AMERICAN A$$I$TANCE

Source

By: Wayne Brown


A local ABC affiliate station reviewed some of the latest figures for government nutrition assistance in the USA provided through various agencies of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Although I did not hear the entire report, the numbers offered were quite shocking in what they potentially reveal about our economic status in the USA today.


Nutrition assistance to low-income and out of work families in America has increased by a factor of 74% since 2007. That is an incredible increase in a very short timeframe. The number points to one or two factors or potentially a combination of the two. First, it certainly may be indicative of the true levels of unemployment in the country and the lack of any potential jobs in some regions. It demonstrates that the private sector businesses are simply “hanging on” and not growing in terms of output or market share. Secondly, it may speak to the level of how much easier it has become to defraud the government since the Obama Administration took office. Most likely, the figure is representative of some combination of the two factors.


46,000,000 people in the USA today are receiving some level of nutrition assistance in their household. That computes to approximately 15% of the national population and coincides nicely with numbers which are offered as the real “unemployment level” in America. At the present time, as much as one-third of the total population of the State of Alabama is receiving assistance. It is appalling to think that even a fraction of that number would be seeking assistance if there was another way…i.e. job opportunities. While there is certainly some fraud hidden in these numbers, hopefully we have not reached a point in America where we are so “assisted by the government” that we search for ways to take advantage of yet another free government program.


Nutrition assistance programs vary in size, shape, form, and name by individual state. All states are pressured and leveraged by the federal government to provide such programs. That leverage comes in the form of reduced federal funds to the state if it fails to offer such services. Since states operate under a “balanced budget” approach in most cases, this leverage offers a fixed amount of federal funds gambled against a variable cost issue. Since late 2008, states are seeing the significant rise in assistance requests and finding it hard to meet the demand even with federal dollars factored into the equation. Many states find temporary solutions by gutting other programs to continue support to those mandated by the federal government. In essence, the federal government is using taxpayer money to leverage states to assist people in becoming more dependent on the government for their subsistence.


America is a generous nation. It always has been such throughout its long history. Back before the federal government took on a role to be “everything to everybody”, those who fell on hard times were dependent on their neighbors and the local charities and churches for assistance. When someone received such assistance, it was likely desperation or a complete last resort as the person or persons took tremendous pride in maintaining their independence and showing their own ability to help. There was a “social awareness” associated with receiving charity and handouts that most folks did not want so they shied away from it.


The Depression offered the federal government the opportunity to reach its hand out to the citizens of America and to offer its assistance. While this was noble on the part of the President and those in Congress, it was also self-serving in that it gave them great stature with the voting public and significantly raised their stock for re-election. Even at that time, America did not have the money readily on hand to bailout an entire population of people who had fallen on poverty. That mattered little as our elected politicians began the process of basically robbing Peter to pay Paul…that of deficit spending and annual borrowing which slowly began to pile up the can of debt which the politicians kept kicking down the road in favor of more government programs.


Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” of the 1960’s era, opened the doors on many more assistance programs mandated by the federal government and paid for by the state. It was an amazing time to see the government using “borrowed money” to provide federal funds to states that were then strapped with the actual cost burden of a given program mandated by the fed. Ultimately, it was a case of taking the taxpayer to task on both ends of the equation all the time making the federal government look like the “daddy rabbit” for us all. In those days, most of us were far too naïve and intimidated to even think to ask where all that money would come from in our country. We thought those smart politicians knew. In the process of financing his grand ideas, LBJ managed to wrangle through legislation that allowed the government to raid the Social Security Trust Fund for the necessary revenue.


The process continued with each succeeding president and his administration. Some wanting to buy themselves a legacy; others shamed into making more commitments by their peers rather than to appear to have some fiscal responsibility. As a result, along with all the other burdens and programs created by the federal government, the debt piled up and up and the can just kept getting kicked down the road. Carter wanted to build everyone a house; Clinton wanted to give everyone an easy path for home loans and a government run healthcare system. Obama managed to get a government run healthcare system passed the impact of which is not yet determined but estimated conservatively and $65 billion dollars annually. Obama then took $500 billion from Medicare coffers to finance the initial implementation the plan. Between Johnson and Obama, much can be explained regarding the projected revenue shortfalls of both of these modern day Ponzi Schemes.


In the process of all this, our people lost that their affinity for taking hand-outs. In fact, many of them became downright aggressive at pursuing them quickly learning that life could be more lucrative on the dole than if one was working. This attitude quickly spreads from one person to another infecting the whole society and rendering it less and less productive. Of course, this is where the road to Socialism always leads….too much government, too little productivity, too little revenue and revenue sources, and far too many social programs. It is a winning formula for disaster in a country.


