This is a very political statement and the only part relevant to Panama is perspective I have developed living here.
Perhaps this would have come years earlier if I had not be caught in survival mode. The place many people enter when they marry, buy a house and have children. My definition for that time of life is wage slavery, a mode of barely living. I was a slave to the pile of bills that rolled in each month. I have four children, all bright, all capable and I had desire to give them the opportunity for a better life than mine; as my father had done for me. Doing this required focus, creativity and time. I left that mode when I emigrated from the land of endless treadmills to Panama.
During that period of my life, political awareness was limited to the local politics that provided me business oportunities. Occasionally I would make note of an event on a grander scale. The morning of September 11 2001, my mother in law called early to make sure to share the tragedy in New York City, she loved sharing tragedy.
It was clear from those events ten years ago, that the bubble of freedom enjoyed by most people in the United States was going to shrink. Whether the conspiracy theorists are correct or not, the primary role of government is survival of the government. By having people relinquish rights, the US government empowered itself. September 11 2001 was a pivotal day for erosion of the rights of all citizens. This occurred despite the fact the terrorism is nothing new. Europeans have seen it all before in Spain, England and Germany to name a few, Israel lives with it weekly. Americans were catalyzed by the media and their fear, they sat by and allowed the US government to legalize many intrusions into individual liberty. There was no outcry, just passive assent.
The Patriot Act, secret courts, secret warrants, wars without Congressional approval, water boarding, violation of international laws, all of this and more allowed in the name of security under the cloak of fear and mantra of patriotism.
Before Sept 11, 2001 it was perfectly legal to carry a short bladed knife onto airplanes, think box cutter like those used in the hijackings or the Swiss Army knife I always put into the inspection tray and was always handed right back to me. The private security people did nothing wrong allowing hijackers to carry box cutters on airplanes. Still in the name of security, the entire private airport security industry was nationalized and replaced with the Transportation Safety Administration. This massive expansion of government intrusion and payroll was under a Republican President, but he could not have done it without Democratic support. Then came a restructuring of the government agencies that allowed for the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. The very name reminded me of the Third Reich. Tighter control of all access and egress to the United States in the name of Security. Panama should be grateful, Miami was the commercial shopping hub of Latin America, now Panama City has taken the role.
This happened ten years ago, yet people in the US are still scared. The average American citizen, half of whom pay taxes, has no clear idea why the country is bankrupt. It was not going that way until September 11 2001. Under Bill Clinton, a Democratic president, there was a short lived budget surplus.
If you believe the masses, the media and some politicians, Radical Islam is attacking the US because it is the land of the free and the US must defend freedom and Christianity for the world. Perhaps they are attacking because the US is the home of an invasive military located in their space. Perhaps other people, in different countries do not want a alien presence in their space, would you?
“I don’t see Islam as our enemy,” Paul said. “I see that motivation is occupation and those who hate us and would like to kill us, they are motivated by our invasion of their land, the support of their dictators that they hate.” Ron Paul
Why did the US military have bases in sixty three countries, with over 250,000 people deployed worldwide in 2007.
“US defense spending (excluding the costs of the Iraq war) have increased from 404 (billion) in 2001 to 626 billion dollars in 2007 according to data from the Washington based Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. US defense spending is expected to reach 640 billion dollars in 2008.”
So what are our children defending at the cost of both their blood and our national treasure. There is no more communist menace, this asymmetrical war against radical Islam continues because the US is in the Middle East. The only reason the US is in the Middle East is oil.
Who benefits from this use of the US military; Chevron, Texaco, Aramco, some Saudi Princes, how about you?
The US has a budget problem. There is not enough revenue to pay the bills. Instead of paying down National Debt, GW Bush, a Republican, cut taxes and started a couple of wars. That combination accelerated the economic decline.
Republicans and Democrats may argue about who pays taxes, who should get tax breaks and who should benefit. Yet they do agree on one thing. Politicians, regardless of party, support Corporate Socialism with loans and handouts in the trillions to banks and other too big to fail businesses. The mantra of the Republicans is that the current Democratic president is a socialist, but when it comes to protecting their cash cows they are too. Capitalism 101 assigned both the gain and the risk of loss to shareholders. Somehow that has been lost when the people who own the politicians might become the losers.
