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Banking on Bernie

January 23, 2016 1 Comment

This election of 2016 gives us an unprecidented opportunity to change our federal government for the better. The American people have been through the economic ringer while banks “recovered” nicely with taxpayer assistance.  The real estate market where I live is still on a very slow track to recovery, and the stock market is tanking right now over the price of oil.  Ordinary tax payers have felt powerless and probably resentful to see the way our government conducts itself and spends our treasury’s money.  Various movements from #OccupyWallStreet to #BlackLivesMatter have coalesced to express rage against the system.  As these feelings and political movements grow the ability to share our thoughts has expanded exponentially.

This election may be televised, but the instant power of twitter has changed the way the candidates compete. The playing field is more open to view than the games in the past that decided our national political future.  Anyone with a twitter account is free to comment, disclose, and persuade. It reminds me of the University of Texas tower (site of the very first famous mass shooting by a veteran at a school), which says “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32)  Truth and freedom have been generally under siege from all corners.  Each of us has personal truth and freedom, but it gets very gnarly trying to decode the nation’s truth and freedom.  These words evoke talk of war and the military, always used to protect our national freedom.  The irony now that the veterans of our freedom wars are in bad shape and need care and attention sends a signal that all is not well.  All is not revealed.  Truth about what happens to our troops, and in our wars has been buried under a giant pile of PTSD.  The brave men and women of our armed forces have taken the biggest hit to their freedom and security.  Someone has lied to us about the entire nature of this war business.

The economy may or may not be in peril for banks and the super wealthy Americans.  The economic outlook for the middle class looks gloomy to me at the moment.  Poverty is spreading among the senior population and children.  Homelessness and addiction is common for the hero veterans we sent to fight for our “freedom”.  These truths should motivate the voters of this nation to look for a better solution.  I endorse Bernie Sanders for president because #WeAreBernie.  I believe the truth will set us free from unreasonable government, but we need to face the truth together to make this happen. How do you feel, gentle reader?  Do you think we can come clean and make the government work for the people?  No matter what you think I hope you will vote and make your voice heard.

UT tower

UT tower

Non Stop Bucks

October 10, 2012 4 Comments

I am not the only one wishing the political campaign dollars had been spent on the real problems instead of talking about those problems while blaming others. If you have children who must compete for attention, dollars, education, etc, picture a nation of these children. The soon to be elected leaders are trying to become head of our national household. They are advertising, traveling, and spending money like crazy to convince voters that they are the best for the job.  The race it self is boring, but the budgets to bore are outrageous.  Vast sums that can be traced to donors, and even bigger super pacs whose donations remain anonymous run the heavily negative ads.

Imagine how your life would be if the members of your household voted on the leadership who control the money spent in the household. What kind of ads would be run to woo the members of your family?  Politics always chooses winners and losers by crafting legislation.  This never ending cycle of winning/loosing/changing the laws is paid for by the people subject to those laws.  Parents and monarchs can dispense with being elected or making a promise to anyone. We know what to expect from their performance after we observe them in action.  Some are wise, some silly, egomaniacal, or weak.  The good ones seem to get better with time and experience.  They do not need to constantly campaign to stay in the monarchy or parenthood, so they can develop wisdom with all that spare time.

The country that allows all this wasteful expenditure on political campaigning is not in a position to afford to blow so much money.  Part of the big argument is about the nation’s debt.  I do not see any future in keeping the system that proclaims that  we are too big to stop borrowing and too cranky to agree on how to spend money.  The Swiss are famously cranky about how to spend money, but have solved this problem within their political system.  They keep the tax revenues in the canton, working for the people who paid the taxes, as they see fit.  They have, but do not go overboard, with the idea of a federal government.  There is a beautiful building in Bern to house the congress, which has two chambers, similar to our own.  There are no lobbyists, no free parties for the federal employees who serve in the Bundeshaus.  In fact, congress is in session in Bern for only 25% of the year.  The rest of the time these civil servants go live at home and make a living like other citizens.  The salary to serve is not high, so they must want to do it for the service aspect.  I wish the US congress could be treated like that.  If they did not have that full time free lunch waiting for them every day from lobbyists, they might be able to work effectively for the people who paid all those taxes.  Throwing new groups of bums out every 4 years does not seem to be leading to enlightened governance. It makes sense to throw out the system that creates all these bums.

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