How many millionaires?

HOW Many Millionaires?

The recent debates about whether we tax rich people at a higher rate than the rest of America are not new. In the last century, President Woodrow Wilson taxed millionaires at 78%. His efforts failed. At that time, there were 106 millionaires in the United States. His efforts did not increase funds to satisfy the national budget. In fact, the raising of taxes on the rich resulted in lower revenues. Immediately after Wilson imposed the higher tax, revenues went down, and we had fewer millionaires.

Translating Politics

When politicians say:  ”We need a balanced budget.”

They really mean:  ”China is offering great deals on loans to cover our deficit spending.  No worries.”


When politicians say:  “We need to address the budget deficit.”

They really mean:  “We will put off the decision to cut spending until after I leave office.”


When politicians say:  “We need to avert the looming fiscal crisis.”

They really mean:  “Someone else needs to deal with the fiscal crisis, so I can get re-elected.”


When politicians say:  “We can’t afford to go off the fiscal cliff.”

Great Libraries Lead to Great Reading

            How many people have a sanctuary in their home that they can call their own? I am a strong advocate for having such a place. For dreamers and thinkers, this refuge is essential for peace of mind. It is a place where creativity can thrive, and the seed of a thought can lead to great things.

“So Help Me God”


President Barack Obama has decided to follow the long tradition of every president who has taken an oath since the beginning of our country. He has requested that Chief Justice Roberts add the words, “so help me God” to his oath of office. Apparently, we have not had an atheist in the Oval Office in forty-four tries, and that bodes well for the country. The sobering responsibility of the Office of President has provoked more prayer in the Oval Office than cusswords, but the two expressions of faith may be in a head- to- head competition.


The Reality Police

Sometimes, I need to remind myself about my age.

Christmas Moved to China

This year, I decided to refrain from putting up any Christmas decorations that were made in China. I don’t know why, really. I don’t have any lack of like for the Chinese. It just seems disingenuous to display depictions of Santa and his reindeer, angels, the Wise Men, and Baby Jesus in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes, all manufactured in a country composed of a billion people who don’t practice Christmas.
I didn’t know what I was getting into until I began the yearly ritual of climbing into the attic hauling down the multiple boxes of wreaths and bulbs and knick-knacks that only see the light of day for the month of December, but my parents practiced the same ritual before me, and their parents before them, so it must be tradition that makes me do the same thing this time each year.
It could be an instinct, like the migration of Monarch butterflies to Mexico, or the annual one of whales to breed in the warm oceans near Baja, California. I considered it for a moment while I was opening the boxes, and almost discarded the comparison until I realized that my parents, and my grandparents, too, had made the pilgrimage to semi-tropical Florida every year of their retirement, and at the same time of year, too. The only significant difference I could discern is that the whales and butterflies do it for breeding, while humans do it for tanning.
Lacking an anthropology degree, I left the deeper meaning of the annual urges to the experts. Maybe the Christmas urge is part instinct and part tradition, and doesn’t usually involve migration, which appears to be optional. I’m certain that scientists have a complicated explanation for the whole experience that includes complicated words that they made up for the occasion, but their take on Christmas traditions will probably have no effect on the annual obligation of Christians throughout the world who are in the process of hauling boxes out of the attic to prepare for a visit from Santa on the birthday of Jesus.
I was intent on eliminating every ornament, every decoration and bulb that displayed a Made in China sticker. I began with the Santa in an alpine forest with the hook that my Son’s stocking would hang. I turned it over. Made in China. I placed it in the Made in China pile, and moved on to Santa hugging a reindeer. More China. Undeterred, I moved on to the Christmas lights that have hung on my tree for years. China again.
I know that the tree is made in America. It grew on a tree farm not far from my home. I refused to think that the saw I used to cut it down was made anywhere but the Good Old USA, and moved to the bulbs. I finally had a success. Made exclusively in Gastonia, North Carolina for Walmart. I was beginning to feel patriotic. At least I had bulbs, shiny glass ornaments made exclusively for the largest seller of Chinese goods in the free world.
When my family asks what happened to the rest of the decorations, I will tell them the truth: “Christmas moved to China.”

Ray Bradbury died today.


When I was young, I was addicted to the writing of Ray Bradbury, and I never got over it.  I would read his short stories; the magical, strange sci-fi ones, and the all of the rest.  The prose was mind-expanding, and I have never read a better storyteller.  There would be a twist in the plot, and I tried to predict what would happen next before I turned the page.  I always lost.  He had the ability to invite you into another world, and in a few words, to transform you.

The Terriers of Political Discourse

                                                                                     The backside of Mt. Rushmore

     In a recent interview, Cornel West, self-described Bluesman, author, professor, and activist in the Occupy movement, expressed his dismay with Barack Obama, saying he’s “obsessed with being on Mount Rushmore” and is focusing too much on his “legacy.”“I think at this point he’s obsessed with being on Mount Rushmore, he wants to be a great figure in the pantheon of American presidents,” West told the Financial Times. “If you’re thinking about Mount Rushmore, you’re thinking about your legacy, your legacy, your legacy. Puh-lease.”

Buy American

 If you remain unconvinced that the Obama administration is quietly selling  American jobs to foreign interests, take a look at the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade agreement that is being negotiated with China and several other Asian countries.   Historically, American businesses have been given preferential treatment in the bidding of federal contracts, in the interest of awarding those bids to American businesses.  If it is not apparent to Mr. Obama, the awarding of Federal contracts to Americans keeps American workers working.  But a provision in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement gives all members of the partnership the same privileged status as American businesses.  That means that Americans will be bidding against the Chinese for the same contracts.

Mark Becker’s Book Blog

This is my first blog.

For you to want to read the second one, I need to capture your imagination.

I have thought a lot about this.

I write political thrillers, but they aren’t really political.

My books, two so far, are titled, At Risk of Winning and No Corner to Hide.

They are the first two novels in the Max Masterson series, which will probably end up being about a dozen novels, but I intend to keep writing until my gnarly cold fingers are pried away from the keyboard.  That may be awhile, because we Beckers tend to live until our brains wear out.