Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Divergence of Motivation

Regarding yesterday's post and those "achievers," Rush Limbaugh and so many other Republicans believe are going to be "punished" by President Obama's pending tax hikes on those making more than $250,000 a year, it was my contention that for most of the last eight years the major tax burden in this country was felt by the Lower and Middle Classes, while those who could afford it most were paying less, thereby increasing the disparity of wealth between the richest and poorest of our citizens.
I've spoken to a few Republican leaning friends of mine and I've found pretty much the same reaction that is now being displayed by Congressional Republicans and lobbyists for Big Business, who are kicking and screaming over the proposed tax increases. They say, why should those who work hard for a living, trying to make something for themselves and their families, trying to build a modicum of wealth and security, be forced to pay for those who are not willing to work, or are incapable of work (I won't even mention that most of these individuals label themselves as practicing Christians, who tend to conveniently ignore that particular religion's attitude toward charity toward those less fortunate. I won't even mention it). They are adamant that Obama's plan will fail, that tax increases in a time of recession is a blueprint for national disaster.
In other words, they are fortune tellers. They know the future. They absolutely know what is going to happen, are positively sure about it.
I don't believe in fortune tellers. I will tell you what I am pretty sure of though, and that is that nobody knows for certain what will happen exactly as a result of the President's plans to restore our economy. Not even the President. Anybody who says they do are simply propagandists, spewing hyperbole in order to promote their political ideals.
By that as it may, let me turn their argument around and now state that it was the working Middle and Lower Classes that have been consistently punished by Republican monetary ideology. Why is it fair for them to be "punished," simply due to the state they find themselves in.
Why have I, for example, been punished, simply because I have little desire to "achieve," in a manner that most Republicans, indeed most people, would consider to be a position of "success."
My position is this: I'm perfectly happy living the way I am, and I live in a box for Christ's sake! I look at the state of the entire world, where most humans live and die in abject poverty, and find gross examples of massive wealth repugnant. Indeed, whenever I venture through up- scale communities I tend to feel extremely uncomfortable, nauseas and ashamed. I abhor opulence. I am exceptionally content with my lifestyle at the present time. I have what I need. I have food, shelter, books, and cable TV. I have a nice bed, nice friends, and a fairly stable Internet connection. I have just enough money to do those things I wish to do. I don't need more money at the present time, nor greatly desire more. I have no use for an excessive amount of "things," in order to be content. And I've known many, many wealthy individuals and families in which their wealth did little to shield them from misery.
I chose, to a great degree, to live this way. But it's not for everybody. If I had a wife and children my goals would certainly be different than they are now, and I would act accordingly. I would by necessity need to de-prioritize my personal goals in order to place the needs of my family above my own desires, because that's the way it works when one decides to pass on their genes. But that's a choice too.
The only justification for amassing large quantities of cash and property, in my opinion, is to gain a certain degree of power, which would in turn would help to protect me from those who have more money and power than I do.
And to travel.
A large percentage of the American population, through no fault of their own, find themselves in circumstances similar to mine. And it's okay with them. I believe that most Americans want to have enough money to marry, buy a home, raise a family in relative comfort, and provide the best that they can to give their children the chance to at least do the same, or better. Many have a great deal of ambition, and want more, which is fine, but many are satisfied with what they already have.
So why should we be punished by those whose greed knows no boundaries. Why should we be stolen from in order to boost the bank accounts of those who have more than they'll ever need, or their children will ever need. Why are wages stagnant when CEO's are taking home bigger paychecks and bonuses than ever before in this nation's history? Why do families need to work two or more jobs? Why are Middle and Lower class children prayed upon by ravenous military recruiters? Predatory lending, credit cards & fees, payday loans, whole industries devoted to taking advantage of the working poor.
And who works harder. the rich or the poor? Moms working two or three jobs, or CEOs? Who decides their respective level of success? I understand that there is a distinction in the amount of responsibility involved, but to be perfectly honest I haven't been impressed lately with the performance of senior executives. Because of their greed we find ourselves in worldwide recession.
Yes, there is a minority of individuals who play the welfare system to gain benefits they don't deserve. And they should be weeded out accordingly. But they are a minority. Most working class families work hard each and everyday, and still find themselves under mountains of debt, without health insurance, and finding their homes being foreclosed.
I do not happen to be motivated to become what many seem to believe is a state of "success." To amass wealth, property, and material items. But that in no way means I wish to be repeatedly ripped off by those that do.
Why is that fair?
So to the Republican Congress and large corporations, quit your crying. It's time we all paid our fair share.

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