Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

December 11, 2012

Lion and the Lamb: Our nation's financial health

CROSSVILLE — This past national election turned into a contest between the interests of the very rich and those of the middle class and the poor. Although this contest was won last month by the latter group, the underlying class war aspect of the contest is continuing today.

On the one side, the very wealthy are struggling to preserve their very low tax rates, and to reduce instead the benefits of Social Security and Medicare for the middle class and the poor. By raising the retirement age and eligibility age of these programs (if they can't privatize them), the wealthy hope that enough income can be raised so that they won't be forced to pay more in taxes. On the other side, the middle class and poor want desperately to protect these programs on which they are so dependent, and are leery of any "grand bargains" that may be discussed by the wealthy.

In a poll released Nov. 28 by the Washington Post and ABC News, it was reported that 60 percent of those asked stated that they would like to see higher income taxes on those in the higher income brackets over $250,000.  Only 37 percent were in opposition. The report also indicated that 66 percent opposed raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67. Only 30 percent supported such a raise. In each case the majority had hoped that the way the November election turned out would have settled those questions.

There are other aspects of this ongoing class war that deserve our attention.  The International Monetary Fund recently warned that high income inequality could damage a nation's long-term growth. A growing number of analysts, however, have come to the conclusion that the real menace to our long-term prosperity is not income inequality but wealth inequality. This been getting worse over the past several decades. In 1992, the top tenth of the population controlled 20 times the wealth controlled by the bottom half. By 2010, it was 65 times. If we had the wisdom to devise a way of taxing wealth rather than income, they believe that many of our nation's current problems could be solved.

Another problem that our nation needs to work on during the next four years is the tremendous cost of our current state of permanent war. Under President George Bush our nation entered into an unfunded "war on terrorism" in Afghanistan, Iraq and neighboring nations which has embroiled us in huge financial debt and a co-option of our national resources. There is not much hope of being able to solve infrastructure problems until we end that war.

It has become clearer that we made several mistakes after 9/11. The first mistake was in deciding that 9/11 called for a response of war instead of considering it to be an international crime and taking it to the International Court of Justice in the Hague. To pursue that war, we then made another mistake: we declared war on a tactic, "terrorism," and then used that very same tactic as our nation's official response. It gives one pause to discover that other nations regard our drones as instruments of terrorism. The choice we made in response to 9/11 cannot be changed, but is there a way we can now bring this massive drain of funds to an end?

These are some of the financial challenges before us today. What kind of possible solutions do you see in our future?

• • •

This column is sponsored by Cumberland Countians for Peace and Justice and dedicated by the local writers to the theme that the lion and the lamb can and must learn to live together and grow in their relationship toward one another to ensure a better world. Opinions expressed in “Lion and the Lamb” columns are not necessarily those of the Crossville Chronicle publisher, editor or staff. For more information, contact Ted Braun, editor, at 277-5135.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Tidbits: The excitement of election day

    On March 12, 1996, there were 427,183 votes cast in the presidential primary election. Among those votes was mine, the first vote I cast in an election, just two days after my 18th birthday.

    July 21, 2014

  • Raising the minimum wage

    My first job from which FICA was withheld was a minimum wage job, seventy-five cents an hour. And yes, even then no one could live on that little money. However, I was a high schooler living at home where my father provided room and board. The job gave me pocket money to buy gasoline, to take my girlfriend out for movies and burgers, and to buy tickets for baseball games.

    July 21, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Children on the move

    The news this past week has focused on the humanitarian crisis developing on our southern border. Thousands of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking to escape from the violence, human trafficking and extreme poverty in their countries have been entering the United States.

    July 15, 2014

  • We the People: Memo to gun rights groups

    The recent incident in California helps us understand why we cannot rely on mental health services alone to solve the problem of gun violence.

    July 15, 2014

  • Tidbits: Make the best of your road trip

    I didn’t care for road trips when I was young. It was so confining to have to sit in the back seat, staring out the window for hour after hour, hayfield after hayfield. And when you’re a kid, time doesn’t pass like it does when you get a little older. Just the trip from Jamestown, TN, to Crossville, roughly 30 miles, felt like an eternity!

    July 14, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Biased climate agenda will cost trillions

    For anyone who has been educated in the history of science and scientific method, this whole issue of “Global Warming” or “Climate Change” is an embarrassing and painful exercise.

    July 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Time for an oil change

    The land of Iraq, earlier known as Mesopotamia, has a long history going back to Neanderthal times some 60,000 years ago. Later, around 10,000 years ago, it became the site for some of the most important developments in human history: the invention of the wheel, planting of cereal crops, the development of cursive script, mathematics, astronomy and agriculture. Today it is recognized as one of the cradles of civilization.

    July 8, 2014

  • We the People: American women, be informed and vote

    Voting for today’s Republican Party and its Tea Party members, means you are voting against more than most realize.  This is especially true for women.

    July 8, 2014

  • TIDBITS: Beat the heat in July and August

    I hope everyone enjoyed the Independence Day weekend, with lots of celebration and fun. We couldn’t have asked for better weather this July 4, or 5 or 6. In fact, it was so nice I was tempted to try and bottle some of that sunshine, low humidity and gentle breeze that greeted me each morning.

    July 7, 2014

  • STUMPTALK: Demand better from government workers

    In a recent congressional hearing we learned that the VA awarded excessive bonuses to nearly all of their doctors and administrators. In a recent column we mentioned that the civil service employment provisions should be revised so that federal employees in the executive branch could be fired if they don’t perform to the satisfaction of the president. The president would then know that he (or she) will be solely responsible for any failures of the administration and would be more likely to demand hiring competent employees and insist on satisfactory performance.

    July 7, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014