Monday, March 28, 2011


What if, a wave of honesty was to sweep the land and all of us, but especially the reactionary right had to fess up? In my heart of hearts I believe many would have to fess up to their biases and bigotry, their fear that people who are other than white male are gaining in dominance, let alone running the country, and to their own quest for power and status for the sake of power and status alone. For sure the right would have to stop being for and then in short order against whatever it is moderates or liberals propose.

What if, we challenged the persistent position that we should pay ever less in taxes, and did an honest assessment of whether or not we are better off because of lower taxes? The top tax rates our highest earning grandparents and parents paid from 1935-1970 varied between 70-90% of income, and in doing so they fueled the development of the infrastructure, educational, health care and social systems that were the foundation of the most incredible economic, technological and social advancement ever seen in the world and fought WWII, the Korean Conflict and Vietnam. The top tax rates now are between 30-35%, while the rates on middle income earners have actually gone up, which explains why we keep putting those folks who talk about cutting taxes into office. We just keep hoping they will help the middle class and keep overlooking that they just mean cuts for the highest earners.  This graph ( is worth a thousand words.

According to Tax Analysts, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization (, individual income taxes per capita are down 36% since just 2000, and corporate tax declined 34% per capita in the same period while profits grew by 60%. Meanwhile gas lines explode, roads and bridges crumble, our debt grows and...

What if, we could get every country in the world to dedicate just one day’s military spending to a fund for peaceful purposes? According to Worldometers (, one day’s spending stands at $327,271,000. Charlotte Bunch noted in 1980 that one day’s spending put into a fund at that time would house, feed and clothe all the women and children of the world for one year! Given inflation and population growth we are maybe down to 6 months for all the women and children, so let’s just give it to those who have nothing and we have taken care of them for the year.

What if, we could agree it is in our best interest to make changes that result in less air, water and ground pollution and that increase our energy independence? Instead of legislation to preserve incandescent light bulbs (this is for you Mrs. Bachmann) which is after all 19th century technology, let’s think about legislation to give tax credits for the full cost of every LED bulb purchased for commercial or residential use. Replacing just half the lighting with LED lights would save us $405 million and 3.4 billion kWh annually. $405 million in savings and that is just light bulbs. Imagine the savings if we went about designing and installing neighborhood size wind and solar arrays, to say nothing about the number of JOBS this would create.

What if, the GOP would accept the analysis of independent groups and organizations rather than stubbornly insisting on the sets of facts they make up to justify their ideologically driven policies. For starters, nationally, and in my state of Minnesota it would mean that budgets with a combination of spending cuts and tax increases would be developed and passed in short order. After that we could get back to disagreeing without being disagreeable; that’s for you Mr. McConnell and Mr. Cantor.

What if, we put a real focus on coming together, and a real focus on each of us doing our part within our means, skills and capacity to take on the many challenges that have us so unsettled?  Maybe, just maybe we would return to a path of peace and prosperity rather than the path of increasing violence, war and debt. Maybe, just maybe the calm that would settle on us would spread to our elected representatives and they would be more kind, thoughtful and productive. Just maybe….  

No comments: