Our Spoils System: Convenient Conflation or Careful Coordination?

Do tell: how is our Congress, in all of their apathy towards the needs of their constituents, and our President, demonstrating his love of the fight by avoiding the issues as well, and our all-too-willing population in their acceptance of this nonsense going to put America back on track again?  In terms of international relations and domestic policies, we are headed for the same tragic outcome that befell ancient — and modern — Greece.  Shall civil unrest be our downfall also?  Shall our desire to dominate the world be our death knell at home?  Do tell.

Our aggressive agenda abroad is weakening us at home.  America’s place in the world has lost much of its dependability and role-model relevance.  What is the point of engaging in wars to protect our country from foreign invasion or global political dangers if we refuse to pay attention to our domestic situation, allowing it to crumble?  There is no rationale in saving America on a global scale if what we actually are left with at home, i.e. chaos, mega-debt, unemployment, childhood poverty, reduced (if not eliminated) job benefits, no viable health care system or energy policy, is really not a damn thing left to save.  We are fighting three wars across the globe toward what end?  To benefit our international interests and standing?  Shortly, if we continue on this bankrupt path, we will be faced with incredible civil unrest and our global battle will have been all for naught, since internally, we will cease to exist.

Our legislators obviously have not viewed the Sixty Minutes segment on childhood poverty.  In the last two years, the numbers of needy children have grown by two million to a current number of 16 million poor children.  I suppose such respected politicians as Eric Cantor, who had the nerve to grandstand and walk out of budget talks at the mere mention of raising taxes for the wealthiest Americans, would argue that by NOT increasing taxes, we are actually helping preserve our nation’s viability for future generations.  Total fairy tale, and here is why that is true.

It is not the fault of these children living in poverty that they have come upon such hard times.  Rather, their parents bought homes that they knew they could ill afford, spurred on by the banks, seeking killer fees and mortgage rates, who also knew damn well that these buyers could not afford the properties and mortgages.  Isn’t financial deregulation wonderful?  On one hand, then President George W. crowed about how every American is entitled to own a home, while on the other hand, he eliminated any semblance of financial regulation to protect the consumers.  So while our children in poverty are blameless for their plight, there is ample blame for their parents, the lending institutions and our government.  The interdependence of the lack of personal responsibility and institutional greed and corruption is inseparable, a self-fulfilling prophecy.  And our children are the saddest victims.

Civil unrest may result in reaction to the severe cutting back of job benefits.  Surely, contracts were inked for public employees that were disproportionately out of whack with projected future revenues.  Do tell: for governments to cut the benefits of teachers, police and firefighters, not to mention that a huge number of our military families are on food stamps (yup — those same brave Americans who we praise with lip service every day for sacrificing their lives for America), is disgusting when we discover that our Congressmen’s benefits are deep and untouchable.  Federal lawmakers receive a pension FOR LIFE, based on their highest salary, regardless of how long they served.  A flash-in-the-pan politico who held a legislator’s job for six months will reap the same retirement benefits as one who served for 60 years.*  Financial housecleaning must start at home, in our halls where the laws are made.

For our leaders to offer up the excuse of “states’ rights” as a means of quelling any anger and unrest towards these benefit cuts is merely a method of ignoring the plight of most Americans and avoiding a higher moral ground in relation to their own federal benefits.  Public riots and major unrest would be warranted if our federal, elected public servants do not cut their own benefits to mirror those cuts made for the general public.  It is a grave injustice to assume that our legislators are above the needs of our country, and that their benefits are untouchable.  In fact, is there any justification, any at all, to cutting the benefits of our every-day government workers and not those of our elected, supposedly elite officials?  What is the reasoning to slash the benefits of our teachers, police and other keepers of the peace yet maintain even more generous and luxurious benefits for our lawmakers?

This is the hypocrisy, the unbalanced and unfair principles at play, in creating economic and class warfare.  Lesser government workers were promised excellent future benefits in part as a method of accepting lower salaries.   Reform is needed in re-assessing the ability to deliver those benefits.  However, there has not been even a whisper to the same reform being applied to our Congressmen’s benefits.  What gives?  Do tell.

My husband, rightly so, has told me that I ‘”conflate” issues; I often mix apples and oranges and stray off topic.  I admit to going off on tangents, especially when the issue at hand is so precious to me, like the well-being of America’s children.  So here I go again.

My one burning question is this: how could a person, at the height of one’s intellect, life experience and financial success, have voted for McCain/Palin in our last Presidential election?  Had McCain been elected, he would have been our oldest President ever.  Then to add insult to injury, the GOP nominee went ahead and picked a total airhead as his running mate.  Frightening.  This voter to whom I am referring simply offers up the non-answer that all politicians are corrupt and both parties are useless.  Sorry.  I refuse to fall for that empty answer.  If one truly believed that, one would not vote at all.  The voting public has a decisive hand in perpetuating our political inertia, in rewarding the powerful, the wealthy and our corporate entities to the detriment of our middle class and impoverished children.  Furthermore, we have our system of government, for better and worse.  We must find a way to work effectively within that framework or have the courage to change it.   How in all tarnation could that voter have given Sarah Palin a nod to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency?  Do tell.

And while I am conflating issues which in all honesty are interrelated more than you or I care to admit,  I will conclude by making this observation.  If our leaders, lawmakers and voting public believe that the unjust, two-tiered status quo of our ruling process is a truth,  then they might as well believe that while Bristol Palin’s virginity was supposedly “stolen” from her, there was also someone  holding a gun to her head to continue having sex with Levi.  Talk about bending the truth of the matter and spinning events to justify one’s behavioral choices and principles.   Put that in your hat.

And then —- consider this: is my tendency to conflate the issues more noteworthy because everything is interrelated, or less worthy because of illogical thinking?  Despite my habit of jumping from issue to issue, I do believe that my efforts to connect the dots in the larger pattern are warranted.  Whatever the truth may be, we are the victims of a spoils system that just might be the undoing of our nation due to our spoiled, rotten pattern of government and a willing citizenship.

 

*CORRECTION:

It takes five years for a Congressman to be fully vested in his retirement package:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congressional_pension

 

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