The Old Curmudgeon: Plastics and politics

December 2011 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

By Vern Holmquist

While many people think the neutron bomb will be the way we meet our maker, it is being pointed out that we are far more likely to suffocate ourselves in plastic packaging.

Who hasn’t bought an item only to find it difficult to open because it’s sealed in plastic? I find it personally humiliating when I have to go to my toolbox to find something sharp enough to get what I need out of its plastic prison. Sometimes I have to pry open the package to get the tool out that I need to open the package. It is embarassing to find myself using all my strength and patience to open a package of cookies. Not only is all this material a major nuisance, it is also overrunning our dumps.

Chin up though. There is now an effort in the U.S. Congress to pass legislature banning some usage of plastic, and some stores have promoted it as well. It may be wise during this Christmas season to avoid purchasing plastic wrapped merchandise. That’s what I plan to do.

. . .

Lately, I find myself glued to CNN listening to what our politicians are saying is wrong with our country.

Some politicians remind me of a TV program where this man stole $10 million from the financial corporation he worked for and when he was arrested, he immediately confessed to the theft and was sentenced to five years in prison. The man served the sentence and when he was released he returned the $10 million.

Next the man is seen looking prosperous and enjoying an ocean cruise where another passenger inquired as to how this man had earned his wealth. The man answered with a question, “Do you know how much $10 million invested at 6 percent compound interest for five years amounts to?”

My problem is this: In our country if a man breaks into your house and steals something from you worth $10 he is branded a thief, but if a man steals and defrauds his company or country $10 million, he’s considered a good businessman. Yep, if you can steal enough money you gain respect.

I remember the words of President Bush: “The money should stay in the pockets of those who earned it.” But I’m troubled by the definition of the word “earned.”

Does being in the position to lobby or bribe Congress to create loopholes in our laws to enable the already rich to become vastly richer (the 1 percent) at the expense of honest, hardworking people really constitute earned?

. . .

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.