These are historic times, and I find myself wondering about the future more now than ever. Perhaps it’s because I’m older and can see my final destiny much clearer these days; it’s not just a fuzzy image in my rear view mirror. I’ve been journaling my thoughts, which may come in handy for descendants should they want to learn what happened. Yes, I can see someone excavating my laptop from beneath what was once my crawlspace and the powering on of the device will provide instant illumination.
I’m not particularly religious but I’m spiritual. It could be that a partial Catholic school upbringing soured me on the institution, and dips into other faiths were similarly uninspiring. I’m not a fan of one political persuasion or the other. Both major parties are mirror images of the other, and both seem to be as corrupt as they come. I’ve had it with the smooth double-speak of all of them.
However, in my own mind, there’s a distinct “right” and “wrong” likely developed from years of experience. It’s right to treat your family, your employees and customers, and the guy walking his dog on the street fairly and honestly. Smiling and kindness to all is a good thing. It’s right to pay taxes honestly. It’s right to clean up after yourself and care for the world around you. The list goes on and on.
The “wrong” things are just as clear. It's wrong to kill people. It’s wrong to steal, from your family, your workplace or your country by not paying taxes. It’s wrong to overextend, either in your personal life or in your checkbook. It’s wrong to lie, cheat and treat people unfairly.
Seems like a simple way of living, but life isn’t always so black and white or cut and dried. I realize this.
For the last year or so, I’ve heard talk bandied about regarding “transparency” especially concerning the government. Nice term. It would be great to know where all of our tax dollars are going. But instead of real transparency, we are subjected by a dog and pony show that is becoming less entertaining as the days go by.
The last couple of weeks of finger-pointing about the AIG bonuses is a case in point. There was a rallying cry of outrage and proposed legislation of a super-tax on such a bonus. There were calls for outing the mongrels who accepted such bonuses, supposed protests, and calls of “off with their heads.” Okay, not literally, but I can imagine the fervor was scary enough for those who happened to be employed by the company. Luckily, I have nothing to do with AIG, but if I were, I’d be hiring private security right about now.
Then came the great idea of capping all executive salary. Not just those who took TARP money, but others who are in the banking business. Congress and the Executive Branch talk about making everything equal and transparent.
Such information if made public would be interesting. Maybe we should all be transparent and post our earnings, from all sources. I’m an honest small businessperson. I bet some of our people who are state employees and work for us part time would be shocked to learn that they make more than we do.
I find it curious that those who are calling for bonus-taxes and salary caps are our own elected officials. This collective body of over 500, plus the scores of their friends, the bureaucrats and lobbyists, want this? When we the people don’t know who in Congress is taking money from whom?
If “transparency” is an eventual given, then those in that glass house should be the first to offer up their lists of donors and supporters. I’m personally sick of those who trumpet their “public” service and bemoan the fact that their compensation is so small in comparison. What about the perks, the health insurance, the train, the haircuts and the free travel? Not to mention the sliding of donations, some from companies like AIG, under the table? I want to see tax returns, so I can learn that a millionaire like Joe Biden gives less to charity in a year than I do.
Perhaps our elected officials should go the way of many of our sports venues. There’s no doubt when you walk up to Comerica Park for a Tigers game that Comerica Bank is behind the stadium. Ditto for Ford Field, the Staples Center, well, you get the idea. In front of each legislator should be banners for all the businesses they have accepted money from. They should be forced to wear logo polo shirts and golf hats with the names of their contributors emblazoned on them. That way we would know without a doubt why votes are cast the way they are. Many of our elected officials, including our President, Secretary of State, Chris Dodd and John McCain to name a few would be sporting such apparel.
Think of the freedom that will give our Congress and our D.C. bureaucrats. In addition to not having to worry about what to wear to work each day, they would no longer have to hide great sums of cash in the freezer on in offshore accounts. They would no longer worry about being exposed should their constituents find out they have been taken a donation/bribe for a vote. They would no longer worry about their tax obligations, because the rest of the country would know how much they owe. I know if such a thing were started in Detroit, we wouldn’t be mired in the Kwame Kilpatrick mess, still, months after the guy stepped down and served prison time.
But of course, this is all a dream, because life is not cut and dried, black or white or equal in any way. After all, it’s the finger pointing at some other person’s lack of transparency takes the spotlight away from your own muddy existence.
It's wrong to lie, cheat and steal, and "transparency" exposes all of that. That's why the the concept will not emerge beyond that of a catchy buzzword.
The double standard continues.Powered by Sidelines