It is no secret that as long as there have been political parties they have been inundated with fringe political ideas, especially in recent years, right now most prominent in the republican party and it’s offshoot the tea party gaining popularity. And, no election in any year, for any seat, city, county, state or national is without at least one wing nut armed with leaflets, a web page and managing to grab at least one microphone prior to election day. What is striking and an increasing cause for alarm is what some out there, off the wall political kooks have slowly gotten the American people to buy into. As little as 5 years ago no one would have thought of the overhaul Paul Ryan conceived for Medicare, no one would be running around talking about the unconstitutionality of federal government actions, especially those geared toward public benefit, no one would think it was ok to cut disaster relief, social programs just because government doesn’t want to pay for it. No one in their right mind, seeing what’s happened in the last 3 years to both stock markets and people, would think of doling out a responsibility lecture, wanting people to take on more of the burden for things they didn’t have control over in the first place.
Enter Ron Paul for president recently appearing on Fox News Sunday discussing his bid for 2012, saying almost exactly these things, bringing to light his not so secret views on the current troubles in America. In addition to his long held stance on abolishing the IRS and income tax, eye popping, jaw dropping highlights include the unconstitutionality of social security, Medicare, Medicaid and the misuses of article 1 section 8 speaking of congress providing for the general welfare. Wanting people to take responsibility financially instead of depending on social security because they were irresponsible, claiming we have a welfare state killing average Americans. He thinks people in disaster zones along the Mississippi should build their own levies take care of themselves instead of expecting the government to do so citing he gets more complaints about FEMA than not. Also saying that it’s not the government’s fault if someone builds their house on a beach and it blows down. Lock step with Tea Party ideals on smaller government, less intrusion into people’s lives and a free market meant to stimulate business. Paul like the Tea Party and other smaller government, “return to constitutionality,” supporters of states’ rights so much so in fact that he stated on Fox News Sunday drugs, prostitution exc., should be legal if that’s what states decide.
Every cult like citizen army, citizen group fortified in a compound, sprawled out on a ranch in the middle of nowhere has railed on the illegality of income tax but regardless of the technical constitutionality of federal government taxation, the problem with Paul’s views, is it’s how states and this nation pay for roads, parks, streetlights, major highways, subways, public transit, public buildings, schools, community programs. Independent of some amateur government aficionados shouting about America’s lack of political understanding, citizens taking for granted everything government does is constitutional, social security, Medicare and Medicaid are not about winning an argument, some grand show of political maneuvering to solve a towering problem, they are about taking care of people who could not otherwise take care of themselves. To those who argue the general welfare statement mentioned in article 1 was spelled out in the other, however many articles, and not a license to establish the aforementioned programs, social services or a “welfare state;” short answer, who cares? Because this is the America, the vision of which is a country that is the envy of others, the gold standard for ones entering the global stage that takes care of its people like no one else. And if it isn’t constitutional to provide stipends, i.e. social security to individuals too old to work, individuals with disabilities preventing them from working, then the constitution not our perception needs amending. If it truly is unconstitutional to provide healthcare to old people no longer working, no longer getting it from an employer i.e. Medicare, if it really is unconstitutional to provide that same care to the poor and vulnerable, many of whom are children, then the constitution needs to change not the provisions. These are human beings not statistics; this is about having a decent person at the helm, leading us into the future, not someone whose for the rich, against the poor, who is so out of touch with the needs of the citizens they serve in favor of being an emotionless automaton only focused on greed, national or personal.
