Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Speech

As promised, I didn’t watch any of the festivities yesterday. I spent quite a productive day at work, a very good thing, but as a patriot I felt compelled to at least find a copy of the speech and read it. So I did. Google is a wonderful thing.

President Obama has been elected twice now. He is the clear choice of a majority of my fellow citizens. He is entitled to his views and is free to push his agenda as he sees fit. Much of his speech featured soaring rhetoric, the kind that he is known for. Naturally I disagreed with much, though not all of it. However, two lines captured my attention. They jumped off the page and attacked me. Seldom have I heard such fabulous nonsense come from the mouth of a President, any President.

The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.”

Where to begin? Ever since I have been a working adult I have been taxed 6.2% of my pay for Social Security and 1.35% for Medicare. The reason I have been charged this tax is precisely because these programs were designed NOT as welfare, but rather a benefit that citizens pay for. The reasoning has always been, from Otto Von Bismarck forward that government programs of assistance must never be viewed as entitlements by the citizen because if they were it would produce sloth and freeloading. Thus, the citizen pays in to the system and “earns” the benefits he later receives. My Social Security benefit is not a “commitment” I have made with my fellow citizen, it is a commitment that my government has made with me. I pay in to the system, and the government promises to not screw around with my contributions and further promises to pay me when the time comes for me to collect. Because of government malfeasance over the last 50 years, these programs have morphed into gigantic unfunded liabilities and with all due respect they are indeed “sapping our initiative” not to mention our national bank account. In thirty five years time by every prediction model used by either political party, the entire federal budget will be spent paying for these three programs and the interest on our national debt. If that doesn’t “sap our initiative”, what on earth will?

No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people.”

 

What the hell is he talking about? I have never met a single, solitary soul who believes that “ a single person” can do any of these things! This is why people have banded together for, oh, four thousand years of recorded history, to do things as a group that cannot be done individually. To the President, there apparently are only two options when confronting problems…”one single person” or a huge, leviathan government. Has he never heard of civil society? Is he unfamiliar with local associations like churches, charities, Kiwanis clubs, PTA’s? Must every social ill be the soul province of Washington? This is the Life of Julia writ large. That little cartoon put out by his campaign depicted a single woman from birth to death relying totally on a benevolent government at every step of her life as if she had absolutely no where else to go. In the President’s view of our country, the government can and should be the fount of all solutions. The problem is, we are stone cold broke, and our benevolence comes at a cost. No where in his address did the President hazard a plan for the how this great society plans to pay for any of this. All we got from this speech was…bad things happen in life, and your government is going to be here to make everything better, no matter how much money it takes.

OK. Good luck with that.