Top Ten Ways to Vote Responsibly in Politics

people-politicpolitics-voter-infoWe are just under a month away and it is time to make sure that everyone, and I do mean everyone, in the United States of America is prepared, registered, and eager to vote in the upcoming presidential general election.

I would love to see Americans set a new standard this year for voter turnout. I would love to see the American people finally step up and show the world through their political actions that we are the premiere democracy we all hope and wish to be.

To this end I have whipped up this quick Top Ten Ways to Vote Responsibly in Politics checklist to make sure every eligible voter in America is registered and ready to make a responsible political vote come November 6th.

Top Ten Ways to Vote Responsibly in Politics

Number 1: Make sure you are Registered

With the voter fraud and ID laws that have been enacted in many states, many eligible voters have been purged from the system. Many of my friends and family who have been active in every election for years were removed, so don’t believe for a second you are immune to these voter purges. Make sure you are registered! Just Google “Register to vote [your state]” and pick the website that is a .gov.

Number 2: Make sure you have the Required ID(s) to Vote

Some of the voter fraud laws have restrictions that only those with certain types of ID or proof of identity can vote, even if you are registered. So be sure to have the correct ID ready and available. You should be able to find out this information when you verify your voter registration at your state’s website.

Number 3: Decide how you will Vote

In most states you have the ability to either vote in person at a polling place or to vote by mail. The preference is yours but I would suggest figuring out exactly what you are going to do so you are prepared come election day. If your state has been part of the new voter fraud laws you may want to vote by mail this year as the polling places are going to be stuffed and chaotic with many voters that will not be able to vote due to these new restrictions and laws. It might get really ugly. So to avoid these you may want to vote by mail this year. Or at the very least have a mail in ballot ready should your polling place be packed on Election Day.

Number 4: Know where you will Vote

It is important to find out ahead of time where your polling place is. Depending on the state you might have a very specific location where you have to vote or you might have the freedom to vote at any polling place in your district.

Even if you plan to vote by mail it is important for you to learn where these ballots have to be turned in should you need to turn it in at the last moment.

Number 5: Learn when you can Vote

This is also important as it can save you a headache come November 6th. Many states now offer early voting. This has really helped to alleviate Election Day woes of long lines and confusion at the polling places. Most early voting starts around a week ahead of Election Day, but your area may be different. Make sure you know so you can take advantage of it.

Employers are federally required to give their employees time to go vote. So don’t let your work schedule stop you from getting out there to vote!

Number 6: Learn about the Presidential Candidates

Make a point to go out and learn about all of the political candidates for president. Read through the top issues they are campaigning on figure out who best suits your ideals, values, and beliefs. Then please make a point to do some research on them. Don’t limit this research to just the websites, media outlets or talk shows that support your candidate. Also search for those that represent the other side as well as those that are try to be unbiased and neutral. You will never ever hear the truth from a single source so do yourself a favor, become broadly informed.

Number 7: Learn about which Representatives are up for Election

These are the politicians that are going to represent your political will at the national level. These are very important as they will have your state issues in mind. They will also follow their party line to some degree. This can be very tricky as often times these two things conflict politically. When it comes to your representatives look to how and what they voted for. On occasion you will have a representative that doesn’t yet have a voting record so you have to take their word on faith. This can be difficult.

Number 8: Learn about your Local Representatives

Local political representatives are often harder to learn about due to many are often running for office for the first time. Generally this is where many politicians start. If they like being a politician and are liked by the people they often move up to the state level.

However, these politicians are the ones you can easily go out and talk to. They will have town hall type meetings in the area. Will often respond directly to email or phone questions. This can make it more personal but also allows you to find out where they stand on issues directly.

You might have to do a little digging depending on where you live to get good information on them but most local newspapers do a great job of going through the candidates that in your area. So pick up your local papers special politics additions to get the bead on which local politicians you want to support.

Number 9: Learn about the Local and State Issues up for Vote

You should be able to learn about the local issues that are coming up for a vote through your local newspaper and their website. You should also receive a voter booklet to help you learn about the issues.

Often times these are the same issues you will hear about quite a bit leading up to the election. These are going to be votes to change the local budget, approve taxes for schools, constitutional amendments, and a myriad of other political issues. You may only have a couple to look into or several dozen depending on your location.

