Tag Archive | government

Out of Control and Into Control

The idea of offering respect to the religious institutions has never been a terrible thought. It is a respect originally generated from the purpose of wisdom that can be provided by these entities. They hold the status of non-profit organizations in the same fashion as charities, due to the services provided to the community. This very idea at its core holds steady with beliefs set down by some of the great fathers and mothers of the country. In fact, it is crucial to the ideal that no religion is established by the government or prohibited in its practice. It is a principle that would be difficult for any citizen to avoid supporting.

However, it has begun to feel that such a simple principle has been corrupted and ruined by the activities of these organizations. That is not to say that all are, but when an organization grows large enough to create its own form of lobbying, it may be time to re-examine this situation.  As many have concluded in the past, there is an understood and well-supported case that the US Constitution speaks of a separation of church and state. This separation works to help offer the religious organizations the special tax exempt status, yet some of these organizations have become a political tool to influence the congregations.  This is the line.  Once a tax exempt entity enters the arena of the state, the separation is gone and the exemption is void.

Now some might consider it to be difficult to make a judgment of how far is too far or that freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.  Consider that statement and remember that it is a barrier to help protect the state from the establishment of a single religion while protecting the various religions from being persecuted as being the wrong religion for the whole country.  It is not a matter of negotiation for how far, but a simple concept of keeping the structure protected.  If a tax exempt organization steps into a position that will influence the state, it loses its status.

On the same principle, the state does not cross the line either to establish a single tax exempt organization above others.  Now, it is understandable that one religion or charitable group might have a majority, but it needs to remain separate. Imagine what would happen if the Red Cross become so imbedded in the state that other charities could not raise donations to support their cause. Yes, we know that the Red Cross serves in emergencies and disasters, but we still need those charities that support research into cancer and various social causes.  We need to have a level playing field and not some lopsided debate.

In the end, the point remains that tax exempt status for non-profit organizations should be honored to those that remain inside the guidelines.  The boundaries occur for a reason and once they are broken, all the guarantees of a stable society are in jeopardy. What is the point of a democracy if the voices of the many are drowned out by the voices of the few?  There is no doubt in my mind that if we can find our balance again, we will never stop our progress as a country and a world of human kind.

crudus animus

A Vote of Confidence

Well, back at the keyboard to catch up on some writing and hoping to put up some solid material. The good news is that I will be back in the workforce at the first of the month. This will place a change in life after ten months of unemployment.  I am pleased with the change and look forward to the next phase of life.  Now, I am on to some conversation about the world.

Every four years, the citizens of this country file into the polls to cast their votes for the nation’s President. It is a civic duty to step into the booth and voice a choice. It is in this moment that the system brings together the majority voice. This choice is passed onto the Electoral College, which posts their choice along with the state, mostly. This system does have a built-in feature that allows the popular vote’s majority to not be the determining factor for declaring the winner.  It is something that has been revealed a few times in U.S. history.  Most recently it was seen in the 2000 election.  It was left to the Supreme Court to step in to make a decision regarding a recount in Florida.

This is a simplified explanation of how the country elects a President, yet it does demonstrate that participation in the system is still necessary.  It is worth the time that it takes to find the polls’ location and go there. It is a right that cannot be taken away from any law-abiding citizen. With that vote, a citizen continues the traditions that were purchased with blood so many years ago and is defended to this very day.  If one wants to honor all those that sacrifice themselves, voting is the best way to continue the dream of holding the foundations of the nation together. That is essential to the future where a better world can be made.

With that said, it is disappointing to see a couple of terrible matters coming to light. The first is dealing with the possible regulations, policies, and laws that have been used in various states to require U.S. citizens to acquire a new form of identification as proof of voting rights or the limiting of poll access to voters by eliminating early voting times that have accommodated large participation in the past. These forms of reduction hold a hinted partisan politics in some cases, but mostly, it is evident that particular groups have been targeted by these changes. When the explanation is given, the legislatures and governors gesture to the idea of voter fraud.  Of course, as insignificant as the number of cases of voter fraud presented nationwide, these kinds of changes are similar to bandaging a pin prick with a full body cast. Has the country come to the point where it must claw back all the rights from the state governments?

