Biting the Hand that Feeds You.

This was a quote from one of the comments supporting business and opposing 66/67. Yes, I understand businesses provide jobs…but businesses’ main agenda is profit…not feeding America. If business is bad, they have no problem laying people off. The day I depend on a business to feed me is the day I starve. And then there was this little rich nugget, suggesting the rich believe the rest of the people depend on their charity to survive.

If we tax the rich, they will not have the money to feed the poor.

 

I have left open lines intentionally as a moment of silence and thought. Here this rich people; I don’t want your charity. I want the ability to make a decent living with a good quality standard of living. Americans should not have to depend on handouts from anyone!

There has been so much talk about socialism. And honestly the people talking about it the most have no idea what it means. Gather round folks and I’ll tell you a story. Once upon a time I met some Germans who talked about their government funded health care system, guaranteed college education, clean air, public transportation,…need I go on? On the other hand the Germans have one of the strongest free enterprise economies in the world with the best import/export ratio per capita. In doing some research Germans pay nearly 45% in individual taxes and corporations pay 15%. Shocking! Yet, somehow they have more disposable income then Americans. Strange, but true. So you may ask, “How can they achieve a healthy balance of social programs and free enterprise?”

Sadly Germany’s modern economy is the brain child of our late President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He died before he could implement in the United States, but his former cabinet members used his economic proposal to rebuild Germany after WWII. Germany went from complete animation to an economic power in a period of 50 years. That is pretty darn impressive and speaks volumes of a social economic structure and the work ethic of the German people. Not to mention a national unity that cares for the welfare of ALL its citizens.

Otherwise here in America we have made Capitalism a religion that many worship, where Reagan is god and Goldman Sachs CEOs are his disciples. And bankers act a prophets for profit. Everyday millions pray they will one day be rich, but very few make it to heaven. Make more money at the expense of another. This is not a faith I can believe in. Riches are fleeting just as looks. And one day it will all crash…oh that’s right it already did. Our Capitalist economy almost crashed and nearly brought down the world economy.

The lesson here for everyone….businesses not only survive in “Socialized” countries, they thrive. Canada, Britain, Germany, France and of course China have highly successful corporations that are buying up America. If socialism is so bad…how do these countries have corporations that continually churn profit and have social programs that increase their overall standard of living for their people? If it is so bad, why are businesses struggling in this country with less tax burden and foreign corporations are buying American companies left and right with higher tax burdens?

The point is, here in America we think we have all the answers, when other countries “Socialized” economies are so much stronger than ours. Our dollar is weaker. Our unemployment rates are higher. Perhaps we owe it to ourselves and the future of our country to give it a second thought.

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Voting Yes, to Prop 66, 67

I awoke to some good news this morning. Oregon state measure 66 and 67 was passed today increasing taxes to corporations and individuals who earn more than $150,000 a year. Before I go on, for those who do not live in Oregon, allow me to give you background. Opposite of what California did by cutting all social programs to avoid raising taxes, the Oregon State Legislature imposed the taxes on businesses to keep and enhance social programs.

Businesses petitioned against it; so they put it to a vote. People against raising taxes campaigned hard. I received three threatening campaign phone messages of what will happen if businesses were taxed, they will lay off people, raise taxes or even move out of the state. In the end, businesses lost the vote.

Now, I am fully aware of the discomfort some will feel from this vote. I understand the argument of businesses. However there is another side and it is not as some have stated – moronic socialist liberals out to bury business. No, sorry. That’s not it. I have many reasons to vote yes to taxing businesses and the wealthy 3% of Oregon. To keep this blog in a readable length, I will choose one for now – education.

I will start this argument with a personal story. Years ago, I studied abroad in London, England. It was such a great experience that after I graduated, I wanted to return to get my Masters. The Dean of Admissions read my masters proposal and kindly sent me letter that read, “If you want to get your Masters in England, you would have get my bachelors degree again in England. An American Bachelors degree equates to a British High school diploma.”

Let me reiterate – an American education does not compare to a European education. It should never be a point of American pride that our education system is inferior to Europe, China and India. We should be striving to improve it.

So you’re thinking, “I don’t want to be a pompous, elitist British intellectual.” But know this; we can’t be a super power if we’re the dumb kids on the international playground. We can’t be a super power with just pearly white teeth, fit bodies and cool stuff; all that is superficial. If we do not invest in education and training, the quality of the American job force will decline. No one would want to hire Americans, not even American corporations.

But this is already happening. American companies are already outsourcing their workforce. Take India, their labor is cheaper, American corporations do not need to pay them health coverage and the Indian people are better educated. It just makes good business sense to get the best employees for the cheapest salary. And in that case, it doesn’t matter how much or even if we tax businesses at all – if they can get a higher quality workforce elsewhere – they’re going to take their business elsewhere.

