Contraception is About Women’s Health Not Politics

women-concerned-about-health-careWe have all heard the arguments recently and they are getting louder and louder. The most recent attempt at hamstringing women’s health care came at the hands of a horribly conceived and widely misconstrued bill known as the Blunt Bill. Even though it was narrowly defeated (51 for to 48 against), I think it is important to take a moment to talk about what this bill and other legislation like it would really do. In many ways it is amazing to even see birth control and contraception even being an issue. This argument was out in politics a quarter century ago. It not only seemed to be settled but we also have seen decades of benefit from birth control being widely available and accessible. As this proves our memories are short and our reason can be clouded. Let’s take a loot at a few of the main political arguments.

Contraception is Used For Much More Than Prevention of Conception

Different kinds of contraception are used for more than just birth control by millions of women. The Pill is used to alleviate a range of women’s medical conditions. To assume contraception is strictly used to stop conception would be to exclude nearly half of all women who use it.

Depending on what study you look at (or which side of the argument you are on), upwards of 15-20% of women taking contraception do so for purely non birth control related reasons. This number is impossible to narrow down since every study has minor variations in what and who meets their criteria. Regardless of this though, the fact remains that millions of American women use contraception for other reasons than birth control.

There is a reason contraception has been touted as one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century. Impacts go far past the simple impact of stopping conception. Attempting to legislate contraception from a standpoint of birth control misses the real crux of the issue and therefore misses the real consequences or benefits.

Stop Legislating Religion

Religious beliefs should not be put into legislation. In fact legislation based of belief or faith should be cleared completely off the table. In a time of technology, information and the ability to process huge amounts of information, we should be legislating from facts and data:

  • It would cost an estimated 18 billion dollars a year in unintended births that would need to be covered by families, insurance companies, or the government.
  • There is no quantifiable data whatsoever to suggest that having access to contraception turns women into mindless rampant fornicators. In fact, if this was the case, perhaps contraception would have to be covered by insurance companies just as Viagra is.
  • If women can no longer afford to treat medical conditions prevented by this medicine, larger health care expenses would loom in these women’s futures.
  • And what of the quality of life for unwanted children, especially those that end up with severe psychological damage because their parents cannot care for them. What is the cost of foster care for 18 years of a child’s life?
  • Can we discount the responsibility of the great many Americans that know they cannot afford or otherwise give a child what is necessary and need to have a good childhood and family experience? What about the majority of Americans, who understand they can only afford one or two children. More children than they can afford means less opportunity for everyone in the family.
  • Republicans should certainly understand that what this legislation entails is a corporation, contracting with another corporation (the insurance company), and having the ability to tell the second corporation how to run its business, while possibly interfering with state legislation requiring insurance companies to cover this prescription in the same way it covers other prescriptions.

And if you are just not the “show me the facts” kind of person and want to go from the gut, go with your belief. Pope Benedict XVI has told you what your belief should be by saying that healthcare is an “Inalienable Right” and said it’s the moral responsibility of all nations to guarantee access to health care for all of their citizens.” I doubt the Pope meant only those that can afford it, should get it.

When Advocating Freedom Don’t Legislate Against It

Another big side of this argument that continues to astound me is that the same groups that shout so loudly about freedom are the ones pushing so hard to eliminate freedoms for anyone that might have a different opinion.

Freedom : Noun ~ Ability to act freely – a state in which somebody is able to act and live as he or she chooses, without being subject to any undue restraints or restriction.

Freedom talks about an individual’s right to choose what is best for them, not the right of a corporation or religion to dictate what is best for that individual person.

This is why the government, corporations, and religious organizations should not interfere with the insurance companies they partner with in covering contraception. The individual person can make a choice based on their own beliefs, ideals, health conditions, lifestyle choices, or any other reason whether or not they will use contraception.

It is not the employer’s business what a person’s life is outside of their job. It’s not the church’s right to have intimate details on its employee’s health. Our health care system is such that the majority of Americans receive health insurance through their employers. Your employer should not determine what will be covered by a third party healthcare plan.  It is up to the government to make sure we have access to the best health care and the personal freedom to choose what is best for us.

