Monday, May 28, 2012

Remember the Fallen

Americans remember to honor the fallen soldiers and the veterans this Memorial Day especially if you don't believe in supporting any war. Your right to disagree with war is protected by the men and women in our military putting their very lives on the line to protect that very right. They deserve your respect for their service and sacrifice regardless of how you feel about war. I'm the political poet, and I hope everyone shares my view.

Friday, May 18, 2012

American Economy Needs the Biggest Loser!

Folks the politicians are at it again saying things like, “We all need to pay the price for recovery,” or “Everyone needs to have skin in the game.” Both parties seem to be the same two-headed snake I’ve written about previously. I see no imagination just cut social programs to the bone and tax citizens until they're bled dry. In truth the economy shouldn’t be compared to lemmings jumping off a cliff of debt. Don’t let them scare you! The economic growth and wealth for some over the last 12 years has been great. Our gross domestic product increased while our middle class and jobs shrank. Now, those same people want the rest of us whose jobs they sent overseas, and whose wages have flat lined or went down to get skin in the game because entitlement programs we're forced to pay into are going to cost too much.

The truth is the American economy, not Americans, has become fat and lazy. It doesn’t want to work anymore or grow. Forget about walking, the muscles of our economy haven’t been used for anything except shoveling food into the mouth of corporate profits and the wealthiest 1%. The corporations are sitting on 2 ½ trillion dollars of capital fat ass-ets. No matter how much they want to spin it, corporations are not people. They are businesses ran by people. They are a necessary muscle in creation of jobs and vital to a healthy economy. The problem is they aren’t working out or exercising leaving those bloated fat cells which could be used as fuel for the economic muscle growth to atrophy.
Our politicians need to think of creative ways to become like Jillian Michaels to inspire corporations to get off their butts and start burning that fat. Our politicians are going to have to appeal to the people running the corporations because companies don’t think for themselves. Their officers and boards of directors make the decisions so quit calling corporations people and get creative. Our government needs to find out what those boards of directors need to get them to use corporate capital for job creation and economic growth. If the find the right dietary carrot, you’ll see energy jump back into the economy as well as those companies. Maybe cut back on regulations which wouldn’t hurt the public health or environment? Maybe tax credits linked to job creation in our country versus overseas? If carrots don’t work then pull out the stick to prod them, but get them off their fat capital butts.   

However, the corporations aren’t the only muscles not working correctly in the current body economic. Our governments at all levels, federal, state and local, need to revise the way they burn fat, too. On the Biggest Loser they call it retraining the muscles to work properly. Right now, our governments’ budgets have turned into bloated fat cells. The answer is not eating more tax sweets paid for by the citizenry, or drinking their tax calories by cutting services to the people paying their salaries. I truly believe the tax and spend philosophy is going to make our schools, police departments, firehouses and every other government agency go blind or lose their feet and legs to overweight budget diabetes.

For example, almost all taxpayer funded entities spend every dime they get every year so they won’t have their budgets reduced the following year. Why? If muscles don’t burn the calories our bodies take in then it goes to fat or into the toilet as waste. We have to change this mentality. We shouldn’t punish agencies for reducing waste by cutting their budgets. We should let them have rainy day funds so we don’t need to increase taxes every year to increase budgets. Nothing irritates taxpayers more than seeing frivolous spending followed by a tax increase. I was privy to this at a local school. They found they had a $100,000.00 left in their budget, and they literally searched for ways to spend the money so their budget wouldn’t be reduced the next year. Now imagine my surprise when I received a notice that my property taxes were increasing automatically because the school, firehouse, police department, library and mental health departments were all increasing their budgets by the amount allowed by law without a public vote. (Thanks President Bush for tax increases without public discussion or vote.)

Admittedly, the volunteer firehouse is no better. They had a small budget before they convinced the local citizens to publicly fund them. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time. Before they got a taste of deep fried taxes, they would go door to door asking for donations, and their budgetary needs were one of their biggest talking points. If just 1 out of 10 households in their service area donated just $20.00 then they would have enough to cover their financial needs. Part of the reason people voted to put the volunteer firehouse on the public payroll with their tax dollars was the expectation the taxes wouldn’t be that high. Surely, if everyone is now contributing rather than 1 in 10, the costs should be minimal. My taxes increased $240.00 that year for the firehouse alone. All of a sudden $20.00 from 1 in 10 households wasn’t enough. My yearly contribution increased 1200% because it was no longer a gift. It was a requirement, and their budgetary needs immediately started to grow automatically year after year.

