Dorothea Farris: The current economy is propped up by taxes, jobs
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
My observations regarding jobs and the economy are the product of a lifetime. I am a product of the ’40s and the ’50s, the second World War and the “post war era.” My parents reflected the craziness of the ’20s and the restrictions of the Great Depression. My grandparents reflected the lives of those who entered the United States through Ellis Island in an attempt to find freedom and a rewarding life of their own choosing. We shared a home during my growing up years, and we shared worries, and concerns, and dreams, and goals, and work, and chores and money. And tears, and laughter, and hope, and trust in each other and in our nation. We shared anger, and love, and pride, and a need to work and learn and help others.
My life brought me to Aspen in a time when people chose to live in this special place and were willing to share the dream. Educators teach that our vision of the world begins at home, expands to the neighborhood, the region, the state, the nation, the world. In the late ’50s, the Roaring Fork Valley personified that view of the world as a place where we might share the dream, and, with others who shared the vision, might be able to live by the principles held by the Democratic Party, as outlined by Camilla Auger and Bill Stirling in last week’s article.
Those principles include seeking opportunity, and sharing, and helping; they include appreciation, and learning, and following a dream; and they include recognizing the needs of others and choosing a path that enables all to participate and to succeed according to his abilities. Local communities and the state of Colorado offer opportunities and invitations and an openness to participate in those actions that not only give value to one’s life but provide the services necessary to retain a sound society and an environment that benefits us all.
Unfortunately, neither the vision of President John Kennedy (“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country … “) nor the dream of Martin Luther King (“I have a dream …”) have resolved the issues of racism or immigration, or have taken us to Haiti to help a poor nation rebuild, or have protected our environment after devastating hurricanes or oil spills, or have ended war … the list goes on. The needs remain.
Most Democratic ideals are based on the concept that one sees a problem, considers it, and determines a plan to resolve the issue, care for the children and those in need, and move forward. Americans are practical, clever, creative, independent, decisive, caring, stubborn, and flexible.
We are told by the “experts” that we are in the worst economic condition since the Great Depression. We are told that people who want jobs can’t find them. And, we are told that those on unemployment choose to be there and to remain “on the dole” as long as they can in order to avoid work. I agree that we live in difficult financial times in a volatile global economy. I also believe that most who are able want satisfying jobs that provide financial security and a stable environment.
The first task is to identify those areas of concern that have societal need and that require societal investment. These are the needs of a society… those tasks that one cannot take care of individually but that require intervention so that government is providing those services that an individual cannot provide for himself: roads, schools, hospitals, water systems, power systems, local and national security, public transportation, environmental protection, and oversight of a nation’s values.
• Education: Most agree that our educational system needs restructuring, that we need more teachers, and that we need to pay educators more.
• Social needs: In a truly democratic society, those who are able provide services for those in need.
• Health care for all: The medical community needs both facilities and health care providers. Medical research should not depend on fundraisers and grants for funding for essential scientific study.
• Senior community needs: Most communities today are seeking ways to address the lifestyle needs of an aging population.
• Safety: Fire and police activities are looked upon as ways to protect the integrity of a community.
• Environment: Air, water, wildlife, and our wild places require attention. Our public lands require funding, attention, regulation, and care.
Having identified essential needs of a society, one can seek to meet the demands of those challenges. The taxes that support the identified national, state, regional, and community needs generate an economy in which money flows, then, to those businesses that are created to meet the desired, as different from required, demands of our society. Budgets of local and state governments are designed to address the demands of those who, with taxes, support those governments. Those budgets support the jobs of those who provide essential services. Those individuals, then, put that money back into the economy of their communities.
The key, it seems, in an election season, is to identify the needs of a successful community; select leaders who share that vision, who truly care, and who will act to support the successful implementation of the identified goals; believe that one person really can make a difference, and be the best you can be, and be part of the solution.
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Sean Beckwith is taking advantage of his column space this week to inform the public of the Best in Jest.