Now I know there are many worrying,” What is going to happen to me? How is this tax increase of the
wealth 3% and businesses going to affect me?” Yes, because it is all about YOU. You are the only person that matters in the country. But for those of us who voted yes, the question we asked, “How can we improve the future for our children?” At some point we have to understand, our investment should be more than just money in our pockets, but the future for our country.

MORE TO FOLLOW —

The Credit Card Revolt has Begun!

I read an article today about “feeling imprisoned by credit score.” To be honest, I didn’t even read the article. Who cares! Reading articles about credit cards these days is about as annoying as reading celebrity gossip. And, ironically, the sentiment was reiterated by all the folks commenting on the article. To paraphrase the content, “stop paying the credit cards, close them, cancel them and tear them up!” Stop giving these thieving banks our money. Wow! King Louis, I do believe the peasants are beginning to revolt.

I had thought many times, that of all the purchases I have made on my credit cards, I must have paid for them three times over in interest rates. It is sickening to me, that majority of my bills is to credit card companies. I could very well live within my means, if these credit vultures played fair and square. Why should I have to give them anymore money? I have thought about stop paying my credit cards, but like the good little consumer drone that I am; I continue to pay.

One of the comments made was that if all stopped caring about FICO and our credit score, it would make FICO and credit scores irrelevant. YES! Halleluiah! The sky has opened up and the beams of light from heaven are radiating down on me. So many people struggle so hard to maintain a good score, and for what and for whom? A good credit score really doesn’t make you any better of a human being. You know really, FICO is propaganda and scare tactics. What if the mass population of America tore up their credit scores, stopped paying their credits and said, “We’re through! We’re done with the abuse! You have taken enough of our hard earned money.”

Seriously, fellow credit consumers, what would happen if we united and stopped paying our credit cards and debunked the credit score system? I’m not an economist by any means, but I do believe it would be a huge detriment since our economy is credit based. Personally, I would welcome this upset, because then it would mean we as a nation would have to become more realistic approach to an economic structure, by actually manufacturing and producing product, not just pushing “investments”. What is it we are really investing in – our nation, our kids, our future? Personally, I feel having an economy based on credit and the stock market is a bad idea. I’ll just leave it to all the brainiacs who ran our economy into the ground.

Tax Evasion

For some reason, I found myself on the email marketing list for the online site “Money Matters.” One such topic is how to “safely” evade taxes. Ooooh, evil word taxes. We hate them! Phooey on the government and taxes. What have taxes ever done for us?

Well, for instance, taxes fund our military that we are so proud. Without taxes, our country would be less safe. Taxes go our police forces and fire departments – Men and women who put their lives at risk to save us. Tax money paid the heroes of 911 and Hurricane Katrina. Shall we deny our heroes a salary because we are too stingy and greedy? We pay taxes to schools to pay the salary of teachers. Our taxes go to Medicare, the health care for our seniors. Taxes go toward our transportation and infrastructure of our entire nation. So the question, if more and more people evade taxes for additional spending change – could we not see the overall decay of our entire nation.

Many would like to privatize most everything in our nation, our health care, infrastructure and schools. How can we as citizens of the United States trust corporations to run social programs when their main goal is profit? How can we trust the CEO of a company to care for the needs of people of the nation, when all he is concerned about is how much money is in his bank account? Have we not learned anything for last year? Greed is not good! Privatization of social programs in this country will promote a feudal system, where more and more people are living below their means and it will create an isolated elite aristocracy that will live of our labors. Hey, that’s great news for Credit corporations because then more people will have to spend on credit and go further into their debt.

It is obvious to me, that people and corporations who want to, or have evaded taxes are selfish, soulless people who care for no one but themselves. Taxes should be considered our dues to the nation we love, and the communities we live in. We should want to support each other and make it a better place for all to live, not so a few can have bigger houses. If you do not support taxes, you do not support America . And you cannot be considered a true patriot, because like our soldiers who are giving their lives to our wars, we the civilians needs to give a little bit back as well.

Battered American Consumer Sydrome

It’s been a while since I wrote and wrote about credit cards. Honestly, I’ve just been way to disgusted by big business in our country that I just do not have the heart to write. There are just many ways I can express how the American consumer is being taken for granted before I feel like I am talking to a brick wall.

I do believe the American consumer, like a battered wife closes our eyes to our abusers – the banks, creditors and even insurance companies. It is kind of ironic we would be taking abuse from a company that is supposed to be offering us “insurance.” It seems to me, some have forgotten the definition of insurance. Many of us know the bad dealings of creditors, banks and their incestuous relationship with Credit bureaus. We all know how many of our politicians are sponsored by these very companies. Then why do we all turn our backs and ignore it? Why are we blaming one another when we know there is blatant corruption? Why do we allow them to get away with it?