Then we look at the why, the causality of needing afore mentioned previsions, because it’s not about people who didn’t save for retirement, squandered their money, lived beyond their means; it’s about people who didn’t have a 401k matching program with their employer, who had nothing to put in an IRA after the rent was paid, lights kept on, food in the table, their children had clothes on their back, shoes on their feet, who worked medial labor, minimum wage all their lives. We’re talking about people who lost significant chunks of 401k and retirement savings in the stock market through no fault of their own; Mr. Paul is again lock step with the Tea Party and republican rhetoric declaring something unconstitutional has become the newest excuse not to pay for the needs of citizens, the newest way to get by with gouging more out of middle class and poor Americans while the rich get richer as the top 5 oil companies make a collective 34 billion dollars and still receive government subsidies. Subsidies that could be funneled into Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid simultaneously with the misappropriated government monies to other business powerhouses making staggering profits in the billions, revenue generated from closing tax loopholes currently allowing US businessmen to buy European sewer parts and similar foreign products, not because they are in the sewer business, but because of the tax right off. Further ground could be gained if politicians took a dose of get real and realized proportionate taxes charged to those making anything from $250,000 to multiple millions, even billions isn’t your garden variety tax increase but finally making super earners pay their proportionate fair share.
The audaciousness of Ron Paul’s would be policy on disaster relief is not that perhaps places like New Orleans should be responsible for their own levies as the entire city, town is below sea level, for crying out loud, or that maybe some small towns along the river shouldn’t be there because they are too close to a volatile force of nature. It’s that they already are, and regardless of what politicians, penny pinchers and city officials would prefer, relocating millions of people is not an option. Coupled with that is the pure unadulterated fact, no matter where you go in the United States there is potential for life threatening weather phenomenon. Floods and tornadoes in the midsection of the country, hurricanes in the south, mud slides in the west, earthquakes along major fault lines; there is no prudent place to build your town, better choices to settle in. The moment you do relocate yourself and your family new natural challenges simply replace old ones; unusual weather patterns, record setting weather events, are increasingly more common, heaping more hardship on the American people. Vast and violent tornados cutting swaths, changing topography, wiping entire towns off the map, if leaders can’t learn from our homegrown examples, then look at Japan the most earthquake prepared place and what still happened there. Not to mention fault cannot solely be placed on stubborn residents refusing to leave, but poorly formed, non preplanned evacuation orders that left people in the Superdome for days without basic ventilation, food water, blankets, people who couldn’t get onto busses to evacuate or transport themselves to the location of provided evacuation transportation. As for FEMA, the level of complaints and ineptitude mean we need a better system not just say we won’t provide any; Again to say so is to t forfeit our humanity.
Yes we have a welfare state the larger question is why, perhaps how it was created; no not with FDR and the new deal, not with the 1937 ruling upholding the legality of social security. Not by providing medical care for older people, poor people, general relief, food stamps and other aid to qualified persons. No we create or perpetuate a welfare state every time a young person cannot afford to begin or complete college, vocational, technical school or field specific job training; we create a welfare state every time students can’t gain access to tangible, hands on information about the career they want to pursue due to a lack of college career services or people in business willing to speak with them regarding the best way to get into that field. We insure the next generation can’t find a job when there are no internships or the sparse number available barely provide rudimentary skills, never mind experience in the advanced tasks mandated by workplaces all, when a job interview becomes a subtle beauty contest. When benign, mildly embarrassing things posted on social media take you out of the running for a position, when it is more about who you know that what. Further it has long been common knowledge and practice that government has dipped into social security to pay its debts, finance other items without ever putting the money back. On a related note, social security and social security disability are not welfare they are a percentage of the wages individuals earned while employed, rather than some random number. They are a part of nicknamed entitlement programs, but somehow that too has taken on a negative when it’s only giving people back what they paid into the program.
We force dependence on unemployment benefits, continue a cycle of long term unemployment, every time job retraining programs get cut citing budget reasons, every time job training programs are not up to date, not teaching in demand skills. With an economy so volatile financial expert Suzie Orman is advising people not to go back to school if it means getting into debt owing to the millions holding degrees unable to get jobs, when the hosts of The View mentioned retaining and she’s saying retrain to what? We ensure young people will have it worse than we do, be more reliant on so called entitlement programs as wages stagnate, as people can’t obtain the American dream, even anything close to a functional life. Washington bean counters can talk all they want about raising the retirement age it doesn’t mean employers are going to fall in line, be willing to hire older workers; currently individuals over 40 have the hardest time obtaining employment independent of retaining for high demand jobs in medical billing, medical coding. Plus doing so with the current generation, the first projected to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents only sets us up for failure. By contrast if we could get everyone roughly 18 to 50 who wanted, needed and desired a job working there would automatically be more money paid into social security, less people needing it as soon. However, doing so means bringing back some sanity to the business community, doing so means making room for not only older workers but those with a variety of disabilities who still have something to contribute.