Further Reading About The Benefits of Birth Control

Politics of Regulations – Product Safety

congress3I recently found myself standing in the body lotion aisle at the store recently, realizing that my search for a paraben-free lotion was going to be more difficult than I originally thought. Parabens are preservatives that are widely used in personal care products such as makeup, moisturizers, hair care, and shaving. There has been some speculation that these preservatives’ estrogenic activity may be linked to an increased cancer risk. Until more studies have been completed, I decided a “better safe than sorry” approach was warranted. Our family lives in a dry climate and we use a lot of hand and body lotion. We use it so quickly that shelf life isn’t really an issue.

While researching the issue online, I came across EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics database. If you really want to become depressed about the chemicals we put onto our bodies, enter your favorite products into the database and see what they may be doing to your health! And keep in mind; women aren’t the only consumers of these products. Anyone who uses hand lotion, soap, shampoo, etc., can look their favorite products up on the database.  I, like most Americans, have been lulled into complacency, thinking there was some governmental agency that regulated the ingredients in anything that goes into our bodies. However, the FDA’s own website verifies that the Food and Drug Administration isn’t authorized to approve cosmetic ingredients. The FDA also cannot require companies to test their products for safety, and manufacturers are not even required to report problems to the FDA.

I started reading the ingredients on the products in my bathroom: shaving cream, lotion, hair gel, shampoo, conditioner, etc. I realized that without some sort of advanced chemistry degree, I was in way over my head.  How was I supposed to make an informed decision on the safety of these items based on the ingredient list? Especially since companies are not required to list all of their ingredients on the package. And a search of the internet didn’t help me with a list of safe products from an unbiased source.

I understand the call for less governmental intrusion, but do the American people understand that corporations are the ones deciding what I put into and onto my body? Some of these chemicals make their way into body tissues; some are inadvertently ingested or inhaled (lipstick, face powder, hairspray…).  Corporations exist to make money. If they can make a product cheaply, and no one knows that a certain ingredient (or combination of ingredients) is harmful, what incentive do they have to replace that ingredient with something safer?

Without some sort of oversight, corporations will do what is in the best interest of their stockholders. The best interest of the stockholders is profit.

Do the politicians calling for more deregulation realize that they themselves and their loved ones are all putting themselves at the mercy of companies for whom greed is their main purpose? Regulation serves a very real and very important purpose: the protection of the American people.

 

 More Reading on Regulation and Product Safety

President Obama’s State of the Union Address 2012

people-politico-president-barack-obama-debatingThe President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, gave his 2012 State of the Union Address. Whether you love or hate President Obama, there is no denying that he knows how to give a great speech. President Obama is a very charismatic speaker using a great amount of intelligence and elegance when he speaks. Whether you agree or disagree with what he said last night does not change the fact that he is great at addressing America.

Watch the web enhanced video of the 2012 State of the Union Address


It’s always interesting to see how the fact checkers rate these addresses. Not just the State of the Union Address but the many other speeches, policies, rallies and other promises that are made by politicians. They are so easily lost in the tumult that is politics that no regular person, like you and I, can keep track of it all. So I like to wait at least a day for all of the fact checking places to do their due diligence. Then I peruse through them to see what was real and was smoke. I urge everyone to take a few extra minutes and check several different sources yourself, especially about the political issues you care most about.

It turns out that on the scale of what was true and what is reality President Obama’s State of the Union Address turns out to be mostly true! This is great news and a refreshing change of pace from the last administration. I always hate when we hear great promises or “facts” about what they have done or not done only to find out it was a thinly veiled attempt to earn favor, and far from the truth. Unfortunately, our first impressions are often the strongest. This means it is much harder for us to “unlearn” the lies we hear first instead of being able to believe the truth we learn later. Unfortunately this is widely known and is an often used tactic in politics. Know they use it, so you can guard yourself from it.

President Obama definitely covered the full gamut of issues that America is facing. There is a lot to talk about for sure and it will be interesting to see what, if any, action is actually taken. President Obama took a tougher stand last night during the State of the Union Address than we have seen before. We can only expect this “toughness” to increase over the course of the election year. I do appreciate that even though President Obama was talking tougher, he was still addressing everyone with respect and dignity. This is something that is unfortunately becoming more and more rare.

