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American Political Ignorance

Updated on January 30, 2017

Income Inequality, Reduction of Social Programs, and the Rise of Aristocrats in America!

Greedy, money hungry leeches in Washington continue to bleed the honest American worker of their hard earned cash. The middle class continues to shrink at an astonishing rate, with the riches few reaping the benefits of our prosperous nation. The last thing this nation needs is more social reform and higher taxes, combining the middle and lower classes into one. What good are economic safety nets that protect families from starving, stop the physically impaired and elderly from working, and provide equal education to all Americans so each child has the opportunity to succeed. Such a cynical ideology is one reason why the middle class continues to shrink. Though so many disagree with such reform and tax increases, nearly all Americans will benefit from such programs. The American Dream is dead and it is in part due to the greedy mindset that has been established over the past thirty years.

The thought of higher taxes makes Americans cringe, but what many don’t realize is how terrible the tax system has become in the past three decades. The vision of the American Dream has pushed millions to believe taxes deprive the average Joe of their plunder of gold. For most, there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow; all that awaits the majority of us is a nine to five job that pays barely enough to survive and forces the middle class to work endlessly, for what, a speedy retirement. By the time we hit sixty five, we begin to think of the places we hope to travel to and the houses we may finally be able to afford, but at that age we cannot fully enjoy such extravagant trips or luxurious houses.


Picture Credit:

http://blogs-images.forbes.com/frederickallen/files/2012/10/300px-2008_Top1percentUSA1.png


Stepping Away from Social Reform

So how would social programs and higher taxes raise the lower classes and lower income inequality, which continues to rise to record highs? For one, the myth of Reagan’s tax cuts needs to be disclosed for the scam it truly was. Lowering the taxes for the richest Americans by nearly fifty percent, while only reducing taxes for the lower class by no more than five percent, is one way to rob the general public. What was even worse was the fact that many of the poorest Americans experienced a rate hike, when they were told cuts were coming. If we can obtain a job paying hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, we begin to thank Reagan for his new take on economics, but no such luck for the majority of us, as the median household income sits at around fifty two thousand a year.[1] This is startling low compared to the 1970’s when the economy continued to improve and taxes were still high.

So what changed? How did higher taxes actually improve the economy and the middle class? As wealth was being reallocated from the top twenty percent, into the government, social programs were being properly funded to sustain a healthy and expansive middle class. Incentives for a college education existed, government job opportunities were established, and social security was properly being funded to outlast the baby boomers. Yes, you heard me correctly, a properly funded social security program, with no doomsday scenario of exhausted funds. One reason Social Security faces such peril today is not due to the program itself. It is in part due to politicians spending more than two trillion dollars of Americans hard earned retirement on other projects, mainly military. This number should increase to four trillion by 2017 and yet politicians continue to blame the social program for costing the American public.[2]



The American Aristocrats in Congress

Such maneuvers causes Americans to believe social programs are costly expenses, which will end up as a tax increase. So who is at the wrong here? It seems to be the people in charge, but what is to be done. It is not surprising politicians refuse to tax the rich, because they are the rich. The American aristocrats are in control and their petty debates end up costing the ordinary citizen. As Congress continues to be anything but productive, tax payers continue to pay their salaries. The lethargic and trivial attitudes in Congress don’t even need the salary, as many lived quite comfortably before being elected. In 2010, the median income for a senator was four million.[3] These politicians have no need for Social Security, food stamps, or education benefits for their children. For many, their position in Congress is purely for the powers entrusted in them as they protect their wealth in any way possible.

Americans need to question the motives of politicians. Though not all representatives can be categorized as greedy and egotistic, it only takes a few to create chaos in Washington. The American Dream is dead, but not because of a tax happy government, it is because of semi-monarchy that continues to be established. Congress and the presidency continue to be held by several wealthy families as if it was a family owned business. The names Bush, Clinton, Kennedy, and Paul are only a few that currently exist in government with past family members already lathered in American history books. Can money truly buy a seat in Congress? It seems so.

So what is to be done with such a family run government? To Congress I say, tax me, but do so fairly. Raise taxes on the wealthy and use such funds for good and not evil. There is no reason for America to spend six hundred and forty billion dollars on defense, when the second highest spender allocates less than two hundred billion to defense and has nearly three times the population.[4] Meanwhile, the U.S. spends nearly fifty percent less per person on education than Luxemburg, which leads the world in public education.[5] It has already been made very clear that the education of Americans takes a back seat to defense, with two percent of the annual budget going to education and twenty going to defense. Safety is priority, but taking even two percent from defense would without a doubt be extremely beneficial to schools across the nation, with little to no harm done to the safety of the United States. The majority of the frivolous military spending goes to weapons that will see little to no combat anyway, as millions of dollars are wasted on training exercises. Such spending goes to defense companies like Haliburton, which was once run by past Vice President Dick Cheney, but that is another topic for a different day.

