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Relatively Speaking 2

Everything is Relative

Posted on October 9, 2013

Because relationships are the only way we have to communicate ideas, descriptions, or the quantification of anything, I want to focus on the descriptions we use to classify our social and political demographics using the relativism of the terms.

Most terminology has no set standard. For instance, being poor has no meaning. Poor is a relative term of position on a sliding scale of wealth that ranges from least to most. The point of origin on that scale is an arbitrary point that defines a person’s status of wealth within the group or society that a person belongs. For instance, the poor of America would be considered very wealthy through the eyes of the poor in Bangladesh. Again, there is no standard for the word poor. The same holds true for other commonly used human descriptions.

The Federal Government has tried to define things like poverty level and rich, but their terminology is very relative to the political ideologies involved in creating those definitions. All political parties use their definitions as the basis for the policies they will advocate for. It is a voter’s ‘buyers beware’ market when shopping for a candidate to support. Setting the poverty level higher translates into more people who qualify for Federal Aid which increases the chances of winning votes from those affected by the policy.

However, there is the old double edged sword that lies in wait for modifying the definitions of poverty. For instance; the tax breaks for those included within the increased poverty level group, decreases the total tax collection effort. And along with the tax collections going down, national spending necessarily goes up to pay for the added Federal benefits for the newly declared poverty definition. The government has only 3 sources to make up the shortfall. Taxes can be raised on those not under the poverty umbrella, borrow the money or, the government can just print the money it needs. Sadly, governments use all three methods to make up the shortfall in revenues.

So even though the poverty level is an arbitrary position of wealth, a small thing like changing it can have serious repercussions which should be thought out first. Enter the two party system of government. Having opposing viewpoints helps to reveal the potholes of legislative proposals. It has always been the opposition’s job to look for the negative side of proposals by the ‘in power’ party. This process is essential for scaling back or stopping unwieldy legislation. The process becomes detrimental to a society when one side or the other gains total control as what happened when Obama was elected with a congressional super majority in 2008.

When one side gains total control of the government, bad things happen because the opposition has virtually no say and by fiat no ability to weed out really bad proposals. Neither side has a monopoly on bad proposals, but Americans depend upon those opposition voices to maintain a reasonable balance of what emanates from Washington. Normally, the opposition can be counted on to prevent extreme ideological proposals from passing.

Political positions are always arbitrary points on a scale ranging from the most extreme left to the most extreme right. And, as I have stated many times, the extreme viewpoints on the scale from either side weakens and creates chaos for a society.

Presently, our nation is further left than at any time in our history. Divisions within our society are deepening and passionate voices of dissent are being heard. The outlook is not good if we continue the leftward drift. Being too far left discourages business because of its dampening effect on the investment needed for economic stability. We desperately need more balance to restore our ability to grow and prosper.

It may come as a surprise to you, but if you were to see the entire scale from extreme to extreme, my position would be somewhat left of center. It has been our persistent, incremental drift to the left that makes me appear so far to the right. Remember, all things are relative. This piece is all about the non-absoluteness of our everyday decisions and opinions. Just because a person’s opinion doesn’t agree with yours doesn’t qualify that individual as an extremist – just positioned on the scale a little left or right of you.

Part 3 of this series will be about the relativity of incomes and how the different incomes influence our prosperity. As you know, a person’s income dictates spending. And what the money is spent for dictates the products that are produced and marketed. Watch for part 3 coming soon.

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"Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement." - Unknown, quoted by Jim Horning, Will Rogers and others"

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Robert Gross

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A Physics Major at the University of Texas
Retired from the offshore drilling industry where he worked as an Electrical Supervisor, Licensed Chief Engineer, and Electrical Designer.

Robert Writes for 2 Online Magazines and three private web sites.
Interests include computers, Cosmology, Evolution, and Environmental Research.

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