Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Off Topic

I have been reading a book by Thom Hartmann called Screwed: The Undeclared War on the Middle Class and What We Can Do About It. It's actually a really good book.When it comes to politics, I realize that I am not as informed as Melissa and Gregory, or John. But I really think Hartmann is right on track. He makes the argument that without a strong middle class there can not be true democracy. Instead there is what he calls a "corporatocracy", which is dressed up as democracy, but which is not really democracy at all. When the situation is such that a person can only run a succesful political campaign when funded by more money than most people have or ever will have, it's no longer a government chosen by the people, for the people. It's a government chosen by big business. Actually he goes so far as to compare it with Mussolini's Italy, and quotes the Encyclopedia Italiana which said "Fascism should more appropriatly be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." That's more and more what we seem to have today.I haven't gotten to the what we should do about it part yet, but I have some ideas of my own already. Now I have always been a proponent of restrictions on big business. I think that businesses should be taxed to the hilt once they have made a certain amount of money.At one time I believed they should be nationalized after they had grown past a certain point, I'm not sure that's the way to go anymore.I also think that the hemmorahging of good paying American manufacturing jobs overseas has to be stopped dead, and if you choose to manufacture offshore than you have to pay a price. Now I am a good Democrat, I voted for Bill Clinton, but NAFTA was a bad thing. I think if you are going to take your jobs somewhere else then you better be prepared to pay a high price to import your goods back into the country. And I mean high, impose all kinds of tariffs and duties on them. I know that Americans are pretty much spoiled, we want $10 jeans at Wal-Mart and a job that pays $20 an hour. Well, that just doesn't work. We have to pay a price, too, and part of that is paying more for goods so that our friends and family members can be guaranteed a living wage. We need to look back to a time not so long ago when we were the biggest manufacturer of goods in the world, when we had a strong middle class that made a decent wage and could afford to buy the goods we manufactured right here in this country.I think businesses believe that people won't ever be willing to do that, but I don't know about that. I think this last election for the first time in a long time people were saying "Ok, things need to change". We are Americans, push us too far and we might be having another tea party.
Another thing I think we need to do is reform the tax system. There can be no tax breaks for the very wealthy. None. Period.If you make over certain amount of money than you are going to be taxed big time. NOBODY and I mean NOBODY needs billions,or even a billion, dollars to live. Sorry, you will be giving that back to society, whether you want to or not. And you'll be glad, and say thank you that you live in a country that allows you to make lots of money in the first place and if you aren't then get the fuck out. Tha's how I feel about that.
And the other thing that I think is really important, and that I can directly do something about, is to clean up the way political campaigns are run, better known as Campaign Finance Reform. Illinois does not have publically funded state elections; some states do. John and I were talking about it and he heard someone say that it has to start at the grass roots, and be changed state by state. Once enough states have adopted public funding for thier campaigns, it will begin t0 change at the Federal level. I think that's right. I don't really know that much about state legislation but I'm going to find out. There must be someone I can write to, and I'm sure there is at least one group in the area I can join. If campaigns are funded by the people than it just seems like more of the elected officials would really be the peoples choice and not big business. And it would address the argument of people not voting because they feel that they are just voting for one scoundrel bought by corporate money instead of another. They still might not vote, but at least they couldn't use that as an excuse. But I think more of them would vote, because it trully would be there choices who are running.

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