The miracle of information and knowledge that’s available through modern media and the Internet has also brought with it the curse of overload and misinformation.

The many commercials that push cleaning agents imply that we are all at risk of being infected by some awful disease if we don’t use their products. But if that were true, how is it that man has survived all these years without them? Can it be that we really don’t need the cleansers that kill 98.5% of all the germs on surfaces which they are used to clean?

Pharmaceutical manufacturers push prescription drugs as if they are selling health foods. Buy their products and avoid the terrible consequences of just about every disease or ailment known to man, most of which we never knew existed.

If taxing the rich is the way to provide benefits for the poor and low income workers, why don’t we simply confiscate the assets of the wealthiest among us, say just the billionaires. After all, they really don’t need to live such opulent lifestyles, with private jets, mansions, yachts, etc.

If you think that’s a good idea, consider this: According to Forbes magazine, the 400 richest Americans have a combined net worth of around $1.25 trillion.

So, how effective would it be if their “excess” net worth were taken for the good of society? A little simple math gives us a clue: The U.S. federal budget for the current fiscal year is about $3.7 trillion. If we were to confiscate the entire wealth of America’s 400 richest citizens (278 of whom are billionaires), it would pay the cost of operating the national government for not quite five months.

Extending the analysis a bit further, if the entire net worth of the two richest Americans, Bill Gates ($53 billion) and Warren Buffett ($47 billion), were confiscated, it would only pay the cost of running the government for about four months.

If we expropriate the entire net worth of the Forbes 400 richest Americans ($1.25 trillion), it would just about cover the federal budget shortfall for the year.

Instead of confiscating the net worth of America’s richest citizens, how about taking the earnings of some of the nation’s most profitable companies to fund the federal government?

The Fortune 500 list of the most profitable businesses had combined 2009 earnings of $391 billion. Unfortunately, that’s only enough to run the federal government for about 46 days.

Why is it that since 1964, when President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty, the federal government has spent between $8 trillion and $10 trillion on the effort to eradicate poverty, but the number of Americans who are considered poor is still approximately the same as it was almost 45 years ago?

Has the War on Drugs been successful? The Drug War Clock (www.drugsense.org) offers the following information (as of June 17, 2010):

1) Money Spent on the War on Drugs in the current year: federal, $9.3 billion; state, $14.29 billion; total, $23.59 billion. “The U.S. federal government spent $19 billion dollars in 2003 on the War on Drugs, a rate of about $600 per second.”

2) “Arrests for drug law violations in 2010 currently add up to 856,786 arrests. Someone is arrested for violating a drug law every 17 seconds.”

3) “Police arrested an estimated 406,119 persons for cannabis violations to date this year.

4) Since Dec. 31, 1995, the U.S. prison population has grown an average of more than 43,000 inmates per year. About 25 percent are sentenced for drug law violations.”

When the California Supreme Court ruled that same sex marriage was a constitutionally protected right in the state, did that mean polygamy is or should also be a right?

Commenting in the Sacramento Bee, columnist Dan Walters noted, “Declaring that one is free to marry whomever one chooses makes it at least conceivable that plural marriages – polygamy – could be equally valid.” (Note: The California Supreme Court decision was later reversed by a ballot proposition that made same-sex marriage unconstitutional, which has been challenged in federal court).

© 2011 Harris R. Sherline All Rights Reserved