Editorial / Change is coming to Merida too!

Change is coming to Merida too!

Change is coming to Merida too!

23 December 2008 Editorial 27

 

For those of us who supported Barack Obama in the run up to the 2008 presidential elections in the United States, we have continued to get emails from his office, informing us of his progress as president-elect, and calling on us to continue to participate.

Two weeks ago, the emails asked people to get together in small local meetings all over the country to get to know each other, talk about the things that mattered to them, and begin to get organized to be activists in their own communities. As US Citizens, we took that challenge and called out to a few friends to meet.

Saturday, December 14, along with others across the US and the world, we met to discuss our role as US Citizens... in the USA, in the world, and yes, here in the Yucatan.

The meeting was a gathering of an amazing range of people from all parts of the US and all walks of life. We had former dentists, lawyers, professors, architects, airline pilots, lobbyists and sales people. There were people from Illinois (quite a few of those, curiously), Massachusetts, Alaska, Virginia, D.C., Wisconsin, Washington, California and Ohio.

We introduced ourselves and told the group why we had bothered to come to this meeting. There was a general agreement that many of us felt a renewed sense of hope, and an intimation... just a glimmer... that maybe, just maybe, the world might be changing for the better, and we could help it move in that direction. Many of us cited the "reign" of George Bush as one of the reasons why we had left our homeland, but to be fair, we were not all of the same political persuasion. There were Republicans and Democrats and independents... the only thing we had in common was our U.S. Citizenship and our desire to do something good. We also agreed that not only did we want to do something to make the world a better place, but as representatives of America here in Merida, we want to find a service project that will promote the goodwill of Americans in Merida and allow us to share our skills or gifts with our chosen city.

The call for the meeting had specified that the group should organize one service event before the Inauguratin of Barack Obama. That doesn't leave us much time!!

The next group meeting will be on December 27 from 4 to 6 pm, and anyone who is interested in participating is welcome to attend. If you would like to attend, please contact Martha Lindley (martha.lindley@gmail.com) and put "Change is Coming" in the subject line of your email. At that meeting, we will decide on a short term service project to be accomplished before January 20... and we'll go from there. We are looking at everything from blood donations to teaching English to picking up trash to... well, we haven't decided yet! If you have a good idea, email Martha at the email address above with your idea. Or, just come to the meeting and participate.

Change is coming, and we want to be a part of it! Come join us.

Addendum: One of the attendees suggested that we could start participating in government by writing to our Congressmen, demanding that they invoke an existing law regarding corporate excess profits. The law is Public Law 909, 81st Congress, 64 Stat.1137, 1950, Excess Profits Tax. Invoking this law would help the government finance social services and reduce the national debt, among other things. There was, apparently, a similar law in 1945 that brought in 23.3% of Federal Revenue at that time. The law is designed to give back to the government some of the excessive profits gained by corporations that supply the government in times of war. You can also read about it here on Wikipedia.

Comments

  • Yucatan Living - Yucatan News: Trees, AA and Henry Ponce 8 years ago

    [...] Post: Expat Community Service Project That’s right folks. This group of local expats started here, completed their first project here, and landed in Huffington Post here!Congratulations to [...]

  • Working Gringos 8 years ago

    OK, that was the last one :-)

  • Eda Palacios 9 years ago

    I am a United Airlines Flight attendant based in Japan. I have an apartment on Colonia Garcia Gineres for the past 15 years and I am very pleased to find so many of U.S. and Canadian citizens enjoying living in Merida. Born in Nicaragua, educated in Spokane, Washington, 35 years with UAL and 2 more years before retirement. I would certainly like to attend some of your meetings and having acquaintances. I do get to Merida every 2 months. I congratulate all of you for building a network in Merida.

    Eda

  • Working Gringos 9 years ago

    Thank you all for your comments. But since we are trying to stay away from political arguments here, and keep things on a positive note, we are going to now close the comments for this article. We're sure there are many other venues where this discussion can continue...

  • Brenda Thornton 9 years ago

    Oh, and Bob, you should read this article about Bush's achievements: www.truthout.org/010709J. It makes for an interesting read and makes some very legitimate stances on his Presidency. As for history making the judgements on his Presidency, he has been in office for nearly eight years, and I think something he did or didn't do eight years ago is already history, to me.

    I have a friend who is a naturalized American, an Iraqi Christian, who has been in this country for around twenty years, and the freed the Iraqis thing rings rather hollow to she and her family. Actually, the Christians lived okay under the authoritarian regime, sort of, as no one could attack and kill them, they owned and did business, some were fairly affluent, and they had a peaceful life except when Iraq was at war.

    She now says that most of her family has fled or been killed, their businesses are gone, they cannot work in Iraq, and they are targets for the Sunnis and the Shites. Her parents finally left Iraq, and though they detested Saddam, they said their life went from being somewhat difficult to becoming a living hell after they were "freed", and their take is that there will never, ever be peace in Iraq and among the different and competing groups.

