Close loopholes to halt economic meltdown
In the near future, Americans are going to have to make sacrifices and become more selfless.
When I was in the service during the Vietnam War, I was privy to certain National Security Agency documents. One report stated the Soviet Union was on the verge of a financial meltdown. The report foresaw a Soviet collapse by 2010. It occurred 20 years prior to this date.
If we do not take action on cutting military spending, entitlement programs and loopholes, we will be in the same boat sooner than forecasters are willing to admit.
My proposal to aid in Social Security solvency is to let those who do not need Social Security out of the program. Give them a tax exemption (not credit) for the amount of Social Security dollars they forgo.
If 10 percent of retirees could afford to do this, it would save about $55 billion annually with little or no effect on economic growth. If they needed Social Security income later, they could opt back in.
I agree with the Simpson-Bowles commission on eliminating many tax loopholes enjoyed mainly by the rich. The Simpson-Bowles report shows that, if all the $970 billion in exemptions were eliminated, we could lower tax rates between 8 percent and 28 percent for the highest earners.
Personally, I think we should go back to the 1960s' marginal tax rates — or something on that order — but the commission's recommendation should be taken very seriously if we want to remain a world power.
On Dec. 1, the Federal Reserve released detailed information about the financial bailout initiated by Congress and the White House in late 2008. This data was willfully withheld from the public prior to passing special legislation that demanded public disclosure — the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.
We learned that $3.3 trillion was secretly lent out by the U.S. Federal Reserve. Before this, the public was led to believe substantially less was used to fund this corporate welfare program.
A variety of companies and foreign banks received U.S. tax dollars as well, at near zero percent interest. This has gone well beyond shameless equivocation.
Early on, we were told that bonuses must be paid to the executives of these "failed" financial institutions using tax dollars. We were informed these were contractual obligations that must be honored by law. Since when do executives receive bonuses after their company goes bankrupt? Are these same financial institutions still foreclosing on taxpayers' homes and businesses?
The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that a corporation has the same rights as an individual citizen to political speech in the Citizens United case.
It seems "We The People" need our own lobby in Washington, D.C. We must pool our meager financial resources. At $1 per U.S. human being — I will no longer use the term "individual" when referring to a single, sentient biological unit — we would have $307 million to buy politicians and justices. If it works for the corporate individual, we should do it too.
If we are the only ones playing by the rules, clearly, we are not playing by the rules.
Sen. Mitch McConnell and his Republican allies have been forcing President Barack Obama to give tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires, while refusing to support benefits to the unemployed.
The convoluted reasoning our senior senator has been using to block help for the unemployed is that it is not paid for. Yet McConnell's huge tax cut for the rich is not paid for; nor were the two wars he supported; nor the prescription drug bill he pushed through Congress.
Under McConnell, our national debt has more than tripled. This begs the question, "Why does McConnell hate our children?" Why is he burdening our children with debt which will lower the standard of living for all Americans?
Using Republican thinking, why does McConnell hate America? He must. Our senior senator, the leader of the party of no, is bankrupting our country.
We don't need to fear some Muslim terrorists will undermine our country, not when we have McConnell to do it for them.
Citizens need jobs
After watching our government try to decide whether to give legal status to children who were brought here when they were under age 16, let me help save time and money: No, don't do it.
Why are we so concerned with these people when our government seems to be doing less for those here by birth or here legally? Why do we make people from every country other than Mexico jump through hoops to come here.
When the visas expire for people who followed the proper procedures, they are sent home to have to go through the long process to get back here.
How many undocumented people are here with a job that could be filled by an American citizen in this time of a recession? If you want unemployment to go down, let's get the people who belong here and have grown up here and pay their share of taxes back into the work force.
If you're not going to get immigrants for being here without documentation, at least get them for having forged documents.
Don't say they do jobs nobody else wants. Go ask some of the people whose unemployment is getting ready to run out if they want a job held by these illegal workers.
Remember, we are paying for some health care for most of the illegal workers, and for their children's education. We wouldn't let someone steal from our homes without saying something, so why let them steal from our government without saying anything?
Time to be thankful
Above all, this Christmas season, believe. Moving to Kentucky from Connecticut this year, has been a life-changing transition for me by itself. With Christmas approaching, now more than ever is a time to share some thoughts.
Our son and his family lost nearly everything they owned in a house fire during the early morning hours of Nov. 30 in Bourbon County.
This is an opportunity to share what God has done, instead of what God hasn't done. It is an opportunity to say thank you for all that we have, rather than what we do not have.
There have been two other fires nearby recently where lives, including those of children, were lost. If that doesn't hit home for me, I certainly don't know what else does.
I have my son, his wife and my beautiful 20-month-old grandson, unlike those who lost their loved ones. What can I say? What can I do?
Over 2,000 years ago, a savior was born and the holy family was established as an example to our families today.
Do you have loved ones with unresolved conflicts? If so, please consider what could happen if you choose not to resolve your issues. Do you believe in that baby, Jesus, who set before us the path to follow? If not, please think about him and why we celebrate Christmas. We really should live that "Christmas" spirit 365 days a year, 24/7.
So please take time to reflect on him and his goodness.