My Dad, Obama and Class Warfare
I'm not a very likable person. That's something I share with my father.
Ego. Directness. Incapacity to suffer fools. Guilty as charged.
In 1980 my ACT scores may have been high enough to warrant an obligatory "letter of introduction" from Harvard University, but over the course of my life I've learned more about work from my father than a thousand Harvard educations might otherwise have garnered.
His was a lucky-at-birth, post War, baby boom generation. But those dads, in Laurel, Montana, worked hard -- hoeing sugar beets on their summer "vacations", in the railroad yards and at the refineries -- always by the rules. They were mostly good and always honest men, and they got what they deserved: income growth, home equity, retirement dinners and good pensions.
But somewhere around the oil embargo in 1974 things started to slip in this country. It started to become obvious that America had fundamental problems. That America consumes far too much energy and produces hardly any. That dichotomy was never more apparent than in 1974 -- or today.
All of which brings me to Obama's budget.
My wife and I have nearly half a million in our retirement accounts and she has a small pension from working 23 years in State government. Sometimes I think we're nearly all that's left of the American middle class. But I believe we can afford to chip in more.
Then I see Dick Fuld or Lee Raymond or Rick Wagoner on television and a rage boils up inside me. How, in God's name, could anyone possibly want that much for, of all things, failing to deliver real progress? What has happened to this country?
Right or wrong, I blame Ronald Reagan.
In 1980, I too was a young Republican. And for nearly two decades, I never voted to raise my taxes. I wanted so much for America to be the way Reagan wanted it -- handsome like my Dad, pragmatic and mid-western.
But America just isn't like that and if you read Howard Zinn or Upton Sinclair you realize it probably never was and never can be. People need rules. Rules create structure. Structure creates order. And order provides the base for advancement for everyone.
That's what President Obama's budget is about. It tries to fix things in this country that we should never have allowed to become so broken: teacher's pay, energy policy, a safety net for the least powerful and the most unlucky.
Today I am willing to help pay for this -- to spend the rest of my natural life paying for this.
But first, we must expose, dis-empower and punish the Financial Terrorists that collapsed our system. Only then can we set about fixing thirty years of damage that Reagan inspired "greed is good" has wrought.
Piggy must pay! And when Piggy has been hung by the neck until dead, then and only then will the rest of us tolerate paying for its sins.