A Culture of Blame.

The recent standoff in Wisconsin raises some unpleasant questions about American society.  Why do we now blame union workers and their pensions for our economic troubles?  Certainly, public employees who make around $50,000/year aren’t getting rich off of taxpayer money.  And why blame foreclosed homeowners for the housing crisis?  Surely they didn’t benefit from purchasing a home for more than its current value and being forced to move.  And how can anyone logically blame the Obama Administration for an economic meltdown that occured before the President took office?

My point is that there is plenty of blame for our problems to go around starting with deregulation, two unfunded wars, unnecessary tax cuts for the wealthy and the greed of Wall Street bankers.  But why focus on blame?  Wouldn’t we all be better served by spending our time trying to find solutions to our current problems instead?

Of course, those who committed illegal acts, if any, should pay for them.  But we should let our legal system address those people.

As for our economy, our deficit can easily be reduced by rescinding tax cuts for the nation’s wealthiest Americans.  We could create high-paying jobs in the U.S. by ending tax incentives for the corporations that send jobs overseas, and by adding tariffs on goods made outside the U.S.  We could generate more revenue by lowering the tax rate on corporations while, at the same time, removing corporate tax loopholes.  We could generate revenue for our state and local governments by ending corporate welfare such as Tax Increment Financing.  We could cut costs by refusing to help the billionaire owners of professional sports franchises pay for palatial new arenas.  We could increase innovation by improving public education and providing small businesses with the same tax advantages as large corporations.

We could save businesses and individuals billions of dollars by creating Medicare for all and hiring enough regulators to eliminate fraudulent claims.  We could save billions by de-criminalizing drugs and ending the so-called “War on Drugs” which has put thousands of non-violent people in prison to learn new skills from hardened criminals.  We could save billions by using our prison system to educate and reform those who would benefit instead of merely warehousing inmates until we’re forced to release them.

We could finally end our dependence on oil by eliminating taxpayer subsidies to big oil companies and spending the same amount of money on alternative sources of energy.  Most important, we could reform our political campaigns by holding political ads to the same truth-in-advertising standards as ads for products and services.  If they don’t tell the truth, the politicians must be removed from office and new elections held as they are in Great Britain.

Of course, you could continue to assume that significant changes like these are impossible.  But if our nation continues to fall behind others in education, health care and innovation, don’t blame me.