Even though it may seem arduous, these local issues are going to be the ones that directly affect you so it is very important that you learn about these issues. Try to watch the news on these up until the time you vote as there can be some last minute changes and information that comes up on these local political issues.

Number 10: Create a Voting Cheat Sheet for Yourself

Whether you are voting at the polling places or you are voting with a mail in ballot make sure                   that you create a cheat sheet for yourself so you are sure you are voting how you want to. It is easy to get pressured, nervous, or forgetful when it is time to pull the lever and pick your circles. It’s important to make sure that you know exactly how you want to vote when the times comes.

Most states have sample ballots that you can print off. This is the best route to take as it should be an exact copy of the ballot you will fill out. Mark your answers on it and any notes that you want to add. Then when the time comes, double check the official ballot you are filling out is the same and you can quickly mark down your answers.

This assures that you vote how you want to vote and you speed up the process for everyone when the time comes.

The Final Touch to being a Responsible Voter in Politics

All of these tips and tricks should help you make an informed decision about what is best for you, your family and your area.

The very best thing you can do, after becoming an educated and responsible voter, is to speak to those around you about how to follow these steps and become a better citizen of these United States of America. At times it is hard to see how our one vote in millions makes a difference. It does, and it can make a dramatic one at times. However, these effects are often hard to see immediately and can lessen our civic excitement and duty.

However, by being a responsible, educated voter in America you are one of millions that is working to shape our future as a people and as a nation. Only through the power of the people will we be able to assert our will past the demagogues, the mountains of money, and those bent on keeping the people disenfranchised, and instead bring this country to a better place. By voting, you keep the reins in the hands of the people. By asserting yourself and helping others to become better voters you help the people to keep the power. And only by showing that we the people of the United States of America are engaged, educated and insistent can we hope to make a brighter future for our children and the generations to come.

See you are the polls on elections day!

Flipping the Issue on Women’s Health Care

people-politico-i-want-youAt times I find myself amazed, confused and simply dumbfounded by the sheer amount of ignorant rhetoric that is spewed out by our politicians in defense of idiotic, sexist, racist, and amoral political ideals and political policies.

The particular political issue that has gained so much ground is the recent attack on women’s health care and health services. It boggles my mind that so many can so easily dismiss decades of health care advances. It seems ridiculous to even suggest some of these things let alone honestly campaign and push legislation to legitimatize these fringe ideas.

However, I realized that maybe it doesn’t seem insane to those that cannot comprehend women’s health care or the system that so many have tried so hard to get in place for them. Even with all of these health services, women’s health falls way behind that of men’s health care. There’s a debate about whether rape victims should receive care but erectile dysfunction is covered without question in men’s health care.

So I thought if we flipped the political issue around, maybe then it would help give us a more appropriate perspective. I find that looking at the other side of things can often help to give a valuable point of view.

Men’s Health Care – Draining a Nation

For far too long we have wasted billions of dollars on insurance premiums for men’s health care. There are several areas I can identify which would save us all money.

End Vasectomies

Not only are vasectomies an affront to the natural order of things they are also incredibly costly. Vasectomies are so common that anyone can stop by their doctor’s office, grab a vasectomy, and then head off to a weekend of infidelity or even (shall I say it?) responsible sex. If we pass legislation to severely limit, and in many cases eliminate vasectomies, we will not only be saving a lot of money each year, we will also be able to stop the deviant behavior of men who have easy access to vasectomies. Men should not be having sex except to procreate anyway, so why is this procedure necessary?

In the extreme case that a man does want a vasectomy, the option could still possibly be available, perhaps in a more “liberal” state. After taking a class about the hazards of vasectomies, the patient would need to submit to a trans-rectal proctologic ultrasound exam to determine his health and sign a form indicating that he agrees that he is a horrible person for taking charge of his own reproductive future.

Stop Wasting Our Money On Drugs

For far too long, we as a nation have subsidized our male neighbors’ drug habits. We must, once and for all, put an end to the distribution and use of erectile dysfunction medication. Erectile dysfunction is a contrived term by the drug industry to push drugs out to millions of men.

Insurance companies should no longer cover this drug and people with erectile dysfunction should be classified properly as sex addicts in need of rehab. If they are found to have legitimate issues, and aren’t just dirty sluts, then it’s just a sign from “on high” that they shouldn’t be so immoral.