  • Brenda Thornton 9 years ago

    The United States has a corporate tax rate which is supposed to be the second highest in the world. Note I said, SUPPOSED. With all the various deductions, credits, and loopholes, the actual taxes collected make it way, way down on the totem pole for taxes for legitimate governments. Still, many corporations who make much of their income in Gringo land pull stunts like registering in the Bahamas or Cayman Islands to get out of paying virtually ALL TAXES.

    This includes many corporations who get either all or much of their income from federal taxes.

    The destruction of the basis for our economy sped up like going from a diesel locomotive to one of the high-speed European trains during the last eight years. The capital gains taxes were lowered to nearly the lowest rate in modern times, and that means that the very wealthy became super wealthy, while the remaining folks had to carry their weight. I believe that capital gains should remain at the low rate for a certain amount per person per year, and then it should go up as the income goes up, to where it stood under Clinton, and it was FAIR then.

    At least all those millionaires and billionaires who invested with Madoff won't have to be worrying about taxes, although I do not know whether money lost in a swindle is the same thing as money lost in capital losses. I'll have to call my Senator and find out.

    The expats who reside in Mexico all add to the Mexican economy, I would gather, and they all benefit in living with less money than in the U. S. However, in Texas, we recently learned that it cost the State of Texas $677 million dollars in costs to the taxpayers to pay for health care for illegal immigrants mostly from Mexico and various and sundry costs not born by them or those who employ them. That is a huge bunch of dinero by anyone's standards and with the economy behaving so badly, many who were once pro immigrant are beginning to change their minds in respect to these huge outlays and the individuals who benefit from employing them without paying taxes, health care and social security for them.

    We need to enforce the laws against these rogue employers and they should not be able to impose the costs on the rest of the citizenry and should not be permitted to mistreat their immigrant workers, as well.

    My sympathies actually fall with the immigrant workers, but I would much prefer that they go to a sytem where they enter the country legally, with temporary status, after having had authentic background checks, know enough English to read the road signs, and be guaranteed the right to change employers if they are abused, receive one and a half times the minimum wage for their work, and health benefits, along with all appropriate taxes being paid. That would benefit the country, the immigrants and the employers who do not break the law and the immigrants could live openly and fairly.

  • Yucatan Man 9 years ago

    That's right - increase taxes on successful corporations that already pay some of the highest taxes in the world - then watch them move away from the U.S - brilliant!!

  • dixieboy 9 years ago

    Well, I've read through all the comments, and find it very interesting that those of you who I will call Democrats simply don't get the idea of what the United States is all about. That reason is why so many in this old world would gladly risk everything they have to get here. Witness the influx of our fellow Mexicans risking injury and possibly life itself to get here. That reason is the fact that in America, with a little bit of hard work, one can do and be almost anything the mind can conceive.

    I find it most interesting that Democrats fail consistently to understand that hard work and the rewards from that hard work is what has made America the Great place that it has been to this point in history. The fact that Democrats consistently praise government as being the giver of the great success story fails to understand what actually creates wealth in this country. The very spirit of the individual being free to work as hard as they please and reap the rewards is what at one time made America the world leader in technology and industry. It is unfortunate that Democrats, for the most part, have been the major driving factor in the "something for nothing" mindset that now pervades this country. The rich are demonized for their success and yes, there are probably some who got that success through other than honest means, but to take a broad bush and paint everyone who is successful as mean, uncaring, having gotten their success by default is so wrong, on so many levels. And to be punished for your hard work and sacrifice, that adds a whole new layer of wrong to this equation.

    I put no faith in your statisics, polls or other data bases. I took statistics in college and I am well aware of how using filters and massaging data can always bring the outcome to that which you seek and makes your point! So I'm not bothering to look at your stats or websites that make your point unless I am personally familiar with the filters and massage techniques used! Even then, all stats should be taken with a grain of salt!

    From what I've said thus far, you might take me to be a Republican; you would be extremely far from fact. I do not affiliate with any party. As a matter of fact, I detest this party system, and I detest this entire BS that goes along with a party system. As far as I'm concerned, if you are in your second term or more in an elected office, you are a professional politician, speaking what you think the public wants to hear so that you will be re-elected to you scum sucking and muck raking, getting money stuffed into your pockets for favors that benefit not those who elected you but those who have bought and paid for you. You, the politician, and those who stuff money in your pockets are the ones who need to be taxed to high heaven and most likely are the very ones who have gotten your fortune by other than honest means!

