Saturday, January 5, 2013

You Don't Play the Game...

An old joke, when the Pope was Italian was made every time he made a statement about marriage: “You don’t play the game; you don’t make the rules!”  Of course it was made with a derogatory Italian accent but I’ll let that go here since even if I wanted to convey it it would be a bit hard in print.
However the same can and should be said about Congress and their controllers in the vastly wealthy “K” Street world of lobbyists.
When Congress tinkers with our taxes or even our healthcare they are doing so from outside the sphere of reality.  They can raise or lower our costs at will and not be affected one cent by their actions.
But every time a politician says, “We ought to do…” or “What we need to have done is…” he ends up taking another tiny bit out of the middle class’ pocket books.
Their can be no denying the fact that the income and wealth gap has been widening at an alarming rate over the last 3 decades and continues to do so even as I write this.
And I do believe that I can state without fear of successful contradiction that the wealthiest among us have a strangle hold on Congress while the poor and middle class (the real middle class and not those in the $400,000 and up income per year bracket) have no champion whispering in the ears of our legislators.
Utter obscene profits are routinely reported by oil giants who pay essentially no taxes and even get subsidies from our wallets.
A pollution filled gas wasting so called sport known as Nascar gets a tax break.  Just how is this essential waste of tax payer dollars justified when so many are unemployed?
Congress raised the estate tax threshold to $5 million and indexed it to the cost of living so the wealthy not only get to hide more money but have the promise of even higher stashes as time goes by!  (Just like your salaries, right?)
Can this trend be changed?
Of course it can.
Will it be changed?
Absolutely not, or at the very least doubtful.  And even if it is it won’t happen in our lifetime.
At least not the way things are going now!
Our tax laws are as clear as the “No Parking” signs that clutter Manhattan.  You know the ones that are placed on poles every few feet to clarify the rules?
From top to bottom they may read:
No Parking: M – W – F – 8 am – 11 am
No Parking: T – Th – Sat – 11 am – 1 pm
No Parking Between Signs
No Parking: Mon – Fri – 2 pm – 5 pm
And finally at the very bottom:
No Standing Anytime!
Clearly you need a legal degree or a limo driver to live ‘ticket free’ in the Big Apple.
And just as clearly you need an accountant to even try to get through our tax laws.
What you don’t need is a PhD to understand that all the laws are made and enacted to help the wealthy remain so and to keep the rest of us working well past normal retirement age so they have a pool from which to select the most appropriate laborer.
But the most glaring fact in every bit of legislation handed down by Congress and signed by presidents since Ronald Reagan (I’ll pause to give my conservative readers a chance to genuflect) is that they are singularly not affected.
Your company just canceled their pension plan (as mine did two days before I would have been vested – talk about scum of the earth!) well Congress has no worries there!
Your company implemented their yearly increase in your health insurance premiums?  No worries for Congress there!
Your children are thrown off coverage even though the economy has not allowed them to find a job?
Congressional offspring have no idea about that hardship either!
I could go on and on but why bother?  The people who must make the changes we need are the ones religiously protecting the status quo.
The bottom line is if you are not part of the game you have no right to decide its rules. And anyone who wonders why the approval rate for that body of hypocrites is at an all time low need look no further than that!

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