In May I observed a perceptible shift by media commentators that eventually may have an influence on the upcoming 2020 election cycle. The people who sense this shift should be ready to do some good in the upcoming Iowa caucuses, particularly the Democrats, if they want to replace the present useless Congress.

In the May 26 Des Moines Register was an essay suggesting we tax rich corporations to pay for revitalizing our deteriorating infrastructure. My point always has been we do not need extra taxes on rich corporations because what makes them rich is, they don’t pay income taxes in the first place. Don’t take my word for it. Plenty of people have proven the top 600 corporations don’t pay taxes and several have squirreled away more than $3 trillion in foreign countries to escape taxation.

Continuing on regarding our infrastructure, an article in the June National Review, the most obnoxiously right-wing rag in my collection of periodicals, slams the joint argument that pegs infrastructure repairs at $2 billion, but makes no mention of where this money is available. It isn’t! But the question is, are the Republicans beginning to realize the horrible shape our country is in, and are they beginning to understand that money doesn’t grow on trees? Pretty soon the Democrats will be cursing the “tax and spend Republicans.”

Another editorial comment by the April 4 “The Nation” took on the subject of the cost of college. Lo and behold, 74% of the students at the nation’s top colleges hail from the richest American families. That came as no surprise to me. In 1951, I ran out of tuition money for St. Ambrose and two other guys ran out of same for Loras College. Faster than immediately, we three found our butts ensconced in Company A, 112th Infantry, 28th Division. The military is the most stratified organization in the world for its concentration of poor youth. Think Vietnam too. “The Nation” also goes on to show our Republican-dominated legislatures have short-changed institutions of higher learning to the tune of $9 billion from 2008 to 2017. It gets worse since 2017, but the figures haven’t yet been gathered. Does this mean I support free higher education? Hell, no. I worked second and third shifts in factories to get my education, and I’m not dead yet!

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OK, this is all very interesting, but what am I driving at? Very simple. In all of the backstabbing and character assassination that dominate this Congress, there has been no attempt to take a business-like organization to solve our nation’s problems.

Let’s take the infrastructure problem as an example. If I headed up this administration, I would hold meetings with all of the governors and order them to canvass their states, picking out distinct jobs that are crucial for the safety of the populace. Send the lists to Congress along with cost estimates and get the real infrastructure repair/replacement costs. I predict the number will be stupendous. Next, Congress must realize there will have to be extra tax money accumulated both on the national and state levels, and that these extra taxes are placed on a spending schedule for the next 10 to 15 years. When the infrastructure reaches normal maintenance levels, cancel the extra taxes that got us beyond emergency spending.

Do the same with the outrageous price of life-saving drugs. Examine production costs and get the prices back down closer to reality. Congress also should close down the atrocious pay differentials between workers and executives. The current situation could breed revolutionary thoughts and actions. My premise is similar. Organize each subject by achievable segments, put people on each segment and schedule completion of distinct tasks. Understand the costs. Create the income to cover the costs and voila! We have a functioning country and, by the grace of God and a long-handled spoon, a functioning government.

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Stanley Smith is a former Cedar Falls City Council member.


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