Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I'm losing faith in this country: Part 1 - Immigration Rant

Immigration seems like it should be an easy situation to fix. First things first, secure the border. Now, every other country in the world does this with their military. We have a national guard being sent over sees to fight a war of discretion. Bring them home and put them on the border. Next, create and implement a simple straight forward way of becoming a citizen or getting the status to work in this country. Do away with the mountain of bureaucratic trash that they have to go through now. If the object is to monitor who comes in, and to have them pay equal taxes (individually and on a business level) then why make it so difficult? Is it really necessary to make the process go on for years at a time? You are practically encouraging people to cross illegally!
Many people like to argue that we don’t need immigration reform, or parts of it. We don’t need a new process path towards citizenship. We don’t need to secure the border. Fact is there are some very good reasons to do both. We can start with human rights. Many of the people who come up here are brought by Coyotes. These are ruthless vile people who abuse people, take advantage of them, manipulate them, and often times enslave them for periods of time. They hold people for ransom for greater sums of money often. People should not be treated like cattle, smuggled across the border and held till their family can pay for their release. Human trafficking is a human rights issue. Soldiers at the border will help address this.
One thing few people realize is that these paths traveled by illegal’s are very often littered with trash and debris. There are paths that go through private property and national parks alike, that are as trashed as you can possibly imagine. Yes they exist, just google for them. Snopes has verified that this is not a myth. The pictures of the damage and trash I have seen are horrific. How can we allow our own homeland to be treated like a garbage dump by someone from another country? Why on earth would we allow this to continue? If you are going to come to this country, the least you can do is respect it!
Drug violence may be a relatively new aspect brought into this debate, but a prevalent and convincing one. Why should our people have to fear violence from Mexican drug cartels? They shouldn’t. A good healthy dose of National Guard should effectively reduce this problem. Further, it would make Americans living near the border feel safe. And they should. Its our country, not theirs. I applaud Mexico for going after the drug Cartels. But there is no reason it should be allowed to spill onto our soil. We have our own problems with drugs and gangs to deal with.
Now, once in, people have a basic right here to have a minimum wage for their job. We have a right to Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, proper working conditions, proper treatment by our bosses, and kids cannot be made to work. Yet, these are not rights afforded to illegal’s working here. And its not fair to them to have to work that way. Its not right for the employers that participate in such actions to get away with it either. Yet they do. No, not all go through this, but enough of them to make it a problem worth solving.
Yet, every time this issue comes up, the same partisan bullshit gets spewed. Republicans would like you to believe that democrats are trying to let illegal’s flood in to this country unchecked, that they don’t care about border security, that “path to citizenship” is a code word for amnesty. Democrats would have you believe that all republicans are bigots who don’t want anyone to become a citizen, they just don’t want “those brown people” in their country! Neither view is correct! Both views are based on the kind of ridiculous bias that has plagued this issue for years. And it shows no sign of stopping.
President Obama finally sent troops down to the border. 1200 National Guard troops to the border, after republican calls to secure the border. What was the first thing that happened? Complaints by the republicans that Obama isn’t sending enough troops. By whose measure? You finally get what you have been asking for, and the first thing you do is use it as a political tool to score points? Come on! This is not what you were elected to do! John McCain should have applauded the effort, not laud it! We all know this will go on and on, with Democrats watering down legislation in return for more cat calling nonsense from the republicans. When a republican president gets back in office, we can expect every immigration reform bill to be met with calls of xenophobia and bigotry by the right, from the democrats.
Time and time again we see this nonsense play out. And it never gets better, it just gets worse. I am losing faith in this countries government, and its ability to get done what needs to be done. I am losing faith in this countries people for their inability to discern truth and reality, and their constant biting onto the bait by the right and the left. I’m losing faith. Its like a bleeding ulcer that I can’t stop. A myriad of reasons increase this wound. A myriad of reasons increase the blood lose. A myriad of reason why I am losing faith in this country. This is only one.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Road to American Solvency - The Next 50 Years

This country has a problem. It is a problem that exists in the rest of the world as well, but one that will get noticeably worse if we don't make changes. That problem is debt. Current debt in this country is around 87% -96% of GDP, depending on who you ask. Thats pretty large. Granted, there are larger debt to gdp ratio's out there. Hungary's debt is 121% of gdp. And if you take the top 20, it only gets bigger.

