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Posts Tagged ‘United States’

Values

September 30, 2010 2 comments

When I grew up, I was taught to work hard to get ahead.  In fact, my mother often said  “el que no trabaja que no coma” or in English “he who does not work, neither shall he eat“.  But they didn’t just tell me that, my father worked 6 days a week doing physically intensive work and when he got home from work he would start helping out my mother baking cakes and flans to ensure that my sister and I had the things we needed and received a quality education.  I will be eternally thankful of their sacrifices and for the lessons they taught me.

Unfortunately, I think that far too many in our society lack ambition and drive to move ahead.  It really bothers me when I see people who have no goals beyond receiving welfare and living in “projects”.  I know of people who are part of the third generation in their family to live in a “project”.  What used to be  temporary assistance to empower people to move ahead has become their livelihood.  I don’t think this is fair to the taxpayers but even more importantly to themselves and their dignity.

On the other hand, I know so many who go out of their way to belittle those who have less than they do; people who think that all the poor are poor because they want to be poor and don’t want to get ahead.  They have money and think they have no responsibility to the society that helped them get to where they are today.  They also often forget that it is the working class that buys the products that their companies/businesses produce.  This lack of care is just sad in my opinion.   Although I’m not religious, my parents always taught me that you take care of those in need, that our neighbors are our brothers.  This level of greed is damaging and dangerous.

These problems are also manifested in our mainstream media/culture.  Children grow up watching advertisements 24/7 and have people like Paris Hilton as their role models.  They are taught that in our society, work and education are not valuable, but that the more things you have, the more valuable and happier you are.

We must reach a delicate balance to address these issues.  Greed and sloth are very destructive qualities.

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The truth shall set you free

September 16, 2010 8 comments

We are in the midst of one of the worst economic contractions in American history.  Meanwhile, if you turn on the TV you will hear that people are frustrated with our soaring deficits while at the same time wanting tax cuts and are desperate for employment.

Historical government spending by major functi...

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So what’s the problem with this picture? The truth is that while both tax cuts and increased government spending stimulate the economy/create jobs they also increase the national debt.

Personally, I am concerned for about both the state of our economy and our national debt.  I think it’s a time to evaluate both our tax structure and government spending programs and make some tough choices.

If we take a look at our national spending, the bulk of spending goes to do three things: national defense, Social Security and Medicare.  If you’re serious about cutting spending, you have to look at reforming those three areas and reform them and/or cut services.   So far I really don’t hear anyone in either party stating that truth and coming up with plans to tackle this reality.

On the revenue side, while it is true that the top 10 percent of Americans pay about 73 percent of all taxes, the top 1 percent of Americans also own a majority of the wealth in this country:

Here are some dramatic facts that sum up how the wealth distribution became even more concentrated between 1983 and 2004, in good part due to the tax cuts for the wealthy and the defeat of labor unions: Of all the new financial wealth created by the American economy in that 21-year-period, fully 42% of it went to the top 1%. A whopping 94% went to the top 20%, which of course means that the bottom 80% received only 6% of all the new financial wealth generated in the United States during the ’80s, ’90s, and early 2000s (Wolff, 2007).

Top US Federal income tax rate from 1913 to 2009

Plot of top bracket from U.S. Federal Marginal...

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Tough choices on both the revenue and spending side of the balance sheet are necessary  to avoid a very dire fiscal situation in the future.  I think both parties will have to give in: reform entitlement programs (yes, Social Security and Medicare), reform and cut wasteful defense spending (we’re not in a cold war anymore), but also we must realize that higher taxes for the richest Americans are unavoidable while we work on getting back to the years of surpluses.

In the meantime, we’ll have to prioritize what’s more important, stimulating the economy, tackling the issue of the national debt or a combination of a little bit of both.

What are your thoughts? Be sure to comment and share with your friends and networks.


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Be careful what you wish for

September 15, 2010 9 comments

What a night last night was.  For a while I felt like people were just angry at the Democratic Party, but from the looks of it, it’s really just turning out to be quite a thoughtless annihilation.  Delaware just elected a madwoman, yes I said it! She is totally delusional and even the Republican party leaders do not believe she is electable and question whether they will be investing in that race.

