Dear Congress: this is not Common Ground

Dear Congress:

I refuse to be grateful that you did not shut down the government – again. I refuse to be grateful for attacking military pensions, kicking the unemployed to the curb, or every other “pound of flesh” you cut so the wealthiest among us continue to be protected from the taxes they used to pay (that you call “new” taxes).

I will be grateful if ALL OF YOU stop using the currently fashionable term, “Common Ground”. You stole that phrase from the people. To US it means finding things we agree are out of whack and creating solutions based on the needs of us all. It implies a belief in this republic’s democratic process, the willingness to step over political labels, and freedom from “behind the curtain” puppet masters. It does not mean, “using money and political influence to support the few while marginalizing the beliefs and desires of the many”.

This year has been all about the latter, a tyranny of the minority. I suggest a new year’s resolution to actually seek the people’s common ground . Think coffee shop logic, not DC cocktail party logic. After all, this is what we elected you to do.

Respectfully,

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Image: People for Care

War on Christmas?

The only war on Christmas I can find happened on Black Friday. It was reported on the evening news and police blotters across America. Now that it’s over, let’s all have a wonderful holiday season.

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My Unreasonable Rant as I Watch Congress Make a Mockery of America

The next time some guy in a suit that costs more than my last car tells me that sending millions of public employees home without pay is worth it… the next time some woman in shoes that cost more than last month’s rent tells me defaulting on American debt is a good idea… I am going to scream.

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America deserves better than Political Fiscal Theatre from the cash-comfy.

I’m sick of lobbyists and legislators playing economic parlor games with my country’s sustainability. I actually know these folks are smart enough to create a win-win solution to anything America may face. And, it appears that you and I are not even game pieces on the board.

I am tired of being the airbag for these creepy people. They say they have the fate of We-the-People at heart, but all I see is cash flow and quarterly profits in their eyes. Their kind of reasoning might work on Wall Street but it does not work on my street. America is not a land of wealth builders, it is a land of idea havers, thing makers, and service providers. Apparently we don’t fit into the visions of globalization and world domination these fat cats dream about.

So here they go again, holding the national budget hostage so they can leverage something out of our hands that they could not take away democratically. Next stop, debt ceiling malarkey. Oh, they are great at inventing crisis and tragedy. Or fabricating enough confusion that we don’t know who to believe. This republic’s democracy is at the mercy of the new Gilded Age.

Shame on you all.

Now, any member of Congress who feels badly about this, go forth and do your job!

Image from: http://blog.wealthymen.com/preparing-yourself-to-date-wealthy-men-part-2/

This retired small business owner thinks Obamacare is a step in the right direction

This retired small business owner thinks Obamacare is good for America. We get told every day that we are now a part of the new global economy, but our competition is from companies in countries with some form of health care for all. For the rest of the first world, health care is a social expense, while for us it is a business expense.

I played that game as a small business owner, but the deck was stacked against me. I was charged 200% of the rate for a large business, giving advantage to my larger competitors let alone off shore interests.

I never minded paying taxes: they were predictable and I could plan for them. But insurance inflation was out of control and killing many of us in the small business community. While bigger businesses were dropping coverage levels in order to leverage profit, we, the real employers of America, were dropping coverage to stay alive. In 2008 GM pointed to this flaw in our global logic and was summarily gob smacked. Like GM or not, they were right.

Now, the imperfect beginnings of a solution that serves employee and employer is before us. “Back to the drawing board” is political-speak for “bury it alive”. We can spend all day nit picking the small stuff while the elected who are beholden to BIG campaign contributors pull strings to neglect the many and profit the few.

I, for one, believe in American Ingenuity: that we should launch the project to create a yet unseen but soon to be envied strategy to ensure access to health care for Americans, and bloom as an economy within our borders and in the world. No guts, no glory. If you agree, contact your congressional delegation now.

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This isn’t funny anymore.

This isn't funny anymore.

Poster by Jeanene Louden
Photo – “Sad Clown” by Onanymous

Managing the Debt Ceiling Is Like Getting Dressed

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Some mornings my son, now a father, woke up in such a tizzy that he wanted to bicker about everything. I fondly recall the morning he wanted to argue about whether or not he should zip up his jeans.