However, the muscle steroid abuse award goes to the police department. I love good cops and have many family members who serve or have served in blue. I’m not fond of police who abuse their positions in our society, and it applies to the top dogs. I understand the need for a new police cruiser or two over time. I don’t understand why they have to be sports cars, get detailed racing stripes or be equipped with spinning hubcaps. Now, I wasn’t privy to their budget needs or how much money they needed to spend to keep from having reductions, but the public can see those spinning hubcaps every time the cruiser goes down the road. I had a friend tell me he thought the officers might have paid for the hubcaps out-of-pocket. I’m glad my tax dollars didn’t pay for them if that is the case, but I still don’t know it as a fact. Regardless, I think it is inappropriate. If I don’t like the thought of my tax dollars paying for spinning hubcaps on police cruisers then I’m sure others are thinking the same thing.

Maybe a bonus system based on budgetary discipline would be in order? As long as services are reduced, we could allow government agencies to take 10% off any surplus and pay it to their workers as a bonus while sticking the rest in a savings account for future needs. Don’t reduce their budget, but don’t increase it either. It gives enough incentive to work out for a payoff. After some time passes, you can reduce the taxpayer burden by interest generated by the rainy day funds. If all levels of government functioned this way, we might see ridiculous savings in operating budgets and large savings accounts instead. My guess is you’d see some happy public servants with some nice bonus checks, also.

Finally, we have a mega-rich 1% in our country that holds most of the wealth. Over the last 10 years they’ve seen their wealth grow in ridiculous, some might say obscene, proportions compared to the struggles of the rest of the 99% of Americans. Congress needs to find incentives for them as well. True they pay large tax bills, but they are the main beneficiary of the tax breaks over the last 10 years to the point our national debt has increased unnecessarily to keep giving them a little extra income. Our excuse to pile on the debt to keep giving them the extended tax break was they create jobs. If it were working then we wouldn’t currently have this double chin and gut hanging over our knees in debt fat. I say it is easy to fix. If they can prove job creation in proportion to their tax breaks, let them keep their individual tax breaks, and if they can’t then take away their tax breaks on an individual basis. If what the Republicans say is true, we won’t penalize or hurt the job creators in this manner, and they no longer have an excuse to withhold votes needed for the other 99% of Americans to satisfy the needs of 1%. I have a sneaky suspicion the 1% will suddenly start creating jobs or at least start putting a little more of their skin back in the game. I’m not against cutting their taxes again. If we manage to get fit economically, out of debt and see a budget surplus again, we should operate on the notion we will decrease Americans' taxes in proportion to interest generated off government savings accounts. It might be sometime before we get there, but it will be worth it.

Currently, our economy is suffering from our various parts not working correctly. Our corporations and mega-rich 1% know you have to spend money to make money, but they sit on record capital and wealth. Our economy is suffocating from an over conservative attitude focused on slashing budgets, debt ceilings and tax rates. While it is true all levels of our government need to reform the way they operate, the aforementioned businesses and 1% need to loosen up, quit sitting on that fat capital and work out.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Please Sign the Bread Not Bombs Petition!

We need to tell our senators to not take meals on wheels away from seniors, school lunches away from children and food stamps away from the hungry to keep the Pentagon's budget bloated. The Pentagon's budget was increased by over 400% in the last 10 years because of war. It only makes sense their budget should be reduced as we finished the Iraq War and are winding down the war in Afghanistan. Don't starve seniors to keep paying out bloated military contracts, many of which belong to foreign companies and don't help our economic recovery. Please follow the link below to sign the petition.

Click here to sign the Bread Not Bombs Petition

Friday, May 11, 2012

Who will The Political Poet Endorse for President?

People have been asking who The Political Poet will endorse  for President. I was a Democrat for 12 years, and I was a Republican for 12 years. I no longer belong to either party. I'm an independent voter. I look at both parties and see fault. The income gap has gotten too big. Regardless of party, most of the politicians in Washington, D.C. seem loyal to the lobbyists from the mega rich, special interests and big business first and not the American people. All that said, I'll give the reason for my choice then give my choice.

Our economy has been slowly improving despite investment groups like Mitt Romney's gutting companies and costing Americans jobs. My gut tells me that we should be less worried about budget cuts right now and reinvesting in our country instead. President Barack Obama slowed the bleeding by signing the TARP bill, but both parties fell short of making the necessary changes needed to promote more growth. Yes, I think the mega rich need to pay a higher tax rate, and their loopholes should be closed.

