I'm not going to quote facts and figures here. I'm going to tell you a little story.

When I grew up in the 1950's, my Dad owned a little hardware store in a new neighborhood of post World War II homes. He built up his business by providing honest, personal customer service. Sometimes this meant leaving the store to help someone put in their new lawn, advise them on how to make their lawn healthier, or to help them install some new gadget they bought.

For entertainment and socialization, my parents would have some friends over for cards. When we were the first on our block to have a television, all the guys in the neighborhood came over to watch Saturday night boxing. My mother stayed at home and nurtured us through all our muffs and scuffs and learning about life and the world.

The only corporate stores were downtown. Amidst all the small, privately-owned shops were J.C. Penny, W.T. Grant, and a few others. Going shopping was an occasion, and when you bought something, you expected it to last. If it broke, you took it somewhere to have it repaired, or you tried to fix it yourself.

Most of what you bought, you paid for with cash. Credit was something you used when you wanted to buy a house, or a car. There were no such things as credit cards or ATM's.

Despite the lack of all of this extra revenue the banking community now enjoys (and it's a bunch!), the banks were doing fine. They opened their doors at 10 AM and closed them at 3 PM. There was no such thing as "after hours banking". Our dollar bills said "Silver Certificate" on them, not "Federal Reserve Note". They actually had real value!

Several years later, when I joined the work force, I never paid attention to the amount of taxes taken out of my paycheck. The amount was minute. Today, not only are you giving the government a large chunk of your paycheck, but your dollar is eroding. As a matter of fact, it's hardly worth the paper it is printed on, so the government has considered printing our money overseas, where it is cheaper.

It is not just high taxes you are dealing with. It's inflation, caused by continuing to print almost worthless money.

As we are groomed to consume at an ever increasing pace, our quality of life is decreasing more and more, while we are being fed the lie that it is actually getting better. Here where I live, in Seattle, Washington, I know many couples who are not only both working, but often one or both are holding down two jobs! All this while the quality of goods and services and life in general is on a steady downward slope.

It doesn't have to be this way.