Monday, January 6, 2014

A Fish Rots At The Top--War On Income Inequality

     Obama Care or the ACA has been sliced, diced and hit with more periods that a flock of geese with shotgun pellets. My iambic flogger needs a rest and just when I thought I could wax eloquently on the emotions and passions of our second American pastime, college football with the build up the National Championship Game and the demise of and farewell by the BCS, a new target has appeared on the political landscape, income inequality. The first salvoes of the Blues apparent strategy to extricate themselves from the continuing ACA ball and chain that threatens to drag control of the Senate away from the Blues--higher minimum wages and yet another extension of long term unemployment benefits--have already been fired. Expect more to follow in terms of taxation and loss of deductions at higher income levels and maybe even penalties on compensation to executives above limits dictated by what the Feds believe is fair.
         Before we as a nation go holding hands, singing kumbaya and jumping into the income equality pit, maybe our career politicians need to look first at the income inequality in Congress and the legal inequality enjoyed by members of Congress before using us mere mortals as the guinea pigs for the income inequality experiment.
          The poem that follows owes its inspiration to Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis in his failed campaign against Ronald Reagan and his charge "A fish rots at the top," referring to the White House and the Iran Contra scandals:
Fish Rots at the Head—War on Income Inequality
Before the Blues on Income Inequality as an issue charge full steam ahead
Some thoughts to consider and the idea perhaps shed
There may be growing income inequality that a rise in the minimum wage will not fix
But to pander to one group for election gain is typical of this Administration, yet another political trick
Dukakis when he ran for President said “A fish rots from the head first.”
 Time to look to the leaders before the restraints against the new class warfare burst
If members of Congress were like the rest of us mere mortals, 5 or 6 would be in the rarefied one percent wealth air
While Obama rails about the income inequality a question to pose is how many members of our Congress are millionaires?
While the new class warfare shows no sign of Obama’s willing to relent
Surprise, the number of millionaires in Congress totals about 47 percent—
Almost 60 percent of the Senate and 40 percent of the House hold law degrees
No plumbers, drivers, or waiters—Could go further but it is clear our Congress is very far different than you and me
The rest of the 99 percent of mere mortals have had to the winds of economic misfortune endure
While our Congress with perks and access to inside information find their wealth growing and secure
We will never keep the lawyers out of Congress to it control
And beset by financial insecurities, the small businessman or worker a campaign cannot bankroll.
We may not be able to income and wealth inequality in the Congress address
But we could make sure that they like us are subject to the same laws’ and regulations’ duress
Only the most naïve would believe that a blind trust a Congressperson’s greed would curtail
But more rigorous conflict of interest rules that even city councilmen face, in this environment, might not fail.
When all else fails in this needed war against the rotting at the head
Time to put term limits in place so the idea of office as a career is dead.
Doubt that rancor, rhetorical dysfunction and rabid partisanship can be contained
But as a poet one can hope and dream that there are persons of honor who will try to it restrain.
© January 6, 2014 Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet


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