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Republican ElephantLast Monday night (06-18-2013) I attended a speech at Stamford, Connecticut’s Ferguson Library delivered by Texas Governor Rick Perry, who was visiting Connecticut to make another speech about gun control laws and how the gun manufacturing industry is going to be affected by the new post Sandy Hook gun laws.  Governor Perry would like them to relocate to Texas.  But this speech was not about gun control.  In fact, it was not a political speech, but rather a sociopolitical speech.  I would like to share some of what I learned Monday evening.

The speech was sponsored by The Dylan Schenider Group as part of their Civility in America Series.  Governor Perry took time from his busy schedule to be a guest speaker for this group and the speech was about civility and the need for people to be more civil towards each other in spite of differences in all areas including politics.  Before Mr. Schneider introduced the governor, he mentioned that 70% of Americans are frustrated with the tone of the political parties, 75% are negative, and 90% believe political rivals attach each other too much.  The consensus is that campaigns are too long, making instability the rule, and that the political parties are too concerned with victory (getting one of theirs elected regardless), rather than the concerns of the American way of life.  It got me thinking.  If something is going to be put into motion to change this, is civility where the rubber meets the road?

A much more maligned and humble man than we saw in Republican debates in the early winter of 2011 and continuing until he dropped out of the 2012 presidential race, the governor began by saying that civility is an American ideal dating back to America’s roots as a nation.   He went on to quote Ben Franklin that everyone should be a friend to everyone.  Franklin warned us that political party affiliation was (and is) a necessary evil to ensure both sides of all issues are represented, but to not allow us to create a permanent campaign culture, as this leads to winning taking precedence over the needs of the nation.  The result is we lack civility and we do whatever it takes (lie, cheat, steal) to win.  The governor points out that one does not have to change his or her viewpoints to be civil to those with opposite views.  Perhaps if we show a little civility and our elected officials to local, state, and national politics do the same, we can achieve more and whether the liberal, conservative, or bipartisan solution is implemented, its selection can be the result of the Platonian Dialectic and not by two parties fighting to win and stronger, but not necessarily the better ultimately wins.  The governor went on to quote Winston Churchill when he said a lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can put its pants on. 

If civility was truly an America ideal set forth by our Founding Fathers, the problem is it was not fueled properly from the very inception.  How can one be civil and justify slavery?  That was after all, America’s one and only birth defect as a nation.  Thomas Jefferson, the man who insisted all men are created equal was a slave owner.  While good handshakes, hat tipping, speaking kind words in a comforting southern drawl, and helping a old lady cross the street are steps in the right direction, they do not change our viewpoints and opinions and we still know in our hearts we have many differences and disagreements.  Furthermore, there are plenty of kind, considerate, friendly people who are crooks, connivers, thieves, and hypocrites at heart.  Actions will always speak louder than words.  The late John Gotti was one of the nicest man you could ever meet.  So was Bernie Madoff.  Their civility did not stop them from achieving their respective notoriety, it just provided a vehicle, as Dale Carnegie said, to make friends and influence people.  But they were who they were.

If we are do get things done in Washington (as well as at the local and state levels), our elected officials should be more civil when they communicate with each other, be it in person, email, text, or tweet.  But neither side should just simply surrender to the other side just for the sake of civility.  This does not start up the Platonian Dialectic, it shuts it down.  If everyone agrees, the only two possibilities are everybody is right or everybody is wrong and if everybody is wrong, everybody thinks they’re right.  Civil?  Yes.  But also perfunctory.

Where the rubber meets the road!  Civility is that good set of Michelins you put on your car to handle whatever [tribulations] the road can dish out; potholes, cracks, grooved pavement, and worn and rough pavement.  We can disagree in a civil manner.  We can dislike what a person stands for on a given issue or issues, but still like, respect, and even admire the person.  Ronald Reagan believed before he was elected in 1980 that Franklin Roosevelt was the best president in his lifetime.  Granted he was a liberal Democrat when he was acting and president of the Screen Actors Guild, but did not change his mind when he switched to the Republican party and became the conservative governor and president we all remember him.  He told the late Mike Wallace in a Sixty Minutes interview once, one does not become a leader by what he does, but by what he causes others to do.  Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan were two diametrically opposed politicians, but were both extremely civil human beings.

Politics notwithstanding, it is extremely important all of us behave in a civil manner; especially in the age of the Internet and social media.  When one chooses such an outlet to communicate ideas, myself included as I am a blogger, it is important not only in what we say but how we say it, because accountability is very limited on these media and what little does exist is very difficult to enforce.  Cyber bullying, lies, and reasons to try stupid and dangerous things make it to such media without any checkpoints, such as a book publisher, publisher of a newspaper, and other top people in older media forms.  I love to express my conservative viewpoints, but I always look for the kindest, gentlest way possible and I hope my The 7 Train will always be a civil outlet for such communication.

I am a Republican conservative, not as conservative as most of the Tea Party.  But this is a part of what I am made of below level 3.  I am one of God’s children first (Level 1 = God), a family member second (Level 2 = Family), and an American third (Level 3 = Country).   Governor  Perry has good points and flaws, just like the rest of us.  But I tip my hat to him for reintroducing America to civility and I believe the fuel the vehicle of civility runs best on is people committing to living a properly vertically aligned life in accord with the three levels I mentioned above.

