Is This Your Hat?
2 years ago
"People always say that I didn't give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn't true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in."-- Rosa Parks, in Rosa Parks: My Story (1992)Another notable item from today's anniversaries came when I was very nearly two months old: via the NYT, "On Dec. 1, 1959, representatives of 12 countries, including the United States, signed a treaty in Washington setting aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, free from military activity." In many ways, this can be seen as merely symbolic. On the other hand, this treaty has endured for 51 years now, and has for the most part been respected. Given the cynicism and despair with which I regard humanity's awareness of and respect for our basic life support system, I can still muster a bit of hope when I witness such an enormous expanse of potential resources- and potential enrichment- set aside for scientific purposes. There is hope for a species and culture that has the awareness to say "We don't really understand this. Maybe we shouldn't mess with it for the time being."
So President Obama has volunteered his work force -- 2 million federal employees -- to live with a pay freeze for two years as a contribution to reducing the $1 trillion-plus federal debt.Now I really like the idea of volunteering others' income to cut the national deficit. I personally would like to volunteer that everyone pays FICA on all their income, not just the first ~100K. I'd like to volunteer 50% of long-term capital gains to be taxed as income, not just 15%, or 20% as it was before the Bush tax cuts. I'll also volunteer all members of the financial sector to pay a flat 50% rate on all bonuses and stock options above and beyond their declared salary. The freeze on federal employees' salaries is estimated to save 2/3 of 1% of the next decade's deficit. I'd be happy to bet a very substantial sum that my generous volunteering of other people's incomes would save a hell of a lot more than that.