Are we really ready?

We all want a return to the good old days, or at least pre-Obama days. All our current campaigners are calling for repeal of this and that. Cut spending. Cut taxes. Cut benefits. Take away food stamps, unemployment and other forms of assistance for those out of work. Re-do retirement programs.

This is all well and good for a person who, if elected, will get a nice pay check. The current salary (2010) for rank-and-file members of the House and Senate is $174,000 per year. Plus a rather generous expense allowance. Contrary to popular belief, Members of Congress receive retirement and health benefits under the same plans available to other federal employees.

O poor Member of Congress, how can you live on that pittance when so many of the rest of us work part-time at or near minimum wage, with no or substandard health benefits? Oh poor Members of Congress, how can you live on that pittance when the average family of four earns 45,000 per year, with no expense account?

Enough. Let’s look at this: We have had Social Security since FDR in the 1930’s. We have had the Great Society welfare system since LBJ in the 1960’s. Even those of us who worked hard and did not use the Great Society benefits, are using Social Security and Medicare. We probably “used” free schooling. Many of us had grants, scholarships and student loans to get a higher education.

Today, we probably pay much less than 30% of our total income in Federal taxes, including social security and other mandatory withholdings. If you earn less than 25 or 30K, most of your withholding is FICA, with little or no income tax withheld.

In the 1940’s and 50’s, Your parents and grandparents income tax rates were near 90% for upper incomes. After deductions, more than 65% of gross incomes went to the Government. During WWII, top tax rates hit 94%! From about 1963 until Ronald Reagan cut taxes in 1983, top rates were at or above 70%. Even with Clinton tax increase and Bush cuts, the top rate today is just a little higher than 1925 to 1932.

What’s the point? Do we need to control spending? Yes, although as a percentage of GNP our total debt (about 80% of GNP for total private and government debt) is not really out of line historically. In fact, in 1942 our debt was about 110% of GNP.

Can we handle more freedom and less Government hand outs, and return to the wild and wooley 1800’s when the Govt. had lots of land for sale cheap, and plenty of money to finance the loans to buy it? Probably not.

Can we sustain more and more “progressive liberalism”? Absolutely not!

November 2nd is our great chance to return some common sense to Congress. Don’t miss your opportunity to participate in the first Biannual Take Out the Garbage Day.

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