Photo Credit:

http://blogs-images.forbes.com/erikkain/files/2011/04/full_1302714853military.spending.png

America has escaped from the avaricious perils of big business before, but only after the worst economic crisis to date. The similarities to the “Roaring Twenties” and now are more apparent than ever, but we continue to ignore such issues as a society. Are we so content with our lives that we no more push for a better living for all? Only time will tell how such dilemmas will be solved, but a second depression is more likely than one may assume. Income inequality is a pressing issue that keeps being set aside for a later date, but enough is enough. Our government is becoming reactive and not proactive. Such a strategy will only doom us in the case of a financial crisis and those in the middle class historically have the most to lose during such a crisis.


[1]http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2014/acs/acsbr13-02.pdf

[2]https://books.google.com/books?id=YyV1vQaAFBIC&pg=PT27&lpg=PT27&dq=social+security+funds+being+spent+elsewhere&source=bl&ots=7QHLjAYhzz&sig=2l7y8y5TbUOlaUcOhIYK2kfMqL8&hl=en&sa=X&ei=vzkMVYaQN4ajgwSk44H4BQ&ved=0CEAQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=social%20security%20funds%20being%20spent%20elsewhere&f=false

[3]http://www.cbsnews.com/news/why-is-congress-a-millionaires-club/

[4]http://pgpf.org/Chart-Archive/0053_defense-comparison

[5]http://www.businessinsider.com/us-education-spending-compared-to-the-rest-of-the-developed-world-2012-1

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    • Besarien profile image

      Besarien 2 years ago

      I think your analysis is pretty accurate. Our military spending is ridiculous- well over 50% of total discretionary spending. Even people in the military recognize the folly. The amount of defense spending just moving public money directly to private companies in no bid contracts is deplorable. While I blame Bush, well, Cheney the most, really. Obama hasn't plugged the holes. Maybe nobody can at this point. I don't mind paying my taxes but want that money used well, not as multinational corporate welfare and kickbacks to the politicians who make embezzling from the US public not only legal but business as usual. Lobbyists shouldn't be able to get their designer clad feet in the door. They should have the right to hold up a sign from the National Mall the same as any other US taxpayer.

    • DWDavisRSL profile image

      DW Davis 2 years ago from Eastern NC

      I agree with your point that one of the greatest dangers to the average American today is the rising aristocracy of folks like the Kennedy and Bush families. Throw in the DuPonts, the Rockefellers, and the other progeny of old money and the new money, the Clintons, the Gates, and their ilk, and you can begin to understand why one of the few taxes the Founding Fathers agreed upon was the Estate (aka Death) Tax. The purpose of this tax was to prevent the accumulation of wealth within a few families at the expense of the population as a whole. And it is this accumulation of wealth by a few (relative to the population as a whole) that is helping to shrink the middle class as these powerful few take from the middle class to pad their portfolios.

      Thank you for shining a light on this unpopular truth.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      A topic near and dear to my heart. You try to tell people taxes are good and things would work great if the elite class would just pull their weight, and folks want to lynch you for it.

      Great hub and I look forward to following you.

    • David Lucian profile image
      Author

      David Lucian 2 years ago from Connecticut

      Thanks Mel! It is true, the middle class continues to shrink and little is being done by those in power. Hopefully something changes soon! Glad you enjoyed my hub!

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      Fantastic analysis. The middle class has sold its birthright in this country to the 1%, aided along by radio false prophets like Rush Limbaugh who are their tools for deception. Great hub!

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Thanks for exposing Reagan voodoo economics. Whenever I hear people say or write that Reagan was a wonderful president, I feel like throwing up! The only thing he could do was smile and speak in a folksy manner--relic of his B movie days, but that obviously hoodwinked a lot of people into thinking he was a better president than he actually was. But Robert Parry said it better than I ever could, and I quote:

      Robert Parry, Editor for the Consortium News who helped uncover the Iran-Contra scandal, wrote in a June 3, 2009 Consortium News article titled "Ronald Reagan: Worst President Ever?":

      "[T]here’s a growing realization that the starting point for many of the catastrophes confronting the United States today can be traced to Reagan’s presidency...

