This morning I started reading some of the chapters I printed from this 248-page report about GOP/Conservative solutions from Heritage Foundation. I am new to these kinds of reports, but interested in learning what the "powerhouse" "think tanks" have to say about the issues that matter to me (almost all of them!) -- especially in this election year.
I started with the chapter on Housing, went on to the chapter on Social Security, and ended at the chapter on Welfare. These are all "entitlement" programs in the eyes of the Heritage Foundation and many of the Conservative (Republican/Christian) leaders that I am aware of. I don't know where the money trail goes, but I can guess what topics are included by the titles on the main page of the Heritage Foundation.
We are at a very critical time in the history of America and the world. There is a lot of desperation building in all areas of our existence, including government and business. The enormous debt we have, which has to be paid using tax dollars, is causing great damage to every other part of our economy. Everyone is looking for financial relief, but there is no where to go. I call it "max-ing out the credit cards."
The statistic I kept reading in these chapters seemed to be contradictory in how much of our debt they are responsible for. Some things were 60% and others were cited as "more than half" -- something like that. I read all three chapters so I am not sure right now which ones had these mixed details. I do remember a lot of money references in the chapter on Social Security because the boomers are expected to create a lot of debt in their final years.
I also noticed that projections (to get big numbers to report) went ten years to twenty-five years to seventy-five years in some comparisons. Some things were combined to make the numbers huge... and that makes it hard to figure out where the real problem is.
At one point there was a ten year estimate that ended at 2024, which made me think this was a 2014 report that might have been "updated" for this election cycle. That makes it hard to know which data is correct and which data is old.
It seems that the "conservative" view is to eliminate these programs they call "entitlements." I don't think of Social Security as an entitlement program because it has been paid for by the people receiving it. The "IOU's" that were reported in this chapter, where government has used its funds for other purposes, seems to be a larger issue that the government needs to deal with itself on. We have no idea whether proper investments of those funds might have created enough money to pay the boomers what they have waited a lifetime to receive.
[I have suggested elsewhere, and will repeat here as an FYI, that Social Security could be changed to include anyone wanting to participate in it, voluntarily, as the government's effort to provide for those who have no paychecks to contribute with, like housewives, people with disabilities, and anyone who cannot hold a regular job, even inmates. Creating a payment structure based on poverty populations will allow everyone to contribute, and then collect later when they need it.]
If I remember right, this report recommended that income taxes be eliminated. My feelings exactly... along with every other tax except ONE TAX, a (permanently) limited 10% sales tax that will become the ongoing budget of the government, including international commitments (1%), federal (3%), state (3%), and county (3%).
Eliminating both income taxes and property taxes takes the government out of those parts of our lives, and creates an enormous reduction in labor and paperwork costs. People would have their own money to spend... what an amazing concept. By only having a sales tax, everyone pays the same amount, including the rich and the poor. Everyone contributes. And the internet sales issues can be dealt with like vacation spending...where you are, where the computer is, is the place that earns the sales tax.
The government is an endless tax machine if something isn't done to stop it. It is their fall-back way to solve their financial problems, at every level of government. Spending money that doesn't exist creates the huge effects of debt America, and the rest of the world, is facing. It doesn't lead anywhere good, and the "correction" for it will be very painful for everyone.
Old habits are hard to change. If our government leaders do not make the necessary changes to the way they operate, their status quo, something drastic is going to make them change. I think we are teetering on the brink of financial chaos, and I am wondering how I will survive without my Social Security (a whole $381) and food stamps (a whole $126) every month. I can't even afford Medicare Part B, if I even understood it!
The people in charge of our government, and the authors of reports like this, don't understand the situations that exist in poverty. When they create solutions, they are seeing their own wallets, their own houses, their own jobs, as the norm, as what they should have, as what they deserve. Poor and dependent people become a burden that is taking away from their comforts. In some ways I can understand their opposition to "entitlement" problems. I think they forget that when the crisis comes, they may be in the lines for those entitlements.
Another problem I noticed with this report is its "circular reasoning" - almost all of their citations were to Heritage publications or writers. I'm not sure that makes it authoritative or valid. It would take me some time to dig deep enough to find out their source materials. I don't have that time.
This blog post is just a starting point. I have decided to write more deeply about each of the topics in the report as a separate post... and place them in the blog most closely associated with that topic. I'm not sure where all of them will end up, but this will be an overview location. I will add the links of my other topic blogs below. Over the next several days and weeks, I hope to look at more of the conversations being presented for the voters.
This is really the strangest election I have encountered yet... I am wondering where our country is heading, and trying to figure out how to survive. Let me know what you think.
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