In The Middle (Class)?

Not being a middle child but the second oldest in a group of five, I don’t have that ‘being in the middle’ complex when it comes to attention. And if you know me, you know that I’m not shy. But the thing is I usually look to find the middle ground. That is what bothers me so much about politics more than ever.

It used to be that I was so turned off by those on the far left of the political spectrum. Don’t get me wrong- I still am. About the only liberal ( I somewhat cringe to say) position I take is that I believe that there should be a national, single-pay health insurance plan. I feel that all citizens of the United States deserve to have medical coverage and not be one step away from debtor’s prison in order to pay for medical expenses. The premium should be based on age and health status. There should not be any disparity in fees based on which state you live in nor should a person be denied coverage because they have health issues. But, one with a malady that requires constant health care attention should pay more than a healthier person of the same age.

Notice that I wrote “all citizens…. deserve to have medical coverage”. It means that a non-citizen should not have access to free medical assistance just as you or I wouldn’t if we traveled to another country. This largesse by so-called caring people puts a bigger burden on the rest of us who sacrifice to pay the ridiculously large insurance premiums because of all the write-offs hospitals give to non-registered aliens.

But, stumping for a national healthcare policy is where I stop. I believe in the entrepreneurial spirit where people should be encouraged as much as possible to get ahead in life by working for themselves. I don’t believe unions do any good anymore other than help negotiate group benefits. It seems as if union leaders are more bent on sustaining their leadership positions that truly offering leadership. In a world where the cost of living has mushroomed out of control, they offer little in helping to curb costs. Too often they are ready to sacrifice all jobs rather than a few to save the many.

Especially teachers. Public sector jobs should not be privy to strikes or work stoppages. No one has ever put a gun to someone’s head demanding that they become a teacher. If you don’t like the pay or working conditions, go get another job. No one is stopping you. The complaint teachers throw out about the cost and dedication to getting a teaching degree. Hey, it costs to get trained to do just about anything.

I’ve already written previously how heavily taxing the very wealthy (of whom I wish I could be included) serves no purpose. Not because it smacks of socialism but because it will only make a minor dent in reducing the extreme budget deficits in the Federal Budget. A more honest approach is to severely curtail spending. This also means giving no money to the Arts. Its nice to have movies and plays and whatnot. But there are plenty of liberal Hollywood rich folk. Let them provide sustenance to their own kind and let the Federal Government instead allocate the money on building torn-up roads, bridges, dykes and the like.

Let’s eliminate all pork barrel, that is- do not allow a legislator to vote or even introduce a bill that favors spending in his home district. It must come from someone else. And a legislator who does introduce a spending request must wait six months before he can introduce another.

Let’s freeze tuition at all state-financed colleges. If it means letting go more expensive teachers because they don’t like not getting a yearly increase in salary- too bad. Tell them to go find a job elsewhere that pays as well and with as good a pension. Of course, some will tell you that getting their pension in the future is no sure thing. Well, I get news for you- it is no sure thing for just about everyone. So, join the club.
By freezing and maybe even lowering some tuition, legislators will not be pressed to offer larger scholarships financed by tax payers. After five years, let’s review and see if anyone can claim they didn’t get an education. As it is, we’ve been putting out newly certified lawyers, architects and engineers en mass who cannot find jobs.

I see where the new owner of the Houston Astros has lowered prices of seats for the coming year. This is large part for two reasons: it is a lousy team not staffed to get better any time soon. So there is little inducement for aficionados to go watch the games in person. The fact is very few people came to the games last season. This is a very astute owner who understands that the market place determines the situation. The Federal Government should be run using the same common sense.

Now I know what you are going to say: How can I claim to be in the middle if everything I stated above sounds like a radical right wing fascist other than about insurance coverage? Well, I’m also against people on the far right who make everything tie down to one issue about raising taxes.

I don’t think taxes should be raised long term as the people on the left want. I do think, though, that for a short period of three or four years, anyone who nets five million dollars a year after withholding current taxes should pony up an extra fifty thousand dollars each. This would be a one time surcharge with a stipulated guarantee that such a drastic action would not occur for at least another 15 years after the surcharge period. The $50,000 extra donation to the United States Treasury would not be tempered based on any type of exemption. If you are able to put away five million smackers after normal taxes for 2012, 2013, 2014 and possibly 2015, then you can afford to donate an extra 50k without blinking. But then come 2016, all liberals would have to shut up and crawl back into their collective holes until 2020 as the tax rates would revert back to what they are now.

I look for compromise. No one is perfectly right nor wrong in this situation. If the above surcharge will help reduce the deficit by 1.5 trillion dollars over the next four years, it will stop spooking investors who want to believe in this country and support it.

I hope there are people working in Washington D.C. who feel more comfortable being in the middle and will come up with solutions similar to mine so we can continue to believe in a country of loyal middle class citizens.

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