Of course there are those among our citizens who in their own caring way are quick to rush to the front and defend all of the social welfare programs as good and necessary. They, along with the various government officials, point out that nutrition assistance cannot be used for anything but food. Okay, I’ll buy that but at the same time it does not mention the various and sundry people who pull out that card at the grocery store but have to put away their I-Phone before doing so. Or, they take the groceries they just bought with the card and load them into the new $40,000 SUV that they leased last month when they got their first card. Yes, the point is true…the card can only be used for food but there is no acknowledgement of the fact that the card also allows other money to be diverted to buy things like I-Phones and SUV. So, in that sense the card is an indirect enabler of unauthorized purchases. I am all for putting food in the mouths of the needy and children but I do protest when that money or its equivalent is simply redirected out of the other household incomes for luxury items valued disproportionately to the need. There is something wrong with an approval system which will allow such abuse.


As a nation, we need to define better ways to use money applied to social well-being programs. If the government so believes that it can “create jobs” then why not use that money to do just that and put these people to work so they can feed themselves, buy their own SUV’s and I-Phones. Why not drug test all recipients regularly? Why continue to reward women who continue to birth babies to increase their share of the welfare pie. Where does it stop and where is the measure of what good it does?


Organizations are on television all the time begging viewers to just spend a few dollars each month to feed little Pabu over in a far-away land. No matter how success they are in collecting money for the purpose, little Pabu seems to continue to be hungry generation after generation after generation. Even if the money or some portion of it is reaching little Pabu and his family, it has apparently done nothing more than make them all wards for charity. Where is the program that gets Pabu and his family back on its feet and makes it a productive member of society? Where is the drive and motivation within little Pabu to get off of the welfare dole and contribute? It’s long gone. Pabu and his family have been conditioned from birth to depend on handouts. They have no drive and no self-reliance to break the chain and gain their independence. As much as we abhor slavery as a nation, we seem to forget that slavery can manifest itself in many forms.


The welfare attitude is thick in the air in Washington today and getting thicker the longer this administration and this Congress are in office. If Obama wins a second-term, he will obviously pull many back into office with him and the attitude will continue and prevail. Meanwhile, companies all over America and the world have exceptional amounts of capital sitting on the sideline awaiting change in America. If that change does not come in the form of Obama’s defeat in the elections of 2012, then that capital will remain sidelined indefinitely. There are far too many unknowns with regard to the government and the healthcare plan currently in the implementation stages. There are also deep concerns as to what will arise in a second term which would be far too controversial to address by a first-term president. Add it all up and one can see that the private sector is stymied by this administration and for good reason. Given that face, the outlook for private sector jobs is rather dismal leaving more and more people to line up for the welfare rolls in America.


One does not have to speculate too much as to what Obama’s new plan for the economy will be once he returns from his vacation. No matter what direction it takes, you can bet it will center around government inserting itself to a greater degree into the people’s lives. Money will continue to be spent on far-fetched ideas that are currently only dreams of the future. Americans will be told to tighten their belts and pony up more to cover the needs of the government. This is a given since the election of 2012 is still over a year out and minds must be changed and votes gathered before that time arrives. The only answer to that is pandering and the use of taxpayer revenue to buy votes and voting blocks. Obama’s strategy is currently…win the election first, come up with a program later, if necessary. One could only hope that entire state of Alabama is not on nutrition assistance by the time Obama leaves office; one can only hope.



© Copyright WBrown2011. All Rights Reserved.


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Comments 76 comments

Becky 5 years ago

My son got a job and was totally delighted. He had not worked for 2 years, no jobs around. He scrapped until this is one of the cleanest towns around. He did odd jobs, working on peoples cars, helping them move, and it was not enough to eat, just to pay part of the bills. I finally made him apply for food stamps. I could not afford to feed him any more. When he got this job, he lost the food stamps. Fine with him. Three weeks later, the roofing business seems to have stalled. Back to the food stamps. Only now, they need more information. Just this state? Who knows.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

Becky...It probably does vary from state to state to some degree in both the requirements and the difficulty. I am sure some states are attempting to manage the abuse so that help is there for those who require it. Certainly this situation reflects the lack of job opportunities in the marketplace, especially in certain regions of the country. My family tells me that opportunities in the southern states like Louisiana, Mississippi,Alabama, and Georgia are all but nil. One might note that these are not only states affected to some degree by the 2008 financial downturn but also are states which directly border on the Gulf. The moratorium on some off-shore drilling has cost many jobs in these areas. Thanks for the good comments. WB


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 5 years ago

All of these government programs are riddled with fraud and abuse. There has to be a better way than handing out a card that can be used for anything at all. If people are truly in need then by all means help them, but weeding out the phonies is a must. Up and useful, interesting and awesome.