Formation of Committee to Investigate Misconduct of Big Oil and Wall Street

I think this was one of the biggest, most important announcements from the State of the Union Address, the formation of a Committee to formally investigate big corporations. If this actually happens, and actually gets to a place that they can actually do their job, it has the possibility to illuminate the insanity that our financial system and its corporations that puts on the people of American and the rest of the world. This decision alone could reach deep into the workings of our government and economy to expose the massive issues and broken systems that have brought the world economy to its knees. It amazes me how fast people have already forgotten how close we were to a calamity of massive proportions. Hopefully this will help to expose these issues and help us move forward to a solution in the future.

I know these are high hopes, look at how crippled some of the others have been. Tied up in the bureaucracy but more importantly the lobbyists pushing their congressman to fight against these common sense steps to a better America.

Combine the Citizen’s United, political partisanship, election year politics and it will honestly be a miracle if anything gets done at all this year. However, I am still hopeful that something will be, or at least could be, accomplished. We have to keep on trying and keep on pushing forward. Contact your representative and urge them to action!

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Political Book Deals

government-buildingThe flurry of holiday shopping is underway and now is a great time to stock up on all those great political books you have seen through the year.

With the presidential election coming up here in 2012 it is time to make sure you are up to date on all of the hot topics of today.

With the horrible state of our politics, the misrepresentation in much of our news, and emotional tempers running hot, it is hard to have a clear, objective look at the political layout of today.

Along with reading the papers, surfing the online news sites and watching both network and cable news it can’t hurt to back up your political ideals through the wide variety of great political books as well. The more sources you gather your political information from the better. We as people are able to sort out the facts from fiction when we have enough information from enough sources. With this bounty of real and factual information we can make truly good choices when it comes to election time and our decisions on politics.

Our political systems works so hard to manipulate the voters instead of educating voters. That is why it is up to you to be sure that you remain truly educated on the political topics of the day.

Barnes and Nobel is having some great deals this Black Friday. They are also planning on some great blowout prices come Cyber Monday. Use the link below to get 50% off the books and other political media that suits your needs.

Barnes&Noble.com

Grab some great deals this holiday season!

Once you are done reading these make sure to pass them around your friends and family. Ask them to share what political books and media they have as it can only help everyone increase their understanding of our incredibly complex and dysfunctional politico environment.

The Failing of Our Politics Continues

people-politico-super-committeeThe “Super Committee”, a group of twelve Congress members, were tasked with finding a solution to America’s debt crisis and the deadline is 24 hours away. The outlook is grim.

The official vote for whatever solution the “Super Committee” was supposed to engineer must be delivered to the public at least 48 hours before the voting deadline on Wednesday. That means the plan is due tomorrow. If no plan is presented tomorrow, the “Super Committee” will have failed.

The possible failure of the “Super Committee” follows a long line of failures of Congress to act in the best interest of the American people. Their failure is just a reflection of the larger failure of American politics.

Who imagined a half dozen bull-headed politicians could agree on anything when they couldn’t do it before?

Why has it become OK to forget what comprise means?

Why has it become OK to continue to hurt America and its people over politics?

Why isn’t it OK to make those that forced us into multiple wars pay for the costs of those wars?

Why isn’t it OK to make those corporations that tanked the worldwide economy pay for their  disregard?

Why must those that that are the victims of these injustices now be asked to pay for them?

Why are we all suffering the failures of our politicians, our government, and our people?

I wish I had a good answer for these questions but I don’t.

Our politicians have failed to do what is right for our country. Our people have failed by letting these political failures into office.

What is our recourse for the continued pulling of  America down the drain.

Everyday Americans need to speak out, shout out. Join the Occupy Wall Street movement and help make these voices heard. When the topic comes up in conversations, use it as an opportunity to inform people that Occupy Wall Street is about the vast majority of Americans taking back the power, and holding those who are endangering America’s future accountable for their actions.

Contact your representatives. Let them know that you are in favor of compromise, that you are either in favor of their actions or you disagree. Our representatives have gotten away with doing what’s best for their re-election campaigns or the lobbyists for a long time. Let them know that Americans are no longer the apathetic sheep we used to be. We are watching what they do, we will remember, and they will be held accountable.

