Whoever said money is the root of all that kills has never had the joy of a welfare Christmas
Adapted from Everclear lyrics
With the Occupy (Insert City Here) Movement, the idea of class inequality comes to the front and center of what will be on voter’s minds next year. I have thought for years that government programs like food stamps, public housing, LIHEAP, SSI for children and a whole host of others are the way of quieting the masses. We do live in one of the most admirable countries. I would not want to live anywhere else. However, I think most entitlement programs are just a balm for the poor to keep them satisfied enough to not cry out for justice.
I don’t know what the solution would be – ending corporate welfare, flat taxes, cutting military spending in half? I am open to solutions, but so far all I see is a restless beast that demands to be feed. Occupy Wall Street has taken on an organic quality. I feel the pain of the poor. Maybe not the poorest, since I don’t have to choose between eating and shelter. I do know that public perception is that the American pie is shrinking and the wealthy are hogging the slices. Whether this is completely true will depend on who you ask and probably where they fit on the income scale.
I am glad to see people move in real numbers to demonstrate, even if temporarily, their agitation for a system that values the lobbying class. I am not for a socialist government and sometimes I think the system gives people disincentives to work. In a world where the people who are the poorest get medical care on the government’s back and middle-class families are penalized for making too much to get these benefits. It does chap the ass to think of going to work to support those who don’t. Especially when the rich pay the least for the privilege of using our roads, our workers, our police system to run their profitable businesses. I think the winter will quiet things down, just because the cold will keep people inside. So, 2012, will that be the American Spring?
Herman Cain is sitting out the rooster fight going on between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. Instead, he is putting his brand out there, first with his 9-9-9 plan and now an ad featuring his Chief of Staff Mark Block. The zinger is Block is smoking during the ad and blows smoke at the end. Wow. Seeing politicians smoke has become a no-no. Look at how hard President Obama tried to quit. (I don’t know if he still does and don’t mind either way – I’m not kissing him).
The Marlboro Man, Johnny Carson and countless movies show smoking. Our current policy of banning smokers even from some outdoor spaces is really too much government, even for me. I think we all know smoking has risks – hence the nickname, coffin nails – but it is a legal product. Herman Cain is finding his feet early. Romney has to deal with the side issues of his faith and policy changes and squabble with Perry, who comes across as an ill-prepared speaker and a blowhard.
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Republicans are between a rock and a hard place. Mitt Romney, who should be a front-runner is being brushed aside for just about anyone else. I don’t know if it is his positions or what I consider the real truth – he is a Mormon. Mormons still make people nervous, perhaps because the Church is growing rapidly, and makes several demands on being self-supporting, disciplined (no tea, coffee or illegal drugs), tithing, fasting and service work. This is not a “feel-good” church, but a place dedicated to thoughtful prayer that expects active members to make meaningful contributions in and out of the Church.
For me, this brings to mind when JFK ran for office, not that any of the candidates are as charismatic as Kennedy, but because his Roman Catholicism was raised as a political issue. I can still recall as a little girl, being asked by another child in dance class if I “was a Christian or a Catholic?”
As for Herman Cain, all I know about him so far is his 9-9-9 plan, which makes for a great soundbite if nothing else. I don’t see that becoming a viable solution, since changing the tax code seems to be a larger issue than messing with the future of Social Security. The other thing I know definitely about him is that he is black. I think this could be a real game-changer for the Republicans. It would effectively cancel out the arguement for voting on race. Can you imagine a presidential race that has two black candidates? It would make it the voting about the issues we face as a country.
I will be watching the rest of the Republican debates with great interest. I am sure President Obama will as well.