Thursday, June 03, 2010


We are in the middle of a very interesting time. Expectations. What are they? Our economy has taken a major hit during the past two plus years. They will always be plenty of blame to go around with respect to the causes but this post isn't about that.

America and her people have grown from a rural and relatively simple society into an extremely diverse and complex nation. We, as a nation have overcome immense challenges to bring ourselves to this point in time. How did we do it? I would submit that a key factor has always been an unrelenting spirit that translated into solving whatever obstacle we've faced. During recent years we have allowed an atmosphere of doom to invade our country. At some point our political machine made the decision that the best chance at "winning" elections (and therefore gaining the power) is to paint a picture of failure and hopelessness to try and convince the voters. It appears that the strategy has convinced far too many of us that our situation is indeed hopeless. We have been losing our sense of hope and in doing that we make the situation worse. It is time to think again about what we are going to do to overcome our latest challenges.

My own family has been in America since the 1620's and generations have endured to this day. We fought in the Revolutionary War. We fought in the Civil War. We fought in both World Wars. In between we were farmers and merchants and doctors and mothers and fathers. My grand parents lost their business and their home during the Great Depression (the strain cost my grandfather his life in 1935). I lost my only Uncle in February, 1945 when his fighter plane was shot down over Germany. But most of my family have just been hard working citizens who struggled to build a life and help America evolve. As a family we always had a spirit of hope that we could overcome any difficulty. We had no expectations of anyone or any government taking care of us or making our decisions for us. 

There is a movement in the country that calls for our government to essentially go away. they say that they don't want government intruding into their lives. Do they really want this? They talk a lot about our Constitution yet most have probably never even read it. The Constitution was a document born of compromise. It established the foundation for our form of Government. The Bill of Rights that so many people use for their own agendas was not even a part of the draft of the Constitution that was sent to the States for ratification. It too, was a compromise. Slavery was not abolished in the original Constitution. Women could not vote with the passage of our original Constitution and they had few other "rights". About half of the white male population could not vote with the passage of our original Constitution. Still, it was a framework and generations of political leaders have added to it through amendments and gone around it through various "legal" steps. Those who call for a return to the principles of our Constitution should beware of what they are asking. Those who keep saying that the Constitution is somehow a document based in religion are simply wrong. The word God doesn't appear in the Constitution AT ALL. Those who debated and prepared the Constitution took special care to make sure that God (which God would it be anyway?) or religion would not be the basis for governing the United States of America. Many of the recognized "Founding Fathers" were not even at the Constitutional Convention. 

So, enough with using the Constitution as a misguided political tool. It does not belong to any particular political group. 

If our citizens have some expectation that our Government (Federal, State or Local) is going to somehow solve all their life problems they are looking in the wrong place. Citizens that rant for less government cannot then ask the government for help. Do they truly want less Government or do they simply want "their" Government? Do they actually want the protections of our military (and the spending that goes with it) to stop? Do they really want our Justice system (and the spending that goes with it) to go away? do they really want our highway system and our consumer protection agencies (and the spending that goes with it) to go away? Do they really want social security and medicare benefits and all other aid and assistance programs (and the spending that goes with it) to go away? Really? Or is all the ranting just a scam for the politicians in the minority to gain the majority again? 

If citizens have expectations that their poor decisions can or should be fixed or erased by the Government they shouldn't. Life deals all of us some bad hands. Loss of a job or a house or excessive debts or health issues are a part of the ride. It is not wrong for our government to have some programs to provide temporary assistance to those in need. It is part of the compassion that is fundamental to who we are. But too many of these programs are becoming a way of life for too many people. Politicians use the promise of these aid programs as a tool to get elected and that is wrong. We have about 45 million people receiving food stamps. We have millions of people receiving unemployment benefits and a very weak system for pushing these people to search for work. At some point the benefit ride must stop.

If citizens have the expectation that the Government can "create" millions of jobs and fix the employment problem they shouldn't. Aside from dealing with some business taxing issues the Government does not have the ability to get everyone a job. Our system is based on spending which is what created the bubble and caused it to pop. Our system is a catch 22 in that business hires people and buys or makes goods based on their expectation of selling those good and making money. The key factor is that the citizens will cooperate by spending their money to keep things flowing. Well, for too long too many people spent themselves into massive debt and when they could no longer keep spending business released workers and the down cycle has gotten worse. The debacle in the housing market was essentially a result of a systematic plan to get people into mortgages that they could not afford and the lure of the home blinded the homeowner to the reality. Home "values" got way out of line during the past 12 to 15 years and few realized that it couldn't continue. Too many people used the "value" of their homes to borrow against it so they could go out and buy more stuff. Now that "values" have adjusted downward that tool in largely unavailable and too many people ended up with monthly payments that far exceeded their real incomes and the result has been a huge number of foreclosures. Who is to blame? Everyone. Now, everyone must deal with it and get on with rebuilding their lives by whatever means necessary. 

If citizens have the expectation that either major political party actually has the ability or desire for a "smaller" government or to control spending or to reduce the national debt they are being mislead. A study of the past 40 years (with 26 years of Republican administrations and 14 years of Democrat administrations) clearly shows that the Federal Government has continued to grow and our National Debt has grown from about 380 billion in 1970 to the 13 trillion it is today. There have been a grand total of 8 years since 1948 that our debt has NOT increased and ONLY one since 1961!! All the talk about one side or the other "causing" our debt is just a smokescreen. We have an institutional problem and until both sides commit themselves to put this nation ahead of partisan politics the debt, the spending, and the hateful tone will continue to grow unabated. 

Anyone who does an objective study of our nation's history and reflects on the amazing accomplishments we have attained and the very serious things we have had to deal with as a nation should not see our situation now has anything but another call for America and her people to roll up our collective sleeves and fix it.

The hateful nature of our words and the projection of disaster on all fronts is eating away at one of our most valuable resources which is the AMERICAN SPIRIT. If that goes it truly will be the end of this great experiment that is America. 

Are we going to let it happen?

It is "Time to Think Again"