Dean Clough

July 14, 2021

Portico Darwin: I Love Government

While I am in favor of a safety net closer to Norway's than Alabama's, I believe there are limits to how much the Federal government can (or should) indebt our future generations to create that net.  But we also have a wealth inequality situation here in America that is without modern precedent.  Something's gotta give. 

Before I make my proposal, please know I believe the Federal government can be a net positive.  I feel Ronald Reagan's words about government were awful and the underlying philosophy flat wrong.  Why? 

Because humans are unique in the animal world in that we will take more than we need for survival if allowed.  Mix in a capitalistic system where nothing much matters except increasing shareholder value, and we need a countervailing force, and that force must be a transparent, secular and competent Federal government.  We don't have that now, and I think it's mostly intentional.  Please read or re-read "Evil Geniuses" if you disagree.
I also strongly feel some have used tired tropes and stereotypes to divide us, deeming some as "lazy" or "not wanting to work", and thus not entitled to things most reading this take for granted.   At the same time, we've somehow been sold and have bought as a nation the notion that it is honorable and gritty to work full time for $10/hour at a fast food restaurant under bad conditions with no benefits for the pleasure of sleeping in your car.  I don't buy it.   So yeah, I say a living wage, and physical and mental health care, have to be in this, too.

But we shouldn't (and probably can't) go even deeper into debt as a nation to fix the problem, either.

It's clearly time for my favorite word again:  nuance.

In sum:
  • The Federal government has a role
  • There are certainly exceptions, but most people want to work and be productive members of society
  • Anyone working 40 hours a week or more should be able to live in dignity
  • Physical and mental health care is a right, not a privilege - because if it's the latter, who decides who gets the privilege?  
  • Borrowing from future generations to make sure current generations are asked for no sacrifice is wrong

So if we had a functional Federal government, this is what I'd propose, in terms of funding and also other things.  Some are fantasy, others tantalizingly possible.  None are possible now, though, in lieu of a real Federal government.   

  • Capital is taxed at the same rates as labor
  • Eliminate each and every tax deduction for companies and individuals, including the mortgage interest deduction on residences
  • Support and actively enforce the emerging global 15% minimum corporate tax standard; wow, are our biggest and best American companies great at not paying their fair share (as are their founders and leaders)
  • Personal income tax rates are returned to what they were when Bill Clinton left office (recall the economy was roaring in the late '90's, and the Federal budget was balanced)
  • Social Security would be means-tested, with benefits dwindling to zero the higher one's net worth; everyone would pay in, but the wealthier among us would get less or nothing after retirement
  • Establish a functional and professional role (take a look at Germany) for labor unions
  • Establish a fundamental basket of physical and mental health care services and provide them to every American citizen of any age at no cost; preventative health care must become a focus nationally
  • Establish a dynamic Federal minimum wage, one governed by a given locale's poverty line (it would be foolish to mandate the same minimum wage in Des Moines as in San Francisco)
  • Re-evaluate our defense spending, and eliminate or redirect some monies spent to domestic activities; recall we spend more than the next 11 countries - combined - and many of those 11 are our allies 
  • Re-establish the Glass-Steagall Act, putting back in place the regulatory barrier between commercial and investment banking so disastrously removed by Clinton before leaving office; in general, bring the financial services sector back to its normal, historical place in our economy

What's going on now both societally and financially in America objectively isn't sustainable.  So while I know what I propose is mostly wishful thinking (not to mention unknowable in its impact), don't we need to do something, and if not what I suggest, what instead?

Pretty quiet but that's fine, as always.   

But I do know from some background communications that excitement is starting to build for the Marina/Michaels wedding/debauching in Boulder the weekend of 7/23.  In fact, I myself am looking forward to this trip, and a Portico Darwin Front Range Travel Guide is a certainty.  I'll share our full itinerary on Friday before our departure this Sunday in case you were worried.

What the heck - this is related to people getting married and this section is short today.  As I've mentioned, our friends Andy and Libby Jones are expecting their first child soon.  While we were visiting them, they had some new friends over for a great BBQ, the social media powerbroker Bobby and his charming sapphire-eyed bride, Chelsea.  The fun thing is that Chelsea, too, for the first time will soon hit warp speed.  10 seconds of seriousness:  both of these gorgeous women were absolutely radiating love - you could literally sense their extra energy and power.  Maybe you can feel it even just from this.  


Thank you to any one that is reading this blog.

Here's an album few apart from Hunter Deuce and my wife have likely heard, but it's a real winner and a great rock album. 

It's also what I feel America may become - literally, if my beloved West keeps burning, and figuratively, if a sad percentage of Conservatives and Republicans don't become more fact- and reality-based.

Here is "Dust" by the Seattle grunge pioneers, Screaming TreesHere's a bonus track in case "Dust" isn't enough.

In honor of Libby and Chelsea, and their new baby boy and girl respectively, I've gathered the 3 episodes from my favorite TV series that deal with pregnancy and having a baby.  Here, unedited (except for the last - see below), are some classic episodes via YouTube from the brilliantly mature, yet still hilarious, "Dick Van Dyke Show".  Maybe Andy and Bobby can watch these so they know what they're getting in to?

What's In a Middle Name?:  Laura tells Rob she's pregnant and that triggers a middle name search.

Where Did I Come From?:  The chaos of the day Richie was born.

That's My Boy?:  The chaos of the day Richie was brought home from the hospital.  

(This particular version of this episode is unique for two reasons.  It was colorized [which I normally despise but must admit love here] for a primetime re-broadcast on CBS in 2016.  And that must have been virtue signaling by CBS, because the second reason this episode is unusual is that it deals with race at a time where that just wasn't done on network television.  Watch for yourself.)

About Dean Clough

Plans To Enjoy Life.