They tell me all politics winds up being local. It’s true. The actions of politicians at every level wind up affecting us here locally in some way. Take spending and the resulting fees and taxes, for example.
In a little more than a week, on April 16, Californians will celebrate “Tax Freedom Day.” Only five states pay taxes greater than California. Make you proud? The Tax Freedom Day in Texas is nine days earlier. Any wonder that folks are moving there?
There are other undefined taxes we pay that the city and other government organizations call rate adjustments. Like the proposed 4 percent automatic adjustment in water rates here in Fairfield. They don’t need the money now but at some point they think they will. Of course all Fairfield water ratepayers have so much extra money they can afford to advance some of it to the city for some future project.
Kudos to the Fairfield City Council. We should send them our thanks for recognizing our pain and refusing to go along with the staff’s “business as usual” proposal. Find a way to let them know you appreciate their courage. It will make a difference next time as well.
Sir Winston Churchill said, “We contend for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself by the handle.” Isn’t that what we’re doing here in America and in California? I think they have us standing in a bucket and the bucket doesn’t even have a handle. Call it what you like, taxes, debt or rate adjustments. All are taxes in some form. Usually not honestly represented. And governments are not above stealing to make themselves look better (they can never make themselves look good.)
Here is some awful truth: Government debt is nothing more than deferred taxes plus interest. Someone is going to have to pay, one way or another. What are the options and consequences? Greater taxes and higher interest paid over the lifetimes of our children?
With our national debt, we are fast approaching the point where it may be impossible for us to pay it off, or even pay the interest. The only solution then would be the Zimbabwe solution: Allow hyperinflation to reduce the purchasing power of the dollar so that we pay off our debts with money worth pennies on the current dollar, or less. It’s beginning to happen right now. That may sound attractive in some ways until we see how it would affect you and me. Social Security and Medicare are major debt holders (not by choice). If we wind up with a currency worth one cent on the current dollar, the value of the debt used to pay benefits is reduced by 99 percent. The value of payments would be reduced by 99 percent if the government could still make payments.
Most government pension plans are what is called defined benefit. That is, after a specified period of service you are promised a certain dollar amount in pension benefits. With hyperinflation, you would still get your benefits but might have trouble having enough money to buy a loaf of bread with your monthly check.
Exaggerating? It happened in Zimbabwe with an inflation rate of 11.2 million percent. They still do not have a currency of their own. That’s where we’re headed. Money won’t be worth anything so we will be forced into a barter system. Every day I receive emails telling me what items I should hoard in order to survive. Some folks are thinking ahead.
Have you noticed that the Federal Reserve has reduced interest rates to almost nothing? The interest you have been counting on to supplement your pension is no longer there. You have to spend your principal instead. Will your $100,000 nest egg one day buy a $1,000 worth of goods? It is happening now. We are headed that way.
People in government at the federal level continue to talk out of both sides of their mouths. They talk about creating jobs, but their policies have the opposite effect. Regulations most believe are unnecessary are stifling the economy. Their solutions to problems are far worse than the effects of the problems themselves, even if the problems were real.
Our local representatives recently held a series of town hall meetings where they offered encouraging words about jobs. Just words, nothing else. The truth is our congressional representatives and senators have only added to our problems by accelerating the parasite welfare and illegal immigrant spending while they jawbone about jobs. We are represented by people who it seems have gone to Washington to leave fundamental problems unsolved and to spend our way into bankruptcy.
It is also true of our representatives in Sacramento. They are not above taking money from the helpless and the cities in order to avoid facing their problem of personnel bloat.
So what can we do about it? The first step, a prerequisite to everything else, is to stand up and defend ourselves. That’s not an easy thing to do. For some of us it has been so long since we even have paid attention, we hardly know where to start. Start by learning how to say, “No,” to the politicians. We can’t change things with a “do nothing” attitude.
One thing is certain: We can’t solve our problems with our current “do nothing” representatives in Washington. We can’t do anything with the “protect the establishment” Assembly members and state senators in Sacramento. We have to find people who have common sense, will stop spending our money foolishly and who will protect our interests.
Lots of luck, you say? It has nothing to do with the Democrat or Republican parties. It does have to do with the values of each representative. We can’t be blinded to the truth by our own partisanship. If partisanship wins, we lose.
It is up to us. We can let it happen, or we can say “Stop! No more debt.” And we can find people who will represent our interests rather than their selfish interests or the interests of their parties. What do you think?
Murray Bass can be reached at 427-0744 or [email protected]