Make It Illegal for Businesses to Cover Men’s Birth Control

Even though very few men take on the responsibility themselves to have birth control, there are a few that do, and science may someday make it easier. For those few who do take their reproductive responsibility seriously, we need to make sure that they have an incredibly difficult time getting insurance, and if they do it should be very expensive for them. Insurance companies should pay for the birth and care of their unplanned children instead of the vastly cheaper cost of preventing unwanted pregnancy.

Stop Covering the Treatment and Management of STD’s

Let’s face it; if a guy gets an STD, he deserves it. Because he was obviously acting irresponsibly and he got what he deserves. However, the poor woman who gave him the STD should have the treatment covered by insurance. As mentioned earlier, men are dirty sluts, but women… well, girls will be girls, am I right?

Sexual Education

All sexual education programs need to be eliminated. Millions are wasted every year helping to teach men sexual education and sexual responsibility.

The best way to handle this topic that no one wants to talk about is to pretend it doesn’t exist. If sex doesn’t exist then we do not need to teach our children about it. We can just handle it like that troublesome evolution thing: put your fingers in your ears and say, LA LA LA! That should take care of it.

Outlaw All Sexual Adult Establishments

When it comes right down to it, all of the above problems can be totally avoided if there is nothing to enable this sick, deviant behavior of a sexually active male. We all know that if there were no gentlemen’s clubs, pay per view channels, or triple fold outs in magazines there would be nothing to worry about.

So as long as we make sure to criminalize PG-13ish content and above we will no longer be enabling men to cause this tremendous burden on our society. And our country will be saved. Be sure to encourage violent behavior in our young males, however. After all, they will need to blow off some steam.

To The Ladies

And don’t you worry, women of America. You are the favored gender. You are entitled to all the health care you could ever ask for, all the drugs to increase your pleasure, and there is no question that you have the right to make decisions about your body, your health, and your future. Of course, those choices are between you and your doctor! The government would never dream of interfering with these decisions. It’s the men that are the problem. We have to keep those dirty sluts in line.

2012 Presidential Debate Schedule

people-politico-president-barack-obama-debatingThe Presidential Debates have been scheduled and their formats and topics have been chosen for the 2012 Presidential Election season.

I always look forward to these Presidential Debates because we get to see what the candidates are going to say and they are put on the spot, and face to face, with all of the political rhetoric that they have been firing at each other for months. Not only do they have to answer the questions that are presented by the debate moderator they often slip these other counter points into their responses. More often than not it seems to draw the presidential candidates into a more real and genuine response instead of those that are tailored by their publicist.

The Republicans have Mitt Romney as their candidate this year and I really do not feel that he is going to be up to the challenge of truly and honestly competing with President Obama at the podium. These Presidential Debates should be very interesting and unless Mitt Romney begins to truly solidify his platform beyond the catch phrases he is going to be in a world of trouble come these Presidential Debates.

I have discussed these Presidential Debates with many others and they seem to feel that though President Obama will likely dominate the Presidential Debates they are not going to be nearly as interesting as they might have been with Rick Perry or Herman Cain. Both of which have incredibly interesting personalities which may have been far more entertaining. What are your thoughts on these debates?

Regardless of who you are supporting in the upcoming elections it is important to watch these as they should help you forge your opinions come the general election. Mitt Romney is going to have to get studying and practicing for these debates because he is going up against a skilled and seasoned challenger who many agree is a master of debating.

2012 Presidential Debate Information

The Commission on Presidential Debates has announced the formats for the 2012 presidential and vice presidential debates, each of which will be 90-minutes long. Moderators will be selected in August.

  • First presidential debate: October 3, University of Denver, Colorado: Domestic issues, questions selected by moderator.
  • Vice presidential debate: October 11, Centre College, Danville, Kentucky: Domestic and foreign issues, questions selected by moderator.
  • Second presidential debate: October 16, Hofstra University, Hampstead, N.Y.: Town-hall meeting format with questions from undecided voters.
  • Third presidential debate: October 22, Lynn University, Boca Raton, Florida: Foreign issues, questions selected by moderator.

Make sure to tune and and watch these important debates Presidential Debates. We often get some real insight into what and who these presidential candidates are and what their platforms and plans are for the United States of America for the next four years. Even more importantly, we often see who is not going to be up to the challenge of being the President of the United States.

