Chris Saxman: Cold Fusion-State of the Union Edition

Wednesday afternoon I sat down in the recently renovated and undecorated customer lounge at Charlie Obaugh’s Buick/GMC dealership to read President Obama’s State of The Union address. This was necessitated by the fact that the twelve year blocked my attempt to do so on the way home from a basketball game the night previous.

Rather than punctuate a channel change maneuver with a Like I’m Not Even Kidding, she jumped right to the Triple Dog Dare and simply turned off the radio with a very stern “NO. I am NOT listening to this”. I was unwilling to draw back a bloody stump of an arm by turning MY radio back on, so I instead opted to delve into Dervish Whirling’s head on just what she didn’t like about our president of these very United States.

I’ll get to that in future Cold Fusion, but the crux of the deal is that the growing Dervish is  just a teensy bit pro-life. Especially if one defines teensy as militant. I will share one part of the conversation.

“Dad, after Mary (her older sister) is President, can I be President, too?

Probably.

“Cool. That’s what I thought.”

Back to the reading of the SOTU.

I like reading State of Union Addresses for several reasons – 1) it’s a quick read 2) it’s like a telegraphed pass in football – This. Is. Going. To. Be. My. Campaign. 3) You can always find that one little nugget that calls Bull Cookies on the rest of the speech.

Just when I found that nugget, that REALLY big nugget in the speech, my phone buzzed. Now, I normally do not answer phones in public places, but the number displayed the reality that the 9 year old’s school was calling.

“Mr. Saxman?”

Yes.

“This is Ms. Principal of the School. I am calling to tell you that there has been an incident here at school with John during recess.”

Okay….

**Having raised three other nine year olds and having spent an average, an average mind you, of 300 games, practices, scrimmages watching or coaching from the sidelines each and every year for the last however long ago, our pulse and breathing rates never pick up with “we’ve had an incident at recess”. Really? “an incident at recess”?. Dazzle me one day with “compound fracture” or “can’t find his arm”. Then, I might get anxious.

I’m gonna give you the Condensed Cold Fusion version of the “incident at recess” and yes it does relate to the SOTU.

During recess the boys were playing two hand touch football. As you probably know, two hand touch is a euphemism for shove. Anyway, John was running the ball and he, rather than get two hand touched by the defender, put his non ball carrying hand on said defender and threw him to the ground. This, according to Ms Principal damaged the defender’s glasses and John was penalized for being too rough. As the ball carrier….my mind drifted….

[Since I coached John’s little league football team this fall, I can say with great assuredness that while he is small for his age, he is big for his size. To quote a line from Remember The Titans – “He’s a baaaad white boy”. Yes, I am bragging – that’s my job; however, during one game back in September the game announcer said over the PA system after John’s fourth tackle in a row, “Did that kid make another tackle?”

Distill it all down, John can take care of himself, but on occasion he can be too rough and needs to be calmed down. He’s a boy. All boy. The species will continue. ]

And we’re back to the reason Ms Principal called.

“So I have decided to punish John and not allow him to go out at recess for the next two days”

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

[As a former, teacher, coach and administrator, I understand school dynamics and the need for parents, teachers and administrators to work together. In fact, I have, on more than several occasions, told teachers and administrators, “If my kid gets out of line, you have my permission to beat him/her.” Their jaws usually drop so I have to reassure them that we have RARELY physically punished our kids, but rarely ain’t never and if you professionals ever get to that point, then I am not going to be the one to sue you. You have my support. ]

Needless to say, my voice began to elevate throughout the conversation with Ms Principal as she tried to explain her decision to arbitrarily apply rules and penalties to the game because, according to supervising teachers, John was too rough. As the running back. Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

The conversation ended with her stating that her decision was final and we were just going to “have to agree to disagree.” Recognizing that once again boys being boys was just unacceptable for some overly sensitive members of the species, I thought to myself “No, YOU are going to have to agree that the free market is a b*tch, because I don’t have to agree with anything. I am the customer.”

So, I called the father of the offended defender and offered to pay for his son’s glasses which he graciously declined. He did offer his unequivocal support of my position on “boys being boys” and if they can’t take care of themselves in two hand touch, how are they going to handle the rest of their lives. Basically, just what are they really teaching them? Play by the rules only to have the rules change in the middle of the game?

Who do you think you are, the government? (Thought I forgot about the SOTU, didn’t you?)

Shame on you…

At roughly the fourth minute mark of the SOTU, President Obama calls Mule Fritters on his own speech “…or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules”.

Same. Fair. Equal. Under the law, of course. But as we all know, George Orwell was right in Animal Farm  –  Some are more equal than others. And they write the rules.

Now if all income were taxed at the same rate and we all “did our fair share” (try determining just what the heck THAT is) and we all had the same accountants and lawyers, then would that restore our economy? No. It would restore our equality under the law.

Wonder why no ever complains about Social Security being unfair? Because we all pay the SAME RATE. 12.4%. Unless you make MORE than the $110,100, then your RATE drops to ZERO. Zero! If you are fortunate enough to make 1,000,000 bucks a year your Social Security tax RATE is .66%! Warren Buffet pays a lot less than .66% of his income into Social Security and his secretary, if she makes UNDER $110,100 pays 12.4% less the two points currently cut out or actually right now 10.4%. Before the 2% income tax cut was implemented, no one and I mean no one paid more than $6,621. Regardless of how much Mitt Romney made. Bad boy. Who does he think he is donating that much to his church?

But why isn’t Social Security unfair? People should be screaming bloody murder over this given the hue and cry over income tax rates, Romney tax returns, and capital gains tax rates.

Actuarially, Social Security has issues given demographic realities and those can be ended by just moving beneficiary age to the program’s intent – average life expectancy.

But unfair? Nope. Everyone pays in and everyone gets out. And at the same rate with the same benefits. Unless you are upper middle class. It’s not even means tested!

Maybe we should apply a flat rate of taxation to all income. You know, lower the rate and broaden the base? You mean, treat everyone equally? But who would be the bad guy?

Who could we blame for not doing enough, paying enough or playing by the rules?

Well, then we would turn our attention to the rule makers instead of turning on each other.

How else do you keep 300,000,000 people at bay? Inequality. Unfairness. Complexity. Confusion.

That’s how the big get bigger. Even a nine year old boy gets it  – eventually he stops playing, pouts and goes home.

Or plays the game somewhere else.



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