Authored By: William Robert Barber
A couple of weeks ago, I was chatting with my mentally alert and physically spry eight-eight year old mother; I posed a question as to who she thought should be the next President of the United States. She responded with no hesitation: “Obama!” I follow up with why? She said, “well, I think he will take care of the poor people, you know the common folk.” I paused for a moment and continued my inquiry. I said, “Mother, who is the poor and common people?” She laughed and said; “People who have no money, you know Bill, the manual laborers, people with little formal education, we have many poor people that need taken care of.”
I found my mother’s response provoking and reminiscent of ideas formed as a child; ideas that bind conviction, but ideas, with little or no evidence to substantiate their worthiness. But then my dear mother was far from a child; by sight and hearing, she was influenced to conclude Obama would be the best choice for president. As she stated, he would help the poor people; she gave little thought as to who were the poor people or how the poor people would be helped; she simply believed that Obama over the other candidates would be the best choice because he would take care of the poor people. There are many ideas proposed by Obama to criticize him about but one that stands out and has great implications is the Global Poverty Act Obama supports.
There is always the possibility that unfounded ideas molded into conviction and executed into action could prompt disastrous results. The belief that Obama, unlike any other candidate, would do something special for poor people (whatever that means) is one such idea. Firstly, defining the poor, as defining ‘middle class’ in this country is a chore in its self; I am going to take a stab at it and conclude that poor people are those peoples making $36,000 per year or less. I justify this gross income number founded on the amount of federal income tax these peoples pay.
Now these ‘poor people’ have an income supplement that is not taken into account by the number crunchers in the treasury, the budget office, and the IRS. It would be fair to suggest that these ‘poor people’ are and should include the blackjack dealers, valets, service persons, waiters, bartenders, and the people who wash one’s car etc., these are also the peoples who make their money from tips; yes, and of course they declare their tips according to an IRS induced formula, nevertheless, they retain a significant portion of residual undeclared monies that feed into America’s undeclared income. This undeclared ‘cash’ discretionary income is very important to the overall American economy because it greases the wheels of a free wheeling economic machine. This undeclared (free of income tax) money feeds the coffers of state and federal ‘use tax’ or the pay as one goes tax which would include the taxes associated with any sale.
I wonder if these are the ‘poor people’ Obama pledges to uplift? Are these the people Obama speaks of when he accuses the Bush administration of ‘full employment’ but at a lower than market wage?
My mother did mention that people with little formal education are ‘poor people’; implying that if one has less than a college degree one is domed to making less money in ones lifetime; a conclusion that If one would exclude lawyer, certified public accountant, some licensed professions including medical doctor, is not factual. From a financial measurement prospective, the electrician, plumber, builder, craftsperson, salesperson, and the many practitioners within the service sector contribute significantly to the tax base of their federal, state, and city governments. Now that is a fact.
The idea that a college level education is essential to financial success has no basis of fact. An uncontestable test of the myth would be to utilize personal tax statements as a reference such a test would definitively corroborate voluminous amounts of evidence to the contrary. That of course begs the question. Why does the general public believe a college education is the bridge to financial success? The answer: Because it services the interest of an ever growing public funded college level bureaucracy, a bureaucracy that directly feeds off of a conceptual idea that a college education is essential to financial success. The fact is that a college education does feed the coffers of the academic community; a community, wholly dedicated to its self service via the surety of tax supported higher education institutions. As if motivated by some unquestionable noble idea, a sense of sacrifice, a moral quest, these within the academic community pedants seek employment though the perpetuation of an idea founded on a false premise.
Those within the profession of facilitating the ‘false premise’ have amazing influence on our society; in the interest of perpetuating their agenda of endorsing the merits of a higher education they validate inwardly and outwardly the idea that higher education is the bridge to financial success. For example, an applicant for federal, county, or city employment at any mid management or senior level must have a college degree. Any college degree will do…the academic community has instituted a discriminatory benchmark, an impediment to career advancement on the assumption that a college degree is essential to implementing every specific job description.
There is an old Marine Corps saying, “That assumption and presumption will get you killed in combat.” I noticed that the Harvard, Yale, and Princeton graduates of Enron ended in jail; hell what was the sense of sending them to school in the first place?
Anyway back to my dear mother; I asked my mother to seek differing even contrary sources of information when deciding on whom should be President of the Untied States, I gently cautioned her to never allow the influence of the extraneous and collateral to inhibit the exercise of good sense principles, I pleaded with her to get pass visual distortions, seek out the objective substance of the issues espoused by the office seeker. Emphasizing that a decision as important as the highest office in the land should not be summed on the youthful dynamic appearance of the candidate nor should one be mesmerized by the myth that white hair is synonymous with wisdom; this is a decision of such magnitude it warrants empirical evidence and deductive logic; I stressed to my dear mother, that in this next election, more than any other, there is little room for error.