Socialism is Not a &!%# Bad Word

people-politico-happy-socialist-peopleIt’s strange how we allow ourselves to be manipulated and convinced that something that is at the very core of humanity is somehow bad, somehow evil. Since the dawn of propaganda, political leaders have been turning innocuous words into words with unsavory connotations. But twisting a word around for your own political purposes, and therefore misleading people about the idea that word represents, just stifles communication.

In this era of sound bites and quick headlines, it seems we have diluted politics and our extremely complicated social and political issues down to labels, and one of those labels is socialism. The trouble is, for me as well as millions of others, socialism isn’t a bad word.

Here’s why.

First, let’s take a look at the actual definition of socialism.

Socialism
A political theory or system in which the means of production and distribution are controlled by the people and operated according to equity and fairness rather than market principles.

So in the most basic sense, socialism is a political system and/or government controlled by the people with equity and fairness as the guiding principle in all decision making.

The problem is, as politicians who have made socialism the boogeyman certainly understand, all the scary things going through your mind as you ponder the word are not true. So let’s bring the big bad boogeyman out of the darkness and take a look at some of the basic principles of socialism, and apply those principles at both a micro and macro level.

We wouldn’t even exist today as a species if we did not have instinctual social and socialist habits. Humans were never the biggest or the strongest of creatures in the animal kingdom. In fact, as far as superior animalistic traits go, we are runts of the animal kingdom in almost every way. One of the most important things that set us apart from the rest of the animals is our intelligence.

Humans are smarter by far than any other creature. This “big brain” of ours figured out, in our early history, that the only way for us to survive is to work together as a social unit, to be socialist, with each member of a social unit helping the others in the unit. Not only did this socialist behavior save our species, it was the driving force behind how incredibly well we have thrived over the long journey of our evolution.

Now down to a closer view, something closer to home: our family structures. We instinctively cling to our families due to this socialist drive to work together for the benefit of the family unit. If we did not have a social nature, we would not have friends, families, or even groups working together for a greater purpose, such as businesses.

When we consider family, friends, and community, the happiest and most successful work together, as a cohesive unit, with each member doing his or her share, and one or more members doing more when necessary:

  • When Dad hurts his back and can’t work, Mom and the older children work a little harder to help pay the bills.
  • When a member of the church or book club who lives alone is diagnosed with cancer, the congregation or her friends bring over food, money, help with housework, and anything else they can do while she battles the disease. Now she can focus on getting better, not just surviving. They each give a little but the patient gets a lot.
  • When a woman gets pregnant, the family pitches in for food, clothes, baby gear, and tons of advice. They will help out after the baby is born, and she can focus on the care and well-being of the baby. The family members have a vested interest in the well-being of the next generation.
  • When a friend loses his job and can’t afford the rent, friends and family may loan him some money until he can get on his feet again. If that isn’t enough, someone will offer a place to stay, to be safe and not worry about where the next meal is coming from.

These are just a few of the socialist things we do, but we don’t call it socialism. We call this being neighborly or simply doing the right thing. We have learned that helping others makes us feel good, and if we help others when they need it, we will get help when we need it. This behavior strengthens the bonds of family and community, and smoothes the ups and downs of life. These supportive behaviors create a feeling of belonging and security, benefiting each member. Not only is this socialist behavior good for us, it is good for our families, neighborhoods, and local communities.

However, when we take from others for ourselves we may benefit ourselves in the short term, but we know we weaken ourselves in the long term. By taking from those around us we ultimately weaken ourselves.

Just imagine the chaos and misery if these ideas of socialism, equity, and fairness were frowned upon and discouraged. If families and communities truly lived by some candidates’ political campaign speeches, it would in fact destroy our family and communities:

  • When Dad hurts his back and can’t work, the family abandons him as so much dead weight. If he can’t bring in any money, what use is he?
  • When an acquaintance gets cancer, it is probably because of something she did wrong. If she survives, it was meant to be. If not, that’s just the way of things.
  • When a woman gets pregnant, that is her problem. If she can’t afford prenatal care or a car seat for the infant, well, she should have thought about that before.
  • When a friend loses his job and can’t afford the rent, his friends tell him he better find a new job quickly, since it’s much harder to look for jobs while homeless.