Come election time, make sure you go out and vote these obstructionists out of office. Vote these uncompromising political failures out of office.

We need to, no we MUST, send a message to Washington and the politicians that represent us that we will not stand for failure. We will not stand for their inability to legislate. We will not stand for them to demean, degrade and deconstruct this country that we all love.

Super Committee Members

Democrats

  • Patty Murry
  • Max Baucus
  • John Kerry
  • James Clyburn
  • Xavier Becerra
  • Chris Van Hollen

Republicans

  • Jen Hensarling
  • Dave Camp
  • Fred Upton
  • John Kyl
  • Pat Toomey
  • Rob Portman

Tweet the Super Committee the Peoples Will

older-womanSo this has seemed to fade into the news cycle somewhere but a huge and potentially country changing decision is looming in near future. What will be the Super Committee’s decision and/or suggestions going to be to our current financial crisis? Will the Super Committee be able to craft a solution that satisfies both the Democrats, Republicans and the American People?

The hope is that they will have some ingenious solution to make our pains go away. The hope is that they will bridge their differences and come up with an all-encompassing compromise that will make us all do our fair share.

The reality is that they are very unlikely to come up with anything of substance at all unless we speak up.

With the very idea of compromise seeming to be a bad word in Washington recently. Compromise and working together is openly shunned. It is unlikely that anything real will happen. The current political strategies of obstructionism are wreaking havoc on our country, our government and most notably the people of the United States of America. We are all suffering because of the quagmire of politics right now.

We have seen in recent days that the voice of the people can make a difference should we shout out loud enough.

Stand Up For Healthcare has created a handy little tool to help you get a list of your representatives and their twitter accounts. There is currently a campaign now to inundate our representatives with what the people really want through Twitter in hopes that they will actually represent us and provide what we ask for.

I hope all of you use the tool provided below to make your voice heard. We the people are being systematically silenced but we can use the tools of today to keep out voice. Use yours.

 http://www.standupforhealthcare.org/tweet

Politics of Regulation on Retirement

people-politico-penny-pileRegulations: Ask different people what this word means to them and you will get a lot of different answers. Some will say regulations are an absolute necessity in our society, and some will treat the word like a swear word, saying regulation ruins innovation and stymies growth. However, those views may change drastically when the topic is drilled down to certain kinds of regulations. So instead of trying to talk about all regulations, it’s best to narrow the subject down to regulation of a specific type. Only then can we have an intellectual discussion about the topic.

Today we are going to look into regulations surrounding retirement funds and pensions in private companies. These benefits are often seen as one of the best benefits in privately owned companies. However, retirement and pensions are more and more often being sacrificed in tough economic times. But the upper management and CEOs of some private corporations may be using the recession as an excuse to force workers to give up their retirement benefits and pensions in order to pad their own retirement savings and company profits.

We have to remember that much of the purpose of a corporation is to make money, so it isn’t surprising, but it is appalling, to think that these private corporations can so easily take money from the retirement funds of their most loyal workers and use it for their own gain. This is a benefit that was promised to workers at the prime of their careers to help them plan for a time when they would retire after putting in many long years with a company. Corporations take advantage of a series of loopholes that are little known to the public to pull this money, meant for their work force, and convert it into “profit” for themselves. We don’t say bank robbers are not stealing, they are profiting by seizing the money of a bank, so why can these companies get away with it? Even when they cannot directly shovel cash out of your retirement, there are other means for them to force you to freeze or reduce your benefits while increasing their own benefits dramatically.

 

Retirement Heist

Stop the plunder of American hard work.

The WorldCom and Enron scandals both come immediately to mind with this type of action. However, there are thousands of other corporations that have done the same thing. Apparently after WorldCom and Enron, the media has decided “this is just how things are”. This is insane! “This is how it is” never, ever, justifies inaction to change. These types of horrible injustices will continue if we allow them to continue because of our own apathy.