      With his superficially sunny disposition - and a ruthless political strategy of exploiting white-male resentments - Reagan convinced millions of Americans that the threats they faced were: African-American welfare queens, Central American leftists, a rapidly expanding Evil Empire based in Moscow, and the do-good federal government...

      Despite the grievous harm that Reagan’s presidency inflicted on the American Republic and the American people, it may take many more years before a historian has the guts to put this deformed era into a truthful perspective and rate Reagan where he belongs -- near the bottom of the presidential list."

      June 3, 2009 - Robert Parry

      (My addition): And, unfortunately, millions of Americans STILL believe the crapola Reagan fed them!

      I voted your hub Up+++

      Jaye

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 3 years ago from Orange County California

      Your intentions are good, but your premises are not.

      The problem started one hundred years ago, with the Income Tax.

      The income tax system is unfair, invasive of privacy, and its implementation requires a huge IRS department, and a huge complex, and ever changing Internal Revenue code.

      It is this code, that works in favor of the Rich, and doesn't help the middle class.

      The 1986 Tax Reform Act sponsored by Reagan took away the only real tax deductions that didn't require you to be rich. The reform was to reduce the number of tax brackets and the cap on the marginal tax brackets.

      This worked for a couple of years, and then we had them return, but what didn't return was our tax deductions.

      The rich make their money on investments, while the rest of the people are wage earners.

      Replacing the Income Tax with a National Sales Tax that is similar to the existing state sales tax would be less intrusive of privacy, easier to capture revenue for the government, significantly reduce the size of the IRS, and Treasury Department, severely reduce the tax code.

      Any argument against the National Sales Tax, which is not a Flat Tax has to be made against the State Sales Tax.

      Second, Neither political party wants to get rid of the Income Tax System, and neither party cares about protecting the middle class. To them the middle class are prey, to be used as is any prey.

      Both parties have contributed to the World Trade Organization, and how that adversely affected the businesses in the US. We have not benefited from joing the WTO.

      We have lost too many of our small to medium business, to the larger corporations, the merged and acquired most of the businesses in the country, and became super global conglomerates that were too big to be threatened by the government. They took our jobs, industries, product designs, patents, put it outside of country. They hide their profits from US taxes, and yet they get preferential treatment from the tax laws.

      Supply and Demand is the basic function of the Economic System, but it falls apart under both government control, and monopolies.

      Taking away their biggest asset which is the Income Tax System would deprive them from their paradigm of using it.

      In addition, the Social Service of SS, Medicare and Healthcare should be made to follow the systems that are in place for the government employees, FERS, FEHS, and other benefits.

      The key to change is to render both political parties as subordinates to the people. Part of this can be achieved by becoming disloyal party members. Challenging both parties to provide candidates that hold the voter in control rather than the party.

      It is supposed to be By, For, and Of the PEOPLE, but today people has been replaced by the party.

      Both parties are divergent in their political goals, and therefore together they accomplish little to nothing for the people and the country.

    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 3 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      This is an interesting topic and the distribution of wealth is the root cause of all the West's current problems. We have allowed just 80 people to now own 50% of the World's wealth. No wonder there is insufficient demand for most products! They already own enough!

    • peoplepower73 profile image

      Mike Russo 3 years ago from Placentia California

      Excellent article. I like your analogy of family run government. They are like dynasties. It seems our congress and the two party system is more like the Hatfield's and the Mccoys. They are constantly feuding over who is going to be in power. They only need our votes to keep them in office. Once they are in, they are beholden to the big money interest that paid for their campaigns. Voting up and sharing.

    • profile image

      Kevin 3 years ago

      I remember giving a presentation on government spending and how defense spending is way too high compared to education and health. The responses that I got back were that they (the students I presented to) are okay with the spending because it kept them safe. We are more likely to die from curable deseases, natural disasters and car accidents here in the United States, then from a terrorist attack.

      I completely agree, particularly with the last paragraph in regards to our military budget. The defense and security forces in this country need to be leaner and more efficient. They are not. But people do not invest the time to research this and will not come to a conclusion like this one.

      One critique on this piece, however: The title is about political ignorance, but it is not once mentioned in the article. I assume the author thinks plenty of folks out there are ignorant on some very important issues, but you must address that in your article, otherwise you should retitle this piece to "Income inequality and some common sense solutions".

      Excellent read overall.

    • profile image

      Ben 3 years ago

      No taxation without representation. Yet it seems those elected to office to voice my opinion may not have the same socioeconomic viewing platform as I when their yearly income is not measured in debt but in the millions. Keep preaching brother. Educate the masses.

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