10 July 2010

DOMA Must Stand

This week a federal judge ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, in part on Tenth Amendment grounds. Conservatives believe the Tenth Amendment imparts to each State a sovereignty equal to, or even superior to, that of the United States. They believe state sovereignty allows the states to make whatever law they wish regardless of the will and morality of the American People. This idea, known as "states rights," was the basis for slavery, disenfranchisement of minorities and segregation. Over the course of a hundred years, from the Civil War through the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, it was killed-off. Should this ruling be allowed to stand, that sovereignty principle, states rights, would gain new life.

That's a dangerous principle. Believe me. I know.

I live in Missouri. The Missouri General Assembly is a sewer teeming with vermin and pestilence. The last thing in the world I want to see is state sovereignty. Allowing the reprobates and miscreants of the Missouri General Assembly any control of the lives of any human beings is an extremely bad idea. Allowing them to rule without federal oversight is an insult to the very idea of civilization. I'm sure many other states are the same way.

Should the recent ruling be allowed to stand, state legislatures across the country would regard the resulting anarchy as an open season on progressive legislation. Along with civil rights, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security would be imperiled. All the struggles of decent Americans would evaporate in an orgy of repeals which would leave America a patchwork of civilized society and barbaric jungle.

For my sake and for the sake of the American People, Obama must use every means available to reverse the recent ruling.

04 July 2010

DeMint's Disgrace

I was particularly disgusted by Senator Jim DeMint's appearance on Fox News Sunday today. Admittedly, it's Fox so expecting honest answers to honest questions is asking a lot. Nevertheless, DeMint is a Senator speaking to a national audience. Even conservative "values" should demand respect for the citizenry.

No such luck.

DeMint used every question to deliver right-wing talking points and to spin right-wing mythology. It was disgraceful.

Let the Boomers Go

June job creation numbers were disappointing. Once again, the American economy failed to create enough jobs for everyone who wanted one. Considering the burden of institutional incompetence the economy must overcome, that's not surprising. Almost 30 years of conservative economic policy has sucked the vitality out of the economy. Extraordinary measures may be the only thing to save us from an economic catastrophe rivaling the Great Depression.

The American economy is powered by consumer spending. Somewhere between 65 and 70% of GDP reflects everyday citizens buying the things of everyday life. Now, that buying is threatened by the lack of buying power. Americans don't have the income to continue the buying which drove the economy to its former heights because good American jobs have been exported to foreign countries. Technology has destroyed others. We're left with only a fraction of the jobs we once had. Where will we find the new jobs we need?

Don't depend on capitalists to create them. They were responsible for destroying the ones we had. We have to find another solution to our national problem. One solution is right before our eyes and would be easy to implement.

Since the end of WWII, much of American life has been affected significantly by the Baby Boom. The huge generation born in the years between 1946 and 1964 have skewed the American economy toward their needs. As children, they caused their parents to build houses and schools. As the Baby Boomers grew, they demand cars and their own homes. Baby Boomers' children echoed their parents and extended their economic effect.

Now the Boomers are retiring. A few at first and then, as always, in huge, statistic-skewing numbers. Congress can take advantage of this distortion of demographics by encouraging Boomers to retire early. Early retirement would free-up jobs for the millions of young American families who need a start.

One way to encourage early retirement would be to eliminate or offset the Social Security early retirement penalty. Right now, depending on the birth year of a prospective retiree, the SS benefit is reduced from 20 to 30% for anyone who wishes to retire before the normal retirement date. Congress should eliminate this penalty or appropriate funds to provide an offsetting subsidy. Considering the size of the Baby Boom, an increase in retirement funding, relatively small though it would be, would encourage enough Boomer retirements to make a difference in the employment statistics.

Let the Boomers go.