Sep 26, 2012

Two Americas

Eating caviar in Zuccotti Park amongst
the Occupy Wall Street protests.
I hear about the 47% who are on food stamps or on some kind of Federal assistance - and then I hear about the folks who are standing in line to get a cell phone that's 'slightly' better than the phone they already have in their pockets.

That's the red state and the blue states. That's the state of the nation. There's such a divide between what is important, and why it's important - it isn't about Obama or Romney - it's about the complete and total disconnect from America First World and the other half.

What can be done about it? Well, I suppose a compromise for both camps of economic theory. To understand that the one half is going to pull the other one into the crapper fairly soon - and I actually can make a case for the have-nots doing it, but the other half already struck first with the housing market and financial meltdowns. And their complete and total refusal to understand that the 'takers' have no other option than to ask for a handout - or hand up - but they're just getting a finger from that side. At least, that's how it looks when Romney talks about the typical Obama voter.

To have a rational discussion about supply side economics - or Trickle Down (I always envision a two story outhouse for the visual) - it's fairly clear how spot on it works. Once the millionaires and the big corporations took huge hits in 08, they stopped spending. Immediately. It took, what, two months to trickle down to pink slips across the country? And now, since the 1% and companies, like Apple, are sitting on huge piles of cash, there's an outcry that they should start hiring or spending that money - That would be someone asking for supply side economics to open the spigot, would it not? Kind of ironic to bash that system when it's clear that's what you're asking for - even if you don't 'believe in it'.

So, there's a fiscal cliff on the horizon. No one, and I mean no one is talking about it. Tax breaks are expiring, 10% cuts in, er, everything is coming. And the current players in Washington caused it, and what have the done to address it? Go on vacation to bash their opponents in their re-election campaigns. Is it too soon to worry about the debt crisis (16 Trillion) before the economy is repaired and folks are back to work? I don't know, and neither does anyone else -- but what's dangerous, is that's what these politicians were paid and placed there to figure out.

At some point, someone's going to have to come to the rational middle, yes, both sides of the fringe, and realize that if half the country is playing out the Walking Dead - and the other half is watching it on AMC - it's all going to go to hell. And really quickly.

The 'rich' are going to have to discover, like they did in the Gilded Age, that if they fund the hospitals and the schools, their own personal habitat is less likely to be filled with zombies. Their own children will not be getting the polio and less likely to watch a reality show if the personal health and education of the society is improved. What's that worth?

And the other side of the fringe is going to have to concede that not all that charity work should be done by fifteen layers of bureaucrats in marble government facilities. If the problem is too large - then that's where government programs could assist - not necessarily operate unending programs. Like a consultancy.

To take it to the next level - maybe the PEOPLE should be more assertive and active in what programs should be funded and prioritized? A Kickstarter, hell, even a Reddit, of registered voters could tell the elected officials what the priorities for their communities are. The school playground is falling down, but there are 43 kids in your kid's class room. We can either hire another teacher, or fix the playground. Or maybe we can fund both, but we're going to have to ask for a bake sale. We could raise taxes, but wouldn't a voluntary hand out be more effective? A one time raising of funds over a constant and un-retractable pile of money once accounted for is expected to rise with inflation, forever? "Well, if we don't spend it, we won't get the funding next year" mentality is killing everyone.

Maybe it's just a pipe dream, but it doesn't seem impossible. Is it?

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