Civility.  Where the rubber meets the road!

 

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Republican ElephantAs the battle between the party lines and the economic classes on Wall Street, Main Street, and Morning Glory Circle continues, one thing that strikes a chord with me is the concept of investing in America!  For the last twenty or so years, the modern Democrat party has tried to sell that bill of goods that we need to invest in the future of America; invest in education, the environment, alternative energy, and of course, health care.  My fellow Republicans and I have been accused of being the killjoys of the middle class by thwarting all these ideas in favor of tax incentives, elimination of federal departments, and balancing the federal budget, that -$16T number of which I keep referring.

The opposition got it right that we do have to eventually invest in all of the above and then some; but how do you invest when you have nothing to invest?  It is like asking a middle class family with a two-income earning in the mid-five figures struggling to put food on the table and cloth the kids for school to go hungry and invest in the stock market!  And you cannot raise taxes on the middle class either as that could very easily be the feather that topples the family pile into the poorhouse.  And you can only raise taxes on the wealthy so much or they will lose the wherewithal to hire and create jobs.  While I am not saying flat out no to investing in the aforementioned, I must say not yet.  We must balance the budget first!

Though I do not position myself on the continuum of the Michelle Bachmanns and Paul Ryans and other Tea Party extremists, I believe us as Americans first need to use the resources of this so called Tea Party to achieve what we must achieve first before achieving anything else becomes impossible.  Let’s limit government as much as possible now and get that number in the black.  Remember, America cannot hoard a surplus indefinitely.  Article Eight of our constitutions stipulates The United States of America cannot operate as a for-profit corporation and therefore must return surpluses to the American people in the form of what its citizens agree on via the representative democracy process where elect representatives accordingly and communicate to them their will and representatives override the will of people if and only if the elected officials deem the masses are embarking on a fatal mistake.

Remember the Schoenhaus Theorems involving reducing government to 1789 and then determining what can be added back and still keep America living below its means?  Though we cannot implement 1789 in reality even temporarily just to balance the budget, we can learn from this philosophy and get this nation on track so it does not go the way of Greece.  Invest in America?  Yes, but not yet.

 

Republican ElephantBeen following the IRS scandal?  It got me thinking, but not about what everyone else is thinking.  Sure, I know the drill.  President Obama did nothing to bring affordable health insurance to the masses as he promised.  All he did was levy fines to people who do not have any health insurance and the IRS is used as the media to collect the fine money by adding to the Federal Income Tax obligation.  Now the IRS is accused of inequitable practices where the wealthiest Americans are targeted and penalized more heavily.  And Obama is at the seat of controversy with respect to his stand on health care reform the liberal way.  But ironically, that is not the crux of this blog.

The Federal Income Tax was introduced by President Woodrow Wilson in 1913.  There was no 1040 form back then, just a form with the words INCOME TAX in red block lettering across the top and the tax was a flat rate percentage—sound familiar?  Remember 9-9-9 and the proposed 1040 post card?  Overall, Woodrow Wilson was one of our better presidents, most of his reforms were necessary at the time, and unlike FDR, his vehicle was statute law enforced by law enforcement—not creating new government agencies sovereign in their own rights resulting in higher taxes for all of us and the federal government accruing more and more debt.  But the Federal Income Tax is nonetheless, Wilson’s boondoggle.  The bill of goods sold to the American people in one-hundred years ago was that it would be a temporary tax.  Temporary?  Murphy got that one right—there is no such thing as permanent press or temporary taxes!  With the first federal income tax being flat, the temporary one, there was no need to create a bureaucracy as elaborate as the IRS.  You simply calculated 4% of your net income and sent the United States Treasury a check for that amount.  The evolution of graduated income taxes and out of control government spending on superfluous items and government agencies that proved to be either pointless of futile led to the federal government keeping the tax and our obligation to pay it but getting out of the business of collecting the aforementioned tax and creating the IRS, a bureaucracy solely dedicated to the collection of this [temporary] tax.

Alas, immortality is not a virtue if it wasn’t intended to exist in the first place!  The impracticality of abolishing the Federal Income Tax is obvious with $16T deficit.  But do we really need an agency dedicated to the sole purpose of collecting this tax?  Wow, the federal government could save billions if the IRS were closed.  With a flat tax at a percentage reasonable for all income brackets, you won’t even need form 1040.  Just set the withholding at the % rate and transfer that money directly to the United States Treasury.  The most fundamental way to cut cost or pay less for something is to eliminate the middlemen.  Without the costly overhead of operating this bureaucracy we call Internal Revenue, more tax money can be collected with taxpayers paying a lower percentage rate.  No need to make the IRS immortal.  And as far as health care reform is concerned, think about it.  If the taxpayers’ obligation is lightened, the windfall in their paychecks can be reinvested into quality, private sector health insurance.  Obama it backwards.  Instead of levying fines and increasing their obligation to taxation without representation, as it were, do the opposite!  Decrease their tax obligation, their tax burden, and health care becomes affordable.  And if we take Rick Santorum’s advice on heath care savings accounts, we are covered for job loss or inability to work.

The Internal Revenue Service: immortality is not a virtue if it wasn’t intended to exist in the first place.