What’s The Matter Here?

by Lisa Longo, 5/4/14

I’m tired. Inside and out. Mentally. Physically. I’m drained. It isn’t any one thing. It is the pile of things I have to do. From campaigning, to laundry, cleaning, writing, making calls, grocery shopping, gardening, finding time to exercise and of course, working.

I am lucky, I really enjoy my work. It is a truly satisfying and enjoyable way to earn my living. But then, I started thinking about that phrase, earning a living. Why do some of us have to do that and not others?

So I’ve had this recurring thought in my head all week: why are there some people with so much money they don’t have to work? How did that happen? Did you know the Founding Fathers did not believe in allowing wealth to be accumulated over generations? That “death” tax the republican’s love to complain about? Some of the Founders believed it should be 100%.

You see, our Founding Fathers had a theory, at death a person’s accumulated wealth should revert to the country that gave them the ability to accumulate said wealth, you know, because none of us built that without government assistance of some kind. So, thanks Obama.

But just like the perversion on the reading of the 2nd amendment, republicans have managed to change the entire conversation, they make a “death” tax a bad thing and socialist while insisting that actual socialist welfare being given to corporations who suddenly are “persons” and have the right to use money as “free speech” is a good capitalist “free” market principle. Spoiler alert, it is not.

I’m hoping the Founders come back and haunt the whole lot of them.

So, how did we allow this world to be? How is it we have children dying of starvation in some places and $500 cheeseburgers in others and we allow any politician to cut $1 from funds for food stamps or welfare programs while they insist corporations are entitled to tax welfare? How?

And it is not only that. It is the stupidity of having a minimum wage that creates poverty and protects private profits over people. It is allowing schools that can’t afford to educate our students and colleges our children can’t afford to attend to become better educated.

It is having an energy policy that creates economic instability domestically and does nothing to protect our national interests or national security. We have a skewed system, and we are the ones who are getting screwed.

From national to local, we see the same simple-minded slogans used to convince people that government is bad, and therefore big government must be really bad. We have elected people who seem invested in blocking everything, and then people say they are discouraged by this “do nothing” Congress so they won’t bother to vote next time. Because that makes no sense whatsoever.

Seriously, it makes my head hurt.

Consider what is happening locally. We have an ordinance the Borough Council passed giving away millions in taxes to private real estate developers, they say this was necessary to bring development. Why? This is the LERTA, the local economic revitalization tax abatement. I have two issues with this, first, this is meant to bring commercial development and second, our town is now a booming place, named one of the best places to live in PA and a “classic” town. So why are we trying to bribe developers? They want to come here. If we can limit the LERTA to strictly commercial, i.e. business, not rental residential which get classified as commercial, or to low-income or senior housing, this might not be a terrible thing. But to allow it to be used for residential without limits, that is just silly. Why would we allow that? Go read the ordinance, it was meant to increase commercial development. So why is Council trying to approve expansion for residential development?

And we need to be aware, once the LERTA is approved we have no control over what gets built. As a matter of fact one development approved by the LERTA that was supposed to be commercial now has 275 condos and only 20,000 square feet of commercial. All those extra people in town, who is going to pay for the additional services needed? Police? Firefighters? Streets? There is going to be a cost.

So, who pays for that? Well, we do of course. And then who bitches when their taxes go up so some developer could make a few extra millions in profit? Yes, of course, we all do. So why aren’t more people fighting this? Beats me. I only happened to hear about it when I attended a Council meeting on the Graffiti Ordinance, another questionable policy decision if you ask me. Which I guess since you are reading my blog you are interested in my opinion.

So what really is the matter here? How did we get here in this skewed environment where natural gas commercials tell me fracking is “safe” and the news tells me nothing at all? No one shows up. No one understands what is going on or the implications. And without a strong and questioning public, these are the policies getting pushed through.

Another example, the geothermal system at the proposed new $80 million dollar “secondary campus” and sport facility. When the district announced this school, they were quite clear that it would be built with sustainable principles and renewable energy. Many of us only supported this expenditure because of that. But did you know the district is now saying that geothermal, with an additional cost of $1 million according to their engineer who is not an expert on geothermal, is “too much” while the $9 million on sports fields is totally reasonable? Really? Does that make any sense? The district has not even allowed a single geothermal company to weigh in on this decision or provide an analysis. They are relying on a company that couldn’t even see the value in doing an analysis. And then they want us to accept this as substantive?

Not a chance. There is a special public meeting on this, May 13th at 5pm. And people, you need to show up. The district is allowing me to do a presentation and question the engineers who prepared the report, but won’t allow me to bring an expert in the field.

This then is the state of our union.

What decisions are being made in your town or school district? How are your tax dollars being spent? What is being done with your money that you don’t know about?

Isn’t it time you found out?

Change is created by those who show up. And not showing up isn’t protest. It is surrender. And that is what is really the matter here. You’ve given up. Or never cared. But either way, don’t blame Obama, or this or that committee. The only promise that was made to us was that we would have freedom, if we could keep it. But you don’t get to dictate terms when you are absent from the process.

So I’ve got a new motto for us, New Hampshire has “Live Free or Die”, how about “Show Up And Create Change”.

It is up to us, isn’t it time you see just how powerful you really are?

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Filed under Economy, Labor, Tax, Lisa Longo

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