Friday, December 23, 2011

Common concerns of Tea Party and Occupy - My Boyne City Gazette column

    Prior to the infiltration of nationwide Occupy demonstrations by many radical groups, there were some legitimate concerns being expressed, though some will criticize the methods they employ. Certainly there are some concerns they share with the Tea Party, and it may be time for the two groups to come together.
   Congress has for many decades passed laws demonstrating good intent, frequently creating unintended consequences.  In the early 20th century personal income of corporate executives were taxed at very high levels, creating a need for alternative ways to compensate.  Thus stock options and pensions became part of overall compensation.  Name the law, and we can find unintended consequences.  Individuals and corporations alike have learned to use laws passed by Congress to their benefit, finding mostly legal ways to avoid further taxation or to gain an advantage.
   It is these laws and their loopholes which should be targeted, along with Congress and the President who passes them, not the corporations which create most jobs in America.  Laws forcing banks to provide mortgages to those without the means to repay them, for instance, led to banks figuring out legal ways to avoid taking large losses when those mortgages fell through.  Laws allowing executives of taxpayer bailed-out companies to continue receiving large bonuses before the company repays American taxpayers should not have passed.  Those who break the law in gaining advantages should be, but often are not, prosecuted. Shutting down these businesses by Occupy crowds, however, hurts all employees from blue collar to white, not just executives.
   Only 12% of Americans approve the job our Congress is doing. Crony capitalism is condemned because those with close ties to government receive “favors” including permits, government grants, earmarks, and special tax breaks.  We condemn bailouts of failing companies. Our Federal Reserve, which has never been audited, secretly bailed out banks around the world with dollars far greater than domestic banks received.  Baseline budgeting, without any vote in Congress, automatically raises the budget for government programs by 8% per year, even during times of budget deficit and no inflation.  Lowering the increase is decried as a cut, even though the programs receive even more money.   
   We should rethink spending on government programs.  Trillions of tax dollars have been spent on education, on the war against drugs, and the “war on poverty”, resulting in less able graduates, more drop-outs, more illegal drugs and more poverty. 
   Chaos, demonstrations and threats can and do bring a problem to the attention of America, as they have throughout our history. Working together, however, we can improve America without destroying the free market capitalism which has enriched the lives of Americans, whereby those who work hard and take advantage of their opportunities have an amazing chance to improve their lots in life, an extraordinary opportunity not afforded to those living in countries run by tyrants and dictators.  Socialist, Marxist and Communist leaders have never provided the freedom and upward mobility that is abundant in America.  People long to come to America and are willing to die to get here – it is the land of opportunity!  President Obama recently dared to defy history by declaring that capitalism has never worked.  He is factually impaired, as capitalism DOES work, and we need to reestablish the best opportunities of that capitalism.

   So what is it that we can all do to make a change?  Tea Party and Occupy groups could begin to meet in order to find common causes.  We should peacefully petition Congress in large numbers with letters, emails and office visits, and attend Townhall meetings to have our voices heard.  We should demonstrate, without trespassing or keeping others from getting to their jobs.  We should be writing Letters to the Editor.  We could run for election as Precinct Delegates, the smallest political unit in the country to have a vote. Several hours per day on the phone could be more productive and far more comfortable than spending 3 months in a tent. We should take positive actions to effect change in America instead of trying to bring America to its knees.  Investigate those running for office, study their positions, and volunteer for those whose beliefs match your desires.  It’s the American way!

The Obama campaign released a new YouTube video on Tuesday just in time for the season entitled, “Home for the Holidays: Share Why You’re Working to Re-elect President Obama.”
Going back and forth between a collage of young 2008 Obama voters from different backgrounds now working on the campaign, each individual tells his or her story of propagandizing conservative family members, and encourages you to preach the same this Christmas — I mean Holiday season.

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