Friday, July 8, 2011

The Right Crowd


This economist shared his perspective on why Bristol Palin provides more social value, thus earns more income, than a pediatrician. And when you think about it, it's what lies at the root of why some people protect the incomes of the wealthy, as if the higher the value of one's paycheck, the more value they must obviously provide to society.

Some say that it's our world of tabloid, celebrity and "reality" television that has warped our sense of what value is. And to an extent, they are right. You could argue that some celebrities use that vast wealth to contribute far more to society than residents of a small town combined. But the celebrity still has a huge chunk of cash left over and the good they performed was about the heart and not a paycheck, though, right?

So there is that point, and it's valid. But what I think is the greater disservice, the thing that causes the warped vision of value to really harm America, is the way our elected leadership distorts the meaning of value in order to benefit the new definition of value. If we place a higher value on someone's status via a job, then they are worth more in the value of a dollar. If they are worth more in the value of a dollar, they are worth more to society. Ergo, if you don't make a lot of money, your value to society is less. Despite the work actually done by the person making $10,000 or the person making $10,000,000.

Public policy and politicians have used this as a wedge to create an ideal that every American can reach the big bucks if they just work hard enough. So, if someone is a community organizer, they aren't really contributing. We want CEOs as Presidents, not community organizers. That's not a reality show or summer blockbuster meme, that is a political manipulation of the American Dream in order to create a Haves and Have Nots mentality. But when the gap is growing so much that the wealthiest Americans are paying less in taxes than the middle class, then you have to stop and ask, "What is really happening?" America has distorted our values by saying that asking a millionaire to pay more in taxes is class warfare despite all the evidence that they have had more tax benefits than their kids' teachers.

And it hasn't been reality shows and tabloids going after teachers and public workers lately. It's been elected leaders.

Senator Orrin Hatch said that 51% of American families don't pay income taxes -- right after he said he thinks really poor people shouldn't have to. What people are missing when they discuss how many people don't pay income taxes is that it's because they are too poor to pay taxes. The people he's talking about aren't rich enough to get fancy tax accountants to get them to not pay anything. They're not tax evaders. They're people living on such low income that they don't owe income taxes. And what's wrong with that? What's wrong is that we have TOO MANY families making so little that they don't owe taxes! And yet, it's a pejorative to say they don't pay taxes. THEY DON'T MAKE MONEY. And see, they are the bad guy. Why? So that we won't pay attention to the people who get to deduct mortgages on their second and third homes and their yachts.

And right now, the left is divided among the "Yell at Obama" crowd and the "Fight the GOP" crowd. And the GOP is divided among the "Get Government Out" crowd and the "Block Obama" crowd.

Frankly, when I look at who is harming America the most, I can't fathom why more people aren't rushing to be part of a "Get Something Done" crowd. And when I think of it, Obama is right in the middle of that "Get Something Done" crowd. He has been leading that crowd and keeping it focused and effective. And although I stray over to the "Fight the GOP" crowd every so often, I am most certainly part of Obama's crowd. I want to get something done!

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