To move forward, abandon competition in favor of cooperation

 

 

I always have been curious, asking questions – not necessarily directly and openly, but within my own mind. This is a place of complete privacy where I do not have to be hypocritical in my thinking. I can let it all flow. It is the safest place for me to lay it all on the table, without fear of retribution or any inhibitors getting in the way.

In my mind, I can go places that I would otherwise be forbidden to go in my body. I can be on Broadway in New York City; on the beach in Savannah; or in one of the most expensive suites in Las Vegas. I could even be in Buckingham Palace, or in Israel where so much of Bible history was made and still is being
made.

 

YET SO MANY of us deny ourselves that last vestige of freedom – thinking – and leave it to others to do it for us. And believe me, others are doing it for us.

Take political advertisements as an example. We are told what to do with so little information provided in assisting us making credible decisions. We usually get what I call “catchphrases.” That liberals like to “tax and spend” is just one of them. Nobody wants to be taxed and nobody wants to be taxed so that liberals can spend it on wasteful social causes. So attaching the simple phrase “tax and spend” to liberals causes people who do not think to believe what they hear, and not what they have taken the time to know.

If we would take time to use our heads for something other than a hat rack, as my mother used to say, we may find that there is very little, if any, substance in what we hear from people who are trying to win us over to their side. When we have a government that is put up for bid every four years, what else can we expect to hear? We have a competitive system of government, which I tend to believe is not the best system.

 

JUST THE OTHER day, for instance, I thought about how life would be if we would make a paradigm shift, 180 degrees, where we – instead of being competitive with one another, especially in politics – would be cooperative. Consider the resources that would be saved and could be used to fund other needed endeavors. Working together produces a better product than working in competition with one another.

If not working together across the board, at least there should be a noncompetitive environmental market in areas where the quality of life is affected – i.e., food, clothing, shelter, security, health, etc. All efforts in these areas should be cooperative. These are necessities that we cannot have market-driven. Most likely, someone is ready to call this socialism. And maybe it is. Our government always has had elements of socialism. Everybody knows this. I cannot imagine what life in America would be like if it were not so.

 

AN ECONOMY driven purely by markets, without regard to what happens to those who fall through the cracks, is an economy heading toward ruin. No one pushes this kind of economic philosophy other than those greedy investors and business owners who stand to gain at the rest of the country’s loss. You can count on them doing everything to maximize their returns on investments, disregarding the implications that such an economy will bring on those who are at the bottom already.

Do we want to end up like other countries where the sick, hungry and destitute are sleeping on the streets? The poor always are going to be with us. The question is how are we going to deal with them, not how well we are going to treat the rich. Will it be about compassion or about numbers?

What I am hearing from some in this political race for the presidency is frightening. In essence, their solution is to make the poor and middle class poorer and the rich richer. Somebody is going to have to pay for balancing the budget. The poor do not have any money. So, they will pay their part, as suggested by the Romney campaign, doing without essential programs – i.e., food, health care, educational assistance, etc.

The rich have lots of it – some say more than 40 percent of the wealth – and that is just 1 percent of the population. Nevertheless, the people who are trying to win the presidency are telling us that we need to give them a tax break. So who is left to pay the taxes?
You guessed right: the middle class – who, by the way, is out
there fighting for the rich to get in office.

Now explain that to me. It is one thing to be taken advantage of when your eyes are closed, but when they are wide open it indicates that somebody is not thinking. Instead, they are wrapped up in the emotions of the issues, not the substance.

 

WE DO NOT yet have a complete government “of” the business world, “by” the business world and “for” the business world. But what if we put people into office who espouse the ideas now floating around – that business knows best how to solve the political and economic problems facing this country; and that the middle class will no longer exist – just the rich and poor?

I have no political party preference. However, I know that I do not want to live under a government that puts more tax burdens on the middle class and poor who can least afford them. These are the proverbial ones “behind the tree” who have been taxed to death. And the ones still spewing, “Don’t tax him, don’t tax me; tax that man behind the tree” are the greedy rich. Their solution is what is quoted in Jean Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions: “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche” – “Let them eat cake.” They are that far from reality and understanding the problems of the middle class and poor.

 

I SAY IT IS time for the rich to be taxed in proportion to their earnings. Why should we assume that they would reinvest the billions of dollars we give, through tax write-offs and incentives, back into the economy? Some of those dollars may end up in secret bank accounts, where they do the country no good whatsoever, or in overseas investments at the expense of American workers. Who knows?

In some political circles, it is all about the numbers, not the people.

 

(The writer is a former Augusta City Council member and a retired labor relations manager from Bechtel Savannah River Inc.)

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