It seems that these are no longer stories on the front page because this is how business is run in America. Business practices that involve taking from the workers and giving ridiculous amounts of money to the CEO is apparently what a small investment in elected officials will get you. The workers themselves have become a source of income for the upper tier of the corporation. Employees don’t get raises; they do not get more benefits and the benefits they do have already gained are being taken away. The workers get less and less while the upper tiers of these corporations get more and more. The employees have to take it because the job market is so terrible they know they have to be content with having steady employment.

 

But using people like this is amoral. This is ghastly. This is inexcusable.

This is why we need regulations regarding a company’s pension and retirement plans. These plans need to have protection and oversight or they will continue to be abused. Deregulation of pension and retirement plans was pitched as a benefit for the workers. Deregulation has been sold as a way to ensure the safety and security of the American people and the workforce. In fact, deregulation has destabilized the American work force, bringing uncertainty not only to those who are employed by companies that cannibalize their workers’ retirement funds, but to the majority of the American workforce. It has created a corporate environment where the American worker is forced to scrape by on stagnant wages, failing retirement and pension plans, and an unstable job market, while corporate coffers fill with the wages of American workers’ hard earned money. The upmost tiers of these corporations enjoy “profits” that are supposed to be our retirements while they themselves are being guaranteed ludicrously large sums of money in their retirement, and in some cases, even if they are fired for gross negligence!

If there is any hope to bring the American people back to a place where they can look forward to retirement, and can be assured of the pensions they have been promised for their entire lives, we must rip open this scandalous behavior and force regulations back into this area of business. We can no longer allow our hard earned money to be gambled away or stolen from us.

Share this with your friends, families and co-workers. You deserve to retire with your promised pension after a lifetime of hard work. You deserve to have the security that you will be taken care of when you most need it. You deserve confidence that a lifetime of work will be for your own prosperity, not another’s.

Republicans Win America Loses

people-politico-credit-cardsI wonder how the Republicans in Congress can look at themselves in the mirror today, after the mockery they’ve made of themselves, our country, and our allies in the world. In the last few years we know the majority of Republicans in the House and Senate have become uncompromising zealots, crippling the government and our democracy as a whole, blocking any sort of American progress for the sake of their own agenda, instead of representing the will of the people.

Preaching change and fresh ideas, newer Republicans achieved great gains and even took over control of the House of Representatives during the midterm election. They did not make enough gains to actually push their own agenda, but to bring our legislative process to a halt.

Why would elected representatives of the American people want to throw a wrench in the works? John Boehner, Speaker of the House of Representatives, openly states he will do whatever he can to undermine, undercut and ruin Barack Obama’s presidency. Besides being a traitorous and horribly un-American thing to say, it shows his unwillingness to do his actual job: working with colleagues from both sides of the aisle in order to keep the government running, adapt it to changing issues, and work to improve America.

The Republicans have spent the first two years of Barack Obama’s presidency working their hardest to block, stop and oppose any legislation that was proposed. In fact, they’ve spoken out against legislation that was originally introduced by Senator John McCain, Barack Obama’s political opponent in the 2008 election, because President Obama endorsed it! A large piece of the healthcare overhaul was legislation that McCain actually originally introduced during President Clinton’s administration. President Obama has spent so much time trying to work with the Republicans and has compromised so much on key issues that the majority of Americans wanted that his own party is frustrated with him. And instead of being grateful for a President that bends over backward to work with Congress, the Republicans act like a spoiled child who has just learned to say “no”. They say NO at any and every opportunity they have because they can, not because they should.

It is amazing the Republican hate for President Obama runs so deep that it surpasses their love of America and its people’s well being.

Now we are embroiled in a political quagmire. Republicans have irrationally held onto the idea that it is unfathomable to put an end to unreasonable tax breaks and loop holes, even when the current economic climate calls for such action. They have been asked not to raise taxes, but simply to put an end to the breaks the wealthy and corporations enjoyed when the economy was thriving. Instead they would prefer to gut the social programs that help to keep the foundation of America from crumbling. Programs that Americans realized they needed after the Great Depression. They refuse to even consider renegotiating the prescription drug plan that has caused Medicare costs to skyrocket. Instead, the pharmaceutical companies can still charge us more than anyone else for the same drugs. However, they insist we need to cut trillions out of other areas of Medicare. Instead of fixing the part of the system that was broken from the start (non-negotiable drug costs), and is the biggest expense in Medicare (more than 3 times what other countries pay even though they are created in America); they want to continue to allow private companies to rake in our tax dollars, but strip down benefits for our veterans, parents, and grandparents and any disabled Americans.

