The Blame Game

I’m getting sick of some of the blame game going on in Congress, with the President, and across Twitter/Google+/Internet in general.  I know some of my comments are going to seem as if I’m putting blame too, but please stick with me.

Our country is in massive debt, we all know that.  Over 8 years, Bush increased the debt by $5.7trillion, in the last 2.5 years, Mr. Obama has increased it by another $1.65trillion+ as of 2010.  Spending increases are the fault of both administrations.

Over the last several decades, this country has moved further and further into an entitlement society. More and more people expecting that the Government pay their way through life. Yes, there are those who simply can’t work, and who are disabled to the point that they can’t make ends meet (dispite assistance from family, etc.).  These people deserve assistance, as they have no other way.  I totally don’t mind paying my tax dollars into programs to help people like this.

On the other hand, poverty is a mindset for the rest. The single mom, who works to make ends meet, would need assistance, yes, and as Welfare was originally set up to be, it should be temporary.  However, this administration, and the far left who follow him, believe that it should not be temporary, and that throwing more and more money at these programs will bring these people out of the slump that they may be in.  The reality, is that that is far from the truth.  The more money you throw at somebody who is poor, and has likely been poor most of their lives, is only going to leave them expecting more money, with no work to earn it.  These programs need to be reformed to provide assistance, not in monetary funds, but in guidance.

Some former friends of mine are an example of this. They had more children, simply because they knew the government would pay them more in turn.  This way the husband can just work part time, while the wife sat at home and pretty much lived the good life, letting her parents take care of the kids more than she did. They did decide to try and go to college, cause “that’s the thing that everyone does”, so they got a Pell Grant… since a portion of the Pell Grant is for expenses (books, travel, etc.), they were happy to accept it, and what came out of it was… breast augmentation.  Ya, exactly.  There was no responsible spending of those funds, only what they *wanted* not what they *needed*.

I have had this conversation with a few of my followers on Twitter.  Their argument was that the Pell Grant money is meant to be used for whatever they feel is needed.  I agree to an extent, as there are always helpful things that can help your college career, however, the “latest and greatest” are not a requirement. A new laptop is not required every semester, a new iPad is not a requirement, but a nice to have.  When there were proposals to cut the amount of money provided from the Pell Grant, there was outrage by many.  But not by me.  Eventually, the student must take responsibility for their education, not me and my tax dollars. How are students to learn responsibility, and how life really is, if the government continues to hand out money when they need it. I am a stout believer in personal responsibility, and that *you* are the one who can make you go forward, and prosper, not the government.

Another couple pet peeves added by this administration, was the increase in unemployment to 99 weeks (*REDICULOUS*) and the lowering of availability of food stamps to families making $50,000 or less.  If you are making $50,000 you should be able to provide for your family without government assistance.  You simply have to make the right choices, and not blow your money on what you don’t really need.  Everyone has to tighten their belts.

My last comment I’ll leave is about the misconception of who pays taxes and who does not.  A lot of Americans still believe the “rich” (the reason I quote this is because it also includes those making $250,000, though is always called millionaires and billionaires), don’t pay enough taxes. According to CBO records, the top 10% of earners pay 45% of the Nations income tax. On the flip side, 53% of Americans pay no income tax at all; yet are the ones calling to tax the rich.  This is despicable to me.  I make $60,000 a year, that is our family income. I also pay my taxes, Medicare, SS, and health insurance, and contribute to a 401k.  That drops that $60,000 a year significantly.  I end up taking home about 68% of that. This happens to everybody who pays income tax, state tax, etc.  Now, those who make $250,000+ are usually also business owners, and I know for a fact, that if you are a business owner, unless you want to be massively in debt, your money, is company money, so more likely then not, the payroll taxes come out of your pocket.  You also pay those quarterly, not just on April 15th.  In addition, companies also pay unemployment tax, social security tax, and medicare taxes.  If they decided to provide the benefit, they also pay a portion of the health insurance that the employee does not pay for.  How much does that really leave?  Not as much as you would think.

Yes, millionaires and billionaires could probably afford to pay more taxes… but why should they?  The burden is really on their backs and not the middle class.  It just feels that way, because the middle class doesn’t have the extra cash lying around.

