.

Immigrants flocked to our shores and built this nation with little more than a dream of what could be. I’m a European mutt born of five boats that I can trace and dozens of dreams. Because of that and of them I have a responsibility to care.

As I told my son’s teacher the day she had the audacity to remind me that she knew how to do her job (this as he was failing) It is, in fact, my job to ensure the proper and correct raising of my son in all areas of his life…I reminded her of this and went on to tell her that as I was damn well going to do my job she had better understand that included ensuring she did hers.

Same goes for our elected officials.  I may be only one Mother, one parent, one citizen, one small and seemingly insignificant suburban woman in Minnesota…but I’m a loud one.  I am the proverbial squeaky wheel and if I only squeak here…online…to a few that bother to glance at what I write…I will still squeak away…sooner or later, I won’t be alone.

It’s been too long and we’ve been pushed too far and we parents are a demanding sort.  Especially the suburban-types.  Imagine a few million hover-moms all over Washington’s Business…you want some change?  You want things organized once and for all?  Get a working Mother on this mess and it’ll be cleaned up in no time. This is going to be simple.  It needs to be as Washington, as of late, has the maturity level of a bunch of 12-14 year olds.  

1)  Stay out of each other’s business.  Yes, big religious groups, this means you.  I believe in God and I believe in His place in my life and that of my family…BUT…I do NOT go around telling everyone else what to believe and why.  It’s rude and it pisses people off.  It starts fights.  Sometimes people get hurt.  No one will stop you from practicing what you believe to be right and good.  By all means, continue. You have the right to feel/think/say whatever you wish about whatever you choose.  You do not have the right to legislate your religious beliefs.  Back off of any and all religious issues that have turned political.  This includes gay marriage, birth control…all of it.  Stay in your own space.

2)  Share.  Yes, I know…it’s a super-tricky one.  Share.  We are a charitable Nation…clearly.  But we are not charitable to and with each other…and THAT needs to stop.  Give me a committee of coupon-cutting, budget-stretching parents and we will feed every kid in this country a Hell of a lot faster than any “Poverty Zsar” or whatever they’re calling it/him/them these days.

3) Everyone has to help out around here and, by all means, let’s keep it fair.  10%.  10% across the board flat federal tax rate.  Two exceptions and six exemptions. That. Is. It.

Exceptions: 

1) Anyone or any family unit at 200% or less of Federal Poverty Levels.

2) Any Active Duty Service Member during service and Any Widow/Widower of a Service Member Killed in the Line of Duty for LIfe.  They’ve more than paid their fair share.

Exemptions: 

1) Children.  Two thousand per child.

2) Healthcare.

3) Mortage Interest.

4) Taxes paid.

5) Donations up to 10% of income to $250,000 per year annual household income and 5% above that

6) Educational Expenses.

Sound too simple? Good.  Sound like a loophole with the 5% for charitable donations?  Tough.  If we want to take care of people in this country and beyond; we incentivize helping. It still means they pay 10% on the remaining 95% of their income.

Did you know that in 2006 there were 86,585 people working for the IRS?  At an average salary of $50,285? (most recent stats I could grab from government site…I’m a blogger and this isn’t a thesis) Did you know that if we enacted this we could cut at least $3,483,176,000 from the federal payroll?  As in 80%…’cuz by enacting this plan, or something similar, it’s just not that tricky anymore. Oh, and we collect more money.

Where will they work, those poor displaced IRS agents? Well, let’s chat about jobs, shall we?

Unions…

4) If you don’t do your work, you don’t get your allowance.  Uh-huh…now I’m going to piss a few people off.  May as well, I’m on a roll.  They had their time and they had their place and they were very, very necessary once upon a time but that time has in many ways and in many circumstances, come and gone and more often than not they act to discourage growth and job creation.  Just ask the auto industry.  Or a manufacturer. There are so many government entities and laws that ensure worker’s safety and rights that the entire point of unions has changed dramatically…or at the very least been duplicated. We have minimum wages, OSHA, DEC, DOL..it’s all there to protect workers and it will all still be there to protect workers and well, enough is enough!!!

I’m not saying obliterate or outlaw unions; but they do need to be down-scaled and downgraded from running our country.  Think I’m being extreme?  Our politicians are afraid of them.  Find me a democrat running for re-election in Senate or Congress that will speak out against the unions.  Good luck.  They won’t because they are owned by them.  They (unions) control their (politicians) ability to be elected.  Don’t worry, I’m not only referring to democrats, the religious right does the same thing with republicans.  I’ll get there.