These scenarios might seem silly, but Republicans have been busy introducing bills to include drug testing requirements before receiving welfare while at the same time baulking at the idea of drug testing for themselves, even though both are paid through taxes. They are also actively and specifically blocking women from access to health care. And the one that takes the cake, this ridiculous obsession with repealing health care reforms that are supported by the majority of Americans. What makes this so amazingly hypocritical is that the majority of the health care reforms were originally conceived by and pushed for by the very party that now opposes them. Look to Senator McCain’s work with First Lady Hillary Clinton during the Clinton administration and the shining example of this health care working, Romneycare.

A Reference Guide to Socialism

A Reference Guide to Socialism

Yet wouldn’t these same politicians help their family members, community members, and friends, if they were to fall upon hard times? A politician’s community is so much bigger; it would seem they would understand the benefits of socialism more than most. After all, they are supposed to be representing the community—understanding the hard times that its members face, and trying to make things better.

What makes the morality of needless suffering so terribly wrong when you are talking about someone you know and love but when you are talking about someone you don’t morally righteous?

The fact is we must have social interaction to be successful; rich or poor, young or old, man or woman, we all benefit from socialism. It has made us who we are today and is the key to our success. We all know this and the idea and practice of socialism can and should be the same at the macro level as well as the micro level.

Socialism is not a bad word; it is the way we progress and the way to success as a nation.

The People Win in Today’s Healthcare Supreme Court Ruling

government-buildingThat’s right the People won today. Not Republicans, not Democrats, not Independents, not your neighbor’s dog, the People. The People of the United States of America won today. Soon we will not have to worry about going bankrupt, having our lives destroyed or even dieing because we can’t afford to care for the disease we get, the cancer that sneaks up on us or a drunk driver in a pickup that runs red lights.

We are not talking about who scored more points today with the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act. The reason we aren’t talking about points today is because the health of Americans and the health of our nation is not a game. It is one of the most serious, troubling and ethical arguments in today’s politics.

There is much to be said, and much will be said on the topic, but for now we are just going to appreciate this small victory that we as a nation are coming closer to healthcare system that takes care of us all.

Here is President Obama’s statement regarding this Supreme Court Ruling.

President Obama Speaks on Health Reform

 

Supreme Court Ruling on the Affordable Care Act

Here is the official ruling released by the Supreme Court of the United States

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-393c3a2.pdf

In Debt or Indentured Part Nine: All the Issues

People Politico In Debt or Indentured: All the IssuesThis is the ninth part of a multiple part series taking a deep dive into our current political and economic crisis in America. Partisan politics, unfettered corporate spending and recklessness along with a shift in our social acceptance of debt, is having far reaching and potentially devastating affects on our way of life, on the American Dream. With each installment we will take a closer look at some of the major pieces of this very complex puzzle and try to understand them and bring them into perspective. Use this opportunity to take a broader look on the political and social economic state of America and how each of us, as a small pieces of the puzzle, can make a difference.

In Debt or Indentured: All the Issues

With all of these issues hitting the American middle class, it can be easily seen how people can become distracted from looking at the big picture since the picture becomes so blurred through media and politics. There is also the amount of work Americans do, they are left with little time to invest in looking into the politicians that they elect. President George W. Bush said to a divorced mother of three in Omaha on February 4, 2005 “You work three jobs?  … Uniquely American, isn’t it? I mean, that is fantastic that you’re doing that”. This should not be uniquely American to expect people to work three jobs and still barely get by. Not to mention, how much money does this struggling woman have to pay out of her three jobs to have her children looked after so she can work more? This is also an example of how politicians on both sides of the aisle think that Americans hard work is endless, yet the middle class does not demand change.

Is it audacious to think that the America middle class would demand remotely close the subsidies and tax breaks that industries and the wealthy receive currently from the government or be bailout by the government in the middle class’ time of need? The American middle class worker barely has time to demand more than a thirty second sound-bite from the politician that they will vote for…if they vote at all. A tactical attempt has been made by those in the echelons power within the United States to divide the middle class and ensure that they are more focused on surviving day to day, paying their debt, and living in fear than being able to see through the smoke filled barrage of sound clips and view the entire picture. Not able to see or feel powerless to change a government that is not serving them. The American middle class must find the time to challenge the status quo and demand tangible changes that would directly better middle class families’ everyday lives. To this point, instead of looking at the turmoil that middle class is experiencing, the American middle class is told they should not look for handouts from the government and they should take pride in pulling themselves up by their bootstraps (even though the entire financial system was bailed out to the tune of over a trillion dollars). The middle class instead is encouraged to spend more, even if that means going further into debt. An example of this was reported by Time Magazine’s Justin Fox (Editorial director of Harvard Business Review Group and author) in 2009 about statements made by then President George W. Bush directly following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks where President Bush stated, “Take your families and enjoy life, the way you want to be enjoyed.” Fox goes on to quote Boston University Historian Andrew Bacevich in his conclusion that “Bush seems to have calculated – cynically but correctly – that prolonging the credit fueled consumer binge could help keep complaints about his performance as Commander in Chief from becoming more than a nuisance.” Politicians, Democrat and Republican, will put their own aspirations ahead of those of the country unless a conscious society, predominately made up of the middle class as the majority within America, is willing to hold them accountable for their actions and words.

