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January 5, 2012

New Year, New Opportunity

Patricia A. Kelly

Kudos to President Barack Obama and the Democrats for their huge end-of-year public relations coup – all those ads talking about how much $1,000 per year would mean to working families.


“Mr. Jones, what would $1,000 a year mean to you?” Oh, food for my babies, two weeks of heat, or some similar heart-rending answer. Pa-leeeeeease!


The Republicans in the House of Representatives, instead of pointing out that we are borrowing money to give working people $20 per week of the money they should be paying to fund their retirements, fought to extend it for one year instead of the two months extension approved by the Senate. Thanks to good Democratic public relations and President Obama‘s free airtime, they ended up looking like obstructionist fools, throwing oil on the slippery slope to possible election losses in 2012 – both for the presidency and Congress.


Working people should fund Social Security, period. The government should then guard and grow the money, and provide it to retirees, period. The rest is political “horse hockey", to quote the late Col. Sherman Potter, and our president did an awesome job of fostering it.


Liberals I know say some of the following: Republicans are mean spirited and cruel. They don’t care about the poor and needy. Basic research wouldn’t happen if the government didn’t fund it. It’s appropriate for the government to give money to start-up companies who are working on green energy. After all, look at the tax breaks given to rich oil conglomerates. Tax deductions and government incentives are essential to the functioning of the economy. Republicans who stood their ground on the debt ceiling were stubborn and selfish, causing our country’s credit rating to drop.


Our country is dangerously in debt. We just ended the first war we ever started. We are surrounded by decaying infrastructure as politicians fail to budget for maintenance of bridges, water systems and roads. We are drowning in regulations and social policies that are redundant, costly and difficult to understand.


I just received a box of light bulbs and a surge protector that automatically turns off my electricity from Potomac Edison. When I called to find out why and who was paying for them, I was told that someone in my family must have ordered them. Tinker Belle swears she didn’t do it.


I was then told that, whether I got the box or not, one dollar of my monthly bill now goes to pay for government mandated energy efficiency programs, covering the cost of my “gift.” I said I agreed only to pay for electricity, and requested a dollar off my bill. She didn’t take my name.


The reason things have mushroomed into an incredible cloud of spending, proselytizing, regulating and over reporting is that we allow it. Period.


The Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street crowd both signal that people are starting to get the fact that something is wrong in government. Something is.


What would happen if we opened our minds to the possibility that there is another way to do things, within the present government framework?


With a little common sense, we could do away with three fourths of our laws and three fourths of our tax code. Just examine national, state and local budgets, and cut the unnecessary spending. Figure out how inexpensively and un-luxuriously our governments could be effectively run.


A couple of examples: Social Security and Medicare as at least part of congressional retirement. Or maybe, instead of term limits, allow legislators no pension at all.


Eliminate of all laws designed to enhance the severity of the crime of murder (like making it a hate crime), and just have one law against the taking of a life. Let the judge and jury decide whether the circumstances justify greater or lesser punishment. How about a flat tax that includes taxing charities and churches, so no one would have to do much paperwork?


After figuring the amount of money the local and national governments need, divide the amount by the number of taxpayers, and set the tax rate.


If virtually all of our national representatives were working for Apple, or even Eli Lily, and they turned the company into the financial mess that presently afflicts our country, they would be fired, and possibly prosecuted. Because of our decisions at the polls, they come back year after year, unable to even figure out that spending borrowed money doesn’t improve one’s financial position.


Our elected officials may not be able to perform successfully in office, but, so far, they have managed to convince us that they should be re-elected.


Wonder what that says about us!


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