Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dear Mr. Romney

Thank you for reminding me about my dependency upon the government. I had not realized how dependent I had been until your recent comments about the 47% were reported. I guess my dependency started very early when, because my mother couldn't afford private schools, I had to depend upon the government for my education from kindergarten through high school. I tried to be self-reliant and attended a small private college, but dropped out half through the first year. Then I was back into dependency, attending a state university. When I took a year off in the middle of college, I was still dependent on the government as I worked in Washington and Wilmington, Delaware in the VISTA program. I was able to escape from government dependency when I spent three years at the Episcopal Divinity School and remain free of it for about fifteen years, although I may not have been as free as I thought as my salary was paid by donations from church members who got to take the charitable giving tax deduction and I lived in church-owned housing which was exempt from property tax. When we bought a house and got the federal subsidy in the mortgage interest tax deduction, my level of level of dependency increased and it got worse when I went to work for county government in Buffalo, New York. I managed to break free again for a decade, but then I retired and became dependent upon Social Security and Medicare.

As dependent as I have been, I do pay taxes. Not only the payroll taxes that even the working poor pay, but also federal and state income taxes. That, of course, means that I am supporting the crippling dependency of other Americans, of those who depend upon government for public schools, for Medicare and Medicaid, for school lunch programs, for fire and police departments, for public transportation, and even for clean air and water. Maybe that means that we are all dependent on government "of the people, by the people, for the people" for so much that is important to us. Maybe depending upon others is not the evil that you seem to think it is. Maybe, if you become our President, you will learn how to be President not only for the privileged and independent Americans, but for all of us, dependent or not.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Hard Choices

One of the messages that has come from this week's GOP Convention is that Republicans are willing to make hard choices while Democrats aren't.

I find that puzzling as there has been little evidence that Republicans in Congress have been willing to make hard choices about the federal budget. Locked into a no new taxes ideology, many in the GOP are unwilling to see that one of the hard choices that must be made is to raise taxes. Budget cuts will not be enough to eliminate the deficit, and the trickle down theory that low tax rates for the rich will magically revive the economy and raise federal revenues is just a theory. What does work is making sure that middle and low income households have enough money to spend. Increased demand for goods and services creates jobs. A million dollars in the wallet of one person does not create as much demand as one thousand dollars in the wallets of one thousand working people.