There is something terribly wrong today in the financial and political systems in our nation. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, and our country is at risk of losing status in the global community. The Republicans claim the Democrats do not want to make the difficult decisions which will improve the economy (meaning budget cuts) and the cuts the Democrats do make seem to be those that impact the most vulnerable in our society -- the poor and the children. The Republicans refuse to impose taxes on the wealthy, mistakenly believing still in the "trickle down" effect.
In my opinion, our most serious problem is GREED -- unadulterated greed for money and for power. We have gradually veered off course. The United States was once the "land of opportunity" for anyone who wanted to work hard. Ordinary men built thriving businesses that fed their own families and provided employees with adequate wages and benefits and pride in their accomplishments. It was possible for young men of limited means to aspire to political positions and actually win elections based on merit and knowledge.
Now, our financial world is comprised of huge corporations whose CEO's make astronomical salaries, while their workers often barely make a living wage. The small businesses which built this great country are a thing of the past -- "Main Street" has been replaced by big-box stores and malls lined with chain stores. Small shops cannot possibly compete with the buying power of these mega-stores.
Our politicians must have bottomless treasure chests of campaign funds to win an election, and unless they are already extremely wealthy, a great deal of these funds come from contributions from large corporations, leaving even the most honest politician walking a fine line between doing what he thinks is best for the country or doing what he needs to do to maintain the financial support of his corporate "sponsors".
The motivation in business today is GREED. He who can make the most money and maintain the most lavish lifestyle is the winner. What does it matter to him if the people who work for him do not earn a living wage. He is successful, respected and powerful, and that is what counts in America today. To Hell with ethics, as long as he can build his own little empire.
The motiviation in politics is GREED FOR POWER. There is, as always, a huge divide between the principles of both political parties. The Democrats traditionally support the common man and feel a responsibility to care for the disadvantaged, while promoting more liberal social causes such as abortion and gay marriate. The Republicans traditionally support the health of big business and the deep-rooted morals of their predominantly Chrisitan members. We need the ideas from both parties to save our country -- to make it once again a society where people really do have opportunities to better themselves, take pride in their work, have adequate health care, and a safety net during hard times. BUT, today our politicians refuse to work together for the common good. They are much more concerned with their own political power than with any compromise. Partisanship is alive and well because of this tremendous greed for power.
Please take some time to ponder the following questions. In order for things to change in this country, we all must look directly at the problems that face us and speak out.
1. Why are corporate profits up tremendously, yet our unemployment rates rise?
2. Why do average citizens pay taxes on everything, yet large corporations often get tax breaks at the same time they are paying no taxes on their profits?
3. Why, when a school budget is voted down by taxpayers, are the first cuts made in teachers and programs that benefit children, rather than in administrative positions?
4. Why does it cost $900 for a health insurance policy for a couple in a group plan, and $1900 for the exact same plan when the couple is no longer in a group?
(And, yet, the Republicans scoff at health care reform and fight it diligently)
5. Why do developers hold communities hostage for tax breaks to build facilities there?
6. Why can't there be some time limit on political campaigning, to avoid this almost constant preoccupation with the next election, when there is critical work to be done in our legislative bodies NOW?
7. Why can't there be some regulation on our corporate and financial insitutions which guarantees a living wage for employees?
(And, "minimum wage" is definitely not a "living wage". By living wage, I mean a wage that allows a person to pay for decent housing, healthy food, health insurance, and necessities)
8. With the high cost of college, how are our young people going to get the education they need to succeed, without mortgaging their future with huge student loans?
9. If they raise the age limits for Social Security and Medicare, what will happen to those people who are in poor health before they are eligible to retire?
10. Why, why, why can't the Democrats and Republicans work together to solve the serious financial problems of this country. Can't they for once put aside the issue of "power" and forge their differing views into policies that will make this country once again a "Land of Opportunity" for us all?
Please think about these questions, talk about them, write about them, and get your opinions heard. The common people must begin to take back our country and make it a better place to live.