Friday, August 3, 2012

Losing Friends and Influencing People, Facebook Style

image: THEWEEK.com
I haven't lost any yet, Facebook friends, that is. I may have, but no one's sent me a note and said "You're an idiot and I don't want to be your friend." 

And this in spite of me being seduced into two political discussions this week. I normally refrain from political or religious discussions. I think such beliefs among thinking folk evolve rather than change instantly because someone is suddenly persuaded that X is better than Y.

Money and politics were the root of the most interesting discussion, one person noting that Senator Reid should have provided evidence when speculating that Mitt Romney had paid no taxes for years. True enough. "Evidence, please, Senator Reid."

What we do know is that Romney's rate on the two years of tax returns he's opened to the public was less than 14%. If a single person reports a maximum earned income of $33,950, the marginal tax rate is 15%. It's a fair assumption Romney earned more than that figure, but his income apparently comes from investments, money taxed at a far lower rate. 

I don't resent Romney or the rich so much as I resent an unfair tax system. Our tax system is anti-democratic, and as far as I can see, Romney only wants to make it less burdensome on those with the most money. That's the wrong solution. And what I gather from Romney is that he believes in the Reaganite "trickle down" theory, that so-called job-creating wealth is overtaxed. 

While I don't begrudge Romney for paying only what he owes, I do think he is a person who has been rich and privileged from birth, and he has no conception of the daily focus of the life of the average American who relies on an earned income. 

I think that's why politicians like Romney (and nearly every one running here in Missouri, at least according to television advertisements) attempt to focus on hot button social issues like religion, abortion, gun control, and the like. And when the moneyed class gives to Romney or Obama, we dare not believe that people like the Koch brothers, Soros, Adelman, and other moneyed contributors care a whit about gun control, abortion rights, prayer in school, marital rights, or any other social issue. 

They're buying influence. The rich and powerful want manipulate the political situation to preserve their money and status. And the more influence the monied have, the less influence we have. 

On social issues, I tend to believe we need nothing from government other than tolerance for that which harms no other citizen, but I have evolved to believe societies should be organized to prevent the misdistribution of wealth. I mistrust the rich. I mistrust the power of accumulated wealth.

I will not quote the Communist Manifesto because I don't think there should be a redistribution of wealth; I think the government should prevent misdistribution. We're already suffering from the ugly consequences of redistribution. Think of the billions shifted out of the country by the so-called war on drugs. Think of the Bush-Cheney expedition into Iraq. Think of the billions wasted there no-bid contracts. Think of the billions that disappeared into the gambling schemes concocted by so-called Wall Street economists. 


Or we can continue to quibble over divisive social issues while the wealthy turn our republic into America, Inc., a subsidiary of Adelson-Koch-Paulson-Simmons.



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