Friday, September 24, 2010

Bureaucratic Feudalism

In trying to understand the use of anger and fear in our political dialogue, along with the lack of reason, I've come to believe that the retention of power is what is really driving all the crap we hear. All sides agree that the US is not where it should be and the direction that it is going is not in our best interest. What no-one wants to state, however, is: exactly where are we? Rather than using the old fear words of Socialism and Capitalism, I would suggest that our current system is a brand new one: Bureaucratic Feudalism.

The old feudalism was characterised by an Aristocracy that was largely hereditary, a hierarchy that was well defined, and power that was mostly in the hands of the landowner. Local prosperity depended on a king that was powerful enough not to be attacked, but not so powerful that he would institute war. It also depended on a workforce that was engaged in productive pursuits. Everything depended on the loyalty of the lesser to the greater individuals.

Our new Feudalism shares many of the same characteristics. Instead of land, the new aristocracy rules from bureaucracies. Power is mostly in the hands of the CEO's of the organizations that rule our lives: the business's, governments, charities, religions, and professional organizations. Their princes are generally the "special interest" groups that lobby our legislators.

Their use of fear and anger to maintain their comfortable status quo can be seen by the recent health care fight. The insurance lobby, through their "Chamber of Commerce" connection has maintained their hold on the 15 to 20% of every dollar spent for health care, despite the total uselessness of what they do, in a country that already has universal health care, (50 states require emergency rooms to treat all that ask). The fact that they call this a government take over of the health industry is laughable. The new act just added a few requirements on top of the many state regulations that were already in place. The government took over health care well before 1975.

The fight is for power, the fear is lost jobs. If we really reformed health care; how would all those involved in insurance make a living? If we really had tax reform; how would all those tax professionals make a living? If we really had tort reform; how would all those lawyers make a living?

That the seeming gridlock we are in is the desired state of those in power, is exemplified by the secret 3 day hold in the Senate. Any Senator can put a three day hold on discussion of any bill without letting anyone know they are responsible. I think it would be very enlightening to see the Senators campaign contributions matched up to the holds that they have instituted. Unfortunatly this is very unlikely to happen.

With the new Supreme Court ruling that corporations can make political contributions, along with the secrecy allowed for many of them, I don't see things getting any better soon. I believe that we ought to limit campaign contributions to only those that can vote in that election.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Why is it that religion, down through the ages and continuing to the present, is used as a vehicle to promote hate and division? Those that claim to believe in the God of Abraham continue to twist the words of the prophets into things that they have never said. Moses, Jesus, and Mohamed have all explicitly stated that it is wrong to speak evil of others, kill innocents, and commit suicide. Rather than listen to others using these holy people to justify their own ends it would help if we went to our respective holy books and read for ourselves what is really stated. The only real thing of value we have in this life is time. Whether we use this time in anger, hate, jealousy and sadness or love, understanding and happiness is our own choice.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It's all about Big Money

If anyone doubts that the rich control the United States they should consider the fate of the Estate Tax. With everyone looking to cut the deficit and find new sources of revenue, I find it amazing that the country can't get behind a reasonable estate tax. To me the ideal tax would be paid by people with the means to pay it that couldn't complain in any manner. This is the description of rich dead people. The argument talks about a "DEATH TAX" in such a manner that makes poor people think they are going to have to pay it. While there is a need to revise Section 6166 that allows illiquid business owners and farmers estates time to pay the tax, this tax could be a great revenue source. The 2009 tax wasn't paid by anyone with an estate of less than 3.5 million, the 2011 tax will be paid by estates of over 1 million because our politicians are afraid to raise any taxes. The tax could always be easily avoided by giving the estate to charities. Elimination of this tax will only benefit the heirs of the deceased who haven't earned the money and don't deserve it. We don't need more Paris Hiltons in this world.

Fear, Anger, Hate and Blame


It's not about Republicans or Democrats, Liberals or Conservatives. It's about the kind of world that we want to live in. I would suggest that if we vote for people that engage in speaking evil about their opponents, suggesting that they can do miracles like lowering the deficit without increasing taxes, and relying on anger, fear, hate, and blame to generate votes, we will live in a dismal place. We must remember that anger hides reason, fear allows us to justify the means with the ends, hate generates more hate, and blame ignores solutions. The beneficiaries of the current extremism are the special interests. They are working to keep the status quo. The Democrats have the governmental units, the unions, charities, and the trial lawyers, while the Republicans have business and religious groups. We are fast descending to a behavior that is no better than the Taliban and those that we claim to despise. We must recognize that we are to blame for our current situation. We have supported and elected leaders that appeal to our baser instincts. If we want to get out of our current malaise we must reject those that use fear, anger, and blame and look for those with integrity and a vision of a future that we do want to live in.