|Marriage is love.|
(And thanks to The Mad Prophet for pointing me to this bit of code.)
This is a letter I sent to my Congresspeople and to that git in the White House:
I'm dismayed, but not terribly surprised, to learn that apparently there are no lengths to which the present regime will not go to try to ram its ill-advised tax cuts down the throats of Congress and the people of this land of the putatively free and the too-infrequently brave. What, exactly, are you people smoking (and where can I get some: anything to make having to live under George the Unready more bearable)?
Let's consider a few facts, shall we? Number one, trickle-down economics don't work. We proved that in the '80s when we went from being the nation that everyone owed money to the nation that owed everyone else money, all to fund Ronnie Ray-Gun's hare-brained schemes.
Number two, the economy has been circling the toilet bowl for most of the last two years, just waiting for the final gurgle as it goes down the drain. This is hardly the time to cut the revenues of the federal government, when government spending is about the only remaining source of ready capital to prime the economic pump.
Number three, this tax-cut package, no matter what the bottom line, will not stimulate the economy. Nor will it benefit anyone except the very wealthy. Of course, if the gits in control of the government want to ensure that they will lose the next election, I won't complain too loudly. But I'd prefer to have a job, and money in a sound bank that's actually worth more than the paper it's printed on, the better to celebrate the Republiconartists' loss in 571 days.
Number four, oh, yeah, there's that whole "war" thing. Of course, Congress didn't have the balls actually to declare one, but I keep hearing y'all tell me we're in one. Let me see, now. We're planning to spend $180 billion we don't have, on top of the $75 billion (which we also don't have) we're spending to bomb the snot out of a sovereign nation in violation of the Geneva Conventions and more international laws than you can shake a stick at, to rebuild the very nation we bombed into the Stone Age in the first place. Meanwhile, so we can "afford" those expenditures, and the reward-the-wealthy tax-cut package proposed by that moron in the White House, we're cutting veterans' benefits. That's a hell of a way to "support" our troops: send them off into harm's way, and then stint their benefits when they get back--if they get back at all. And it's obscene that there is even ONE military family that has to apply for food stamps just to support itself, much less 40% of them, just because you people are too busy wasting the taxpayers' money on boondoggle programs that were obsolete during the Cold War (i.e., "Star Wars") to pay the men and women who fight our battles for us a decent wage.
So, since there's no good, sound reason for cutting taxes in the first place, and plenty of reasons NOT to cut taxes in the present circumstances, why don't we try doing the rational thing for a change? Who knows, it might just work.
But here's one thing you can bank on. There are millions of us out here watching every move you make, no matter how much you try to distract us with convenient foreign "wars" or phantom terrorist threats. We're here, we're mad as hell, and we're just waiting for a chance to demonstrate we're not going to take it anymore. We'll be remembering in November 2004--bet on it.
I am deeply offended by the brazen behavior of some leading companies to avoid paying their share of our country’s basic needs. The result is that I end up paying taxes that should properly be paid by companies like Tyco and Halliburton, and some important needs simply go unmet.
The IRS estimates that the U.S. Treasury may be losing billions of dollars each year due to aggressive tax avoidance, including measures as simple as a paper relocation of a company’s headquarters. At a time when all of us should be pulling together, the practice of a growing number of companies of pretending to be foreign companies for tax purposes needs to be stopped.
If these corporate "citizens" are not willing to accept the responsibilities (like paying their fair share of the expenses of this nation) that come along with the manifest benefits they receive, then they shouldn't be receiving any of the benefits, either. Whatever happened to the concept of civic duty? Did it get lost in the shuffle to suck up every dollar that isn't nailed down?
Once upon a time, the naked lust for money was considered every bit as unseemly as lusting after another person. Pity that attitude has disappeared from the moral radar of most of the present regime, all of whom seem pathetically eager to suck up to their corporate masters, the better to extract from them increasingly obscene campaign contributions. Maybe we should enact a truth in politics law, except that it would mean we'd have to rename most of the official buildings in Washington (the "Enron White House," for example).
