Thursday, March 08, 2012

Thursday Thirteen

Today, I offer up 13 myths in politics that, in my opinion, are not helping things in the United States. I saw a similar list on Facebook recently and decided to create my own. Mine is a little different from the one that made the rounds.


1. "We have no responsibility for one another." This is the origin of the cry to end social programs - personal responsibility. This is the catcall that says, let the man die if he has no insurance. I do not live my life this way. We are all connected. No man is an island, writes John Donne. That has not changed just because it's the 21st century.

2. "Women are inferior." I know many thought this was a thing of the past, that women are citizens equal to men. I have always known this isn't so, as I have experienced gender discrimination on numerous levels. Given given the recent dialogue in the US, the unequal pay, and the obvious poverty of many single women, women still have a long way to come before there is any semblance of equality in this country.

3. "Tax cuts cure everything." They don't. Sometimes you have to raise taxes. Personally, I think signing pledges saying you will never raise taxes should automatically disqualify you from office. If you cannot examine every option with an open mind, you have no business representing me. I personally do not mind paying taxes. I drive on the roads and I use some of the services. I should pay for them. I consider paying taxes to be a honor and a priviledge. I am glad I make enough money to have to pay them, to be honest.

4. "Jobs come from the private sector." This is not true. The government can, does, and should create jobs. Franklin D. Roosevelt created millions of jobs and pulled the country out of the Great Depression. Obstructionism is the only reason this hasn't happened during the Great Recession. Some of the government programs that are now flagging because they have gone private include the U.S. Postal Service and the National Park Service. In my state, the state transportation system turned over snow and ice clearing to a private company. The result has been poor efforts and lots of problems moving goods and services in bad weather. Sometimes government does do a better job.

5. "People want to be poor." Excuse me? Where does this sort of thinking come from? I don't know anyone who wants to be poor. I do know a lot of people who work very hard - sometimes two or three jobs - just to get by. They didn't ask to be poor. And ending the minimum wage certainly isn't going to help them out. It will just move them from poor to completely impoverished.

6. "Getting rid of those trillions in debt will end the recession." I would like to see that paid off, really I would. But how does that end the recession? My own thoughts on ending the recession are these: spend government money on real jobs (the stimulus was a good idea, but the money went to the wrong places) and that will end the recession.

7. "Rich people should have tax cuts." Everyone should pay their fair share of taxes. I guess the problem comes in defining "fair share." If you have more, you should pay more, and if you manage to find deductions, etc., so that you aren't, then something needs to change.

8. "If people don't have health insurance, it is because they don't want it." There are many people who would like to have health insurance who simply cannot afford it. I know several.

9. "Teachers are the reason the education system is not turning out good students." This is like saying the reason there is crime is because the police are bad policemen. What is with the blame, anyway? Why not just fix the problems? Are they so vast that no one can come up with a solution? Or is it that there are solutions, but no one wants to pay for them?

10. "Unions are bad." This has been so accepted that it's off the charts and not even in the public discussion, though it should be. Unions are not inherently bad. Much of the labor trouble today is not because of unions, but because of lack of unions. I am pro-union and I wish there were more of them.

11. "War is an option." It is no secret that I am anti-war. I do not believe war is ever an option; it shouldn't even be on the table. We are supposed to be civilized people. Isn't it time we act like it?

12. "The free market knows best." I do not believe this is true. Humans tend to follow the strong and leave the weak. In a world where everyone matters, the strong must care for the weak. In a free market (capitalism), this does not happen. That is why the government must step in and regulate.

13. "Discrimination does not exist in the United States." I don't know who actually believes this, but I read it in the letters to the editor occasionally. I see discrimination everywhere - against gender, age, race, class, and sexuality, to name a few. I have experienced it as a woman and I am experiencing it in different forms as an older person.



Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here. I've been playing for a while and this is my 232nd time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday.

23 comments:

  1. A good post, Anita. Unions and education have been very much in the news here, but on a national level...not so much. And I agree with you and Warren Buffett--a millionaire should not be paying less in taxes than his minions.

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  2. I agree with all thirteen. Even paying taxes. We want services, we have to pay for them.

    I got a good taste of what a lack of government regulations does when I lived in Ferrum where there was no zoning and very few ordinances. Yes, my taxes were a lot cheaper than they are here in Jersey, but I got no protections. The neighbors, known around town as "the Evils," harassed us, vandalized us, assaulted us, abused and starved their animals, built big fires within feet of my old wooden farmhouse to intimidate us (cinders floating precariously close--I had to stand outside with the hose), killed our dogs, threw litter on our property, piled junk on their property (tires, broken farm equipment, trash) right in front of our house to try to bother me, and parked outside our house for hours on end blasting rap music. We could hear it even with the windows closed. There were no other houses in sight. They simply parked in front of ours. The cops said it was a free road and there was nothing I could do about any of it even though it was obvious what the Evils were up to. Here, as an example, I am not allowed to let my manure pile get bigger than a certain size because who wants to see that? Plus it pollutes the water. It's a pain to have to get rid of it, but it's the right thing to do so that we can all live together in harmony. I'm happy to have rules to follow that protect my neighbors. And me. And I'm happy to pay for them. I fell safer.

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    1. Wow, Deb. What a great - yet scary - example of the reasons for regulations and control. Thank you so much for sharing that.

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  3. i always wonder what all the great politicians that formed our country are thinking about this mess and the horrendous politicians we have to choose from now?

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    1. They are probably wondering where the statesmen are. I know I do.

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  4. Great, well thought out list, Anita... as always.

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  5. If we are not responsible for one another, why do we come in groups?

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    1. Good question. I think we should be responsible to and for one another.

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  6. Great list, and several are especially well worth making today, which is International Women's Day! The west is always lecturing the rest of the world about women's rights, so it's about time it lived up to its own rhetoric.

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  7. I can't believe that there are people in congress ready to push us into another war. ggrrr....



    Have a great Thursday!
    http://harrietandfriends.com/2012/03/when-karma-bites/

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    1. It scares me! I am not eager to see people killed for economic concerns.

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  8. I agree with much of this - #9, especially, since I am a teacher).

    Thanks for sharing.

    My TT http://blog.jayceedelorenzo.com

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    1. Thank you for serving our youth today!

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  9. Anita, I haven't checked in to your blog in a while. I am glad I checked in today. Very well written:-)

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  10. These are all very important, especially #4. Both of my grandfathers worked on WPA projects during the Depression and one of them (Chicago's Brookfield Zoo) still stands. There are a lot of bridges and roads that could be repaired!

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  11. Politicians (and Republicans in particular) always comment about how they can't take anything off the table when it comes to foreign policy and war and yet raising taxes are off the table. On the rich, they call it raising taxes but I see it as repealing the Bush tax cuts to the wealthiest.

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  12. I can't offer anything more than a simple "Amen" here. Thanks for sharing your thoughts - it makes some of us feel a little less alone.

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  13. Sis,
    Another good list. Print this off and you and I can sit down and talk about it. Some of this I agree with you, other's, we are miles apart. Amazing how siblings can have such different thought's on things. Of course that's what makes life in America great. The freedom of speech and the right to have an opinion.

    Love ya,
    Diddle

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  14. >"Teachers are the reason the education system is not turning out good students." This is like saying the reason there is crime is because the police are bad policemen.

    Beautiful, apt comparison.

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  15. Another 'Amen' from me. Very profound thoughts. HappyT13!

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  16. Great list! I agree with some of your 13 but definitely with #10 - I, too, am pro-union and always will be!

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