Fear of retaliation. It that fear is justified after the government legislation barred some abusive practices, the credit card companies started cancelling accounts, raising rates, etc. Is this the government’s fault for standing up for consumers, or the creditors for being, well pr? What would we say to a woman, whose husband threatens to kill her if she leaves? Most people would not blame the woman for misconduct. We would find her help and shelter. It is the exact same thing with credit card debt, or medical bills. Yes, let’s blame the sick for the insurance companies denying coverage. In many cases, we are in the practice of blaming the victim and in that case, we are a participant in the abuse.

Fear of the unknown and change. Many battered women do not leave their husbands for fear of being alone, fear they cannot find better and if they just try harder to please him, the abuse will stop. What do we, the American consumers do? We bend over backward to adhere to crooked laws and abusive practices so we can take pride in a good credit score? Yes, we can make our abuser proud. But just because we have a good credit score, does that stop the abuse? No, it just makes them want to whack us harder. It is naïve to think that if we all just play by the rules and don’t step out of line the abuse will stop. Just because someone isn’t currently smacking you with high interest does mean the abuse doesn’t exist. It’s called denial.

How did we get to this place and how do we get out? Realize who is at fault – the banks, the creditors and insurance companies. Realize that none of these institutions care for the American consumer. And the only way we are going to regain our freedom from corporate America is when we no longer have fear. When we won’t fear their retaliation, when we don’t fear change, when we has Americans can put aside our petty differences and unite for the common good. The fact that we remain so divided is good for those who want to enslave us – divide and conquer. They’ve done a great job.

Facebook’s Farmville Exhibits American Culture

Yesterday Facebook’s Farmville came under fire for scams, and also a few high-minded reporters offered their opinion of the waste of time it is to play a video game. Really? Funny how our reporters have been living under rocks, because our culture in many ways has become a video game. Have you ever noticed our freeways seem to be scenes from Grand Theft Auto?

Before I go on, I have to admit, I am one of those adults hooked to Farmville. I love it. After a long day of work, beating the rush hour traffic and after watching at least two hours of the news; I need a mental escape. So, the way I see it, I can either play a video game on Facebook or watch “reality TV.” It’s all very relative. We all need some mental down time to decompress after a stressful day.

Although some see Farmville as some silly game, it says mountains about our current American culture. The point of the game is to farm/work in order to earn credits to purchase more seeds, trees, animals or even a house. The key point here is, and I reiterate – work to earn credit.

Facebook, not unlike our culture gives us another option; we can buy credit. Yes, as some reporters mentioned you can buy points with you credit cards to advance in Farmville. But I ask, isn’t this what happens in our society? Instead of working to achieve success, many buy it. What we don’t have the patience to earn ourselves; will spend our money to get. Why earn credit, when you can buy it? It’s the American way.

John Stewart wisely quoted several months ago, “When will our nation learn, wealth is work?” I’d like to expand that point. When we will learn, life is work? We pay online services to find us love; when love should be free. James Ray has shown us the dangers of paying someone for “self help.” Don’t feel like wasting then energy to work out; take pills or have cosmetic surgery. So you see Facebook’s Farmville is only an online example of the reality of our culture. Perhaps many have difficulty seeing the truth.

And to those who accuse Facebook of scams…Hello? May I introduce you to Goldman Sachs, AIG, Bank of America, and JP Morgan Chase, VISA, Mastercard, etc…? We the American people are being scammed from the top down and many scamming entrepreneurs are just looking for their share. Personally, Facebook’s Farmville or not, until we as a people learn to earn our credit, there will always be someone waiting to scam us with quick sells and fixes. It’s not Facebook. It’s certainly not a harmless video game like Farmville. It is our culture.

Playing the Credit Card Game

It seems absolutely ridiculous to me that a bank would charge fees for non-use of a credit card. That’s right, folks. That credit card sitting in your wallet that you plan to use in case of emergencies; well be warned your bank may just charge you.

Throughout my time of reading and writing about credit cards, those wise ones of credit will tell you the do’s and don’ts of credit card ownership. Use it on small purchases and then pay off every month so you can generate a higher FICO score. You see, this is a game to some people and all they care about is their score-like a card game. This is not pinochle, or bridge, or even poker. This is life for many people and the score sometimes equates to survival. The game of credit, ironically works better for people with money who can afford not to use a credit card. And it is these people making the rules for the rest of us to follow.

Now, they intend to charge us for not playing-penalized for not playing their game. Even for those responsible people who do not to own a credit card are penalized in the FICO system. Does this sound like fair and honest business practice? No other business makes money from people’s nonuse for their product. My car dealership doesn’t send me a bill for when I’m overdue an oil change. My hairdresser doesn’t charge me when my ends start to split. Think about it America -No other business profits from our lack of use.

Curiously, we wouldn’t stand for a player who cheats at cards or who breaks the rules, yet fall all over ourselves at creditor whims. Stop playing a game with those who cheat the system for profit.