US - 96%
HUngary - 121%
Australia - 124%
Italy - 147%
Greece - 170%
Germany - 182%
Spain - 186%
Norway - 202%
Finland - 220%
Hong Kong - 223%
Portugal - 235%
France - 248%
Austria - 256%
Sweden - 264%
Denmark - 316%
Belgium - 328%
Netherlands - 376%
Switzerland - 382%
UK - 425%
Ireland - 1312%

And that is at the end of 2009.

Now, a crowning jewel in the rhetoric merry go round of the tea party is to talk about passing debt on to our children. Well lets not be crass, we are already going to pass on massive debt to our children. And lets not be ideologically ignorant either. Most tea partiers supported Bush for eight years while he passed unfunded medicare programs, prosecuted two wars based on lies, all while cutting taxes twice. If you supported an idiot who decided to increase spending while reducing income, you can't suddenly say you are tired of big government spending. At least not if you want to be taken seriously.

So here are the common sense ways to cut and eliminate this debt. And make no mistake, these aren't really that debatable. Not if you are serious about cutting debt and deficits.

1. Medicare and medicaid spending must be cut. Now, there are great ways to do this. But first we must acknowledge that this nonsense of the party out of power claiming that the other party will cut your benefits is only designed to scare you, and is used as a political tool. When the republicans said that the democrats medicare waste reduction amendment was designed to cut grannies benefits, and lots of seniors believed them, we must admit that this was stupid on our part. There are lots of ways to cut spending without cutting benefits. To say it is cutting benefits unilaterally is deceitful and should be called out by the party who does it.
A. Allow bidding for medicare prescriptions and allow imports from canada that are fda approved and scanned. Yes we can, and yes we should.
B. If your net worth is measured in multiples of millions, you don't get it. I'm not paying for some rich man or woman to get free health care when
he/she can fund their own clinic.
C. Like Reagan and Clinton, the medicare/SS taxes must be increased.
D. Actually investigate and crack down on medicare/medicaid fraud.

2. SS must be made solvent. You can do this by increasing SS taxes. And again, if you measure your worth in multiple millions, you don't get SS. And yes, you still have to pay into it. It isn't going to kill millionaires to continue to pay into a fund for the poor and elderly.

3. Bring home the troops. All of them. It is much cheaper to house troops here, that abroad. Couple in the fact that there are hundreds of bases we would no longer have to maintain. Then, you can solve the illegal immigration problem by putting them on the border. Not interested in arguments for immigration reform here. Make a path to citizenship, what ever. But stop the violence at the border the way all other countries do. With your own troops.

4. Once you bring the troops home, you can drastically cut the military budget. Without spending money on housing troops abroad, you can effectively reduce the budget without having to cut any other areas of defense.

5. Taxes must be raised. Don't like it? Sorry. You can't complain about passing on a debt when you aren't willing to pay for it yourself. So either shut it or own up. If you don't want your kids to own it, then guess who has to pay for it? Thats right, you. So, there are several ways of doing this. One is to have the rich pay more. After all, they have benefited more than the rest of the country, from the system we live in. Why must people continue to insist that we lower taxes even more? Federal taxes are very low compared to history. Eisenhower had the top tax bracket at 90%. For goodness sake open your eyes and stop calling taxes socialism!

These five things would lower spending on the top expenses in our budget, and increase revenue. Like anyone who runs a budget, this seems like an obvious answer. Reduce spending, increase revenue. Why is this difficult?

Now, some will say this can't be done in a recession. And I agree, you cannot raise taxes in a recession. However, we can stop the military spending and reduce the waste in medicaid and medicare right? That would take a big chunk out of the yearly budget!

Its time to put up or shut up America. Either suck it up and do what is needed, or stop crying about passing on debt to our children.