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February 4, 2010

Speaking of Government

Patricia A. Kelly

President Barack Obama said in his State of the Union address that he “wants to make life better for the middle class.” Do we, the middle class, need to have our lives made better? Are we not capable of functioning on our own? Can we not work, buy food, make babies, and live in the suburbs by our own efforts? What should government have to do with any of that?


Oh, I forgot. The government needs to create jobs for us. The government is good at this. It has created many jobs. We pay through the nose for them, too.


During the “Bush 43” years, our government was happy to attempt to impose fundamentalist Christian values on us and on the rest of the world. It was “my way or the highway.” We wouldn’t even talk to anyone in the “evil empire” unless they came around to our way of thinking first.


Barack Obama came along and immediately traveled around the world to tell everyone we were ready to talk with them, and to treat them with respect. Egyptians, those who mentioned it during my recent trip, love him for this, and they should, although he could have gotten his feet wet first, and taken it a little more slowly. We’re short of money here.


President Obama thinks the government should take care of lots of things, such as health care, education, college tuition, bankers’ salaries, the ubiquitous job creation, and the greening of America. As if we would not be able to take care of them on our own if the government had not already messed with them so much.


The government cannot take care of our needs. It has no idea what exactly our needs are. Besides, it’s not good for us to have someone else take care of us when we can do it ourselves. We’re much happier as achievers than as parasites.


Second, the government can’t afford to take care of our needs without taking all our money. When it gets it, it will squander it in bureaucratic sinkholes because that’s what the government does. We could get better deals ourselves.


As it is, we can’t even negotiate for fair prices, or even tell how much things such as health care cost, because of all the regulation and deal-making that’s already happened.


Another example would be home ownership, the American dream. It once meant freedom – a home and land of one’s own, where one could live as one chooses. People used to work very hard and save their money to achieve this goal.


But now the government has come in, mandated reduced loan qualification standards to help everyone buy, even those, it turned out, who couldn’t make the payments. This was to make life better, and to allow all to enjoy the dream.


Soon, even prior to the economic crash, no one owned their home. The banks and mortgage lenders did, and got rich from the interest. Now that they’ve ruined the real estate market, they get their money from the government. Amazingly, the majority of financial advisors still advise not ever paying off your mortgage because of the bone the government threw to us, the home mortgage interest deduction.


So now, for most of us, our home is a huge liability. We work to pay the mortgage, utilities, maintenance, taxes and repairs. Do you think the tax deduction makes up for the property taxes we pay? We are tied like slaves, to work for something we’ll never have.


We think we’re a democracy. We’re not, and we were never intended to be. We do not vote directly for our president. We vote to send someone else to vote for us, and they get to vote as they see fit. We are, at present, stuck with a two-party system, with each party fighting the other, and no one fighting for us.


People in government are, and have always been, sucking up our money and creating multiple layers of bureaucracy, removing freedoms here, tucking artificial safeguards there, occasionally throwing us a bone, and perpetuating the biggest scams imaginable. Our leaders even get to send our young to war, always for a good reason, of course.


As reported in The Frederick News Post, our president has proposed a budget of $3,800,000,000,000 for the coming year, one third of which will be borrowed. He has proposed some relatively small deficit reduction plans, but is leaving the tough ones, such as cuts in Social Security and Medicare, to a commission, which won’t have to make recommendations until after the midterm elections. President Obama is convinced that unemployment is the biggest issue that will hurt Democrats in the fall, so job creation is essential.


Social Security was mandated by our government, reducing our opportunity to save for retirement. Our government spent the money. Our government is now proposing to spend more, and take more, to again make things “better.”


I don’t know how much better I can stand for it to be.

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