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I hear a lot about National Debt as a crisis we're facing as a Nation and that's all well and good but I truly think this is the least of our worries.

As I contemplate my 40th year on this planet and think about the things I want to see, the National Debt is the least of my concerns.

And while we have this debate it always seems to be a choice between more taxes and more cuts to vital services that are keeping many Americans above the poverty line and well away from the middle class.

To me, none of this is as pressing as some of my major concerns.

For my Birthday, when we talk about debt, I would rather talk about mortgage debt and school loan debt.

This is the kind of debt that will keep us from moving forward as a Country and keep the middle class from expanding.

Underwater mortgages, more debt that's crushing households.

And taxes?  Sure taxing the rich would help, but what about the useless subsidies to Big Oil and large Factory farms that need to go away faster than Aunt May's apple pie!

Fair food and energy is another concern of mine.

FAIR FOOD AND ENERGY!

Every child should have access to healthy food, organic if possible, sustainabley raised and farmed.  Everyone.

It is a crime that anyone in this Country go to bed hungry.

This is my birthday wish.  

And so for my Birthday wish on Facebook I asked people to donate to Savannah's Organic Ranch, a nonprofit that plants organic gardens in local elementary schools in Orange County, California and will put an Organic Farm, Community Gardens, education center and Farmer's market in Aliso Viejo, California.

They also provide support for Families who have children struggling with pediatric cancer.  Their story is heartbreaking.  I do not want any sadness today.  

There is just too much today, too much hunger, too many kids who don't have access to safe food, homes and education.  The lost generation is here and the fact that we have legislators who are going to fight about debt rather than do something about the serious issues facing children RIGHT NOW is appalling to me.

So, that's my birthday wish.  Donate to Savannah's Organic Ranch.

And if you care about the issue of food stamps and fast food?  What we need to be doing is getting more organic community gardens in places where there are too many fast food restaurants and not enough supermarkets.

The Grain Project in Santa Ana, California is doing what we need more of.  This is what needs to happen.  The "Liberal Elite" is not the problem.  And the fact that anyone on this site uses such a phrase is so offensive to me, I don't even know where to start.  A rightwing meme has no part in any argument against another Democrat here on this site.

The dilemma with fast food and food stamps is this.  People who need food stamps may often live in places who don't have a lot of access to the best places for food (or great transportation), the convenience of fast food is their only option.  

The Grain Project is a great way to give people access to healthy, organic fruits and vegetables and educate people about eating healthier.  The last time I volunteered there a mother and her two children came up to me and told me that her kids had been eating healthier since they started going there weekly to pick up fruits and vegetables and her son knew how to make a salad.  This is what we need to do.

And as for the environment, Southern California is a biodiversity hotspot, my other favorite nonprofit?

Back to Natives Restoration.   Open space is another important part of this big picture that I worry about.  Not just food, but biodiversity, open space and the future of this planet.

The fact that we worry about taxing the rich and we're not scared out of our minds about the MILLIONS of kids that don't have food and stable places to live SICKENS ME.

When I vehemently agree with Ben Stein, I know there is something going on.

Ben Stein.

So, my parting gift to you on my birthday, Ben Stein schooling Laura Ingraham on tax rates, the lack of growth with lower tax rates and just how misguided the Republican party is.  She just can't defend it.  No one can or should.

STEIN: …everyone except -- everyone except me is rich and so do you and you know very well that if you raise their taxes, if you put a surcharge of 10 percent or 15 percent on their taxes they would still be rich. They would still be able to have families. They would still be able to send their children to…

INGRAHAM: What else will they do? Right, but what else – well…

STEIN: They won't do anything bad. They will just pay more taxes and we'll have a lower deficit.

INGRAHAM: No, no -- do you -- do you not agree that when you tax the rich you ultimately end up over time reducing much of the revenues that would come in for their spending that they make, their hiring and companies where they hire. I mean, a lot of this also is small business owners.

STEIN: No, I don't agree with that. I -- I don't agree with you, with all due respect.
INGRAHAM: Well -- that they spend less?

STEIN: You are a woman of -- well you're a woman of extraordinary intelligence but the data is very clear that we had higher rates of economic growth in the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s when we had higher taxes. The era of very low Bush 43 taxes has correlated with a low period in productivity growth and a low period of economic growth. You cannot correlate low taxes with high productivity. It just can't be done.

INGRAHAM: One has nothing do to with the rest. Here's what…

STEIN: Yes it does.

INGRAHAM: Here is what -- here is what we do know.
(CROSSTALK)

INGRAHAM: Ben, Ben, shouting doesn't make your point anymore legitimate. In December…

STEIN: Yes it does. That's -- that's -- then that's the point. That's the point. Well, it doesn't make your point either.

INGRAHAM: I'm not shouting. I'm actually just trying to ask a question. In December, the president and the Democrats decided to extend the Bush tax cuts. They understood that during a failing economy, a weak economy, a weak recovery, you couldn't raise taxes. By all accounts, the economy is growing at a slower rate than it was even in quarters last year, at about two percent this next quarter, 1.9 percent last quarter. If it wasn't good to do in December, why is it good to do now?

STEIN: There is no data, my friend, correlating lower tax rates for the rich with higher economic growth. We had our maximum periods of economic growth in this country…

INGRAHAM: No, you have to cut spending too, right.

STEIN: …in the entire century, the 20th century when we had very high rates of taxes on the rich. I'm not saying that's a great idea and I don't look forward to higher rates of taxes on the rich. But you cannot say that higher rates on the rich are a bad thing in terms of economic growth. That's just -- the data just isn't there, Laura.

Go ahead, call me a "Liberal Elite" for wanting better for our kids and thinking that fast food is not good enough.  But my Birthday wish is that everyone get better, that everyone can afford school, trade school, etc.

That we can build things here again, and not just cheap crap that we get from China, I'm done with conspicuous consumption, but that's another diary I guess.

President Obama, can you do this for my Birthday, Maybe listen to Ben Stein?  There should be no backing down on this point.  We all deserve better.

Originally posted to Ellinorianne on Fri Jul 01, 2011 at 04:43 PM PDT.

Also republished by Personal Storytellers.

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