My dinner discussion with an old friend brought the claim that I was brainwashed by my fellow Democrats. He's a hard right conservative that I challenged to have more discussions with people like me. I offered that it is good to listen to the "other" side and then do the research to verify what was claimed. Somewhere...deep down in that stack of books, magazines (opps, shows how old I am), and googling...there are truths that can be confirmed and agreed upon.
Here's what I sent to him a few days later:
I know we don't agree on much related to our government...or taxes...or social programs, but...as I said at dinner...we do need to get Social Security and Medicare under control and ultimately get back to a balanced budget. Let me just add, that I respect you and your opinions; our disagreements are what makes this country great. In the spirit of communication with respect and purpose, I'm going to try and paraphrase our dinner points.
1. I'm brainwashed...
OK, your point is well taken. We all have a strong belief in our positions related to issues of the day and should defend them. That may just cause the other person to rethink their belief or, at least, better understand your's. I do not necessarily associate 'brainwashed' with my particular position, nor do I think you are 'brainwashed' by professing your beliefs. I did say that I like to discuss issues and then go back and research what was claimed. If this is what your intention was, you did great...thanks.
2. National Debt...who created it...
I said Reagan, GHW Bush, and GW Bush added more to the debt during their terms than Carter and Clinton. Here's a link to a web site that clearly defends my position.
3. I'll never get back what I paid into Social Security
This one is simple...I looked it up. Paid in $109,000 SS plus $25,000 Medicare. I get $23,568 a year. I checked, this is below the average of paid/received.
4. People making over $250,000 per year is less than 2%. This comes from "Factcheck.org"...I don't know if it leans left or right..the excerpt included and supports my claim.
“We put the question to the Tax Policy Center, which has a computer model of the tax system similar to the ones used by the Treasury Department and Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation.
For simplicity, we’ll just focus on the over-$250,000 group. Those reporting adjusted gross income of more than $250,000 to the IRS are projected to make up 2 percent of households next year, when the new president will take office. Those folks will earn 24.1 percent of all income, and pay 43.6 percent of all personal federal income taxes, the Tax Policy Center figures. Under either Obama or Clinton, they might pay even more.”
My point, as stated during our dinner discussion, this is a great country and people need a vision of the American Dream. Here's the one that will blow you away. You may, or may not have heard me say, I'm and Ultra-Liberal John Bircher. It's supposed to be funny, but Ultra-Conservative people don't quite seem to get the joke. I truly believe that the country is 'Socially Broke" and can't be fixed...we can only adjust and survive. I would like nothing better than to have no welfare, basic low taxes, and health care that is reasonably priced and available to all that pay for their own insurance. Oh yeah, there would be no prisons and everyone would have at least a high school diploma and the majority would have a college degree. Currently we rank 12th in those 18 to 34 with a four year college degree.
So what does that all have to do with being a Left Wing Bircher? This great country produces unlimited opportunity to make money and government manages to act like it cares while basically allowing business...ok...big business, to fight the laws tooth and nail. This dance has managed to keep most people believing that you can still own and run a business and make a living. This dance also is intended to make those other people think the government is being watchful and protecting their interest. Most of it is a country club war between lawyers spending the tax payers money and those spending stock holders money. Strangely, it has worked for a long time. Why do you think the Kennedy's were so determined to be in government...old Joe needed the ear of congress to protect his import business. Smart guy.
Back to 'My point':
If we don't keep the bottom end of society from slipping below water level, we will allow this country to become class system...like Mexico...that will need more prisons and security guns to keep us top 5% safe in our walled and gated communities. If kids need examples of what they can accomplish if they work hard, President Obama is a shinning example that has, and will do, a lot to refocus some...not all...black youth to become educated, care for their family, and avoid a life of crime...and maybe have less illegitimate children to burden the rest of us. I realize this is borderline racist, but it is what is is...my observation of how this country can survive.
I've looked at the Farm Bill thing and can't make much of it. It's kind of like Wall Street, complicated and needing smart people making sure it works. I don't want $10 tomatoes, but I don't think we pay farmers to either over or under produce. My guess is that "saving the family farm' went the way of the door-to-door salesman's union. Money wins in our political system...sadly...it even get's President's elected. The real problem today is the growing minorities and how they are handled. We're not far from a pissed off Latino community electing a Democrat as Governor of Texas and maybe even a President. Will cool heads prevail? I tend to think the homogenization of America will create an evolution that will try and hold to the American Way...but...they may put a bounty on old gray haired farts like you and me.
I love a good argument...it may well keep me from becoming brainwashed or have Alzheimer's.
Be well old friend.
(Please note: I'm not racist. I am very concerned about The United States of America if we don't do a better job of creating possibilities for minorities as change is...inevitable. I'm constantly amazed at the Anglo penchant for a great tanned body...like we just came back from some nice Mexican resort; do you thing they cross the river so they can have whiter skin?)