Among all the chaos of recent headlines, the one that may most critically and directly affect me personally seems to me, the most ridiculous. You might have heard of the Republican attack on Planned Parenthood and other provisions that kill essential health programs. Perhaps not so widely covered was the U.S. helicopter that gunned down nine young boys in Afghanistan or the increasingly despicable treatment of Bradley Manning. This is not to diminish the importance of understanding the challenges assaulting women in America.
The budget bill passed last Saturday completely cuts Planned Parenthood and Title X funding. Both of these programs provide critical resources to a community, providing birth control, safe testing and vital information. In the face of the wide scope of problems facing our increasingly volatile world, these steps backward are quite alarming.
Foremost or background in the minds of people today is the recognition that our species is on a path that is speeding toward extinction. One option is to throw up your hands and watch it burn. Keep in mind the people who can watch from gilded towers are the ones who are profiting by the billions. There is no trickle down.
According to a report by the University of California, Santa Cruz Sociology Department, the top 1 percent of households owned 41 percent of financial wealth. The gap has been growing. Financial wealth is the measure of net worth minus net equity in owner-occupied housing, net worth being total assets minus total outside liabilities. Assets are things like value of real estate owned, all manner of deposited money and bonds, securities, life insurance and pension – not to mention stock, mutual or trust funds and equity in businesses.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve a small bit of just one qualification – money in the bank. The rest are pie in the sky. The top percentage of households each own countless stake in each financial game. Comprehension of the vast luxury and command of choice at the disposal of such amounts of money is beyond grasp. Outside liabilities however, most of us can relate to – all sorts of debt, from mortgages to loans.
Simultaneously, the GOP is attacking workers and increasing tax cuts to businesses, evidenced most relevantly in Michigan. Rick Snyder’s budget plan as presented by Michigan Truth Squad explains the big numbers: “Businesses would get a $1.73 billion tax cut by fiscal year 2013. Snyder would pay for it by increasing the personal income tax by $1.86 billion.”
The majority of public employees are women who perform essential duties for a healthy community – thank your nurses, teachers and public health workers. Increased taxes coupled with decreased wages put a big drag on those liabilities.
The dual attacks would result in nothing less than slow death. Dramatic, perhaps, but accurate. That is, if we continue to buy into the system.
It is possible to step outside of the working-to-buy, buying-to-live consumer cycle. Engaging in your community and learning how to work together toward self-reliance and healthy development erases the dependence and stops the flow of money ever upward.