It hit me that the complaint from Conservatives about taxes is partly a complaint by them that their tax dollars are paying for the poor to live off their hard-earned money.
Duh. For the longest time, I was thinking that the resistance against paying higher taxes was just because they want to hold onto more of their money, as do we all.
But a columnist, Brion McClanahan, wrote in The Daily Caller an article which expressed his, and, I would suppose many others’, resentment that people on government assistance are living high on the hog off the backs of “hard working tax payers.”
These are fine examples of what many Americans witness on a regular basis. The other day, while my family and I were waiting in a check-out line at Wal-Mart, I noticed that the woman checking out in front of us was texting on her $200 cell phone (which probably costs at least $100 a month in service fees and may have been paid for by the government as well) and holding what my wife says was a $100 designer purse, with a stack of junk food, beer and cigarettes on the belt behind a line of subsistence products like milk, cheese, cereal and meat.
People pay for “necessary” items with their EBT government debit cards and then use cash for their smokes, beer and munchies. Yet, I have to fork over my hard-earned dollars for every item in my cart (and in essence theirs as well, since I pay taxes while they probably get “refunds” every April). Something is wrong here. Why is the average taxpayer both screwed by the system and forced to watch his tax dollars being wasted on people who abuse the system?
He goes on to suggest that people on government assistance ought to lose their right to vote, ought to be limited to shopping in government-run stores that have less than quality merchandise, and not be allowed to shop in major food stores or drug chains. Everything they would have access to would be blatantly tagged as being provided by the “government.” People on government assistance are “slaves” to the government, and ought to be treated as such.
After I caught my breath, it hit me that what this man wrote is probably the foundation of the cry against new taxes. The belief by many is that only the poor abuse the system and siphon tax dollars away from “honest tax payers.” There is not this kind of resentment for the rich who also take advantage of the system, at the expense, again, of “hard-working Americans.” The double standard is amazing. The difference between what those rich or poor intent of taking advantage of the system is that what the poor do seems to be more readily visible to ordinary Americans, while the abuse of the system done by the rich is more sophisticated and is blanketed by their ability to use their wealth and status to their advantage.
I wonder if Brion McClanahan is aware of the peonage system used by people in this country for years after the Civil War, where African-Americans, and some others from other races who were poor enough, were blatantly exploited by the rich and the wanna-be-rich, who wanted to make money and did so off the backs and labor of people they barely paid. It’s recorded; McClanahan should read Slavery by Another Name by Douglas Blackmon. It’s all there, what was done in this country. Should those people who so exploited others have been vilified? Should they have lost their voting rights?
Ah, no…because they were not “slaves of the government.” They made slaves of others with the consent of the government. Now I get it. Now, I finally get it.
Thanks to McClanahan’s article, I will never hear the complaint against higher taxes the same again. The complaint is rooted in resentment that we in America don’t want to be our brothers’ keepers.’ Higher taxes, for many, merely means that we are paying into a social system that creates “lazy” Americans, and dag nammit, we don’t like that! We would rather they pull themselves up by their bootstraps, even if our government has taken their boots from them.
What would America be like if it were run by a plain, old, middle or lower middle class president, and if the Congress wasn’t filled with millionaires?
There is so much conversation about how we are a plutocracy and not a democracy at all – meaning that the wealthy are doing the controlling and the governing. Government and big business are in bed together, and they are not about to give up or even consider policies which will threaten their class status or their wealth.
That’s understandable. They have no vested interest in the common people; “we the people” are merely puppets used in elections. Ironically, we elect people who do not really have our best interests at heart, not if it threatens the status quo.
It is not surprising, though it is sad, that the gap between the wealthy and the poor is getting larger and larger and that the middle class is almost non-existent. GOP presidential candidate shows absolutely no sensitivity to this reality, saying this week that the complaints against the wealthy is really envy.
Perhaps somewhat. It would be unrealistic to deny that the “have-nots” would rather be “haves.”
But what if the presidency went to a middle class person who was not so far removed from the days of real economic hardship, who remembered personally what it was like to work and still not have a decent, living wage? What if that person had a Congress that was likewise filled with people who could relate to the vast majority of Americans because they were in basically the same boat? What if the members of Congress didn’t have health care, or what if their jobs at Congress paid minimum wage or just above? What sorts of policies for the American people might emerge?
It is telling that in debates, the words “poor” or “poverty” are seldom heard. We hear that conversations criticizing the distance between rich and poor as being “class warfare,” and we hear jabs intimating that people who depend on entitlements or even government employment are burdens to the system of free enterprise.
But the candidates show their disconnect from what is the reality in America, and it goes beyond comprehension why they do not seem to know that a country cannot be its best if the masses are in distress.
And clearly, the masses are in distress.
Someone said to me that if more people would just try harder and get a good education, the playing field would be more level.
I wondered which country she lives in. The cost of a college education is skyrocketing, way out of reach for more and more people, even as jobs that don’t require college educations become fewer and fewer.
Something is wrong with this picture.
So, I just got to thinking …what if the president were just…one of us? I cringe as I see these millions of dollars being spent to get elected. It’s like the money was pulled from a reserved tree or something; this while so many people are suffering. The poverty rate in America is 46 percent…
To make matters worse, the money being thrown around isn’t getting us any closer to knowing who, really, has the best interests of “the rest of us” at heart. No, super PACs are doling out money so that candidates can tear each other to shreds personally. All these guys are super wealthy, and all they want to do is get into office to create policies that will protest their wealth. So, what’s a few million dollars to get that done?
If there were to be someone who came aboard advocating for the masses, he or she would be quickly dubbed a socialist. People call President Obama a socialist, but his policies have not been all that kind or helpful to the masses. The complaint against him seems to have stemmed from rabid opposition to his Affordable Health Care Act, but other than that, I find it hard to figure out why people are saying that he has been against big business and free enterprise.
At the end of the day, those who “have” fight to protect their interests. That’s all that’s going on now. That’s why I wonder what America would be like if someone less wealthy, with a less wealthy Congress, were in control?
Would we be a more equitable nation, or would those in power aspire to be like their mentors, i.e, the wealthy who are in power now?
A larger question might be, would a less wealthy president and Congress create a more equal America, or do the masses of people, wealthy, middle class or otherwise, even believe that financial and/or social equality is even a part of the definition of democracy? Was this country ever intended to serve the interests of and protect the masses, or were we, the common people, duped into believing in the ideal of equality by Thomas Jefferson’s words, “all men are created equal?”