Common ground must be found by all American middle class indentured servants in order to free themselves from the this unjust system that has been built to keep the middle class in perpetual debt and fear. The American middle class must put partisanship aside in a time when it has been developed to a fever pitch. Democrats and Republicans cannot look in hate towards their fellow middle class worker trying to survive just as they are. It is time to rise up and demand a change within this country, a time to retire the debt that has burdened on their backs and buried a generation. If common ground cannot be found in the form of the self preservation of the middle class and the redefining of what the American Dream consists of, there may be no hope for this experiment with a middle class in America. But if common can be found and the political muscle of the American middle class can be flexed politically to demand changes that will help them directly in the form of debt relief, tax relief, living wages, educational equality and affordability, common belief that health is a right and not a privilege, and that fear can no longer be a tool used to control the middle class. If this type of unity can be found and the political will demonstrated by the middle class, there can be a redistribution of power in this country and the United States of America will return to a nation governed for the people by the people.

In Debt or Indentured Part Eight: Single Issue Voting

People Politico In Debt or Indentured Single Issue VotingThis is the eighth part of a multiple part series taking a deep dive into our current political and economic crisis in America. Partisan politics, unfettered corporate spending and recklessness along with a shift in our social acceptance of debt, is having far reaching and potentially devastating affects on our way of life, on the American Dream. With each installment we will take a closer look at some of the major pieces of this very complex puzzle and try to understand them and bring them into perspective. Use this opportunity to take a broader look on the political and social economic state of America and how each of us, as a small pieces of the puzzle, can make a difference.

In Debt or Indentured: Single Issue Voting

Another reason that the middle class has not unified to demand change from the government and subsequently their employers is that the American middle class has allowed their voices to be divided on the basis of single issues. These types of social issues have dominated American politics starting in the 1980’s with efforts to mitigate the effects of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in America. The two major American political parties took strong positions supporting and denouncing legalized abortion in America. Through time there have been litanies of new social issues that have been added to the table to assist in dividing the middle class vote and creating a new type of voter. This new voter will vote on a single issue instead of demanding platforms that address their own personal issues that are affecting their everyday life instead of one single issue that the my only care about because of religious or personal convictions. Some of the issues that currently stifle America middle class voices are: abortion, stem cell research, gay marriage, euthanasia, gun control, and illegal immigration. The interesting thing about single issues or wedge issues is that when either party is in control of congress and The White House, little to nothing is done to change the issue. On the face it appears that there is a lack of political will to tackle such monumental social issues, but politicians on both sides ran with those issues central to their platforms.

There are many example of the bait-and-switch of wedge issues by both Democrats and Republicans. One for the Republican’s took place while controlling all of congress and The White House from 2003 through 2007. Almost every elected Republican took a stance in their run for office to work towards the limitation of abortion. Yet during this time period of Republican control, little to nothing was changed to limit abortion in America. This was done even though this wedge issue was used by most Republicans to motivate voters that saw this as a single issue to vote for. The Democrats did the same thing with stem cell research and gay marriage when controlling congress and the presidency from 2009 to 2011. This is sometimes referred to in political communities as pandering to the base or telling the base of the party what they want to hear. Once elected these politicians do not make it a priority to do anything about the issue until close to another election. This maneuver ensures a constant block of voters (mostly middle class) that will come out to vote for their party because the voter cares about this sole issue. This was seen with gay marriage and abortion in the U.S. Presidential Election of 2004 between then President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry and again in the 2008 election between Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama. Even now in the run-up to the 2012 Presidential Elections, the sound of pandering to single issue voters are being displayed by both Former-Governor Romney and President Obama.