Close loopholes, that’s fine, and makes sense, remove some subsidies from companies that don’t really need it (aka are already beyond the beginning stages of company building, and are making a profit).  But don’t blame the rich for “not paying their fair share”, blame the portion of the 53% who take the earned income credit (knowing they don’t have to).

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2 responses to “The Blame Game

  1. You know I respect the hell of our you for your ability to actually talk in an (overall) constructive manner, bro.

    First off, as a Dem, I thank you and agree that the problem with the debt comes over the past couple of decades. I know Obama has spent money just as “W” did. The slight difference is that Obama’s spending in general has gone towards things I think deserve more attention than they’ve been given by conservative administrations. I feel it goes against what our country should really stand for when we spend billions on war, subsidies for corporations that don’t need it, and tax breaks for billionaires. I see and agree with your point about small business owners. Sadly, I don’t have an answer for that. However, we do see a lot of money being sent to the “top” where it’s simply hoarded to increase someone’s worth and not used to create jobs or stimulate the economy. I view giving money to the top as backwards thinking, since without demand (or ability to buy) from the bottom, there’s no need to create new supply.

    With the airline “shutdown” that happened (I read very little about it), airlines didn’t have to pay their taxes during that time. Thus, they had more income. How many airlines passed that savings to its customers? One. This is the sad reality we see from big corporations. Massive profits, but no relief for those of us that buy the products. This has always been my issue with “trickle down” that the current GOP seems to support.

    As for the social programs, I agree with you whole-heartedly. Those programs need to be there for those that need it, not for those who can exploit it. Sometimes circumstances are just uncontrollable, and we need that safety net. Should it be more regulated so it can’t be exploited and milked? Absolutely. If someone has been pounding the pavement every day trying to find a job, but no one will hire him because jobs just aren’t available, that’s not his fault, and he may need that 99 weeks. Did that open the door for people to just sit on their couch? Yes. I know people that did, and it disgusts me, too. The reason I’m so averted to the GOP right now is the general feeling that the fringe has of “too bad, not my problem.” I may be misreading that, but it’s the feeling I get from the far right. A family barely getting by with a son needs that Pell Grant to potentially give him a better life. However, someone making billions a year with 6 homes around the country doesn’t need an extra $100k. Should we all pay our own share? Yes. Personally, I don’t know anyone that doesn’t pay taxes, but that’s doesn’t mean they’re not out there. Just like your reference to throwing money at the poor means they’ll keep themselves in a place to receive more, the same can be said about the top, hoarding billions overseas waiting for their “tax holiday”. Economists have predicted that they’d only go that route again. Even conservative religious leaders are against any program that cuts funding for programs that help the needy.

    We are also the hardest-working country in the world. Thus, we have the highest level of stress and among the lowest level of health. A single mother working 2 or 3 jobs may be able to support her two children, but at what cost? Her kids growing up without any real contact with their mother? Her health declining because she can’t afford to take a vacation? This country is all about work work work work, and it’s making us one of the most unhappy countries in the world. I’ve seen companies first-hand cut employee wages during the recession. Now that those companies are back making profits again, those employees are still at the cut wages. This is how I view Corporate America, and I’ll be thrilled when they can prove me wrong.

    We need to have more revenue in this fix. Because our economy is so crappy, only enacting cuts will gut this country into nothing. If we don’t have quality of life here for our citizens, then what are we fighting for?

    • I agree, on your comment on revenues; however I don’t believe that the revenues should come from new taxes, but rather expanding our tax base. As I mentioned, nearly 53% of the US does not pay taxes. The average individual would say “it’s the rich, cause they’ve got all those loopholes”, well that’s incorrect, the 53% comes from those who are able to claim the “earned income credit”, or those who do not have an income at all, and in turn pay no taxes.

      The thing is, a majority of those claiming this earned income credit, do it only because it’s available, not because they actual meet the real requirements for it. Yes, this will affect some of the lower/middle class, but it will also push them to understand the tax system, and get them to “pay their fair share”. The top 10% earners in the US pay 43% of the income tax… and since they purchase more things, they also pay a larger portion of sales tax, so in a way, they are paying their fair share already, so why ask for more?

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