Friday, February 26, 2010

Shared Sacrifice

It was interesting to watch a few hours of the Health Care Summit yesterday. I would have to say it was also a little depressing. Only so many words, words words. When somebody made a good suggestion, the President should have asked for a show of hands as to how many would support that. I'm sure some of them would have freaked out if he had, and they probably only agreed to come to the meeting after setting a few ground rules (i.e. not having a straw vote or having to publicly agree on anything). The President and a couple of senators (I think Democrats) suggested that the American public should have the same type of health care coverage that government employees have. I don’t know, but it seems that a few of our elected officials would be happier to see this administration fail rather than come to some resolution for the good of the public.

There’s a story of ancient times when a famine spread across the land. During this hardship the king not only gave away most of the foods and grains stored in the royal warehouse, but he also had all of his ministers and councilors reduce their food consumption and he himself completely fasted for forty days.

At the beginning of last year the small company my daughter works for in Wisconsin had to lay off five or six people. Then, rather than lay off any one else, and to weather the hard times, everyone was asked to take a 10% pay cut. The owner of the company stopped paying himself altogether. Now things have picked up for them and the cuts have been reinstated.

We’re really in this fix together. So where is the sense of shared sacrifice. It could start with the guys in Washington suspending their health care benefits until they come to some agreement. When it comes to the economy and job creation, they could take a 10% cut in pay until they fix that problem. And rather then get a hand out, those guys on Wall St. should all take 10% or even 20% pay cuts until their companies are solvent. Perhaps we’d start seeing some real solutions.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tea Party

I would take the Tea Party movement more seriously if they were to actually address the entirety of the problem. The problem being not only big government but big business. What’s the value of trying to de-claw government if you don’t de-claw big business as well? The founding father’s deemed that the strength of America was in the small farmers and the small businesses. They wanted a separation of Church and State because the Church was the most powerful institution at that time. They could not foresee the growth and threat of big business.

The founding fathers, well aware that people and institutions could be influenced and corrupted, formed a government with checks and balances. It would be naïve to think that the people in big business are somehow more honest and level headed than the ones running the government and that we would all be better off if they were left alone to do as they please. Remember Enron? That fiasco came to light shortly after 911. On one hand, people obviously perceived the threat from without (the government made sure of that), but unfortunately, they did not properly perceive the threat from within which could potentially devastate the economy, and which just about did, leading up to the Great Recession.

So why would a bunch of ordinary citizens who comprise the Tea Party want to defend the rights of big multi-national corporations. There’s an old saying: divide and conquer. The powers that be prefer a weakened populace divided into so called Red states and Blue states, with groups whose main agenda, sadly enough, is to call other people ill names and engage in slogan-speak. And the media swallows this stuff up. They love simplistic, graphic images. The big honchos hope that this will keep people distracted so that they can continue to play their nefarious games. The last thing they want to see is a majority of people coming together to tackle problems.

But I’d bet the American people have a lot more in common than in what divides them. For the good of this great nation, we need a movement (many movements) to generate real dialogue, take aim at real problems which effect us all, and create real solutions. Does the Tea Party care to step up to the plate?

To be continued…