The corporations that run the government of the US have no souls. The souls were ripped out of them by a court decision in 1919. Dodge v. Ford Motor Company, 204 Mich. 459, 170 N.W. 668, is a case in which the Michigan Supreme Court held that Ford owed a duty to the shareholders of the Ford Motor Company to operate his business to profit his shareholders, rather than the community as a whole or employees. It is often cited as embodying the principle of “shareholder value” in companies. Wikipedia
Since that court ruling in 1919 the sole purpose of a corporation has been to benefit it’s bottom line. To that end, multinational corporations have been exporting jobs and soliciting favorable tax laws through their lobbyists for decades. Why do 47% of Americans not pay taxes, they do not have work with wages high enough to pay taxes. It is foolish to think that most of them prefer the public dole, some might, most prefer a better life.
What does the average citizen in the US get for their Federal taxes? If you work for the government you earn a paycheck, the rest of us get to fund the US military and a few benefits like Social Security and Medicare. Those so called entitlements are funded by working people. The cost of defense is not funded by the corporations that benefit from defending “freedom”. Defending freedom today is the cost of defending corporate interests world wide.
20% of the budget to defense, if you take that amount to zero, liabilities would still exceed the income. Republicans blame the entitlements, medicare, medicaid and social security. But look to the income side, in 2010 income from Social Security was 40% of the federal revenue, corporate income taxes only 9% and the 47% who pay income taxes paid in 42% of the revenue total revenue. That means individuals, all of them working or retired, paid in 82% of the revenue to fund the government. The cost of medicare, medicaid and Social Security was 43% of the budget. These are big numbers but if you increase the revenue by bringing jobs home and reduce the military you can pay back something to all those frustrated wage slaves and invest in internal infrastructure.
Eliminate welfare, recreate the WPA, Works Progress Administration, of the CCC Civilian Conservation Corps. These deviced might not have ended the Great Depression but they provided work with honor, not handouts and boredom.
I wanted to compare the budget to Panama and the data is there, at Ministero Publico, if you choose to look but between digging and language issues I looked north to Canada, a country that seems to be doing just fine.
A brief summary of federal spending for 2009–10.
- Canada Health Transfer (9 cents)
- Canada Revenue Agency (3 cents)
- Canada Social Transfer (4 cents)
- Children’s benefits (4 cents)
- Crown corporations (4 cents)
- Defence (8 cents)
- Employment Insurance benefits (8 cents)
- Other grants and contributions (14 cents)
- Other major transfers to other levels of government (8 cents)
- Other operations (11 cents)
- Public debt charges (11 cents)
- Public Safety (3 cents)
- Support to elderly (13 cents)
WHERE THE MONEY COMES FROM : SUMMARY
- Corporate income tax (14 cents)
- Earnings by Crown corporations and revenues from the sale of goods and service (10 cents)
- Employment Insurance premiums (8 cents)
- Non-resident withholding taxes, customs import duties, energy taxes and excise taxes and duties on alcohol and tobacco (8 cents)
- Personal income tax (48 cents)
- Revenues from the Goods and Services Tax (12 cents)
I see a United States that has become distracted by labels, Barry Goldwater, a true conservative, would be appalled by the medling people calling themselves conservatives today. He was a champion of States Rights and Individual freedoms. He did not try to lay his religious views on people, he did not ask the government to regulate the individual activities of people, he believed in the often forgotten, tenth amendment to the US constitution.
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
“Indeed, bin Laden has spoken of how he used “guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers, as we, alongside the mujahidin, bled Russia for ten years, until it went bankrupt.” He has compared the United States to the Soviet Union on numerous occasions — and these comparisons have been explicitly economic. For example, in October 2004 bin Laden said that just as the Arab fighters and Afghan mujahidin had destroyed Russia economically, al Qaeda was now doing the same to the United States, “continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy.”
