The Monday Fits: The Wannabe SuperHero Syndrome

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“The lies we tell other people are nothing to the lies we tell ourselves.”

Derek Landy, Death Bringer

Superheroes are not real. Tragic heroes are not real. Yet, we love them. It’s as if there is a new superhero movie rolling out every month. But why do we love them? Is it because we want the power, or are their inner battles compelling to the human spirit? To be super in one area, but completely devoid in another. Often a superhero, is really just a tragic hero, and in that moment of weakness, that brush of defeat, we are just like them, we can relate to the superhero, but ultimately they win. Our desire to overcome, is that it?

Maybe.

Or it could be much simpler than that. It is our urge to save, fix “things”. Whether we are saving people or fixing other people’s problems, we like to take something that is broken and make it better. DIY projects, self-help books, and the fascination with How-to YouTube videos. We even like just the “feeling” of trying to fix things, even if we ultimately can not. This obsession of fixing things has a created a fantasy, hence why superheroes, tragic heroes were ever born, right? To fix or handle impossible situations, that in our human form we are utterly incapable of fixing. The problem is when something is desperately in need of fixing, and IS in our reach, we say that we are going to fix it, over and over, but we do nothing…. enter the Wanna Be Superhero Generation (or pretty much Congress). ”

I find myself falling into this trap too. I tell myself, others, maybe even post on social media my intentions of getting so and so done and then I don’t meet the finish line. I desperately want to, but I lie. I lie to myself, and then to others. And I think that worst part of it all, I do it over and over again; to the point the attempt is addictive. And sometimes we reward ourselves for simply trying.  There are times that I AM successful, but more times than not, I bite off more than I can chew, and I still want a pat on the back for trying. I think this is no different than what happens to many of us. We have wants and desires, even if they are often unhealthy or irrational. It’s like Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player in history, who will likely never be surpassed, yet it’s not enough, he wants to save a franchise as a general manager/owner too.

But reaching for happiness, success is not a bad thing, but we need to be realistic in  our efforts. Because if we do not, there are things in our reach that we convince ourselves that we can not reach, when they totally are. The failures have convinced us that the attempt is good enough. At some point, we have to realize that things that are most important, and then DO them.

Enter tax reform.

Saying that we want tax reform has become good enough, the attempt, the talk of trying, has satisfied our desires. Tax reform, is one item that is always on the list of items that we need to fix, yet, we are not trying to fix it all. I mean, there are people who have tried to fix it, like previous legislators Dave Camp or Max Baucus, but most of them are lying to themselves, and most of all, to us, the electorate, and we believe the lie every time. I wish for 1 day, every American would care that they are lying to us about fixing the tax code; Republicans, Democrats, Independents, so then we can hold them accountable, but we don’t really want to do that now do we? We want them to stop lying to themselves, but then so would we.

Last week, President Obama, introduced tax policy that could do some good, but also showed the continual reality there will be no real discussion or compromise on tax policy; there were more items that Republicans will fight against; more of the same. Everyone is guilty of not getting it done, but I am just tired of us acting like it’s a top priority when that is a total lie. This quote explains that explains the U.S.’s approach the best, “Tax reform is dead—long live tax reform”.  We live in a perpetual paradox.

The last time we, America, enacted a comprehensive tax reform was 1986. Yet, many of America’s major competitors have been actively reforming their tax laws in recent years. Even our closest neighbors are getting ahead of us. Canada has already reformed its tax laws and Mexico is doing so right now. If Congress doesn’t take action, the U.S. risks falling further behind.(source) This was from a Wall Street article from Dave Camp who introduced legislation last session for comprehensive tax reform. So why do we give ourselves false hope? Why do we have good intentions, but not exactly execute?

“Policy wonks have long dreamed of simplifying America’s tax code. Hopes soared after 2012’s election, when Barack Obama and John Boehner, the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, both suggested that tax reform could be part of a grand bargain that raised tax revenue, curbed spending and cut the deficit. (source) . Will the next two years be any different? Are will it be a huge part of the 2016 campaign fodder, again? The countries surrounding us are doing it, why are we failing?  If you just google the last five years of articles concerning tax reform, you get a million and one articles, about what it is the most important thing that needs to help the long term health of the economy and it is tax reform.

The reality is that we like to lie ourselves. The truth: “Congress lacked (and continues to lack) the willpower to take on such a behemoth task that required serious examination of many financial sacred cows – whether to trim the mortgage interest deduction, how to tax the earnings of private equity firms and hedge funds, what the the top income tax rate should be.” (source).

So we are ultimately unwilling to do the things that we need to do, to get where we need to be. I know that I lament about the lack consensus in most issues, and in areas where we have consensus, we still lack the ability to take action. Tax reform involves both of these components. There are items,  President Obama mentioned like expanding the earned income tax credit (EITC) for workers without children, because it will reduce poverty. (source). But there are other policy initiatives that are just going to cause legislators to get ready for the next campaign season and choose stances that is an advantages to one’s self.

And that’s the real lie, we are not superheroes, not even close, we are not going to engage in efforts that don’t benefit ourselves, so maybe we need to stop expecting people (politicians) who don’t have the same interests to do something about it, or if we choose to vote for them, we should hold them accountable and make them.

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