This just makes me wonder… what in the world are people thinking this year???  Republicans knew they were going to pick up this seat, but after last night, even Karl Rove has written it off.  I, however, am not that quick to write her off since she shouldn’t have even won last night!!  I just don’t get what’s going on in the minds of the American electorate.  If people are interested in changing the direction of the country (and the party heading it), please elect viable, qualified, mainstream and logical Republicans?  Republicans that would be more “middle of the road” and in sync with the majority of the electorate?

I really think it’s time for people to wake up and smell the roses.  I’m not saying vote Democratic or Republican, but THINK before you vote.   IF Christine O’Donnell wins in November, she’ll be there for SIX years.  I’m just sayin’…

Please comment and enlighten me!

Arizona’s 1070

September 12, 2010 12 comments

I keep hearing over and over that the main reason that has pushed Arizona to take immigration matters into their own hands is the “soaring crime in border states”.  Being the nerd that I am, I have decided to do some research and this is what I came up with:

  • Violent crime rates in Arizona are at their lowest point since 1983
  • Property crime rates in the last few years were the lowest since 1968
  • Violent and property crime rates in New Mexico, Texas and California dropped from 1998 through 2008

Another claim that i have heard is that there have been headless bodies found in the desert and John McCain has stated that Arizona is the second kidnapping capital in the world. Those articles will show you those claims are complete false.

Yet another claim made by Arizona’s Republican leadership is that illegal immigration is “out of control”.  Here’s what the New York Times had to say about that:

But the rate of violent crime at the border, and indeed across Arizona has been declining, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as has illegal immigration, according to the Border Patrol…

“If an illegal immigrant commits a crime, this confirms our view that illegal immigrants are criminals.”  Ms. Gans said. “If an illegal immigrant doesn’t commit a crime, either they just didn’t get caught or it’s a fluke of the situation.”

“Their repeated characterization of illegal immigrants as criminals – easy to do since they broke immigration laws – makes it easy for people to ignore statistics.”

The statistics send me back to the drawing board.  If crime is down, and illegal immigration is down, then what’s the urgent matter that drove Arizona to take immigration reform into their own hands?  What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know your theory.

Midterm madness

September 8, 2010 3 comments

The State Emblem of the Union of Soviet Social...

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I just got off the phone with my friend John.  We were discussing how no one is happy with Obama.  His base feels that he has catered too much to Wall Street and made too many concessions to the Republican Party and conservatives think he’s Stalin incarnate.

I believe that there are many reasons why this is happening.  “It’s the economy, stupid” remember that famous phrase? Well, it’s once again the reason that the American electorate is uneasy.  There are other reasons, of course… among them: the Democratic majority/administration passed healthcare reform but it was severely watered down and does very little to contain cost; spending has increased at a very rapid rate, yet the unemployment rate has not come down; the Republicans in congress have seized this opportunity and voted in lockstep to derail every proposal by this administration and point fingers at them for all the spending increases, while providing very little if any alternatives and solutions.  The bottom line is that no one person or party has all the answers or is culpable for all the  challenges our country faces, after all:

  • Bill Clinton signed the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999, leading the way for the collapse of the separation that previously existed between Wall Street investment banks and depository banks.  This was a major cause of the financial meltdown.
  • The Democratic congress did not do enough to bring about regulation and avoid the collapse of the markets when the writing was on the wall.
  • George W Bush laid out a plan he called “America’s homeownership challenge” This paved the way and forced Fanny and Freddy to put people into homes they couldn’t afford.
    (en) John Boehner and President Bush in Troy, ...

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  • Republicans could have improved healthcare, they could have improved the stimulus packages… but they knew there was more political capital by staying in the sidelines.
  • George W Bush gave billions of dollars in tax breaks (nearly $1 trillion) to the top 2 percent of Americans, while involving the US in two wars that cost us over $1 trillion while cutting no expenses.  These actions lead the way for the national debt to double.

I just really wish that people stopped for a second and were a bit more logical, that they thought things through before they go on an incumbent massacre this coming November.  That they realized that Obama is not a foreign-born muslim comrade, that no one party caused this economic downturn and that although some government capital infusion is necessary to get the economy moving again, this is not the magic or only answer to this economic contraction.

If there is one thing that Americans should demand this November is for both parties to work for the American people, not just to gain power and to bring down the other party. That at a time when we have record unemployment, we should not have a party stonewalling everything and a majority that does not reach out to work together to get things done for the American people.

People who are in desperate need of results and accountability.

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