Later not now, our federal, state and local governments need to cut spending and decrease taxes at all levels. Programs should be revamped to cut waste but not hurt people. There are plenty of ways to fix the promise of social security and medicare without it going bankrupt. If politicians say slash and burn are the only ways or privatize them, they are liars.

Anyway, we must choose between our current President Obama's policies which created jobs, cut the legs out from under Al Qaeda, brought troops home from Iraq and will shortly be bringing them home from Afghanistan, or a man who personally cost thousands of Americans their jobs while paying very little tax on his income (I mean capital gain, nod, nod, wink, wink.). At this point in time I don't know how anyone could really be considering Mitt Romney for President unless they are one of the 1% mega rich.

In fact, I don't know how anyone could be voting for any Republican running for the House or Senate who wants to balance the budget on the elderlies' backs by gutting social security and medicare/medicaid at the same time they refuse to let the tax rate go back to where it was on the wealthy. They've had their tax break long enough. They added to their wealth while the middle class and lower class incomes shrank.

Until a truly progressive party enters the ring with viable numbers, I'm picking the lessor or two evils and voting straight-line Democrat. Re-elect President Barack Obama 2012!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

We Should Constitutionally Ban Gay Marriage, Seriously?

We Should Constitutionally Ban Gay Marriage, Seriously?

I’ve heard enough hatred spewing out of peoples’ mouths the last few days to last me a lifetime. I find it repulsive that people claiming to be religious demand same sex marriage be banned by constitutional amendment and states pretending they should have the right to vote on the matter. Really? I don’t care if 60% of the people in a state support banning same sex marriage and only 40% are against it. I thought the idea of minority rights being nationally protected and superseding state’s rights to infringe on peoples’ individual rights was established during the civil rights movement. Even in a free democracy, the majority isn’t allowed to take away other citizens’ rights because of race, religion, gender, age, income or sexual preference. Frankly, I think it is long overdue for same sex marriages to be recognized by all states and the federal government. If you draw a line and say it is acceptable to infringe on this groups’ rights or that groups’ rights because the masses don’t like something about “those” people then you buy into the premise anyone could be stripped of their rights by the changing whim of the mob. What do we do next take away voting rights for women, African Americans or people who don’t own land?

Before I catch a landslide of hate mail asking why I’m defending homosexuality like I caught for standing up for women’s rights, I’ll admit I am not homosexual, but I don’t feel I have to be gay or a woman to stand up for their rights. I could just as easily turn the question on the people against same sex marriage. How do two men or two women who love each other enough to get married hurt your heterosexual marriage? It really has nothing to do with you; in as much as, your heterosexual marriage has nothing to do with them. As I defended myself before when berated for giving my opinion, I believe it is our duty as Americans to stand up against injustice. We should protect the rights of everyone, even the Neo Nazi’s right to free speech. In the very act of protecting those rights we truly show how great a society we are.

As for the religious zealots who will immediately question my relationship with God, you don’t get to judge me. Remember, you’re not supposed to be judging anybody. God made that clear. I’m guessing that includes homosexuals? Regardless of wrong or right, you should step out of the way and let God decide. As for atheists like Bill Maher, they have enough sense to support the rights of same sex couples because it is the right thing to do. They don’t need God as an excuse. I’m sure some religious conservatives believe Bill Maher and I will both burn in Hell. There they go judging again.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Therapeutic Benefits of Writing

Please visit the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America's online magazine, The Motivator. I'm one of three featured authors on the therapeutic benefits of writing in the Winter/Spring 2012 issue Health and Wellness section. You can click on the writers' names to view each of our stories. Please check out the entire magazine and consider making a donation to show your support for the MSAA. Thank you.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Final Round of Applause for the Poets

The Political Poet would like to give a final thanks to everyone who submitted poems for the Poetry Month Competition in Honor of Robert Frost. Many established and amateur poets were attracted to the competition making it even better. Since judging is blind, it is no surprise veteran poets fair better. We would like your opinions. First, we would like suggestions for a woman poet to honor next year. Second, we are considering splitting the contest to add an amateur only category. You can leave comments below or send email to with "POETRY" in the subject line. As always, we would like to remind poets having the courage to submit poems makes you winners regardless of being an established or first time poet. Please remember to follow the blog for information on the contest next year.