Those who know me, might be surprised I support Ron Paul for President. I was a vocal supporter of Obama, Clinton and anyone who ran against Reagan. My politics have not changed, just my perspective. I believe that the government that governs best governs least. I also believe that it is the obligation of a government to give back to it’s people and provide a secure social safety net. My friends on the left might think this a conflict with the extreme right wing position of Ron Paul, it is not. Ron Paul has read that forgotten tenth amendment to the constitution.
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Remember the chant, Power to the People, I chanted it years ago in an earlier life.
I support Ron Paul for President, not because a fully agree with him, I do not. I support him because Fox does not want him, CNN does not want him and corporations do not want him. I support him because he will make an honest effort to change the role of government in the US. It would be a painful transition, it will not happen, too many powerful people would lose too much. Yet there is a message to be sent and I want to help send it.
The Federal government has grown too large, too intrusive and too powerful. The very concept of the Federal government was to allow for free commerce and communications between the States. The concept was so valid that after two undred years Europe copied the idea with the European Union. It made States respect the laws of other States and to provide a single voice when dealing with the rest of the world. Never did the framers of the constitution write anyplace that the Federal government would micromanage the rights of individuals.
Issues like a social safety net, drug laws, education, same sex marriage and abortion are contentious issues. People in California and Alabama might think very differently about them. My contention is if the Federal government removes itself from the argument then the people of each State can resolve the laws with in their State. The smaller the polity the more the voice of the people can be heard.
Eliminate welfare, recreate the WPA, Works Progress Administration, of the CCC Civilian Conservation Corps. These deviced might not have ended the Great Depression but they provided work with honor, not handouts and boredom. These programs of workfare, not welfare were created by a Democratic President, Franklyn Roosevelt. These programs can be done State by State for infrastructure within a State and on a Federal level for interstate commerce, defense of the nation and maintenance of places like National Parks.
In California, Arizona, Oregon and other States the people decided on laws legalizing medical marijuana. The Federal government insists it has police powers over riding those laws. In my opinion it should not; Power to the People rings well here.
I believe in single payer health care. I live in Boquete with many Canadians, they have a love hate with their healthcare system. The love is that when there is an urgent need they get what ever is necessary, without charge. The hate is because things not life threatening might take forever to be scheduled. Panama has a better concept in theory, parallel private and public systems. In Panama a country of less the 3.5 million this is done on a national level, in Canada on a Provincial level and it can be done in the US on a State level. One Republican candidate would like his polity to forget he did it in Massachusetts. Implement this and you can eliminate Medicare and Medicaid, those States without single payer healthcare will have a competitive disadvantage attracting new industry. A blend of Capitalism and social safety net that would work.
The social safety net is critical in any society. Ron Paul does not believe in Social Security, I do. I am not sure having the government manage it is the best, but I am very sure letting individuals manage it would lead to many starving seniors. The current forced saving plan, draconian as it is, provides for those who paid into it. If not forced to pay in many would have nothing.
The dichotomy here is my idea of delegate to the States. Let the people of each State decide what is superior for their chosen beliefs. The constitution would allow a woman wanting an abortion to travel to a state where she can have an abortion and return without breaking a law. It would allow a vendor or medical marihuana in California to live in Texas, as long as he did not bring his marihuana. This of course is complicated by many issues, nothing so tangled can be untangled with ease but there must be a real discussion.
If the Federal government got out of some of is consolidated functions and delegated them to the States, the Federal liabilities will drop. As they drop Federal taxes can pay off the debt and reduce to little to nothing. The States then can adjust their taxes to cover services. States with few services will have lower taxes, those with more services, higher. People can vote with their feet on where they choose to live.
You might not agree with my analysis, however it is time for some honest dialogue about the real issues. It is curious to me that Ron Paul gets more exposure on the the Daily Show or Russian TV than on US news channels.
If the US corporate media does not want the message out there must be something to the message.
Listen to Jon Stewart Daily Show, on the Iowa joke poll
More interesting, listen to Russian Television