Posted by: Karen (Betty Bear) | September 25, 2011

The ties that hold us together or not

Thoughts about societal ties today:

I came upon this clip the other day on TYWIKIWDBI of a presentation that Elizabeth Warren gave, who is running for the Senate in Massachusetts, and loved what she said. If you don’t want to go watch, her words are below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htX2usfqMEs&feature=youtu.be

What she said: “There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody.

“You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.

“Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

Someone commented that it didn’t apply to them because they hadn’t actually signed any contract. Someone else commented that there are lots of oral and even unspoken contracts out there and that just because they aren’t on a piece of paper, doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

So, what is in our social contract? What are we required to do for society and what is society required to do for us? The requirements, the formal requirements, are encapsulated in the laws of the land. By living here, we are required to abide by those laws. Sounds simple, right? We pay taxes, but do we search for loopholes in the tax laws to try to pay as little as possible? That’s where those gray areas start. I firmly believe that we should all pay our fair share, and that looking for loopholes is a form of cheating. In the end you are cheating yourself and the future. If you (or your company) doesn’t pay your fair share, then you shouldn’t be benefiting from living here and you are cheating yourself out of the full benefits of living here. My father-in-law (yeah, I’m still working on washing that visit out of my brain) believes in loopholes, the more the better. He sees it as a contest between him and the government and he wants to win. He wants to keep as much money as possible with him and then with his family, mostly his grandkids, and out of the hands of the government. Now I’m not going to say that the government has done a wonderful job with the money I pay in taxes (hah!) but I do feel like, in some way, he is cheating his grandkids by not supporting all those things that taxes pay for. What do you all think?

As an aside, I do realize and give thanks on a daily basis that I am extremely lucky not to have to worry much about money, that we do have familial resources that most do not. I don’t feel like anything I did or am deserves this or that I deserve it more than anyone else, and I strongly believe that “to whom much is given, much is required,” but that’s a post for another day.

I have  more on societal ties, but need to think some more before posting, and I want to hear if anyone else has thoughts about this.

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Responses

  1. Ah, Betty Bear … you are a Betty after my own heart!!!

  2. […] life has been taking too much of my brain to return to the ties that bind but there are thoughts simmering quietly somewhere in my back […]


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