With voting day upon us, which is really just the last day you can vote, I wanted to get a few more things off of my political voting chest. First we talk budgets, then foreign policy.
I feel this country has both an income and spending problem. That is not a surprise, have you seen television advertising? Do you know that banks are now in the business of selling loans instead of facilitating loans? We have a culture of having. Unfortunately, having costs money. I feel that the culture that pervades this country, of which I fully take part, does not have the monetary sense that is best. Since this is a bottom up trend, or middle class up trend, it sticks and matters at the national level.
What I am trying to say is that congress has approved money to be spent on programs over the last 30 years that might have been the best decision. It is hard to be specific because the budget is a big thing and we have a new one every year. Fortunately a few things stick out. The mortgage interest tax deduction is something that benefits the wealthy more than the poor. It doesn't benefit renters at all and often renters are the ones who need the most help. Second, we spent a lot of money fighting wars the last couple decades and I am not sure that was always the best option. I supported (still support) our efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq because I feel that those countries were suffering under oppressive leadership. However, the scale of the conflicts I am not sure was the best course. In other words, if we wanted to get Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, and Husseins second in command sons, why couldn't we just get them? After all, after a war in Afghanistan we got Bin Laden in Pakistan. I am getting long winded.
What I am trying to say is we could have probably accomplished similar results in terms of the leadership that we were most interested in with smaller total expenses. I realize that you can't run a war based on money, that's how we ended up with the Vietnam war problems. What I am saying is that I feel, and I could be wrong of course, that a more focused (smaller thus less expensive) military could accomplish many of the things (like getting Osama Bin Laden) that a larger military could. Obviously that is open to debate, but it is a large portion of our spending.
Second, 60 and even 65 is not the most appropriate age to start giving out retirement benefits. People live too long in this country to give out benefits for 20 years. Think about it, a person spends 20 years getting a free education, 40 years working, and another 25 years getting retirement benefits. Romney says 47% are dependent on the government? It seems to me that everyone who enjoys either a free education or retirement benefits would qualify as dependent on the state at some point. Sounds more like 99% to me.
Going back to the income problem, progressive tax is obviously the way to go. Payroll tax only applied to the first $110,000 of income is a regressive tax, the opposite of a progressive tax. The same can be said for a flat sales tax. If a low income family spends 10% of their income on food then maybe they will spend 0.5% on food sales tax if that is 5%. A higher income family with four times the income may spend twice as much on food, and thus 5% of their income on food and only 0.25% on food sales tax despite a bill that is twice the size.
Changing gears totally to foreign policy, aside from the wars I have already talked about. We need more discussion in the world. We need people talking at the table. My trip to Indonesia reinforces that. Many of the issues were simple to resolve, we just did not have the details in the documentation that they needed. It is amazing how much was accomplished in a few hours of face to face talking. Minutes really.
I could say more but the polls close soon and I need to publish. I hope you voted. I voted, I had some doubt that I would, but I did.