The healthcare “debate” is just one of the many ludicrous examples of the insanity that has spread like a cancer throughout our political system. They do not even try to hide their intentions of destroying people, parties and lives anymore.

They don’t care about citizens. If there was any doubt, there should be none now.

Standards and Poor’s has lowered the United States of America’s credit rating from AAA to AA+ with both short term and long term outlooks being set to negative.

This is ghastly. This is horrible. This is one more ultimate embarrassment forced upon the American people in the name of the Republican agenda.

It is impossible to know for certain what kind of repercussions this will have for the people of America because this has never before happened in the history of America. Never. Ever.

Economists are scrambling to give some kind of forecast: economic slowdown, increased unemployment, a rise in interest rates. What will happen when the credit worthiness and trust in an entire nation drops? What happens when all of the citizens of a nation experience their debt burden increase, during a fragile economic recovery? This move could bring about changes lasting decades.

Economic Outlook and Fiscal Policy Choices

Economic Outlook and Fiscal Policy Choices

This is what the Republicans have chosen to do. Raising the debt ceiling is one of the more trivial things our government must do. It has been raised 74 times in the last 50 years. That means it has been raised more than once a year, on average. Presidents Bush and Reagan raised the debt ceiling many times, because not doing it would have been disastrous. Now, with the cost of and the interest of the wars they started during the Bush years mounting, with the tax breaks given at the same time cutting down revenue, this one thing has suddenly become a key issue?

This was an unprecedented opportunity for a group of politicians to take advantage of the situation and deal a terrible blow to America, in order to blame the fallout on the current President. They hope to pin this ridiculous insanity on President Obama and the democrats and hope that the American people will somehow forget who dealt us this horrible injury.

They believe they are patriots fighting for what is right, if it is the Republican view. If it isn’t, damn those that disagree and damn those that get in the crossfire.

I believe an American patriot is one that is selfless, and who will do what is best for our country.

I believe an America patriot is one that has the personal fortitude to put aside differences and treat America with dignity.

I believe an American patriot is one who understands that compromise, and doing the right thing, leads to a better America.

My fellow Americans, the horrible circus we just saw from the Republicans regarding the debt ceiling was watched by the world and they did not like what they see.

I do not like what I see.

Thank your Republicans for making a mockery out of your life, your home and you country, for bringing America to a new low. Thank them come next election, by not forgetting what has happened. Thank them by booting them out of office.

Sources

Standrad and Poors Report

General Information on Debt Ceiling

 

Do People Need to Reevaluate the American Dream?

people-politico-flag-cloudsI’m not talking ’bout rich, I’m talking ’bout wealth.
-Chris Rock

Average American people don’t understand the difference between being rich and being wealthy.

Rich is the guy who won the lotto. It happens. It could happen to you. It is not bloody likely, but it could. Wealth… doesn’t just happen to people. It almost impossible to create wealth. It is highly unlikely you will ever create a business that is so successful that you create wealth. The odds are worse than the lotto. Billions of times worse.

Bill Gates did it. He founded a company that revolutionized the business world. Sam Walton did it. He revolutionized the way we shop. Rockefeller did it. He revolutionized steel. Now, look at you. You aren’t going to revolutionize anything. You, Average Joe, are average. The wealthy are attending seminars on how to expand their wealth to take care of their 5th generation. Think about that. If the average person has two kids, then those kids have two kids, we are talking about people who are planning to have enough wealth to have their family of 64 live in lap of luxury for their entire lives. And guess what, these are not the first generation wealthy either. By the time you get that far down the line none of them have earned anything. The more you think about it the more the entire concept of a meritocracy loses water. And do not be fooled, that is exactly what people are being sold; the concept of meritocracy.

You are being sold the idea of “to each according to their merit”, and that is a false statement. That is like saying “everything in the world is fair”. It is just not true. You determine your own self worth, and that has little to no bearing on your financial status. In the grand scheme of things you are average. Most of us are. Billions of us are.

