Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Down With Entitlements

2 of 3 Parts 

What’s with these politicians signing pledges not to raise taxes? And why do some want to get rid of Big Bird? If we have to sacrifice someone, why not  the lobbyists?

But nobody wants to touch the lobbyists. Why is entitlement for lobbyists good, but entitlement for seniors bad? Why doesn’t the Tea Party speak up? Why do they tolerate the lobbyists? The democratic process is being ruined because of the lobbyists. These guys are the one’s really  writing the country’s legislation (not our elected politicians) so they can have laws tilted to their advantage. Where is the government “of the people, by the people, for the people?”  So, if politicians want to sign pledges let them sign a pledge to have nothing to do with the lobbyists.  This would be a good start.  Then maybe the lawmakers can really become lawmakers. But until  then the Tea Party folks or the Occupy folks are just blowing smoke.

And while they’re at it, the politicians  could also sign a pledge not to participate in insider trading.  On Wall Street, insider trading could get you a jail sentence or at least a stiff fine. But not the politicians. Talk about entitlement!!! They can, and do, take advantage of the information that they are privy to in their committee meetings and as they cast influential legislation.  Are they entitled to  think about making extra money for themselves while they’re supposed to be working for us? What would your boss do if he/she caught you working for yourself while you’re on the job?

And the medical plans for politicians? Why should they be entitled to special plans for the rest of their lives even if they only serve on the Hill for five years? And people go along with that, but then turn around and reject the Affordable Health Care Act (AKA  Obamacare).  When’s the last time you held on to you’re medical plan after you left your job?  Let’s get a comprehensive medical plan for everybody – or for nobody – including the politicians.  Unresolved or ambiguous medical situations take an invisible  toll on the country. Telling people to go to the ER is not a solution.  All of us pay for it in one way or another. And even if you are covered, insurance companies often squirm their way out of paying. If you wind up with serious medical problems, you might still wind up paying big bucks.

Down with entitlements for politicians. Don’t let politicians 1) be controlled by or morph into lobbyists 2) don’t let them make extra money for themselves while they’re working for us 3) don’t let then walk away with medical plans after they leave the job.  

Government can work. If politicians had to scramble like many folks,  I think they would start working together and finding  solutions pretty quickly.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Remedies For The Politically Insane

1 of 3 Parts

The Dharma teaches us that human life is all about regulation. Morality means regulation. Children and young people getting an education requires regulation. Married life requires regulation. And driving safely on the road requires regulation. Why shouldn’t this apply to businesses? After all, as some proclaim, “businesses are people too.” So why do some politicians insist that de-regulation, or absolutely no regulation, is the easiest and best way for big business to move forward? It's like a child in the store crying and demanding. It’s a lot like the hippies back in the 60’s clamoring for a lifestyle of “free sex” and “free drugs.” And today’s big business wants a free and easy ride as well.

Time and again, like a child, big business is eager to run recklessly after quick profits to secure some immediate happiness, casting good sense to the wind. Imagine the chaos if this unregulated dynamic were allowed to be played out by drivers on our roads. It would mean pandemonium, pileups, meltdowns,  and death.

To govern properly, and to live peacefully, requires training and education. People need to be educated so they can  understand and identify the qualities of good leadership. What happens when uneducated voters elect unqualified leaders? It becomes a case of the blind leading the blind. People can’t complain when the leaders they have elected botch up. The only way to have an honest government is if the main focus of education and higher learning is to live honest lives; that the principles of honesty and compassion and sacrifice become more important than the trickle down greed the 80’s have fostered.  People are called upon to make sacrifices to protect our country, so why shouldn’t big businesses, who are people,  also make sacrifices and practice self restraint to keep our economy solvent. If big businesses are people then some of them are like bullies or spoiled brats who think they are entitled to special treatment.

I’m just about finished working on my rendition of The Mahabharata, the classic epic of ancient India.  The book defines the qualities of a true leader: guiding the citizens to assume personal responsibility;  providing a fair playing field so all citizens have the opportunity to thrive; the leadership assumes the greatest responsibility and makes the greatest personal sacrifice in time of hardship; and that they also offer protection, or a safety net, for the most vulnerable citizens. It speaks of a time when, if leadership were remiss in giving proper protection, they would practically be embarrassed out of their posts.

All to often our so-called political and business leaders find ways to exploit their positions for their own personal gain. If they are not brought to task, then everything becomes spoiled. The panacea is for citizens to be educated in the principles of self realization, and in what leadership is, and in what responsibility means, and how to live a good and honest life. This is the teaching of the Dharma.