Middle Class Divided

The division of the American middle class is important to both major political parties which have unlimited funds now available to them through the Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that classes corporations as individuals protected by freedom of speech through the form of political contributions to individual candidates as protected speech, this reported by Adam Liptak for the New York Times in his article titled, “Justices, 5-4, Reject Corporate Spending Limit.” This decision now entitles corporations to spend as much as they like on political contributions to individual candidates (Liptak).  The dissenting Supreme Court justices warn, “allowing corporate money to flood the political marketplace would corrupt democracy” (Liptak). This ruling allows corporations to act as individuals in order further influence elections through money. All though as a corporation it will not be able to vote in that very same election since it is not a person or a citizen.

That’s it for this part of In Debt or Indentured. We hope that this has given you some important things to think about. Use some of what you have learned here to look beyond the mere message our politicians are presenting to what the ramifications of these actions has on all of us Americans. Our country started down a slippery slope over a decade ago. We seemed to have stopped the free fall it had become, but do not fool yourself. We are still on the precipice of another long fall. Let’s just hope we all can learn, and grow, from the last spill we took.

Check back soon for the next installment of In Debt or Indentured.

In Debt or Indentured Part Seven: The Power of the Middle Class

People Politico In Debt or Indentured: The Power of the Middle ClassThis is the seventh part of a multiple part series taking a deep dive into our current political and economic crisis in America. Partisan politics, unfettered corporate spending and recklessness along with a shift in our social acceptance of debt, is having far reaching and potentially devastating affects on our way of life, on the American Dream. With each installment we will take a closer look at some of the major pieces of this very complex puzzle and try to understand them and bring them into perspective. Use this opportunity to take a broader look on the political and social economic state of America and how each of us, as a small pieces of the puzzle, can make a difference.

In Debt or Indentured: The Power of the Middle Class

The indentured middle class could look to the strong and cohesive group of Americans that have been able to establish Social Security as the third rail of American politics. Both Republicans and Democrats refuse to substantially change this very popular program for seniors since they have come together and will punish a politician of either party if they work against this program. This power comes through seniors vote in large numbers and they ensure that their representation understands that Social Security and Medicaid are widely popular programs for them and it should not be tampered with. But after elections, these same seniors stay involved by reaching out and reminding their representatives how important this is to them. In 2008’s presidential election, the forty-five to sixty-five year old voting block voted at a rate of sixty-nine percent. Voters aged eighteen to twenty-four year olds were now at only forty-nine percent as reported by Thom File and Sarah Crissey in a U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration and U.S. Census Bureau report titled “Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2008.” It can stand to reason that politicians are not as concerned with the cost of higher education and the cost being incurred by young Americans that do not vote in the same numbers as seniors and will not hound them after the elections to help them. Since young people and many middle class voters do not invest the time to demand a change in their government, their government does not take time to look out for their interest either.

That’s it for this part of In Debt or Indentured. We hope that this has given you some important things to think about. Use some of what you have learned here to look beyond the mere message our politicians are presenting to what the ramifications of these actions has on all of us Americans. Our country started down a slippery slope over a decade ago. We seemed to have stopped the free fall it had become, but do not fool yourself. We are still on the precipice of another long fall. Let’s just hope we all can learn, and grow, from the last spill we took.

Check back soon for the next installment of In Debt or Indentured.

In Debt or Indentured Part Four: Work Force

People Politico In Debt or Indentured: Work ForceThis is the forth part of a multiple part series taking a deep dive into our current political and economic crisis in America. Partisan politics, unfettered corporate spending and recklessness along with a shift in our social acceptance of debt, is having far reaching and potentially devastating affects on our way of life, on the American Dream. With each installment we will take a closer look at some of the major pieces of this very complex puzzle and try to understand them and bring them into perspective. Use this opportunity to take a broader look on the political and social economic state of America and how each of us, as a small pieces of the puzzle, can make a difference.

