Having listened to all of the recent rhetoric about extending tax cuts for the wealthy, downsizing government, repealing the recently passed health care legislation and restoring our "lost freedoms", it occurs to me that all of those proposing these actions might want to assess their positions more carefully.
With our national debt increasing by the day to astronomical levels (see for yourself at http://usdebtclock.org ), how could any fiscally responsible person call for further increasing that debt by granting continuing tax breaks to the wealthiest 1% of our society who on the average actually pay only half of the maximum tax rate of 35%? Their good fortune in a reduced tax bill is due to the nature of our voluminous and complex tax code which contains a whole slew of perfectly legal tax breaks for those who are enterprising enough to take advantage of them. In addition in 2007 this same group shared almost 25% of our total national income for only the second time in our history. The first was 1928 and we all know what followed. While some members of this affluent group like Ben Stein complain about paying any increase in taxes as he did on the CBS Morning Show last Sunday, Warren Buffett summed it up best when he allowed that something is drastically wrong when his secretary pays proportionately more income tax than he. Also, wasn't it Oliver Wendell Holmes who declared that "taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society"? So, if these anti-tax folks get their way, what happens to our infrastructure, defense, education, transportation apparatus, legal system, emergency response capability, parks, homeland security and social services if there is a $700 billion decrease in tax revenue over the next decade as projected due to extending tax cuts to the wealthiest 1% of our population?
Presumably, any reduction in the taxes collected would most likely lead to that very downsizing in government most of these same people want, but at the very time when we need it most. In the 80's it was called "starving the beast", but only five years ago the nation was clamoring to know where that "beast" was when the gulf coast was ravaged by hurricane Katrina, and only five months ago when that same coast was dealt another blow with the BP oil spill. And let's not forget how last year the "beast" virtually saved the financial structure and integrity of this nation on which so much of our economy relies, not to mention the plethora of local, county and state grants, concessions and gifts which are given each year to corporations to encourage them to build or expand plants supposedly to create jobs. Where would that pool of money come from if tax revenue is reduced?
Then, we have the clarion call by many to repeal the new health care law right at the very time its benefits are starting to kick in, some just this past week. Who can argue with lifetime caps being banned, not being kicked off of coverage if you get sick, allowing children under 19 with pre-existing conditions to be covered, being able to get emergency coverage outside of one's network, permitting children under 26 years of age to remain on parents' insurance, providing tax credits to small businesses to offset their health insurance costs and providing consumers much more information on health care options at http://HealthCare.org? As stories of those whose lives have been and will be materially improved by this new law are publicized, I suspect any attempt to do away with it will quickly vanish.
And, finally, there are the most bizarre demands of all that call for "taking back our government" and "restoring our freedoms". What does "taking back our government" mean? Does it mean demolishing the institutions of government including congress and all federal agencies which now serve over 300 million people? Or does it mean a complete overhaul of all processes under which these institutions are created and now function? And pray tell what "lost freedoms" are they talking about? Is it the very freedom of speech they now enjoy in espousing their agenda? Is it the right to bear arms which seem to expand every year with additional venues in which people can now carry concealed weapons including of all places churches and national parks? Is it the right to practice one's religion free from interference and being demonized in a country that has one of the most diverse religious populations on earth? It just seems terribly ironic to me that some members of our society who would benefit the most from a strong tolerant government and its well financed and functioning programs are the very ones complaining the loudest about them.
Laura Raborn at http://paintingsofhome.com and http://claygifts.com
Jim Johnson at http://yessy.com/jimjohnson/gallery.html
Russ Powell at http://powellphotos.com
Linda Flake at http://lindaflake.com
Tom Herrin at http://tommysart.blogspot.com
Matt McLeod at http://firstname.lastname@example.org
Artists Registry at http://www.arkansasarts.org/programs/registry/default.aspx
Sandy Hubler Fine Art at http://sandyhublerfineart.com
George Wittenberg at http://postcard-art-gallery.com
Local Colour Gallery at http://localcolourgallery.com
Chroma Gallery at http://chromagallery.com
Cantrell Gallery at http://cantrellgallery.com
Greg Thompson Fine Art at http://gregthompsonfineart.com
Red Door Gallery at http://reddoorgalleryonline.com
M2 Gallery at http://m2lr.com
UALR Gallery Program at http://ualr.edu/art
Gallery 26 at http://gallery26.com