I have decided that I need to stop reading/watching the news so often. It's hard to ignore so many big things going on right now. The thing that's on my mind most recently is the direction of our government and how much politics sicken me.
Believe me, I'm as Rousseau-ian as they come. I definitely believe in a social contract-we give up some rights in order to have protection from the government. However, it makes me so mad that intelligent people, such as the economist James K. Galbraith, are being completely ignored when they say that "spending" is good for the government. The issue of "spending" has become such a talking point for the Republican Party. For those of you who criticized Obama's "Campaign for Change" movement, it's time to look at the tactics of this party and see them for what they are: talking points for the next election. What caused the Great Depression of 1929? The fact that people panicked, and they stopped "SPENDING". Because the government is not going to INVEST (not "spend", which has become the umbrella term for all things good and evil) in new and existing programs that create jobs for people to have and products for people to buy, there will be less liquidity in the system. So, people have less jobs, less money, and they individually spend less. How is this good for our sytem? Please, someone tell me.
I'm not saying we can't revise our budget. Of course we should, and look at programs that are completely ineffective. I really this is no easy or small feat, because almost all programs will be effective for somebody. I'm just saying, let's look at that, and let's also look at the things right in front of our faces-- like giving tax cuts to the wealthy. According to the Center for American Progress, "the Federal Treasury loses twice as much revenue due to tax breaks than Congress appropriates on all nonsecurity discretionary spending". Also, why are so many of the programs being cut those which benefit poor and older Americans? This is a good article which graphically shows some of the cuts being made in all areas: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/02/tax_breaks_infographic.html. If that's not enough for you, check out FOX News' own story about budget cuts, which says "Republicans are already pushing extreme measures like privatizing or making deep cuts in Social Security...At the same time that Republicans are threatening to undermine Social Security, they are defending $20 billion in government giveaways to oil companies that are raking in record profits, arguing that these handouts should be off the table when it comes to spending cuts." Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/02/09/house-gop-targets-dozens-programs-spending-cut-plan/#ixzz1IaK3ec8Y.
I believe in a more collectivistic society, and am saddened by the fact that in the U.S. we have become so increasingly individualistic. I remember when I was canvassing for Obama, and this guy came out of his (million dollar) house and said "I'm not gonna give my money to a welfare woman on dope." I mean, SERIOUSLY?!! Have we reached this level of ignorance and selfishness that we have lost all compassion for those needing help? I got news for ya: there are ALWAYS going to be people who take advantage of social programs, but they are a small percentage. Also, how can we blame those who have not had the education and/OR opportunities afforded to them that we have had? Of course, we all have responsibility to be active members of society and we can all rise above our circumstances- I am not advocating for laziness, and get just as pissed about those who take advantage of the system as the rest of them. However, let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Even my own mom at one point in my very young childhood needed the support of food stamps. My mom is one of the most intelligent people in the world in my view, and had lots of financial opportunities that others did not during her own childhood. All I'm saying is, anyone can find him or herself in the same situation. Say Mr. "No welfare woman on dope" man might at one point find that his business isn't able to be supported anymore, and then he isn't able to make his house payments (certainly I am not wishing this on this guy, just using it as an example). Where is he going to get a new job when people won't hire applicants above 45 in his highly specialized field? Where will he go when his kids need to be fed? We all need help sometimes, and we all need social programs to get people back on their feet. We can't do it without financial support, and that's a fact.
I sometimes feel so helpless in the face of what's happening politically here. More and more I see our society becoming like that of "A Brave New World" a la Aldous Huxley- being bred into caste systems from birth, retarded in utero. Only now we can't even do what we were bred for. No wonder I have thought many times that I don't want to live here, in a place where we don't care enough about our people to find a health care system that works for everybody. Then I know that there's no perfect system, and that there's no place in the world that won't be affected by U.S. action. Everyone follows the U.S. lead and is affected by us economically. Pretty soon, even health care systems in Europe may not be able to (financially) be supported, and they may find themselves in the same predicament. It is just sad when it's too much to ask to have a clean, decent place to live for a reasonable price, basic and preventative medical care, healthy food on the table, opportunities for education and a job in order to be able to contribute to society.
I am grateful and so blessed to have what I have. I just want others who want the same thing to have the same opportunity that I have. Maybe I'm naive, but I believe there are a lot of other people out there who have these hopes and dreams. I also want the same for my future kids, if I decide to have them.
My contribution to the world will be to help people educate one another about where they come from, especially those with preconceived notions about other cultures and their understanding of the rest of the world. I want people to see that it is OKAY to listen to other people's viewpoints, that they don't have to be afraid of their own opinions being changed unless they want to change them. I want people to see that, underneath everything, we are all just people trying to live together in this crazy, mixed-up world. That is my dream. Call me an "idealist", "socialist", sticks and stones.
That's all I have to rant about for now...chew on that. :)