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Chatterbox: All the life guards


When I was fairly young I asked the supervisor at a beautiful public pool about the details of becoming a life guard. He said lifeguards had to have training in lifesaving techniques for people who were rescued.

“It may look like they’re just taking a tan,” he said, “but, despite the way it may look, we hire them to perform some very vital duties.”

In America, everyone pays taxes … well, most everyone. A few are exempt, some have learned how to avoid paying taxes or keep it to an unfair minimum, and corporations have elevated evasion to an art form. Still, taxes are paid and, like the lifeguards’ skills, we don’t collect them just for the obvious purposes of the government, even though that also happens. Taxes are also collected and redistributed for more vital things, essential for the safety and welfare of the people. There are dozens of nations around the globe doing this with great success; we have only to look to them for the necessary schematic.

Many of our current candidates get publicity by talking about how they will change our government and reappropriate taxes to serve Americans better. Others shift the focus to confuse us and create concern over what will be lost if we alter the current norm, intentionally hiding or misrepresenting facts. They’re trying to convince us that the lifeguard can’t save lives until he has finished taking his tan.

America can’t afford to help our poor. Really? The U.S. Defense Department budget for 2020 is nearly three quarters of a trillion (that’s not a typo) dollars. We can wonder if America protracts certain deadly skirmishes to justify its spending. Military assistance, support and supply garner huge appropriation. We should demand to know why so many of our tax dollars are being allocated there, and follow the profits. Furthermore, in our allocations, military purchases don’t create the only dark zone which benefits the few. Who gains from all these types of spending, both directly and under the table, across the budget?

We often hear representatives claim that budget changes would endanger our Social Security and Medicare, yet we still budget some huge and very questionable expenditures, year after year. No one can tell an informed person that doing the right things for the general population, however pricey it may be, is a move that America cannot afford. America is a very wealthy nation and can afford anything she wants, if we stop the hemorrhaging.

If we alter the budget’s appropriations, which will also shrink our huge, unjustifiable national deficit, we will have no fiscal limitations in providing acceptably for our people. Every year, our budget offers many opportunities as to where quadrillions of our tax dollars can go. As it stands, huge portions vaporize without critical funds reaching our public.

It’s imperative that we demand that America’s leadership play by America’s rules. We are intentionally being kept in a state of perplexity because, if confused, we’re more reluctant to argue.

Too many of our leaders are operating for big businesses. Many of those business cartels, if not most, don’t pay appropriate, or any, taxes. Some of them are the same ones the American taxpayers bailed out in 2008. That which is owed to the American people should be going to the benefit them.

I saw an interesting post on social media a few days ago. It showed a photo of one tent city where refugees were being kept and another photo of America’s homeless sleeping in the street. The tag line implied we were taking better care of refugees than homeless Americans; again, a misrepresentation and a distraction from the real issues of where the money goes.

Importantly, homelessness is only one issue and complicated by mental illness, drug dependence, our inability to force anyone to take shelter just because it’s available and, now, is complicated by the working homeless – our fastest growing class of homeless Americans. There’s room for improvement but, again, follow the money.

We all can and should dig information out for ourselves, and not pledge allegiance to one news announcer or network. All of what we hear can’t be true, so we must educate ourselves. We still have the right … for now … to access federal government sites, review our nation’s prioritizing of its collected taxes and see how much goes where.

We should know what our representatives can do; we should also remember what they can’t – at least, not without our permission. Despite the way it may look, we hire them to perform some very vital duties.