Saturday, October 27, 2012

What America Is Able to Sustain

What seems to work best in the United States of America is our tax payer dollars (sometimes referred to as "the government") acting as catalysts for changes that a majority of citizens support. What seems to kill our efforts at change are the career opportunists, otherwise known as politicians and corporate titans. Was this system what our founders envisioned. If so, we need to start over.

Many new ideas need a bit of help to get off the ground; it is then incumbent upon the inventors of the systems and those who work with them to prove their efficacy. Anything that changes too quickly for the natural environment to acclimate is doomed to kill its host or be plucked out and destroyed or transplanted to a more accepting environment. Where did we lose this pattern of responsible, compassionate growth?

In my many years of working with non-profit corporations, we were bound by our investors (funders) to prove that their investments were bearing the fruit we promised. Borrowing big bucks against a promise of a better tomorrow if we simply combined several failing ideas wasn't even considered an option. Why is it that capitalism isn't held accountable for the failure of the same "too big to fail" concept?

I have often been asked by my nieces and nephews if my husband and I are "rich." While he and/or I was dependent on working everyday for our survival, I explained to them that only those who can live off the work of others are "rich." Now that my husband has been retired for over a decade, I guess we can consider ourselves "rich."

Let me explain. First, he put off any romantic liaisons until I came along when he was forty-six years old. He studied, worked, and saved his financial resources until then. He knew his own strengths. The one request he gave me upon our entering into a betrothal was that I not become a profligate spender, as many of the wives of his peers seemed to be. He handed over the financial reigns to me upon our betrothal. Was this to prove my worthiness? I'll never know.

In Louisiana, marriages are governed by the concept of community property. This ensures that each partner in marriage is entitled to one half of the marital assets in the eventuality of a divorce. Not all states have this law. For many years, either he or I earned the living as the other partner kept up with the business of the finances, home, social, and societal lifestyle that we agreed was valuable. This is the system that we employ until today.

Because my husband had worked so hard for the many years that I had been rearing my children and reaping the rewards of my many relationship mistakes, I insisted on our having a prenuptial agreement to protect him. We are still happily married after over twenty years of being together. I like to believe that it is because we had an equal and mutual investment in the success of the societies in which we each operated.

We are now living off of, not only what we worked for all those years and invested, but the promise of Medicare and Social Security into which we invested. He has already lived so much longer than the originators envisioned that my children's and his niece's taxes are paying for these benefits. The bulk of our income still comes from investments that he made before my entry into his life. We both continue to do our parts in investment in community volunteer efforts to pay our ways, even though we know it can never be enough. We are fortunate that we were not victims of the corporate greed that wiped out so many pension funds.

Corporations and their titans make their money on the backs of others. Politicians barter for the same portfolio protections that they give their corporate cronies. The only investments that are not bubbles waiting to burst or the ones that invest in new ideas and growth of people's abilities to produce and protect their communities. Manipulation of financial markets has destroyed our incentives to invest in invention and hard work. Employee-owned businesses can build communities; corporations are created to protect the greedy from consequences of their irresponsible and reprehensible actions.

A catalyst is not the same as a crutch. If we have no core strength, whether as an appendage, an organ, a person, a plan, or a community, we will not succeed. Without stress and disciple nothing grows or succeeds.  Bad seeds beget bad stock. Corporations continue to produce and plant the bad seeds of unfettered greed.

When will we begin to learn that all of creation works by the same principles, and that it is not wrong to inhibit the procreation or permanently transplant invasive species to a less destructive environment? When will we learn the there is a time for growth and a time to turn our energies back to allowing new life to prosper? Corporations are killing the American spirit. We must wake up to the value of honest work, and give up on all the "get-rich-quick" schemes that corporations and politicians promise us, but keep for only themselves.

Every person and society is governed by the values in which we were reared. What are the current values of our country, other that those promoted by Ayn Rand in her anti-compassionate (anti-Christian) "Virtue of Selfishness" philosophy expounded upon in "Atlas Shrugged"? Thomas Jefferson, by-the-way, died deeply in debt, leaving it to his heirs to pay. He ran his vast estate on the backs of others and still couldn't sustain a manageable budget. This seems to be the true model of big business since America began.

Only a just society is sustainable. Our government should govern the greedy and promote dedicated use of all Divinely ordained gifts to humanity. Kill the corporations! Only this way can we save our great country from hypocrisy and greed!

1 comment:

  1. Very good read. Thanks.
    I totally agree if this government is what the originators envisioned, we should start over.
    However I do not think this is what was envisioned, but we do need in many ways to START OVER!

    No sane person thinks you can borrow yourself out of debt. Debt managed correctly does have benefits, but retiring that debt must be part of the vision.