Now, as stated, the right to vote has been paid in sacrifice by the honored veterans of the country. An armed force of volunteers is used to protect our country and our interest abroad. They step into the danger of combat to give all of us the rights that we squabble about on a daily basis including the simple right to free speech. It is on this point that it must be mentioned that the Senate decided, this past week, to vote 58-40 on a bill to help support these very veterans.  It was filibustered and failed to pass.  This was not one of those entitlement programs that are slammed by voices claiming that people are dependent on the government. Have these veterans not also earned the right to be supported by the country that they defend with their lives? Yes they have and they are entitled to a repayment for their services.

Finally, a note to my audience: I am an U.S. citizen and I am born with inalienable human rights which are protected in the Constitution and its Bill of Rights. I will vote in the election to exercise these rights. I educate myself on the facts of the political arena and weigh my decisions on those facts. I do not believe that I am a victim and seek to depend on the government anymore than my fellow citizens. I depend on them to protect me for enemies.  I depend on them to provide the proper infrastructure to keep the roads and bridges built.  I depend on them to regulate businesses so that none can damage the environment and the economy because these entities are logically basing decision on the bottom line. That kind of thinking will never serve a community solely.

We are a country of communities and individuals finding a method to work to the benefit of the country as a whole and to the benefit of the individual dreams.  I depend on us to move into a better understanding of what that means as a country.  I leave it to hope that we learn it soon.

crudus animus

Why Pay Taxes?

As an individual citizen of the United States of America, I have paid taxes with each job that I have had in my adult life. I have never had a problem with the philosophy behind paying income taxes. I do believe that some alternatives might make the system work better for the government of the country or states, but I do not hesitate to pay my share of taxes. It ensures that the country will have the proper funds for all the different services the government must provide. Services like defense, infrastructure, and social programs are just a few. These programs require some form of revenue to support them for the future. It is a simple procedure that most civilized countries use to govern the society.

The arguments from both side of the debate center around one simple factor when it comes to taxes. This is my hard-earned money and I should have a say on how it is used. Now, for one side, this is a simple matter that if the taxes are lowered or eliminated, then the money will be used as the citizen wishes. This is a simplified definition, but the point is that the lack of tax revenue starves the government to the point that unwanted programs fail.

As most of these programs work as a safety net for the populace, this side wants to dissolve the net because the government is just giving money to those that have not earned it through hard work. On the surface, this seems a fair argument to those seeking to make our society about the individual.  Individualism walks hand-in-hand with the capitalism ideal that business success and wealth of the individual should benefit from lower taxes.  This ideal suggests that to raise the tax levels for the successful is a punishment of the success. In other words, this style of thinking leads leaders to remove the barriers to capitalism and its free market.

On the other side of the coin, the need for tax revenue to support the government and its proper administration is important to continuation of the country. This angle moves the eyes from the individualism to a community environment. A sense of collective resources being used for the group as a whole boils up from this side. Their ideals that the success of capitalism comes from consumerism, in turn the dependence of the free market on the people must submit to equality through regulations. In the minds of this side, the tax levels should show that the upper income levels pay a larger portion to help support the community.

Now, with all that stated in a very simple form, it would seem that the struggle could remain for years, but it is crazy to think that such a matter could stay in a cyclical pattern. Even my cynical side does not despair when I look at this. We live in a world that is moving forward with progressive thoughts and situations. A simpler way to express the two sides is to say that one side wishes to cling to a hardened status quo while the other side seeks to push our society to a dark chasm of chaos in the unknown future.  However, I don’t believe this is the future if we just open our minds to possibilities. There are so many possibilities to find constructive ways to use the riches of our society. Natural resources safely used and infrastructure projects are just a couple areas.

A spirit of community grew from the dark times of World War II. The world grew to use its wealth to venture into community building and exploration. This idea of coming together has been lost to many of my generation as we are all looking for the entitlement of individual success without helping the community. Perhaps it is time to return our thinking to those dreams of success as a community that the individual can be proud to be part of. Remove the barriers between us and return to the spirit that we are all human beings.

crudus animus

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