Friday, July 27, 2012

Friending Blackie

Hi. Remember me. I'm Mocha Java and I just turned two. I've been with my human family, Terry and Betsy, for one year. I've learned so much. They use different words than I'd heard before. And I've taught them so much. Let's just look at one difference.

A new kitty came to visit a few weeks ago. He's all black with cute white paws, just like mine. He peeked into the basement door one day. It was early in the morning, but I'd been playing with my mouse for about an hour. I dashed downstairs and saw a new face looking in my door. I hissed and whipped my tail back and forth. I hadn't invited this new guy. He needed to learn some manners. He sat, his tail wrapped around his paws. He didn't move. I lay down, my tail in a straight line behind me. My female human came looking for me. I didn't break the staring contest with Blackie. I also didn't growl or hiss at him. He needed to learn a lesson about coming onto my lower deck. After a very long time, he stood, stretched and walked away. I'd won.

Two weeks later Blackie came back. This time I was on the outside steps down to the lake. He pranced his way through fallen leaves and jumped up on a step a few lower than were I was sitting. He didn't ask if it was all right. So, I puffed up my tail and started walking toward him. He held his ground for a few steps before he bolted back the way he came. I chased him. Then, I crouched in the leaves about fifteen feet away from him. We stayed that way for a long time. 

Eventually, Blackie crept back toward me. I let him get close. I gradually backed up to a large tree and settled down. It took a while, some more growling and tail whipping before I let Blackie lie down on the other side of my tree.

What this is all about is friending a kitty, kitty-style. Both my humans talk about friending people of Facebook, whatever that is. I don't think I have a Facebook. But I do have a friend in Blackie. If he doesn't get too close and if he behaves, he's welcome to visit.

So, I know how to friend kitties. Now, what is all this stuff about the "terrible twos." I need to know so that I behave right, don't I?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

How's It Working For Ya?

If you are like me, you're probably weary of the ongoing debate about extending the Bush-era tax cuts for another year. That would push any real decision on tax policies out past the current election cycle.

Let's take a quick look at one of the arguments about extending these cuts. One party says these cuts are absolutely necessary for the wealthy, because it is the wealthy who create jobs. Really?

The other party wants to increase taxes on the rich, so that they pay more. The rationale seems to be: they earn more, so they should pay more.

Now, these tax cuts went into law in 2001 and 2003, were extended in 2005 and several times afterwards. They were supposed to sunset in 2010. They were extended twice since the sunset clause was thrown out. And now we have both parties want to keep them in place for another year.

So, we have a disconnect between wanting to put more money in the pockets of the rich, who are supposed to be creating jobs so the unemployed can find these new jobs and add to the tax pool, and the real fact that jobs are not being created by individuals. They are created by corporations. Oh wait, I forget. Corporations are people. Well, dang. There goes that argument. But, the current debate is not about reducing corporate tax structures but about keeping tax rates low on the rich.

I'm not rich. I'm not poor. I'm middle class, part of the 99% club. I have friends that are searching for jobs. They don't want a hand out. They want to work. They don't want to see the rich piling up what could be tax money in their personal accounts.

Corporations are sitting on piles of money. They are unwilling to spend, because they don't see any buyers for their goods and services. Without people out there with money to buy the goods and services, we won't see much of an economic recovery. We'll continue pushing out tax cuts and deepening the deficit. And the vicious circle goes ever on and on.

We can't have it both ways. Either we accept the fact that tax cuts have not shown benefits in creating jobs or we don't. Either we face the fact that tax cuts in general add to the deficit or we don't. Either we accept that we pander to the political climate and push bad policies in order to get elected or re-elected or we don't.

Regardless of how this plays out, I have some questions. Are you finding it easier to find work because the tax cuts on the rich are creating jobs? Are the jobs popping up all over the place? Is the jobless rate tumbling below 8%? Are you part of rebuilding the economy through employment and paying your taxes? Probably not.

So, let me close with this last question: How are the current tax cuts working for ya?