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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Time to Pay Up

In my last installment, I talked about “we, the people” and what we’re not getting from our friends in Washington D.C.  This time, I’d like to take that topic on a somewhat different tangent.  I spoke of courage.  I guess you can spin courage a lot of different ways.  Some might say that standing up to big spending bureaucrats it courageous.  I say “bullshit!”  Courage isn’t standing up to the other political party.  Courage is standing up to the citizens of this country and calling them out on their faulty expectations.

The last president to do this was John F. Kennedy, when he infamously said, “ask not what your country can do for you, but rather, what you can do for your country.”  He was pointing out that a great nation is made up of great citizens, not great politicians.  Americans are willing to pitch in when they are asked.  Unfortunately, nobody in Washington has earned the right to ask us to do anything.  We pay our tax bill and expect them to do everything for us.
Well all the things we expect of our government cost money.  Since Reagan, raising taxes has been political suicide.  As a matter of fact, tax cuts seem to be very popular.  Of course government isn’t getting any smaller.  When was the last time you heard of a massive layoff in the federal government?  Yeah, me either.  I don’t know how a service organization saves money without layoffs.  Well, the federal government did figure out one trick – they stopped sending money to the states.

This was a neat trick because it came along with something called the “unfunded mandate.”  They just told the states they had to pay for things the federal government used to pay for.  What with all the extra money the states didn’t have, it should be no problem, right?  I guess it’s no coincidence that several states are fighting bankruptcy and most of the others are trying to figure out which services they “must” keep in order to remain solvent.  You see, states don’t have something the federal government has – printing presses.  When the federal government wants to start a war or something, they just fire up the presses and sell it to the Chinese.  Kind of strange really – we’re fighting an enemy funded by the Chinese government (indirectly) with money from the Chinese.  I’m sure Dick Cheney and his pals don’t care, they’re getting all the money that isn’t going to China.

Meanwhile, back in the states, they started borrowing a trick from the federal government.  They started pushing expenses down to local governments – like education, roads, and law enforcement.  A byproduct of this is that poorer communities have bad schools, bad roads and excess crime.  Welcome to the legacy of trickle down economics.

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