In Debt or Indentured: Work Force

The American middle class is facing this mountain of debt now with stagnant wages that have seen little to no increase in salary compared to the drastic increase in productivity. Frank Levy (professor of Urban Economics in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Urban Studies and Planning) and Tom Kochan (Professor of Management at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and Co-Director of both the MIT Workplace Center) in partnership with the Employment Policy Research Network (group of 150 academic researchers from more than 50 universities in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom) published a comprehensive look at the American middle class and how the effects of stagnation are impacting the middle class worker. Levy and Kochan clearly make the connection between the middle class’s labor, wages, and belief in the American Dream when they summarize the current state of business as “The broken connection between labor and productivity growth and compensation growth for average workers has undermined mass upward mobility and the ideal of a growing middle class.”In short, American workers are being asked to do more work for the same pay and expect to continue to grow financially within society. All three of the ideals cannot exist at the same time. Levy and Kochan describe the evolution of large American corporations as “increasing their economic power and political influence” through and after the 1970s. Levy and Kochan state that these changes in business practice and ideology have lead to:

[S]ubstantial legislative changes that deregulated major industries, liberalized banking rules, undercut labor-law enforcement and reform, prevented increases in the federal minimum wage, and fostered an ideology of free-market liberalism and the ‘maximization of shareholder value’ at the expense of other stakeholders. (p.4)

This has lead to a laissez-faire business environment that encourages corporate profits over anything else, including taking care of their employees, not just their executives. If the company can get more productivity out of less people…it will. If the organizations can require longer hours with no additional pay (salaried employees or moving to have a part time workforce)…it will. If a corporation can frighten and intimidate their employees out of collective bargaining…it definitely will. The strange thing about this radical movement by corporations is that it has been supported through legislation from the government and American middle class is still supportive in large numbers towards decreasing regulation for corporations favoring a belief in pure capitalism.

That’s it for this part of In Debt or Indentured. We hope that this has given you some important things to think about. Use some of what you have learned here to look beyond the mere message our politicians are presenting to what the ramifications of these actions has on all of us Americans. Our country started down a slippery slope over a decade ago. We seemed to have stopped the free fall it had become, but do not fool yourself. We are still on the precipice of another long fall. Let’s just hope we all can learn, and grow, from the last spill we took.

Check back soon for the next installment of In Debt or Indentured.

In Debt or Indentured Part Three: Healthcare

People Politico In Debt or Indentured HealthcareThis is the third part of a multiple part series taking a deep dive into our current political and economic crisis in America. Partisan politics, unfettered corporate spending and recklessness along with a shift in our social acceptance of debt, is having far reaching and potentially devastating affects on our way of life, on the American Dream. With each installment we will take a closer look at some of the major pieces of this very complex puzzle and try to understand them and bring them into perspective. Use this opportunity to take a broader look on the political and social economic state of America and how each of us, as a small pieces of the puzzle, can make a difference.

In Debt or Indentured: Healthcare

Understanding the debt that will be incurred through education, a mortgage, and credit cards to a certain extent can be prepared for or at least decided upon as the benefit outweighing the cost of the debt. The unexpected has become another trove of debt for the American middle class especially in the form of health care, health services, and chronic illness. The Washington Post columnist Sarah Lovenheim in her article titled “New Study: Bankruptcy Tied To Medical Bills” reported that as of 2007 sixty-two percent of all bankruptcies in America were related to medical expenses. Within that sixty-two percent is a surprise, eighty percent of those that filed for bankruptcy were covered by insurance (Lovenheim). Even though many middle class families feel that it is critical to have health insurance to protect them and their families if sickness or an accident were to strike, this insurance oftentimes will not cover the entire cost of the care required. Couple the out of pocket cost to afford health care insurance with the deductible costs if the insurance is used, and add in the maximum payment from the insurance company, then compound this all with the rising number of Americans living with chronic illnesses and a picture of a middle class struggling to hold on to a system that is failing them clearly emerges. Again like college grants, Medicare and Medicade have been established  to assist the elderly and the poor a while the middle class is left holding debt for all of their expenses since they make too much for help from the government and not enough to afford the care they need.

Healthcare in this country is a huge problem and we will look at this topic specifically at a later date. For now, just understand that sudden, unexpected and even protected healthcare issues can be absolutely devastating to Americans on top of everything else we must endure.

That’s it for this part of In Debt or Indentured. We hope that this has given you some important things to think about. Use some of what you have learned here to look beyond the mere message our politicians are presenting to what the ramifications of these actions has on all of us Americans. Our country started down a slippery slope over a decade ago. We seemed to have stopped the free fall it had become, but do not fool yourself. We are still on the precipice of another long fall. Let’s just hope we all can learn, and grow, from the last spill we took.

Check back soon for the next installment of In Debt or Indentured.

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