I read the news today, oh boy!

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… from “A Day in the Life,” (Lennon/McCartney) one of the few Beatles’ songs where joint songwriting credit truthfully belonged.  

I’ve generally ignored the news for blog content, but sometimes…  in the absence of anything better to say, yeah.  Why not?

So, in the news…

Hank Williams, Jr. got booted from his Monday Night Football gig for comparing Obama to Hitler (Sure, this the condensed version, but after checking the facts, this remains an efficient summary, as much as he may disagree).  I’m all for free speech, and I’m also for the accountability that goes with it. 

The larger point that our erstwhile country singer was trying to make (but didn’t), is that Obama and the “left” are socialists.  Happily, Hank got his thoughts in order and produced a much more coherent… argument?  No.  Documented proof?  No.  An essay comparing and contrasting the liberal agenda with socialism?  Alas, no.  But he did filter his thoughts into a “Keep the Change,” a spiffy bumper sticker of a song, available for free from his website.  The chorus:

This country's sure as hell been goin' down the drain
We know what we need
We know who to blame
United Socialist States of America
How do you like that name?
I'll keep the USA and y'all can keep the change

In related news, hundreds and thousands of people have taken to the streets to protest Big Bank bailouts (maybe), Wall Street incomes (maybe), and making the “rich” pay their fare share (definitely).  They’re even in Atlanta, violating ordnances against overnight camping parks… yada yada yada.  Civil obedience obviously isn’t required when a point is trying to be made by people who are coddled, encouraged, and otherwise blessed by the media to be “in the right.”

As a solid middle class person, I don’t want to pay more taxes, but I’m more bothered by the 50% of citizens who pay NO federal tax than I am the 1% who have to pay 40% of it.  And the half who don’t pay get to have a say on tax policy?   Sorry, but I don’t see any sense of unfairness if only taxpayers were allowed to vote.  I know, unconstitutional.  Half votes then? In any case, the fair tax is as American as Apple pie.

In still other news…

I read today about Germany’s dissatisfaction with being saddled with 25% of the European Union’s loans/debt to Greece and Italy.  The same article mentioned that (*cough cough*)  one of three (1 of 3) workers in Greece is employed by the government.  And, of course, all the workers are up in arms about reductions in government benefits because, well, because, the politicians gave away far more than they ever had the resources for.  But I’m sure they got re-elected.

And, in other news back home…

Our wonderful Debt Super Committee evenly split between Democrats and Republicans who are tasked with trimming $1.2 trillion in deficit savings over the next 10 years is in a deadlock.  Sucks to be them, all stalemated like that.  It’s hard to imagine nothing getting done in Congress, but there it is.  For a change, the ratings agencies are waiting.  It should make for interesting theater, even if at my own country’s expense.

The benefits are the problem.  With 43% of the Federal Budget going to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid, it’s hard to ignore “social spending.”

Some say we should cut the Defense Dept and the ever present but difficult to define “government waste.”  Of all the things that the Government does, I happen to think that the Armed Forces is a primary responsibility, greater than a system of justice, commerce, health, etc.  Those could be handled at local levels, if necessary.  You can quibble over an air-craft carrier vs. more tactical approaches to modern (terrorist) combat, but I have a sneaky feeling that international “demands” for natural resources, like oil, food, and, oh, rare metals, will prevail upon us on a larger scale in the future, and readiness for warfare means more than smart bombing the side of a mountain.

I know.  Gloomy.

Managing discretionary spending, though, is only the task at hand.  It’s not the cause of our budget woes.  Instead, I’ll blame a few generations of politicians.  No, I won’t take the easy road and harp their ability to get reelected by spending money which isn’t theirs and for which they truthfully have never been held accountable.  No, I won’t make that point.

Instead, I’ll point towards the reimaging of the average US Citizen.  Hank Williams, Jr. may not be the best spokesperson, but his catchy song gets much right.  I know people who came to the U.S. with nothing (or their parents), and built lives for themselves.  In each case, they didn’t come with expectations except the opportunity to provide for themselves.

But we as a society were not content to let charity sustain the unfortunate.  Instead, we turned to government as a more reliable provider for the needy.  I think that’s wrong.  I’m certainly not a Republican, because I think both parties have proven incapable of leading, having built and sustained a system where decisions get made for all the wrong reasons (cash).  But, I really do like the Constitution, and I frequently reflect on the wording “promote the social welfare.”  I think that’s great.  But it has a distinctly different meaning from “provide the social welfare.”  The result?  Too many forget about “equal opportunities” and demand “equal results” if they don’t get theirs…

Regardless of whatever good intentions turned the government into our keeper for health and retirement, it’s an entirely misplaced responsibility.  Self reliance used to be a trait for the American citizen, and it still is for some.

The others?  They have time to protest Wall Street payrolls.   Of course they’re jealous of the very large pay and bonuses that go to many corporate executives.  High pay used to be inspiration for advancement.  Now, thanks to the terminology thrown into almost every political budget discussion, the argument that “the rich must pay their fair share” has transitioned from an expected TV sound bite to a belief system that class warfare should be considered more practically than just for winning votes.

With 10% unemployment and another 5% (at least) having given up on finding work, I can’t help but wonder how much of the “jobless benefits” are a governmental payoff to stabilize society.  If not for government checks, how many would turn to looting, rioting, or even murder?  Some number, certainly.

I don’t have great expectations for a “Recovery.”  Sure, stocks can rebound and profits can be made, but the only manufacturing that has to be done in the US is for the construction of homes and other properties.  Hmm, 5 year supply of available homes, eh?  Without new homes, there’s reduced demand for everything that goes in them, from appliances to lamps to carpeting to, heck, art for the walls.

There is a world economy, and while the rest of the world’s standard of living may be on the increase, it’s unrealistic to expect that America’s can hold the line.  that’s an untimely message for today’s youth, who expected more.  The political jargon of “making tough decisions today so that our grandchildren don’t have to pick up the tab” was prophetic, but unheeded.  And, the context that was always implied was an additional tax bill.  That still lingers, but the collapse of jobs and available wages is the more immediate result of many poor decisions, by politicians and capitalists alike.  Dave Ramsey’s popular message of living within one’s means isn’t a tonic for the troubled; it’s a message with which every person, business, and government entity will have to come to terms, now.

So what is the greater likelihood?  That a visionary leader will emerge (and be elected) on the political scene or that the wannabe Bolsheviks camping on our streets will someday swell to an unruly critical mass?  It’s a bet I don’t want to take, because I’d fear winning it.

Below is a fine example of a young American that believes that the government should take from other citizens to so that he can benefit from the fruit of their labor.  And ask yourself, what is the definition of theft? 


“I do think, at a certain point, you’ve made enough money.”
President Barack Obama

1 comment :

  1. Poor Hank. Someone forgot to tell him that when you mention Hitler, you automatically loose the argument. And for very simple reasons.

    With any luck, we will show our beloved President the door in 2012 and then he can move to PutinLand and get a chance to study first hand why very, very few working people believe that they have made enough money.