I am truly disgusted at the spectacle that has become American politics. I'm sure this was not what my ancestors fought the British (alongside the French, I might add) to achieve!
Our nation's energy plan should include strong CAFE standards to reduce our reliance on oil, commit the nation to reasonable renewable energy requirements, and protect our precious natural areas like the Arctic Refuge for generations to come. Without these assurances, we're left with an energy executive's wish list disguised as energy policy.
We're better off with no energy bill at all than the pro-drilling, pro-nuclear, anti-environmental legislation that is currently before Congress. Just out of curiosity, how many times do we have to tell those idiots in Washington we don't want to drill in ANWR, if for no other reason than even if they did find oil there, we wouldn't be able to use it for at least a decade--and we have energy problems NOW.
And while we're on the subject, what's up with getting rid of the Public Utility Holding Company Act? I'd have thought the Enron débâcle offered all the proof any reasonable person would need that we simply can't trust corporate entities to act in any interests but their own. Given the electric companies' long and sordid history of price gouging, among other acts of malfeasance, I'd have thought we would be strengthening consumer protections, not eliminating them altogether. Big Dick and his Big Oil buddies are just going to have to learn that they can't keep fleecing the rest of the world to line their pockets. They can just bet we'll remember their actions in 572 days, when we vote their sorry asses out of office.
The present occupant of the White House has called his tax cut plan an economic stimulus. However, more than 450 economists--including 10 Nobel Prize winners--have signed a letter saying that the plan will not provide the economic stimulus our economy needs now. In fact, it will worsen the long-term budget outlook, reducing the government's ability to finance urgent priorities including veterans benefits, homeland security, health care, education and other programs for children.
This was a theme taken up by Dr. Tony Campolo this past Sunday, in a sermon he preached in Rockford. He asked the congregation why it was that the federal government was willing to spend $180 billion that it doesn't in fact have in the coffers to rebuild Iraq, when it wasn't willing to spend that same amount to rebuild crumbling infrastructure here at home, or to repair inner-city schools that are literally falling down about their students' ears, or to provide medicines for the poor and infirm among us. The answer, of course, is the administration's counter-productive tax cut strategy.
Everyone but the Bush administration (and their craven supporters in Congress) knows that the only thing that trickles down in "trickle-down economics" is the crap: just look at what happened in the 1980s when we first tried that kind of spending. We went from being the world's number-one creditor nation (i.e., the nation that everyone else owed money to) to being the world's number-one debtor nation (i.e., the nation that owed money to everyone else).
That doesn't look like a viable strategy for economic growth to me.
It's time for our nation to begin inspiring the world community with our hearts, rather than scaring the shit out of them with our guns and our nukes and our other weapons of mass destruction (which, unlike the weapons of mass distraction our Chicken-Hawk-in-Chief claims to want to get out of Saddam Hussein's hands, actually exist). We must stand fully behind our commitment to provide all assistance necessary to rebuild Iraq and help its people. We must wage peace even more fiercely than America is waging war.
Moreover, if we are to have any hope at all of calming the passions we have aroused by going to war on our own, we must share the peace as widely as possible. This is not the time to relapse into the isolationist attitudes of the past. It is certainly not the time for more nursery-school games such as Congress has, regrettably, played far too often in the last few weeks ("Freedom fries"? Oh, please! Don't you babies have any REAL work to do?).
If we limit participation in the rebuilding of Iraq to those who belong to the coalition of the bribed and coerced, we will only continue playing directly into our enemies' hands. One way in which we can begin to regain the respect of our friends and adversaries by abandoning the destructive "go-it-alone" policy that characterizes this war.
The coming months and years will test the strength of our nation's spirit. It's essential that America be there for the Iraqi people--with the world community at our side. We can't do it alone--and we shouldn't be asked to.