In our Pledge of Allegiance, we pledge to defend the republic. St. Augustine gives Catholics “Republic,” a definition. He defines it in terms of an orchestra, with concord and harmony. Professional singers have a way of cupping their hands as they sing, so they can hear the other singers.
If they fail at that, they do not blend their voices and the audience suffers. We must learn to listen to the other side, not to their proposed solution, but to their cry. We must ask, what energizes their cry and respond to that. Father Ron Olsen is famous for that gift. It is for the conductor to decide the tune.
Liberals oppose conservatives for their insensitivity to the background and feelings of others, the inability to listen. With the exception of the next few paragraphs, this presentation was in draft form in early September. It took its present form in October. I pointed out in my objections to a title with certain words, present in the current title in mid-September. It took the conservatives more time to come up for a title for this debate than for me to write my affirmative, concluding remarks, Power Point presentation, and handouts. Their result is second rate.
As I related, I lost a job because I was a Catholic and a Democrat in 2003. A referee at Employment Security stated, “Sponsoring and encouraging harassment in the workplace is a perfectly normal and legitimate business practice.” That was when Clarence Thomas became Supreme Court Justice. I received a poor evaluation for a time-period when I was on vacation and not even present at the facility in ’74. This and more makes this debate is necessary.
Because of where I work, one of the words, “Government,” in the title could cost my job. As you look at the debate title, “Government,” is present.” The title of this presentation was put together by conservatives and conservatives are a hardhearted folk and do not know any better. When top corporate executives behave the same way, people get hurt; people die, sometimes in the tens, the hundreds, and sometimes, the thousands.
Workers often face the same choices. They can choose to work in unnecessarily unsafe working conditions, or unemployment. If they choose the unsafe working conditions, it is their choice; employer and conservative make like Pilate and wash their hands. If they walk away, they are shiftless cowards, and lazy.
By using the word, “Control,” conservatives ask me to defend, “Government Control,” “Socialism.” Sorry Charles, I will not be defending socialism. I will be defending a mature approach that promotes life, saving lives by regulating this kind of behavior.
God is the conductor of our orchestra, not the government. Our founding fathers put together a work of genius, a mutual system of checks and balances. “Control is not in the purpose statement of our heritage. Promoting life is. The pursuit of happiness, with the implied, “Reasonable chance of success for all people,” is. Government is a common enterprise among men, a tool not fundamentally different from GM, the AFL-CIO, or the NAACP.
Government’s role is to be a tool, like many other tools for God and society, a part of an interdependent/mutual system of autonomous individuals we use to maintain the intricate balance we call harmony and concord. We agreed in late August that, “It’s the amount of “federal government intervention” that is the issue.” I prepared this presentation based upon this understanding.
There is no concord, no harmony when 45,000 lose their lives each year from a lack of affordable health care, when 8,000 are children in their first year of life, when we watch 2,000 people lose their lives in New Orleans because some do not want to invest in infrastructure, before or after these needlessly deaths.
There is no concord, no harmony when 50 million people live a living death in food-insecure households. There is no concord, no harmony, when the US has 5% of the world population and 25% of those in prison. As St. Augustine, quoting Cicero, quoting Scipio, the man who defeated Carthage points out, when there is no concord, no harmony, no common interest of the people, there is no republic. The Pledge of Allegiance becomes a vain oath, with God’s name in it.
We can see that before 1981 the percentage of income going to the poorest 50% of the population was between 25% and 27% of all income. The percentage earned by the top 5% was steady at between 14% and 17. We notice that when conservatives were in control of the White House, the unemployment rate was higher, between 4% and 7%. During the times liberals ruled, the rate lowered to as low as 3%.
We also notice in the second chart, how something radically changed after 1981, and it is directly attributable to Kemp/Roth, and the changes to the tax code afterward. Unemployment shot up; many economists now say the unemployment rate we saw under Truman and in the late ‘60s is impossible. The US changed from being the largest creditor nation to the largest debtor nation.
We notice in the second chart how the poorest 50% of the population now only earn 19% of all income while the richest 5% now earn 21% of all income. As the conservative candidate for president related, for 47% of the people, the so-called Reagan economic boom never happened.
We do not need to look at this graph to note how the rich tend to buy different things than poor people. The rich tend to buy intangibles, stocks, bonds, insurance, and the like. A stock is much like a used car title. When we buy a used car, a GM, the money does not go to GM. In the case of a stock, all GM encumbers is the administrative cost of tracing the new stockholder. The person selling the stock is not GM, and does not use his money to create jobs. He uses his money to buy more intangibles. It creates no jobs.
The poor buy food, clothing, shelter, transportation, things made with human hands, things that create jobs. If we want to create harmony, jobs, we will create policies reversing the events of the past 32 years and put money into the hands of those who will create jobs.
This is part 3. Please click here for part 1