Rajeev For Milpitas City Council .
Path of Giants
Come with me along the path of giants; those with conviction to the principles of work, discipline and civic responsibility believing that the same will and has provided prosperity for all. Giants, such as, an immigrant Scotsman whose toil and labor help wrought America’s industrial age as a steel giant making the name Carnegie synonymous with industrial prowess and philanthropic greatness; that homegrown man a descendant of the earliest immigrants whose innovation and free spirit provided us with the tires upon which nearly all vehicles rely today so that the name Goodyear has become synonymous with tires; or the daughter of recent immigrants who now is the governor of South Carolina, Governor Haley, or Governor Jindal recently arrived from India as a boy and afforded an opportunity and granted the privilege to sit as the Governor of the a sister state, the Great State of Louisiana; or of the man, born into slavery, but whose love of country and belief in our great experiment lifted a dying industry that once sought to keep the chains of bondage upon him for profit, through a very simple, yet important practice of crop rotation noticeable, I speak of a citizen whose belief in this country he desired to make known to the world around by the adoption in his name of the founding President-I speak of George Washington Carver.
Each of these individuals did not live for the sound bite or instant gratification. Instead each toiled a lifetime to achieve their ends. Yes, some did achieve great wealth, while other did not and yet it cannot be easily dismissed that this was not the main impetus for their achievements. Andrew Carnegie and Charles Goodyear both did not receive vast wealth until the end of their time, and the former slave, Mr. Carver, never attained it. With respect to Mr. Jindal and Ms. Haley, history has yet to speak of the rewards for their endeavors. However, it cannot be denied that each of the foregoing individuals contributed greatly to the prosperity of the people of this nation and did not savor in that fact.
However, today this great country is suffering a dearth of conviction in the principles of these giants amongst our so-called leaders. This lack of conviction has brought about a dangerous philosophy being adopted by these leaders that focuses on “short term gain in exchange for long term risk”. A risk that many of you have come to know as a reality, I speak of the current financial crisis. A crisis that is not only local to our beloved Milpitas, but also burdens our state and threatens our nation. It would be difficult to argue that this crisis does not evolve directly from lack of conviction in the principles of which I speak. Many of those who have adopted this ideology and benefitted from the crisis justify their ill-gotten gains by a sense of entitlement, i.e., they believe that they better than us and as such deserve to gain from our suffering. However, this sense of entitlement is not unique to the banking class. We see this same divisive ideology and lopsided benefits amongst members of our state and local community. This is most prevalent in the current debate over public employee pensions and union pay.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I am very much aware of the sacrifices made by public employees. The mantra was always take a little less now and benefit later: a noble philosophy of short-term risk in exchange for long-term gain. However, the current financial crisis that faces the local community necessitates sacrifices by all, not just the members of the local tax base. I very much appreciate the arguments that many beneficiaries of the public pensions assert that they, too, are members of that local tax base. However, given the disparity of economic pain being suffered by these members a dichotomy arises in which one group receives more from tax revenues than they pay, the payees, and another group pays more in tax revenue than their receive: payers. It has become increasingly apparent that the payees are providing less and less public services to the payers while the payers pay more and more in taxes. To what benefit is this, I ask. Is it for the community? Rather, it is to further a sense of entitlement. It is sense of entitlement that I will work against. Rather, I will foster a community spirit so that the financial pain that we all feel is not unduly borne by one group over another. We must all pull together and move our city forward by ensure fair and disciplined spending so as to ensure that the payers and payees share and share alike in the benefits that result from the tax revenue and the need to reduce services that result from the tax revenue.
This article was published in the Milpitas Post on July 12, 2012 (http://www.mercurynews.com/milpitas/ci_21061256/other-voices-conviction-principles-work-discipline-civic-responsibility)