    President Obama is going to be no different than GWB, or any of the others that have preceded him. Because he too has several to repay for his election, he will tailor legislation for their benefit. But one must understand that the president alone cannot make things happen. Congress has to be onboard and willing to follow the president's lead. But the truth is, Congress is the source of the entire BS and is where CHANGE is grossly needed. And we the electorate bare most of the fault for allowing congress to become the festering cess pool it has become.

    I suppose my bottom line would be that Democrats ( and most likely, many Republicans) need to understand MORE of what makes America tick and figure out how to make that ticking carry on, smoothly!

    And for those of you who are wanting to be politcaticlly active in your foreign home, maybe you should consider returning to America so you can be a part of what you have asked for and to glean the benefits of what you have asked for! Just a thought!

  • CasiYucateco 9 years ago

    Rini, Thank you for the kind words. How do you show a hug in a text message? {{{}}}

    William Galt, Thank you also. (Should I be taking bows? What am I, Joan Rivers?) I have a long history in land use analysis (how & when development occurs) and economic forecasting for a big company.

    Bob, You are absolutely correct. 20% of the US pays 80% of the taxes.

    Still, a couple facts out are missing: The wealthiest 20% of the US population owns 84% of all assets within the US. If you limit the figure to financial assets (as opposed to houses, business buildings, limousines, private jets, yachts, islands, etc), the top 20% of the US owns 91.2% of all financial assets (stocks, bonds, cash, money market accounts, etc).

    Over NINETY-ONE percent of ALL money in the USA is held by 20% of the people. (Source: US Census and IRS statistics. A more readable account than government reports is found here: http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html )

    The Top One Percent of the USA -- the richest few families in America -- own 39.7% of all financial wealth in the USA. Wowie, zowie, was I born to the wrong family!

    So, if 20% are paying 80% of the taxes, they are underpaying their share by about 12%.

    Let's look at the other end of the equation: 80% of everyone in the USA holds 8.8% of the cash and financial instruments.

    It gets even worse: The bottom 40% of the population owns only 1.1% of the nation's net worth and only 0.2% of the cash and financial instruments. Jumpin' Jehoshaphat! How on earth do they ever LIVE on that amount?

    The percentage increase in number of millionaires from 1983 to 2004 was +33% with a percent increase in Income of 81% during that time.

    The percentage change in net wealth for the bottom 40% was minus 58.7% (and 2004 was before the housing crash!) with a net income gain of only 4% or only 0.2% per year over 20 years.

    The increase in Income for the top 20% was 20 Times as High as the increase in Income for the bottom 40% over the course of 20 years. That is the road to Banana Republic-landia, not a democracy. It is a gap in wealth and income that is unsustainable.

    (Source: again, US Govt Statistics at the Census and IRS, but a scholarly article discussing this data can be found at http://www.levy.org/pubs/wp_502.pdf Warning! 50 Page PDF file!)

    The reason I yammer on about this in the delightful Working Gringos story about Change Coming to Merida is that good decision-making only occurs when it is based on good facts.

    Visualizing Economics is a great site for making data visible. Here is their presentation on Income Inequality: http://www.visualizingeconomics.com/?s=income+inequality

    In the second entry at that link, it seems that the rich get richer under Republican presidents, while the poor get a touch more help under Democratic presidents.

    From this link (enlarge the image to make it readable), we can see that the income inequality from the pre-depression years has returned. Note the entry that begins "In 1980"! http://www.visualizingeconomics.com/wp-content/uploads/extremeinequalitychart.jpg

    Here is a link to US Census Bureau Data: http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/histinc/histinctb.html for those who care to add the numbers up on their own.

    Everyone can guess that my sympathies are with the bottom 80%.

    If "change" is going to make a real difference, it simply must help the great majority of the nation and not divert more money to the obscenely wealthy, who are already not paying their share.

  • Rini 9 years ago

    To William Galt - Many of CasiYucateco's replies are extremely well versed and educational. You may want to search YL's site for his additional responses on other topics.

    As a Mexican-American also living in "gringolandia", I too am thankful to see "mi paisano" express many of our people's beliefs so effectively. Gracias CasiYucateco.

    Y Gracias WG for your efforts, challenging as they may be. :)

  • CasiYucateco 9 years ago

    For a nice view of how Personal Income Tax (individuals) has risen while Corporate Income Tax has fallen or remained level since WWII, see this chart:

    http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/images/2008/05/31/corporate_personal_taxes2.gif

    Some argue that corporate income tax is paid by the customer of the corporation. Likewise, however, the tax may be taken from the shareholders of the company, should raising product prices not be viable or competitive.

    As the chart shows, personal income tax paid has risen greatly, while corporate taxes are flat (or lower) for over 50 years. And, during the past 8 years, personal income has remained flat while corporate profits have increased 68%. That indicates that the shareholders of the corporations (or their private owners) have had a nice raise while we peons have had none.

    The discrepancy is apparent to any who examine the facts.

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