Tag Archives: povery

It’s Academic

25 Feb

In the history of the world there have been many great and prosperous civilizations and they have all failed. And usually at the time of the failing some few folks had all of the money and most other folks had none. They were either Kings or Queens or Popes or Emperors or Czars or Caesars or Pharaohs or whatever and they always invoked the divine right of the gods as the reason for concentrating all of that wealth in the hands of one man or one small circle of family and friends. Eventually the disenfranchised, poor populace grows disinterested and disaffected and the empire succumbs to a force of outsiders who invade and plunder. While the wealthy few run away or hide or are murdered or all 3! Then the new conquerors share in the plunder and even rejoice while sharing, and then the cycle begins anew as the new leaders emerge and invariably begin indulging in their own grandeur until…

Fortunately we no longer have empires such as those in the world today but we still have world leaders who rule with concentrated power and wealth. In the United States however, our president is not among the wealthiest men in the nation and we have no all powerful despot who rules with an iron hand under the divine rights of either religion or lineage but we still have concentrated wealth in the hands of a few and those few are now the business and corporate leaders of the world. Where we once had popes and kings we now have CEOs and corporations (The latter which ironically enough have recently been declared to be persons by our Supreme Court composed of actually real people!) and they have quite a large amount of wealth at their disposal which is growing while the wealth of the common population is shrinking. This is the historical recipe for national disaster. No matter how vast and distant the empire may reach, when the interior rots the empire always withers and dies.

Our public schools represent that interior. They are the nucleus which fuels the fire of freedom and free enterprise. We have built our greatness from the inside out and we look to replenish our strengths and our greatness through the rebirth and reaffirmation of our ideals in our children. In our best of times, We have spread our influence through the free trade and free movement of our citizens and by setting an example of economic wealth that can be earned and shared and experienced by all and not concentrated within a few.

Our public schools must be fortified and not abandoned. They must be embraced and enhanced and empowered in terms of anticipating and responding to technological, social, political, economic, and competitive change. Healthy cultures must always be willing to rethink their most basic assumptions about themselves in order to improve and grow and repair their societies and we must be willing to accept that what our schools need now more than ever is not a cut in spending but rather a renewed effort to spend more on the future and the future generations who will lead us.

Today’s students are willing to work hard but what makes us think that they are going to be willing to work hard for low wages that would suffice a life in China or India or some other-where where they don’t live? America’s corporate leaders and great men of wealth need to stop hoarding and start spreading the wealth. They can begin by first embracing the public schools of this country with largess and generosity and then by raising wages across the middle and poorer classes of society so that the term “working poor” is eradicated from our vocabulary.

Today’s students of the 21st century in America are beginning to notice that it is getting harder and harder to bring the American dream, a dream of studying hard then working hard, and then achieving affluence, into focus and for most of our poorest students that dream is nothing more than a taunting apparition of their hopelessness: a happy meal that they will never be able to afford

The Taxman Cometh

15 Jan

Here’s an interesting bit of news that contradicts just about everything you think you knew about finance, government and taxes… At least everything that you’ve ever been told by everyone or thought to be true yourself, simply because it would seem to make perfect sense. That is if we all lived in a fair and just society.

But according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy ( a non-profit, non-partisan research organization that works on federal, state, and local tax policy issues) their newest study on taxation in the United States reveals that, in 2015 the poorest fifth of Americans will pay on average 10.9 percent of their income in state and local taxes, the middle fifth will pay 9.4 percent and the top 1 percent will average 5.4 percent.

The tax study’s major conclusion is that  “Virtually every state’s tax system is fundamentally unfair. Unfair tax systems not only exacerbate widening income inequality in the short term, but they also leave states struggling to raise enough revenue to meet their basic needs in the long term.”…  And to make matters worse, several states have adopted or are considering changes that will further lighten the tax load on their wealthiest residents.

And you thought that rich folks pay more in taxes because they make more money didn’t you?

It seems that States and localities have regressive tax systems because they tend to rely more on sales and excise taxes (fees tacked onto items like gas, liquor and cigarettes), which are the same rate for rich and poor alike. Even property taxes, which account for much of local tax revenue, hit working- and middle-class families harder than the wealthy because their homes often represent their largest asset.

Of course we know that The federal income tax system, primarily taxes individuals at a graduated rate, and those who earn more pay a larger share… But don’t forget that the federal system also uses payroll taxes to raise large sums for Social Security and Medicare, which also comes out of the pockets of many low- and moderate-income Americans who pay little, if any, income tax. So when you here stories about how 47% of Americans don’t pay any taxes at all, and in fact make money from the government…well, plain and simple, that’s a lie. When you put all of the federal, state and local taxes together and subtract those from earnings, the United States is #1 in income inequality…in the world!

Wherever there are rich folks passing by you can always find poor folks left in their exhaust. And I believe that it is safe to say that poverty is a waste product of wealth. Seriously, when the richest 1% hold about 38% of all privately held wealth in the United States, and that is more than the bottom 90% who also hold 73% of all debt, and 15% of all Americans live below the poverty line…then how can you possibly imagine that what I just said about the wealthy and their exhaust being poverty, isn’t true?

There should be an AA for the wealthy, as in Avaricious Anonymous: A place for the money abundant human to go and stand in front of his or her fellow citizens, be welcomed, and then declare. “I’m really rich…but all I really want is more!” and get some help.

But I doubt that we could help them, or even help ourselves, if we found we were in the same condition, for no matter how hard we seem to try, and no matter what facts are presented before us, we still seem to believe that wealth equals hard work and goodness… while poverty equals sloth and iniquity…and who doesn’t want to be good…really, really good?

So it’s time to embrace the obvious, if you dare. The poor are poor because they have no money, not because they get free stuff from rich taxpayers. So enjoy your money while you still have it, because the inequality is getting worse not better, and rest easy in the knowledge that the poor are getting the shaft… just like the rest of us. And if you are rich than you can just rest easy, because giving folks that shaft isn’t really hard work at all.

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