Watching the House vote this morning, it occurred to me that managing the debt ceiling is a lot like zipping: they both amount to finishing the job.

My son decided zipping his jeans was a good idea when I showed him how his pants would fall down if he didn’t. Just like the time to work through the “to-zip-or-not-to zip” question was before my kindergartner left the bedroom, it seems to me the time to discuss the debt ceiling is EVERY TIME we approve a budget.

What we do now is metaphorically wait until we find our jeans around our ankles, and then try to put the blame for our public embarrassment on someone else.

[Photo credit unavailable, I am sorry to say.]

Bogarumba: frantic dancing to imaginary music


AngryWoman

I have used the term Bogarumba for 30 years to describe the private-interest mischief used to confuse, manipulate, and distance real people from meaningful participation in the American political process. So much more than “wag the dog”, it includes every known strategy to control the narrative so that we (the people) spin off in ungrounded debate – planting flags, taking positions, never to find common ground – while the narrative creators have their way with the law of the land.

Funded by a crescendo of tax cuts leaving mountains of money in the hands of the few and their pet lobbies, they have launched fake science, blocked research, and created an infusion of “common knowledge” that is based upon private objectives, creating a barrier to our solving old problems in new ways: the very definition of American ingenuity.

Before any reader decides this is an attack on one party or another, let me be clear that this is an attack on the influence of cash on this republic’s democracy, regardless who plays the game. This is a cry for first, Campaign Finance Reform, as a tool to get our elected out of the financial death grip of monied interests (allowing the elected to represent voters rather than dollars), and second, Tax Code Reform that properly channels American wealth into a legitimate form of participation in the American political process.

Anticipating our recognition of these barriers, well paid spin doctors have prepared a plethora of alienating talking points and logic pathways to keep us apart. Our only defense is for each of us to ask ourselves the simple question, “is there life after kool-aid?”, can we each describe to ourselves the America we seek, and then come together to address the multitude of issues we face as a nation?

I say we can. This is what the Coffee Party is all about.

Rough seas for America

Our ship of state has been dragging the anchor of an obstructive Congress ever since the new president took office. Tonight I had to listen to one of these lead weights tell the television cameras that the same thinking that dug a furrow in economic bottoms for the last three and a half years should now be hoisted up, and put in the captain’s chair. I don’t think so.

I am not a Democrat or a Republican; and I am not a fool. Every problem in America that this Congress of ours has refused to try to solve was blamed on the POTUS tonight. Mr. Ryan was quite the salesman but I was not convinced: rather, I was insulted by his clinging to rocky talking points from the deep.

“Cut and run” is a boating term: when danger is at hand, and you cannot free the anchor, it is better to sever the line and head for safety than to waste time salvaging your investment in mere hardware. Mr. Ryan helped me make my decision tonight: I’m cutting this nominee and his presidential candidate loose.

America Run Like A Business: No Debt Ceiling “Emergency”

Attention, people who want America to be run like a business! Do not believe the fiction about to spew forth about the contrived debt ceiling “emergency”.

This retired business owner knows a few things about running a successful enterprise. If America were my business, hunkering-down (austerity) would not be my go-to solution.

The first thing I would do is end discounts I could not afford: think tax cuts (discounts), tax loopholes (discounts), and subsidies (discounts + refunds + incentives that can exceed the cost of the product)!

The second thing I would do is realistically price my product (reevaluate taxes). After a decade of unfunded war, should we add a war tax?  And the Medicare D non-compete giveaway: should we add tax to cover it or reconsider that decision? There are many pricing issues to discuss, but those two alone amount to $Billions per year.

While cost savings are always appropriate, cutting back on the American product line before doing the first two steps is just bad business. Why discount and underprice America out of existence? This is a revenue crisis, not a debt crisis.

My recommendation to Congress: the market (taxpayers)  having received the greatest value from discounts etc. in the last 10 years is well positioned to absorb a cost increase. End the dysfunctional discounting practices immediately. Recognize the national debt as predominantly unfunded war debt and plan for repayment accordingly.

Preserve the product line: the American way of life.