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Make a Change

Excerpts from Confessions of an Old Man

Confessions of an Old Man“Take a look at yourself, and then make a change.” Late Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson’s song, “Man in the Mirror” can be taken as a challenge by members of the MI generation to take a look at themselves, take charge of their destiny, and make a change. And they have the power and tools in their hands to do so. They can also make their parents and grandparents help them accomplish that goal. For the first time in American history, millennials will represent the largest segment of eligible voters: 32 percent in 2018 and 34 percent in 2020. Democrats and Republicans, both parties being gravitated toward extreme positions, offer a great opportunity to make a change starting in 2018 and beyond. One can see the frustration of many Americans with the daily grind of working hard and getting nowhere, going through security checks at every high-rise building and airport, waiting in lines at every government office, and forever being on hold when calling a government agency or credit card company. The choice is to make a change or have the federal government take more control over our life.

 

The United States has fought communism and socialism since World War II to promote democracy, freedom, and human rights. However, it now finds itself working toward a socialist order and building a wall. It has a centralized health-care system controlled by the health insurance industry and the government (Medicare and Medicaid). The government decides how Americans behave financially by printing money and dictates how we spend money through the tax code. It is monitoring our emails, phone calls, and physical activities by placing video cameras at virtually every street crossing and in every building. Furthermore, American politicians pick their voters through the gerrymandering process instead of voters getting to pick their leaders.

 

The major impediment to a change and improving the future for the MI generation and the middle class are the two major political parties: Democrats and Republicans. Both parties believe they are the best for the country and that the country will not function without them. There is no room for a third mainstream political party or independent leader in their eyes. Both parties have done and will continue to do everything possible to keep third-party or independent candidates from even running for election. They have total control over who gets nominated for any public office at the state and federal levels.

 

A majority of Americans consider themselves as independent. However, they have no voice in the governing of the country. The bottom line is that both parties are the same when it comes to governing and living off the backs of the MI generation. Both parties’ leaders behave like children and blame one another and everyone but themselves for their failures to govern. Their only interest seems to be getting reelected, instead of serving the people.

 

“So the trillion-dollar question is how do you go about making a change, and what is the road map toward accomplishing that?” ….More

 

The Middle Class Comeback

The middle class is getting crushed. But there is hope. The most common argument about the middle class destruction is the declining or stagnant income, which is true. However, the main culprits are the costs of healthcare, education, and housing that have increased at a much higher rate, making it impossible for an average American family to attain a middle-class lifestyle (see chart below). Furthermore, the tax policies have exacerbated the problem by creating after-tax income and wealth inequality, favoring the non-working income taxed at a lower rate than the working income. Despite the doom and gloom about the middle class making headlines, there are three major forces working together—women, millennials, and technology, which provide hope for the future.

Change in Income vs Cost of Healthcare, Housing and College 1986 -2013 (more…)

Debt Denial: Stealing from Our Kids

Our handling of the national debt is like a grand, inter-generational Ponzi scheme that’s destined to drown our children and grandchildren in red ink. Our leaders like to call their strategy borrowing, but it is really tantamount to stealing — from our children, worse yet. Why? Because we have no plans to pay the debt. None. We continue to borrow just to make interest payments that are estimated to be $5 trillion over the next decade while doing nothing to pay down a staggering debt of $17 trillion.

Equally alarming, perhaps even surreal, is that party leaders who can hardly agree on the color of the White House can be found nodding their approval at the fiscal fiction “that deficits don’t matter,” as then-Vice President Dick Cheney told a disbelieving Paul O’Neill, the treasury secretary at the time.

Fast forward a decade to President Obama, the anti-Cheney, who was telling George Stephanopoulos on ABC that “we don’t have an immediate crisis in terms of debt. In fact, for the next 10 years, it’s gonna be in a sustainable place.” House Speaker John Boehner, considering the President’s comments in a separate ABC interview, concurred that the crisis is not immediate. This pervasive Washington attitude is reflected in Office of Management and Budget’s 2014 projections that show the national debt haplessly climbing skyward through 2020 with no sign of coming down.
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Flip Side of the Minimum-Wage Debate

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Something that Washington does not want you to know about and hopes that nobody else will discuss during the minimum-wage debate is take-home pay after taxes for low-wage earners. Washington claims that Americans should be paid living wages so that they can live a decent life. However, it is not willing to give up its share of the booty that it would collect from the same low-wage earners it claims to help.

For example, the federal government will collect at least 15 percent of the increased income from those low-wage earners through payroll tax. In other words, if the minimum wage goes up by a dollar, the federal government will take away, directly or indirectly, at least 15 cents of that additional dollar from the working poor.

Asking large corporations, which are in business to make money, to pay additional wages is like asking them to be saints. Government mandates do not have a major impact on large corporations, since they will figure out a way around them. After all, they can rent lawmakers; one former senator famously declared, “My vote can’t be bought, but it can be rented.” On the other hand, politicians do not pay anything from their pockets either. They will just give the money to one group and take it from another, but not from the special-interest groups that finance their campaigns. (more…)

The Beltway Beast review by the Kirkus Reviews

A political treatise that laments how America’s democracy inadequately represents its citizens and calls for the creation of a third party.

In his debut effort, Moon catalogs a host of familiar ailments that he believes currently infect the body politic, including corruption, fiscal irresponsibility, a chronically under-performing educational system, monumental debt and partisan stalemates. However, he unconventionally identifies the principal political challenge of our time as the disenfranchisement of citizens, particularly neglected minorities. He marshals impressive statistical evidence in favor of his thesis that government aggrandizement has come at the expense of voter power. (more…)

The Beltway Beast review by the San Francisco Book Review

According to a Gallup poll in October 2013, only 26% believe that two major parties adequately represent Americans, and 60% of Americans think a third party is needed. This book is designed to be a platform for the 74% of Americans who are yearning for an option outside of the two-party monopoly.

And so, Munir Moon succinctly states the purpose for his excellent, thoughtful book. There is a bit of a trend recently in books that look to re-invent the clearly flawed political systems in the Western democracies. (You may disagree with that statement, or at least the latter part of it, but do keep reading.) As I write this review, the number one best-seller in the UK is Russell Brand’s Revolution. Brand calls for a boycott of all established institutions, including a refusal to cast votes in elections contested among elite parties. So in many ways, both Moon and Brand are coming from the same place while heading in only slightly different directions. (more…)