Back to unions.  And schools.  They are related.

I love my teachers, the ones I had and the ones my children have now and many, many more I know.  I do NOT think they are paid enough and I do feel they are underappreciated.  However…the fact that our schools are failing cannot be ignored and the fact that bad teachers, failing teachers are almost impossible to fire is not OK.  I work in sales.  This means I am paid for performance.  My husband worked in manufacturing.  If his plant failed, he did not get a raise.  In most jobs in this country, if you don’t do a good job, you are disciplined..warned, and after a few too many warnings, you are let go.  That’s supposed to be how it works, even with unions, but it isn’t…the NLRB ensures it.  This rule of “do your job and do it well in order to a) keep your job and b) get raises (if the company isn’t broke)” applies to servers, accountants, sales people, store clerks…everyone but union employees and most especially teachers…the people with the most important jobs in our country.  As rash as it sounds, it has got to change if we are to give the next generation a fighting chance…which we must.

I know this sounds harsh and cruel and utterly insane…but, newsflash, we can’t afford it (the entitlement mentality) anymore.  Life isn’t fair and not everyone gets a trophy.  Someone has to win and some people who do a better job are going to get paid more.

Schools: No testing to performance; that is inane.  No “rating” scale…it is subjective.  A clearly defined set of job expectations and duties and a reward (i.e. raise) for those that succeed.  Rated system TBD. Good teachers get more; great teachers get lots more.  Incentives for great ones to go to and teach in less advantaged districts. Big incentives. 

We can use all of the IRS money we save and a third of the former IRS employees we get rid of can go to work auditing all of those idiotic government entities that make zero sense but pass every year buried in thousands of pages of crap we call a “budget.”  The other two-thirds can get busy auditing the CRAP out of the healthcare companies, Medicare and Medicaid putting an end to the waste and fraud which, last I checked, costs enough to cover their salaries AND THIRTY PERCENT of the costs of healthcare for our seniors.   A few of the stragglers can be sicced on the pharmaceutical companies…to negotiate the same rates other countries enjoy.

Speaking of negotiation…no more lobbyists in Washington.  They are parasites.  They can put their power of persuasion to work lobbying Big Pharma, Big Tobacco, Big Financial to get their houses in order and Fortune 1000 companies who manufacture over-seas to come back to the good ‘ol USA to build.

So…let’s see…we’ve got the whole religious mess handled, taxes are fair(ish), deficit on the way down, education’s getting better, people are eating, we are taking our meds and caring for our seniors, Service-members all get a much-deserved raise, we respect our Vets, we tick off a bunch of people but we figure out how to make life fair and we all get paid what we’re worth instead of what we decide we deserve and as a result, we can afford to actually make shit here again. Oh, and as we’ve learned our lesson regarding staying out of each other’s business, there are more families created, less protesting and less overall angst.  Which is good; because stress causes eating and eating causes obesity and well, we all know what an issue that is.  Maybe we should subsidize victory gardens…victory over our own health.  Free seeds and informative sites on home gardening.  Hey!  Schools could teach gardening and have gardens at the schools as an elective course…and donate the produce to the school kitchen to make healthier meals more affordable!  I mean, really people, this is not that hard to figure out.

That was ONE HOUR on a cheap Toshiba lap-top.  So, candidates, what do you have?

I am NOT a hero.  I am not all that bright, I didn’t go to an Ivy league school, I didn’t even make it through my state school…I had to go to work…and, frankly, I had a really good time at school; not so much in class but campus was great.  I know that what I wrote isn’t all overly practical…but I had an hour.  It isn’t fleshed out.  What is your excuse?  Where are the heroes?  Why can candidates, for decades, repeat the same thing and we, as constituents, buy it?  Why don’t we demand more? Why don’t we expect more?  What are we all so afraid of?

Look, I know that when I post this to Facebook I’m going to lose a few friends…and that’s OK.  I’m not afraid to voice my opinion and I’m not afraid to squeak my wheel.  Someone has to.  If you don’t agree with me…good for you.  It’s your right not to.  It’s your right to say what you think.  It’s your responsibility to demand a leader who will at least try to solve our problems and make some attempt to clear the honey-do list of our country.

I promised to address the religious political puppeteers…and I shall.

JFK, who was a flawed and faulted man, and a hero all the same…because at least he had the courage to say something…went on to state the following, which I feel is appropriate to close with, imagine if this were true not only here but in other countries as well, especially those of our enemies:

“:I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish–where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source–where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials–”

And on that note, I leave you with these four words:  EFF THE SUPER PACS.

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