Be Careful What You Wish For

Often, as I review history, I notice that the evolution towards fairness or resolution of issues is a positive and self-sustaining strategy to better results for the people for which it is intended.

In nearly every revolution in politics, someone loses, usually with great costs to many, and often the results are bloody, contradictory, with a winner who no longer feels empathy for those who did not always support the winner’s efforts.

This difference, evolution vs revolution, seems to be the choice we are being asked to make within both Democratic and the Republican parties.

As someone who craves peace and considers the words spoken by those who wish to serve, I worry when certain words are used. This year, I worry as an American because many words of division and radical change, which to me represent the more dangerous roads, are being spoken from the left and the right.

I hope the more moderate leaders among us soon find their voices and their passion. I hope those with influence and wisdom will step forward and become the people that will support them. Whenever America veers too far either way, usually too far right, it is at great costs to our individual Liberty.

Please consider these words. I simply ask that you hear what words are being spoken. What words incite rather than inspire are disconcerting. Words of division rather than of unity. Words of control over freedom.

What makes America great is not our most extreme views and not our military power. What makes America great is that we allow others to be different from ourselves. We appreciate creativity and uniqueness. We do not force others to our will but ask people from all faiths to respect others. And, we are merciful to those who lose, who are fearful, who are working through their own weaknesses.

Extremism makes America weak. Please do not be seduced by the easy fixes proposed by the extremes. It is likely not without additional costs not mentioned. Whether it is a promise of a big wall or a big program covering all, it forces compliance of some. And, that is the true threat to a great America.

Correct the Course of Police Militarization

“When communities experience fear, harassment and brutality simply because of who they are or how they look, we are failing as a nation. In light of the recent events in Missouri, it is clearer than ever that there is something profoundly wrong in our country.”  These are the first words from Human Rights Campaign and 58 others organizations within the LGBT Community in response to the tragic killing of Michael Brown, a black man headed to college by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

Enough is enough. All Americans must stand up and demand that the police departments of our nation stand down. We do not require the police to be come further militarized. They must be vigilant, but should not leap to shoot and kill, but to pacify and arrest.  They must remember they are in place to protect and serve both the person perceived under attack as well as the attacker.  They are to be an organization where victims can run and where victimizers can be contained until Justice can be engaged.  The organization must be a place of safety not the perpetrators of death and destruction.

For the sake of our freedom we must demand that police end their evolution toward military tactics, racial profiling and executing without due process.  For if we do not, America will become not a land of freedom, but a police state where freedoms are crushed.

America’s LGBT community supports family of Michael Brown, with 58 groups joining letter

Taxation Inequality, Income Inequality, and the Occupy Movement

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I volunteer my time impacting communities that face discrimination.  I share my time, give from what I have, and contribute what I can.  I spend my time urging change, convince others to move beyond themselves, and plant ideas of hope, growth and opportunity.  I worry about the growing numbers of seniors living in poverty, the growing numbers of those in their 40s and 50s living just above poverty with no ability to save for their retirements.  I work to create opportunities through a chamber.
My fear is that the result of my efforts is effectively countered by the negative impact of the tax changes the federal government has assaulted Americans with over the last three decades continue.  Democrats and Republicans have been complicit in the effects
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From 1979 and 2005, the mean after-tax income for the top 1% increased by 176%, compared to an increase of 69% for the top quintile overall, 20% for the fourth quintile, 21% for the middle quintile, 17% for the second quintile and 6% for the bottom quintile. (see http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=957)  Decreased labor union political clout, accompanied with major decreases in social services, redistribution programs and entitlements have exacerbated the trend.  Certainly there are determinants that economists would add but the dizzying drop of the tax rates to income and capital gains has created the most significant mayhem.

Americans have the highest income inequality in the rich world and over the past 20–30 years Americans have experienced the greatest increase in income inequality among developed nations. The more detailed the data, the more divergent the change appears.  If you weren’t aware, the richest are getting much richer.

Public policy and partisan politics are the root factors causing Americas growing inequality.  Education, labor force, and demographic changes can be ruled out as the causes of the widening gap between the rich and the poor.  Simply, the U.S. is unique in having experienced such a rise in inequality – a trend that, if caused by education, labor force, and demographic factors, would have manifested itself in other developed nations.

Congress needs to learn the art of sharing.  Reducing taxes on the wealthiest of Americans and receiving huge PAC donations isn’t sharing.  It is a simple transaction.  Sharing is a principle that should be applied to the tax debate more appropriately.  When Warren Buffett pays less of a percentage of his adjusted gross income than my mother, it is unfair.  The wealthy should not pay 15% when the poor pay more than 25%.   The wealthy should share in the burdens of America – the wars, the fight in global warming, the education of our young, and the responsibility to address the care of our seniors.  They should not require a discount simply because of their wealth.
There is no question in my mind why the Occupy movement has started.  It is simply a poorly focused movement.  Consider occupying Congress, along with every Congressional office, every congressional meeting, and every meeting where a congressman will meet with constituents around the country until elected officials address tax policy to the betterment of the American majority.  That way Rep. Cantor can explain to Americans how he can allow more and more Americans to end up in poverty, simply by tax policy results, and yet he continues to advocate for it.
For years, I have worked with individuals and business owners to plan for their financial future.  I assist them to invest what they have earned, after the costs of living.  I work with them to address future risks and help them insure against the unexpected.  Unfortunately, current federal tax policy and the widening gap continues to diminish the group of people I can serve and inevitably everyone but the richest will join the growing group of individuals and professionals who have become the victims of this sad strategic policy of Congressional tax policy.