To whom do we pledge allegiance?
“I pledge allegiance to Grover Norquist, not the United States of America, and to the executives for which he stands, one nation, under him, individual, with liberty and justice for some.”
If you don’t believe that a handful of very wealthy people can influence the judgement of your elected officials, just Google Americans for Tax Reform and Grover Norquist. There are nearly 315,000,000 people in America and yet just 60,000 of those citizens (.02%) belong to an organization that has leveraged 236 of the 242 Republican congressman, and 40 of the 46 Republican Senators to sign a Pledge to oppose ANY tax increase or reduction in tax credits without a dollar-for-dollar offset in expenditures.
There were also two Democrat members of the House and one Democrat Senate member who signed the pledge. Tens of millions of dollars in direct and indirect (PAC) donations is a lot of influence.
Some or all of this seemed like a reasonable goal in 1986 when the organization was formed and idolized Ronald Reagan. However, after our greatest financial meltdown since the depression, a global recession, two of the nation’s longest lasting and expensive wars, and with funding for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid falling far short of demand, is the Pledge the best thing for America and the remaining 314,940,000 citizens?
I am not suggesting that reducing taxes for everyone is not a good and lofty goal. I am not pretending that I didn’t like paying a lower tax rate than my former (I am now retired) administrative assistant. I am only wondering if it might not be a good time to focus on keeping as many Americans employed as possible by funding education, infrastructure and technologies that would help us to continue to grow our way back to a full and robust revenue base.
Our short history teaches us that we can grow our way back to prosperity and a balanced budget. But it takes open minds and willing hearts to make it happen.
Maybe our goals should be loftier than “getting rid of the other guy.” Regardless of the outcome of the next election, we might consider a pledge that requires our representatives to work together. I believe that pledge goes something like:
“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”