And lets talk about the need for bigger government today Obama’s birther issue points to an iron clad reason to have national guidelines pertaining to documents that should or must be public record, rather than letting it fall under states rights. Educators across the board from pre-k to college are pleading for national standards both to compete globally and give students an equal playing field; so an A in Oregon is the same as one in New York is the same as one in Georgia, every kid is learning the same basic material before heading into colleges, universities, tech and specialty schools across the country. Much of the recession was touched off by a lack of federal oversight, control of the financial markets, things that should have been made illegal that weren’t. We are forced to operate a bigger government in order for it to handle developing laws for things previously considered common sense, good business practices or basic decency and fairness. Laws, regulations telling businesses NO, you can’t discriminate against the long term unemployed, NO you can’t fire, demote an employee because of what their kid posted about them on social media, YES people have the right to follow privacy expert guidelines and make their Facebook profile friends only, without it costing them the chance at a job, and applying for said job doesn’t mean automatic forfeiture of your password to your potential employer so they can snoop into your life. That a protected class, gender, race is not the only reason to stop the exclusion a group of people from jobs. Goings on right now in a country based on freedom, liberty and justice for all, issues not likely to be addressed by congress for years if not decades to come.
Continuing, what happens if we implement what Ron Paul, the Tea Party and Republicans can all agree on, what happens if these ideas become law, become the new fabric of our country? First we will be going backwards not forwards, back to turn of the 20th century America when robber baron names like Rockefeller and Jay Gould were taking from others to amass gargantuan wealth; we go back to depression and pre depression America where people had no safety nets, assurances. When you were too injured, too old to work you were dependent on family for your survival; without a family you were out of luck. Next the everyone for themselves attitude isn’t going to fix budget problems, will raise not lower healthcare costs due less people having care, racking up emergency room costs after situations become dire, getting no preventative care what so ever later in life, exactly when you need it. Existing programs notwithstanding, we still have senior citizens eating cat, dog food because they can’t afford anything else, others choosing between food and the medication that keeps them alive. One senior, a former veteran, froze to death in his home unable to pay his heat bill and the city, state he lived in had no prevision preventing utility companies from disconnecting heat below a certain temperature regardless of ability to pay, a glaring negative for states’ rights. Others see the potential slippery slope of creating a place like Amsterdam where nearly everything is legal, neither would the majority of the bible belt go along with it. The other side of it is states’ rights taken to the extreme has already banned dancing in some cities, legislated baggy pants, sexual activities done behind closed doors between consenting adults, made it illegal to do some of the most mundane things. Go any farther and we might as well go back to the pre bill of rights days where every state, territory in the union had its own currency, where things were far too fragmented and disjointed.
Finally, Ron Paul is the symptom not just the problem; he is a glaring symbol of politicians with zero imagination, zero problem solving skills and zero ideas. He is a classic example of those who don’t want real solutions who instead want to find a way to maintain business as usual for the upper echelon, the people who have it good now while ignoring those on the bottom. Ron Paul is also a giant red flag to a trend occurring among the American people who seem to share somewhat the same lack of imagination and ideas, thoughts being something must be done so this has to work. We need relief now to this, what can only be described as oppression, so lets try the radical proposals of candidates; it can’t be worse than what’s happening. Oh but it can, we can go back to the worst moments in history; we can create the conditions that lead to Nazism in Europe, only here it would be assaults genocides against the brown people, suspected illegal immigrants. We see that war brewing already. We can go back to the days that nearly crippled this nation only with no World War II materials production to save us, no new deal, no regulations to be made that will turn the tide. The question is, is that what we want; if not, Ron Paul cannot become president.