The thing is there is nothing wrong with being average. There is nothing wrong with striving to be better than average either, it is a noble goal. Most of the unwashed masses never even try. But it is a fascinating personality trait that would simultaneously make someone so arrogant that they believe they can break free of the pack, be that one in a billion, yet possess such low self esteem to believe that they deserve their lot in life no matter how bad that lot may be. And they will accept that lot in life no matter how easy it would be to improve. It is as simple as voting for the other guys. It is as easy as reevaluating what is important. But they will cling to the idea that they are exceptional no matter how statistically impossible that achievement may be.

The sooner Americans understand that rich happens by luck (like having some athletic, musical, or acting talent, or by winning the lotto) and that wealth is engineered through generation after generation of careful planning or by revolutionizing the world, the sooner Americans will do more to help each other. But I don’t see it happening because the lie is so entrenched.

“What is that lie” you ask? The lie is American Exceptionalism. For generations we have been told that we are special just for being born in America. President Obama has even been widely criticized for not promoting the concept as broadly as previous presidents. But the concept is faulty. There was a time when America truly was exceptional. When anyone, no matter who you were, where you came from, or your family’s financial status, could and often would achieve the American Dream. But that time was long ago when the American Dream was as simple as owning a home, being your own person, and living a life better than the previous generation. The American Dream itself has been distorted to fit this view of American Exceptionalism. The new American Dream is to be a rock star or movie god. To live the life depicted on MTV Cribs, or Keeping up with the Kardashian’s. But that life is statistically unobtainable. If you return to what the American Dream once was and simply try to live a better life than you had growing up you will see how flawed the whole system really is.

What made American exceptional in the past was how we reacted in the worst of times. It is what we did for our fellow Americans, what we did for each other, that led us to win two World Wars. It was working together that got us through the Great Depression. It was the will to achieve together that put a man on the moon. It was never what we did in the best of times that defined us, but what we did in the worst of times. Now is one of those times, and everyone needs to reevaluate where they stand; with the rest of America, or alone trying to achieve the lie.

Facts vs. Belief

government-buildingI would find it amusing were it not so appalling that people support the idea that the struggles between Democrats and Republicans are simply matters of belief. These problems are a matter of facts. Republicans ran on a platform of jobs and the economy. Since taking office in January the Republican led House of Representatives has rallied behind social issue after social issue while doing everything in their power to make sure taxes on corporations and the wealthiest Americans were kept at record lows.

It is a fact that corporations are sitting on some of the largest stockpiles of cash in American history. It is a fact that the wealthiest 4% of Americans have an effective tax rate lower than the 1950s and lower than the vast majority of their fellow citizens today. It is a fact that those who the Republicans have deemed “job creators” are doing very, very well despite the perceived economic climate when, in fact, very few jobs have been created. It is also a fact that if we do not raise the debt ceiling we will only worsen our economic climate. In fact, the Republicans (who I will remind you controlled the White House and both houses in Congress for six years) raised the debt ceiling ten times. Ten times they raised it, and now they are playing politics with the one time when it looks imperative that we raise it again.

The Suffering American People

The fact is most Americans are suffering. Why aren’t our Republican friends worried about tax breaks for the 90%? Our roads and bridges are crumbling. Why aren’t our Republican friends talking about improving America’s infrastructure? We are paying 20-40% to export our goods to countries like India and China, while only charging them 2-4% to import them to America. Why aren’t our Republican friends concerned about trade inequity?

Rep. Jared Polis actually proposed legalizing and taxing online gambling and marijuana as a solution. Why aren’t all solutions being considered? Why do we have to have things one way or the other? Why can’t we have spending cuts AND tax increases? Surely if one of these solutions will get us out of our current financial situation, utilizing all of them will get us out faster.

While it is not a fact, I think that both parties have failed us. Unfortunately we do not have a strong 3rd party. Until we do we must vote for the “lesser of two evils” so to speak. If you take out your own long held political beliefs, look at the facts, remember that social issues are not really in the realm of a limited government, and vote for who actually has a plan and agenda to help you, then you will very clearly know who falls into the “greater of the two evils” category.

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