People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Is Racism A Thing Of The Past?

Just when I begin to think we here in America are getting beyond the silly fixation we seem to have on skin tone and the implications that derive from it (we call it racism), the entire country erupts in anger and lashes out with venom at a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates because the company's leadership is trying to do a deal with the U.S. government to take over the administration of a handful of our port facilities. Oh, and because the leadership is Arab (of a sort of olive oil skin tone), politicians - Democrats and Republicans alike, racists all - are enraged.


But just when demoralization starts to set in and I begin to accept the fact that we will never be able to get beyond discussions of race, I read this in Collegiate Times, the Virginia Tech student nespaper:
Recent college applicants decline to give race
David Grant, News Editor, Sarah Larkins, News Assistant

Trend towards more "other" respondents happening across nation

A fifth of the largest application class in Tech history of almost 19,000 applicants listed its race as “other.”

This “other” grouping consists mostly of those who would typically fall under the “White” category as well as mixed-race students with Caucasian parentage, according to two Tech administrators and a study published by the Irvine Foundation, a California-based non-profit that focuses on education issues for low-income citizens. (link)

The article provides "expert" opinions as to the reason for this trend, all of which are valid. To me, though, the trend indicates a reflection of the ethnic makeup of America, which is rapidly becoming homogenized (we once called it inbreeding) as white folks marry black folks and latinos marry Native Americans, etc.

Also, there are people - and you can now include me in this category - who consider it none of the government's business (or Virginia Tech's either) how one's family tree is configured.

So include me in the "other" racial category henceforth. I encourage everyone to do the same. We are going to end this lunacy once and for all.

Across The Great Divide

The Roanoke Times, in an editorial yesterday, goes to great lengths to try to define for us just how much poverty there is in the USA. Being an avid student of statistics, I read the column with rapt attention.

For those of you, though, who don't wish to submerse yourselves in the numbers, let me summarize the data for you. There are a whole lot of people in this country living in poverty. On this we can agree.

But then the Times offers up its tired and failed 1960's solution to the poverty problem - in the form of a slap at the Bush administration:
Whatever the appropriate assumptions, the nation is headed in the wrong direction after years of helping its neediest citizens.
The implication is that we're somehow doing less to help the needy. When did we stop? Is there anyone reading this that actually thinks funding for Medicare or Medicaid or Social Security or the myriad worker training programs has actually gone down? Ever? The notion is so preposterous that I'll not even waste my time pulling up all the government outlay statistics from past years. If the Times can disprove the following, let them provide the data:
State and federal spending toward "the safety net" has increased every year since 1969 (the beginning of Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" spending binge) and continues to climb into 2006. Four trillion dollars and counting.
But there's a bigger issue - one that puts the Times editorial staff and me on opposite sides of the great divide. Reliance on the "safety net" to improve the lot of the poor will only make their situation worse.

Pay close attention: In order to provide funds for that net, a sum that now runs into the hundreds of billions of dollars each year nationwide, taxes must be levied. The folks at the Times will have you believe that there isn't enough being done to "tax the rich" but the truth is, there aren't enough rich people in this country to come close to paying for the immense "safety net."

So the government goes after the business sector. Off the top of my head, America's companies - large and small - can expect to pay ...
... federal corporate income taxes, an income tax on corporate profits, inventory taxes (!), accounts receivable taxes, building permit taxes, capital gains taxes, CDL license taxes, state income taxes, federal unemployment taxes (FUTA), food license taxes, fuel permit taxes, gasoline taxes (42 cents per gallon - today, Tim), taxes on interest earned, and then there are the many local taxes ...
My guess is a good tax accountant can grow that list to mammouth proportions. I invite the input.

The point is this: We don't need a safety net (except for the elderly and the infirm) if everyone is gainfully employed. Far too many people here in Southwest Virginia are not employed because too many of those companies that had been operating here have ceased operations because the cost of doing business became too great.

In order to fund "the safety net," we raise taxes and fees to a point where companies fail. Or move their operations to India. Those workers who lose their jobs fall into the safety net, requiring more funds. And higher taxes. The heavier tax burden on the remaining businesses results in more failures. More laid off workers go into the safety net ... and on and on.

I read not long ago that 25% of Tazewell County residents are now on some sort of government relief. They've become woven into the fabric of the safety net. Though Tazewell can boast that it has an excellent benefit delivery system, what it doesn't have is economic growth. The county is now slowly depopulating and the poverty rate there is 50% higher than the rest of the state.

Tazewell County, Virginia has a wondrous safety net. It needs employers. Throw more money at the former, expect fewer of the latter. And watch Tazewell County die.

Shouldn't They Be Called The Helsinki Wings?

I should have been paying closer attention to the Olympics. This probably makes sense:

Swedes Wing It
Lidstrom's goal decisive; 4 other Hockeytown heroes factor in victory
John Niyo, The Detroit News

TORINO, Italy -- Welcome home, boys.

There won't be any need for dark glasses and fake moustaches when Nicklas Lidstrom and his fellow countrymen on the Red Wings' roster head to Sweden this summer. Not like four years ago, when the Olympic hockey team lost a stunner to Belarus in a quarterfinal and the next day the national newspaper ran a front-page headline that read: "They Shamed Their Country."

No, this time they've got a passport that's as good as gold.

Sweden erased its recent history of failures on the international stage by outlasting archrival Finland for a hard-fought 3-2 victory Sunday in the men's gold-medal game at the Palasport Olimpico.

Each of the five Wings on the Swedish roster played a key role in the victory ... (link)

Half the Swedish Olympic team lives in the USA and plays for the Detroit Red Wings. At what point does the Swedish Olympic hockey team become the U.S. Olympic hockey team?

I'm so confused.