Let America Be America Again

8 Apr

These words start a poem published by Langston Hughes in 1938. As I write this post, we are hours away from a possible shutdown of the American government, because politicians cannot decide on a budget.

The budget fight is premised on the deficit that the country has. Now ideally, no one should ever have a budget deficit: not a government and not an individual. It’s really a matter of being fiscally responsible, a lesson that most of us should have learned when we were four-years-old and asked our parents for a pony. In a perfect world, no one would spend money they do not have. Take me, for example—as you know I’m not short of a bob or two, but I still stick to a budget. If it’s a Friday night and I’ve only got £1000 left of my weekly budget, I’ll have to limit my spending: say, if I’m tempted to wage a war in Afghanistan or fund a religious maniac’s diploma mill to the tune of $445 million, I won’t, I’ll just say no. It’s not always fun to say no, but sometimes it’s the only responsible thing to do.

But okay, the US government’s got a deficit, so what’s the best way to get out of it? Clearly, you’ve only got three options when you’re out of cash: bring more in, take less out, or a combination of the two. As any bisexual will tell you, a bit of both is always best.

One obvious way to increase the money a government brings in is to raise taxes. Duh. Now no one wants to pay taxes, we all know that, so anyone who feels compelled to make the point that taxes aren’t fun should just zip it right now. There’s lots of things in life we don’t want to do, but sometimes have to do. If a fun solution had been an option, we wouldn’t have gotten to this crisis point. We’ve got to find the least not-fun solution available.

So we’re in the middle of a financial crisis, we’re all struggling, and now I’m suggesting raising taxes?  Before I go any further, just think about this for a minute.






Because you know what? A lot of us, we’re not struggling; we just have less money than we used to have. That isn’t the same thing as struggling (especially if part of the reason why we have less is because we neglected to follow a budget, as outlined in paragraph 2.)

So bumping up taxes (particularly on the rich) is an option. Or is it? No, because Obama extended the Bush tax cuts, a measure that costs more than his stimulus package Republicans are always banging on about, even though evidence shows the cuts neither hurt small business nor help grow the economy.

As the government’s given up on bringing in more, by default, they’re choosing to spend less. The government spends a lot of money on a lot of stuff. Big stuff, little stuff, good stuff, bad stuff, useful stuff, useless stuff. The argument now is what to spend less on?

I am not going to propose what should and shouldn’t be cut here. I could go on about my personal opinions and interests and the way they reflect my own upbringing, background, morals. But I won’t. And here’s why.

Because the truth is most Americans know the difference between right and wrong.

Leviticus 23:22 When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.

The Prophet Muhammad: He who sleeps on a full stomach whilst his neighbour goes hungry is not one of us.

The Upanishads: Like in a well the more you fetch, more water oozes . . the more you give the more you get. This generosity is mandatory to every individual.  Hurry to promise or pledge to help. It is one thing—glorious and divine—to strive for getting an occasion for that.

The Buddha: Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.

Guru Granth Sahib: The poor and the rich are both brothers. This is Lord’s immutable design.

The Talmud: Whoever destroys a single life is as guilty as though he had destroyed the entire world; and whoever rescues a single life earns as much merit as though he had rescued the entire world.

My Grandmother Boots (one for the atheists): If you turn your back on the needy, you are a real shit.

All Americans should realise that however this crisis ends, the final budget will have effects across the globe. When people around the world look at what America does, they don’t look at it as Republican choices or Democrat actions.

What do we want the world to think is important to Americans?

3 Responses to “Let America Be America Again”

  1. Old Doc Brandel Saturday, 9 April 2011 at 20:42 #

    Dear Agatha: Tip of the hat to Grandma Boots. Pardon naive me, but, of course, this standoff cannot have anything to do with forcing an unpopular social agenda on the country, could it?

  2. SW/AWW Saturday, 16 April 2011 at 01:30 #

    Old Doc,

    Whatever are you thinking ? The Republicans are only interested in one thing: getting rid of the deficit. As you probably know, the Republican Party has a long history of being anti-deficit. It’s those damn Democrats who are to blame, and the Republican budget is based only on cleaning up the Obama’s mess. It’s pure coincidence that their budget benefits the rich and take away from the poor. Pure coincidence.

    Where Did The Deficit Come From?



  1. Day Three of Living On Less « Through the Split Window - Monday, 11 April 2011

    […] UPDATE: As the government shutdown looms, please read Miss Agatha Whitt-Wellington’s straight-to-the-point analysis of the budget crisis: “Let America Be America Again.” […]

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