Saturday, January 05, 2008

Who Will Fund Your "Rights"?

With this particular blog I attempt to keep out any partisan political discussions as I only focus on "cultural" issues. I leave the partisan and ideological stuff for the "Within The Black Community" blog when ever possible. There are some issues, however that are political that spill over into the realm of culture and vice versa and thus need to be address at the foundational, cultural level.

In the past few days I have heard two debates that have forced the issue with me. The first was a debate by radio talkshow host Bev Smith with a gentleman from the "Let Freedom Ring" foundation. This organization is a self professed "right of center" organization who's goal it is to insure that the government only gets involved into things that are constitutionally mandated. The debate was over the SCHIP program which provides health care funding for poor children. Originally the program was meant to fund children who's parents were making too much income to qualify for Medicaid but not enough money to afford private insurance. The current debate is around expansion of this program to include more families with higher income brackets than were originally mandated. The key portion of the argument that I wish to focus upon is Bev Smith's perspective that "I send MY tax money" to the government who "I employ" to do what "I tell them to do with MY MONEY". Thus, she said "if I and the majority of the rest of America want to spend MY MONEY on health care for children why should the president or any other person stop me from doing so for ideological reasons?"

The second presentation that I heard was upon listening to a BBC book review from an author who wrote a book detailing how the political system in America has shifted in the past 25 years to where the wealthy are getting tax breaks from government sources and thus government is left cash starved and not able to fund certain community activities for the poor. The man claimed to be able to trace government funding cuts to the start of street gangs in poor and minority communities. I thought that I was watching an episode of "Innovation" on PBS in which the English host attempts to make a scientific link between a modern invention that we take for granted and some far off obscure invention from the long past as he fills in the blank so that it is not such a logical leap.

These two perspectives bring up a very, very important note about culture and the expectations from government and/or outsiders to provide the resources and funding for us to live at the standard of living and quality of life that we expect.

In the face of growing problems within poor and Black communities over time the methodology as expressed by these two radio sources would be for the Black community to go to the external funding source of the "Federal Government" and DEMAND that more funds be allocated to the interests of Black people lest we remain infirmed, terrorized by a criminal element from within or undereducated and thus not able to field competitive candidates into the academic world or workforce which all sum up to bear upon the material and economic condition of this same Black community.

Certainly the concept of "My Money", if true, would be matched by an attempt to WITHDRAW funds from the system that has perpetually misappropriated them against my best interests. Why would anyone keep putting money into a bank that had registered a string of losses for their investments?

The answer is clear. The concept of "My Money" from the parlance of Ms. Smith is really the notion of "My Economic Output" at the local level is not sufficient to fund the programs that I see as being the best interests for my people THUS I am forced to enter the POLITICAL realm and use the effects of aggregation and transference to allow me to accomplish my social goals since they are not supportable with the economic activity that I am performing closer to home. There is no other logical reason why any group would agree to lump their money into a pot with COMPETING INTERESTS and then enter into the threat of having these other interests take away their resources for use in a spending initiative that runs counter to their interests.

Those who call themselves "progressives" work to have this shared government entity to use its powers of taxation to spread the glory among the people, abstracting for the economic inability to provide this standard of living. They seek to make a NATIONAL statement of care that everyone who lives within qualifies for. Thus the "my money" claim is only used to feign a stake or a purchase of a share and thus a voice in the say of where these resources should go. In truth the goal is to use the voting power of the majority to distribute these economic resources all the while making a national statement on who has the RIGHTS to these given resources as part of a national statement of care and of WORTH for the individuals contained within the borders.

As a comparison there is an ongoing battle in the Atlanta Georgia metro area between the residents of Fulton County. Fulton is an amalgamation of several counties that were fused together over time. It has an oblong shape that speaks to this past fusion, mostly due to financial hardship of formerly separate counties. Recently the people in the unincorporated northern part of the county - who are more wealthy than their brothers in the southern party of the county have been complaining about the high taxes that they pay and the relatively low level of services and responsiveness that they receive from the county in kind. Of course their argument is that by being in the common container with the southern portion their tax dollars are aggregated into a pool and effectively flow out of their community and are diluted as the county attempts to spread the benefit across all - abstracting the input from the output for the sake of equal distribution for all as they strive for their common county standard.

As we apply the 'My Money' theory to this particular conflict - the Northern part of the county proposes to cede from the county in its current form and instead return to their former entity known as "Milton County". In this case the new border between north and south would form the new taxation district AND money flow boundary. We all know that a liquid will flow toward its lowest point unless there is some container to confine its flow and then it will simply deepen at a faster rate within this smaller container. Clearly THIS is the natural response for individuals who PRODUCE more of the economic resources in balance and who seek to have a greater say in where their money is being spent. One doesn't send more lobbyists to the far off point of aggregation to insure more funds are directed their way for their purposes, those who are creating the wealth tend to instead close the wagons and protect their resources from looting by individuals who have a competing set of priorities.

From a CULTURAL standpoint - we are looking at yet another STRATEGIC mistake that continues to be made by our popular leadership. They extend the "Friend and Family Plan" to the national level rather than seeking to have the funding boundary to encapsulate those who TRULY DO have their interests in mind. If indeed we have a competitive marketplace in the United States and if indeed SUBGROUP PREFERENCES inside of this market place trump NATIONALISTIC tendencies to life all who are fellow country men then the Black community is left aspiring to use the POLITICAL process to both aggregate financial resources across internal boundaries and then to use the same political process to draw these same resources back down into our hands via a diluted set of power that being 13% of the population can express upon the valley of competing interests for that same pot of money.

Do we value the RECEIPT of these services and are contented upon their delivery OR is there greater value, independence and perpetuation in the ability to IDENTIFY the need for such a level of care, GENERATE the economic resources to pay for these services and be more ABSTRACTED from the contextual constraints that might have different priorities and agendas for "our money"?

Which of these two strategies lend themselves to PRUNING and GRAFTING downward? I mean that YES one can move from the USA to Canada and thus receive universal health care that Canada has but the USA does not. What if one moves from the USA to Guatemala? Can the system of dependencies that you have fought for in the USA as your RIGHTS be taken to the nation of Guatemala or Somalia and have the flow of resources initiated again because you lobby the government for that which is due to you as an expression of THEIR HUMAN VALUATION of you?

Indeed it must be the case that HUMAN VALUATION as pertained to SERVICES exposed to the person to help him live at a greater STANDARD OF LIVING must indeed have some ECONOMIC FINANCING and OUTPUT aspects to them that can't be ABSTRACTED in the name of "RIGHTS". (Otherwise you could be able to go to the nation of Chad, stand in the desert and say "I have a right to health care, a community center and free education" and thus it appears).

This "nation building" stuff is harder than it seems. Might the challenge be that too many people have their base assumptions wrong and are masked by their presence in a GREATER ECONOMIC SYSTEM that they can makes demands from and continue to APPEAR to be correct? Let them go off on their own - they will see.

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