I thought of politics as I thought of work this morning. The two share parallels.
Work is about solving problems and charting courses to make the company more profit. Making more profit is our number one concern. Figuring out how to take care of issues and customers falls in line with the goal of increasing revenues and decreasing costs falls in line with making greater profit.
That's okay. That's why I'm employed, right? That's why the company exists: to make money.
The problems' natures vex me. The vexing comes from my limitations. I'm not a czar, nor even a voting member of some deliberative body. I'm a grunt and a bureaucrat, studying things and advocating resolutions and actions but unable to do anything with them but advocate. I can often clearly see the problem and solution, elegantly put it out there in emails and conversations, but the herds won't follow. Since I'm often delicately telling them that they're wrong, made a mistake, or they're about to make a mistake, they don't want to take my suggestions. Doing so would require them to acknowledge their mistakes.
And there, we reach the political side.
So many people stake out positions and now refuse to admit they're wrong. Especially people on the right end, the conservative leaning end of our political spectrum.
They prefer to believe that government is corrupt and smaller government will solve their problems. They can point to anecdotal evidence that government is corrupt and that will suffice for them. They don't understand that anecdotes aren't necessarily trends, or that one anecdote that covers ten years isn't indicative of a greater problem.
They don't understand that corruption doesn't mean the body itself should be ended. But worse, when dealing with these things, they often attack the newsbearer instead of joining the discussion.
In the second part of that discussion, smaller government, they point to the budget deficit and claim, government must be cut in order to save the budget. Therefore, a smaller government is better. Government regulation limits what businesses can do; therefore smaller government is better.
In this, they're being myopic; one, they act as though the businesses telling them this are telling them the truth. Many times they cite debunked facts, figures and studies. Two, they think it's different with other places. Many of them don't deal with other countries. They really are clueless about what other countries require.
The killer are those debunked facts, figures and studies. I have a list of favorites. I'll number them, because I like numbering things.
1. Obama's place of birth in not in America. This is the one were people call for his birth certficate and insist that the birth certificates they've been shown, the ones tested in card and presented by Hawaii's government, aren't real. They're called 'birthers'. Interesting, this one has really fallen off the charts since he's been re-elected. I guess that the people who kept throwing it up there thought it would dissuade everyone else from voting for him. As it didn't, they've been reduced to mumbling it to themselves in dark corners. I expect it will be raised again at the inauguration.
2. Lowering taxes will encourage job creators to create more jobs. This one is riding high. It's been debunked through decades of studies. What's fascinating is the reverse math requirement needed to accept this idea and support it, that less money coming into the government as tax revenues will reduce the deficit. Gotta love that logic. Sort of reminds me of John Hinkley's logic that killing John Lennon will make Jodie Foster love him.
3. Unions are the bane of our economic recovery. Just saw an interesting graph today, displaying how union membership has been declining. In parallel, middle class income has been declining. Meanwhile, the wealthiest have grown wealthier in the same period. This is really interesting. Union workers were a large chunk of the middle class. As they made money, they spent money. Alas, they were also concerned about their working conditions, and didn't trust companies to live up to their promises. Want a good recent example of that? Look no further than Hosstess killing Twinkie production as the company went through its second bankruptcy. After getting union concessions years ago, managment wanted more. The union balked, especially when it came to their pensions. Hostess management raided the union funds, gave management bonuses and pay raises, blamed the unions for not taking more cuts and threatening strikes, and closed the business.
4. Entitlements are killing the economy. It's doing so because, you know, entitlements are dependent on taxes and tax revenue. Of course, they're ignoring that companies are making record profits, while avoiding paying taxes, and that CEO and senior management pay and bonuses are climbing like a space shuttle with a rocket strapped to its ass. When these people who talk about entitlements killing the economy do address corporate record profits, they often claim, corporations aren't spending because they're unsure of the future. Actually, companies are spending; they're hiring people in other countries at less and less pay, with demands from local economies that they be given concessions, such as lower taxes. When they come back around to the United States, they again want to hire people, again at less pay, for more work. Since making money is a companies' only reason for existence - in other words, they exist because greed exists - that's acceptable. That's the way the war is fought.
And that's what this is, a war, between the very wealthy haves, and rest who don't. And the very wealthy use bullshit and hopes and dreams of the ones who don't to enlist their support. They tell them, if you ever become wealthy, the government will take away your money through taxes, too, and they use the plaintive demand, is that fair? Then they drive away in a luxury car, head to one of their homes, leap onto a private aircraft or yacht, or go off on vacation somewhere, complaining all the time about how unfair it is that they're not allowed to keep more of their money. They don't think about the rest of it, that others are dying, or that much of the economic growth of the twentieth century came from union workers and middle class people buying consumer goods.
They figure, lower the cost of design, production and delivering by reducing workers' wages will lower the costs of goods sold and retail prices. They're betting that everything will go down in price so that although people make less money, they'll still be able to keep buying cell phones and cell phone plans, and buy new homes, cars, and clothing. See, the wealthy think the poor are like them, that the money is really still there. They don't understand how many hours it takes a poor person to work to buy a loaf of bread, let alone cars and phones.
Those who hear them and believe their plantive cries that the government is stealing from them ignore the trappings of how very well those folks are doing while others starve and die from lack of health care. They rise up once again, screaming, class warfare, insisting that we, the progressives, liberals and Democrats, are attacking the wealthy for their wealth.
Well, we can't deny that we're not. There's just something about the juxtapositions of staggering amounts of wealth and consumption and streets and cities of men, women and children begging for food and shelter that irritates me. I don't know, why should you be spared from paying taxes to buy more and more expensive items or more stocks while those without basic items are left suffering?
What's most tragic about the third point is how so many people are being used and refuse to see it. Because if they acknowledge they're being used, they would need to acknowledge that they're wrong and that they've been wrong.
Which takes me back to work.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com