The Narrative of Anger and Pain

…Those who oppose Trump share similar concerns to those who support him. The difference is often in the desired outcome; and even there, there is usually less difference than we are led to believe.

It’s distressing: the current narrative by many supporters of Trump (and haters of Hillary) seems to be “She’s as bad as he is.”
 
The problem with this is that it is a deflection – attempting to excuse the really vile behavior of one candidate by equating it with the behavior of the other. The problem is Donald Trump’s behavior. What Hillary did (or didn’t do) has absolutely nothing to do with DT’s narcissism, bullying, misogyny and hate speech. Her behavior, regardless of whether you buy into the claims made about her or not, does not excuse what he’s said and done.
 
What many supporters of DT miss in their eagerness to defend him is that the concerns with him are threefold.
 
First, aside from a handful of mantras about immigration, job loss, taxes, gun rights and the evils of Hillary; he has no discernible plan or stance on anything. His opinions on things change with the wind, and his proposed solutions – when voiced at all – tend to be in the realm of “whack it with a big stick and it’ll go away, trust me.”
 
Trust is essential to the office of President: trust built upon diligence, a legacy of results, transparency, and a willingness to take criticism seriously (or at least tolerate it well). No President is perfect at any of these things, but none yet has been as completely devoid of these traits as DT.
 
And yet, in most of these cases, those who oppose Trump share similar concerns to those who support him. The difference is often in the desired outcome; and even there, there is usually less difference there than we are led to believe.

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A Progressive Defense of Tax Exempt Status for Churches

Rev. Dwight Welch is right on the money (sic) with this one. Yes, there are some “churches” and religious organizations that take advantage of the tax system to enrich themselves.

But most, even very large and well known conservative organizations (such as the one I once worked for), are sincere in their goals, beliefs and desire to minister to the needs of others, no matter how distressing we may find their theology and public statements to be.

To remove the nonprofit status of religious organizations, as Rev. Welch points out, would be a disaster for most churches in this country.

To try and craft new regulations to weed out bad actors is probably not necessary, and would most likely create an even more difficult regulatory landscape for both the public and for those tasked with enforcing such regulations already.

Such regulations already exist. What is needed is the ability (and will) to enforce them – which may well require rethinking our tax enforcement mechanisms (not the laws themselves) to make them less susceptible to political pressure.

Approaching Justice

outdoorchurch

I’m a person on the left and I’m gay and thanks to marriage equality, I’m married too. I’m also clergy. And so my defense should make various sides of these issues unhappy. But since I see so many articles on the left that call for taxing the churches I thought it would be worth clearing up some misnomers.

A) “What is particularly egregious about the tax benefits going to religious organizations is that they receive these benefits, ostensibly, because they are charities.” No, they are receiving this tax benefit because they are a non profit. But looking at percentages won’t help get a full picture of the charitable support.

I served a church, First Congregational, in Sheridan WY. As a % of it’s budget, it is true that operating expenses took up the bulk of its financial resources. But it also houses the local soup kitchen, the only one…

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Raising the Age of Social Security Eligibility?

We’re paying our Congressional Reps and Senators a handsome wage and even better health and retirement benefits to look out for us; so, it’s about time they got serious about doing the job we’re paying them to do, and fix this mess – so that we can have some modest assurance of financial stability in our retirements, too.

11885164_10154157348992908_2115962267242637017_nI agree with Bernie on most issues. Not quite so sure about this one.

There are really two gaps that need to be addressed:

First, Social Security in general is underfunded and additional revenues absolutely must be found if it is to remain solvent. The solution is clear and incontestable: raise the limits on how much of one’s income is subject to the Social Security tax; and perhaps even raise the rates, especially on those who have large incomes.

Second (and as is at the heart of this proposal) it has always been assumed that the taxes paid by workers retiring in the future would fund the Social Security benefits of those retiring now.  (Which further assumes that there will always be a significantly larger pool of those still working compared to those who are currently retired.)

Continue reading “Raising the Age of Social Security Eligibility?”