BUDGET … In his proposal to balance the federal budget, Columbia Law School professor Michael J. Graetz’s first recommendation is to enact a value-added tax (a tax on sales of finished goods and services) such as exists in 150 countries worldwide. Exported goods are exempted from the VAT, making them more competitive in the world market against our goods, which have our domestic business and raw materials sales taxes built into their cost … His second proposal is to exempt families earning $100,000 or less from the federal income tax. He would drop the corporate tax rate to 15-20% and get rid of the earned income tax credit (naturally, since people under $100,000 income wouldn’t pay income tax), instead providing lower-income families with relief from the VAT burden through payroll tax credits and other tax mechanisms.
GREEN PARTY … It’s a good measure of a group if it can weather controversy and conflict. The state Green Party has had its share of both, and for the last year or so been mired in internal issues … But a day-long meeting in Longmont last month served to heal some of the rifts and provide majority support for a restructuring of the party … I was pleased to be elected co-chair, along with Poudre Valley Green Bill Bartlett, for the next several years (an earlier election was only temporary). For more info, check the state Green website
WEEKLY QUOTA … "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou (thanks to Facebook friend Tammy Ruppert of Minnesota)
THUMBS DOWN … Former California Governor and U.S. President Ronald Reagan, “Mr. Teflon”, whose Hollywood charm and 20-mule-train “Mr. Clean” look (while pimping for General Electric) made him an American icon of the Right (in an ironic spin of the universe at its most resilient, it’s Ronald’s John Hancock that seals my Bachelor of Arts degree); when, for those of us on the Left, it was the Raygun administration (so named for his boondoggle Star Wars proposal to militarize space) that began the rise of what many are calling the “imperial presidency”, starting with his illegal drugs-for-guns Contra operation -- funding guerrilla thugs to terrorize the Nicaraguan countryside, killing doctors, nurses and teachers, in a proxy war with Russia … Now comes even our own progressive hope for president, Mr. Barack Obama, continuing to bomb Tripoli without seeking congressional approval, as our Constitution and the War Powers Act demands … Left / Right – it doesn’t seem to matter. When it comes to power, both sides of the aisle are seduced and act unilaterally … Someone in Willapa Bay on our trip to the Northwest suggested that the Tea Party and the Green Party ought to unite and form the Green Tea movement, and see if we can get our federal union back in control of the people, instead of the banks and the military-industrial complex.
THE TALKING GOURD
Father Sebastian Father Sebastian sits
in the burn-black corridors of his mind
and hauls out his spiny dreams.
He wants to become a mirage
scrambling over the desert
just out of reach,
to whisper like a loom
when it licks
to be a hawk
whose search for a mate
flogs its iron wings,
or the beast of evening
when it crawls over trembling hills,
casting rosaries around its feet.