Vicariously, it seemed as though all of us here, and around the world, had to live through the months of wrangling that went on in Congress over raising an already-absurd $14 trillion debt ceiling.
But as I’ve said before, Congress needs to learn how to play together in the sandbox, so to speak.
We can’t have 14 months of arguing, getting virtually nothing accomplished by either political party – all waiting on the November, 2012 elections.
Kids, we need to get along well enough now to make some headway.
After all, not only is the debt out of control here, but things across the pond don’t look too good either when it comes to the European Union and several of its members’ precarious financial situations.
I say that leading up to the President’s recent proposal to raise taxes on the rich as a way to help generate more revenue.
But typical of the vitriolic attitudes around Washington and among many people these days, President Obama’s proposal to tax the “rich” is being called “class warfare” by his detractors.
Admittedly, I come from the standpoint of one who is far from rich. I have not inherited millions of dollars. And while I have always wanted to be a journalist and greatly enjoy what I do, I knew going into it decades ago that I wouldn’t be counted among the wealthy, either.
So I think the wealthiest already have their silver — or these days golden spoon — a-plenty.
Why shouldn’t they pay a percentage tax rate comparable to that of lower and middle class wage-earners, which equals about 33 percent of their gross earnings?
Yes, much of the wealth generated by the rich, goes directly back into the economy. Many of them do, after all, provide jobs for people like me, and help the economy.
And while that is assuredly laudable, I don’t think it gives backing to the idea that their tax rate should be so much lower than for the rest of us.
Warren Buffett, one of the world’s richest men, wrote in The New York Times that he would be willing to participate in “shared sacrifice,” as President Obama has called it.
Admittedly, his tax rate of 17.4 percent may be a bit lower than that for many of his wealthy friends because of his investment holdings.
Not all of the wealthiest Americans pay at such a low rate, apparently.
A report from Fellowship of the Minds, “Conservatives who love America,” says many in the upper brackets pay a percentage of their income that approaches 30 percent.
And at the same time, many poor and middle income people pay about 15 percent in income tax, or even less.
My biggest point is, however, that ways need to be found to help get this country out of its financial abyss.
Yes, many federal programs can probably stand to be cut, sometimes even eliminated. But there is only so much fat to be trimmed.
For example: at this stage, we can’t seriously reduce Medicaid/Medicare and Social Security without potentially very serious negative impact on tens of millions of people.
In times past, tax rates for the wealthy were much higher. The nation survived.
But even if there is no budging on that point by Congress this time around, something needs to be done.
The 535 members of Congress need to learn to get along, or at least be civil with each other. To be so protective of your own turf, to say you won’t raise taxes at any cost (except potential ruin), is child like and immature.
Yes, the nature of the game in Congress is to ebb and flow, argue and rework. But it’s time for them to grow up, get along enough to move ahead and do the job we elected them for.
No one likes taxes, much less a tax hike. And maybe a bigger tax on the rich can’t fly. But at least it’s a proposal. Let’s discuss it intelligently.
We can’t stay with “business as usual.” It’s not working.