Hug a Vet Today (everyday)
You're nobody til somebody loves you
You're nobody til somebody cares
I hated reading about the later years of Dean Martin where he was once taken by some woman grifter preying on his loneliness to squeeze what she could out if his name. After his son died training in a fighter jet, Dean Martin tumbled into despair. Coupled with long nights and hard partying he was soon just a shell of himself, and yet even in that state, he needed someone to show they cared. This is the way it is for all people.
You may be king, you may possess the world and it's gold,
But gold won't bring you happiness when you're growing old.
I have a message for my GOP friends - wake up! It doesn't matter if your platform has the best economic plan and you preach the values of morality and God if half the country doesn't think you don't like them. Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians not only don't see the love, many see belittling hatred toward them. A lot of fault falls in the lap of Republicans for allowing this to fester for too long. Yet, when I tweeted about this last week some pointed out Bush's cabinet as proof I was wrong.
The simple fact they tweeted such a reply actually proved my point!
I have thoughts on how the GOP can address this problem but it's not an overnight elixir. You can't take two pills and wake up refreshed the next day with the natives marveling at your trinkets and colorful beads. It will take a combination of time and money but mostly it will take sincerity. I've met enough Republicans to know most give a damn about everyone but have a damn hard time showing it. I have also met some tin-eared folks that think selling their message is a form of pandering.
Once again this actually proves my point.
The world still is the same, you never change it,
As sure as the stars shine above;
You're nobody 'til somebody loves you,
So find yourself somebody to love.
There isn't four years to get this right; in fact the GOP is about four days late already. In the meantime, people are voting against their own self-interest. The poor are going to be poorer in so many ways, economically, spiritually, and educationally. Excuses are currency and blame an expectable reason for failure. I met a guy on the plane last night who had bought my book and was once on the service. He's been up and down in the business and is back doing what he loves.
Even though all the things that concern him seem to be at the top of the GOP's agenda, he had trouble understanding why I would be on Fox or a conservative. He introduced me to his wife and daughter, who happens to be attending medical school. Maybe with the right kind of effort the GOP could convince this guy they like him and love his daughter. Maybe they could convince him they care. That is really the only thing missing between the two having a relationship.
Hugs and Kisses
The current edition of the Economist, the financial newspaper that seems to be at odds with capitalism and America's success, has a picture of President Obama hugging his wife, Michelle, and caption that reads: "now give Republicans a hug." The cover seems disingenuous from a newspaper that hardly ever sees anything positive in the GOP or the profit-motivation. Yet there is no doubt the President and GOP have to extend an olive branch. The stakes are too high.
Yet on Friday, President Obama redrew his line in the sand, although with more artful language than he used on the campaign trial. Essentially, the administration is willing to risk it all on demands that the rich and the not-so-rich pay more in taxes. For individuals in New York, New Jersey, and California it means paying over 50% in taxes before getting to local taxes. Maybe this is what the slim majority of Americans want. Maybe jealously and hatred for the rich has grown that much.
But the rich, the really rich aren't going to be impacted. Families making more than $250,000 a year but far less than one million will feel the impact. It will hurt them. It will also send a message that says why try? With all the sacrifices it takes to get to that level of income in the private sector then you have more than half confiscated by an overweight government. In fact, higher taxes across the board means more people will drop out of the workforce to become wards of the state.
Dope Fiend Yoke
When I was growing up in Harlem, there was one maneuver everyone wanted to achieve in a fist fight. That was a headlock known as the "dope fiend yoke" and it was said to put your combatant to sleep. It was named after the ability to even put down an enraged drug addict; it was the ultimate fighting move after a one-punch knockout.
I never quite put anyone in that position, although someone got me from behind one day and it was almost "lights out." Right now, the fiscal cliff and all the fresh taxes that are to follow, serve to provide the knockout blow to the rich, however, it will mostly crush small businesses and the poor.
Sure, the main goal is to put the rich in their place with an onslaught of taxes, regulations, and harsh rhetoric. It's going to be a fight and there will be lots of losers.
Higher taxes on top earners mean higher taxes on small businesses, too. In fact, there is no doubt the headlock placed on small businesses will eventually become a dope fiend yoke for the entire country. It's going to be economically disastrous. It's also plain unfair. What kind of hatred for success trumps the hard work, risk-taking efforts of Americans following in the legacy that made the nation great in the first place? We've already seen small businesses tap out, but at some point, the entire nation will pass out.
I know enough about history to know the worst case scenario isn't going to happen overnight. In fact, socialism feels great at first. It's like winning the lottery. We may see artificially higher wages for low skill jobs. We'll get longer unemployment benefits and increases welfare and food stamps payouts. All that and we'll wipe that cocky grin off the faces of the rich. What a beautiful world it will be. Except when the well runs dry and our overall standard of living fades.
There will probably be no shot of reversing our fortunes if we wait too long.
So about that hug...
When President Obama calls for a compromise that includes tax hikes and defense spending cuts, it is laughable. Compromise means giving up some of the stuff you like, too. From the list of taxes and spending cuts to take effect where is the White House going to yield ground?
* Income Tax hike
* Payroll Tax hike
* AMT tax expansion
* Marriage Penalty Tax
* Unemployment benefits extension expires
* Medicare Payment rates to doctors decline
* Spending: mostly defense cut
This promises to be a fun show for the macabre, a scary show for patriots and those that still believe in the American Dream, and a thrilling hayride for those consumed with envy over the success of their fellow man.