Wizard Of Whimsy profile image

Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City

Some facts to counter the cherry-picking and overt one-sidedness here . . .

Fraud and abuse

According to the Government Accountability Office, at a 2009 count, 3.53% of food stamps benefits were found to be overpaid, down from 7.01% in 1999.[19] A 2003 analysis found that two-thirds of all improper payments were the fault of the caseworker, not the participant.[19] There are also instances of fraud involving exchange of food stamp benefits for cash and/or for items not eligible for purchase with food stamps.[20] In states that have a bottle or can deposit, people will commit fraud by using their EBT to buy canned drinks, then dump the contents out so the cans can be returned for deposit. People are able to buy tobacco and alcohol this way, avoiding the restrictions that prohibit purchasing non-food items.[21]

From the Cato Institute (hardly a Liberal organization) . . .

The Corporate Welfare Budget

Bigger Than Ever

by Stephen Slivinski

Stephen Slivinski is a fiscal policy analyst at the Cato Institute.

Executive Summary

Federal subsidies to private businesses cost taxpayers $87 billion per year. That is over 30 percent more than the Cato Institute's 1997 corporate welfare estimate of $65 billion. If corporate welfare were eliminated tomorrow, the federal government could provide taxpayers with an annual tax cut more than twice as large as the tax rebate checks mailed out in 2001.

President Bush's first proposed budget recommends about $12 billion in total corporate welfare cuts. Most notable are the proposed cuts for the Advanced Technology Program, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the Maritime Administration's guaranteed loan program, and the Small Business Administration. However, the Bush budget proposal also increases some of the largest corporate welfare programs, such as federal aid to oil companies through the fossil energy research and development program and research subsidies to aerospace companies as well as increases for the National Agricultural Statistics Service, the Foreign Agriculture Service, and the Conservation Reserve Program.

Spending bills working their way through the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have reversed or diluted Bush's proposed cuts. While the House kept intact the cuts for the Advanced Technology Program and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, it diluted the cuts for the Small Business Administration and the Export-Import Bank. The Senate voted to increase the budgets for the Advanced Technology Program and federal assistance to energy companies.

The Advanced Technology Program, the Small Business Innovative Research program, the Partnership for the Next Generation of Vehicles, and the Export-Import Bank are among the worst corporate welfare programs. They subsidize large, profitable corporations at the expense of taxpayers for projects that already receive, or could receive, adequate funding from the private sector.

A good way to abolish corporate welfare programs would be to convene a corporate welfare reform commission (CWRC). That commission could function like the successful military base closure commission. The CWRC could compose a list of corporate welfare programs to eliminate and then present that list to Congress, which would have to hold an up-or-down vote on the commission proposal. The commission would help reform-minded legislators to end federal subsidies to business.

Fraud, waste and abuse

The Office of Management and Budget estimated that the federal government made $98 billion in "improper payments" during FY2009, an increase of 38% vs. the $72 billion the prior year. This increase was due in part to effects of the financial crisis and improved methods of detection. The total included $54 billion for healthcare-related programs, 9.4% of the $573 billion spent on those programs. The government pledged to do more to combat this problem, including better analysis, auditing, and incentives.[138][139] During July 2010, President Obama signed into law the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act of 2010, citing approximately $110 billion in unauthorized payments of all types.[140]

Former GAO Director David Walker said in 2008: "Some people think that we can solve our financial problems by stopping fraud, waste and abuse or by canceling the Bush tax cuts or by ending the war in Iraq. The truth is, we could do all three of these things and we would not come close to solving our nation's fiscal challenges."[141]


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@breakfastpop...Thanks much, I agree totally! WB

@Wizard of Whimsy...Sorry you feel that it is "cherry picked". I have no significant beef with helping people who really need the help. I think it is naive on the part of both the government and the people to believe that either the government agent or the claimer is going to get it right every time. But it is also naive to believe that these systems will not get "gamed". I suspect the "gaming" is running much higher than any estimates you can find from studies. Corporate welfare is an entirely different subject with me but not necessarily something I favor especially in light of the taxbreaks received by companies such as GE who then turn around and walk out of Washington with over 3 billion dollars in "green" environmental money. All that needs to stop...it's nothing but theft and the essence of all that is wrong with lobbying and PAC operations. I didn't see you take the time to explain why the assistance chart starts going through the roof in 2007 and continues upward like a space shuttle launch after Obama a took office...of course, I could have just made all that up in the name of "cherry-picking". You may be planning for a future life under socialism but it's not in my plans. WB


Wizard Of Whimsy profile image

Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City

Well, frankly Wayne, your bias flavored your post and your view from the second paragraph. Corporate welfare costs America infinitely more in comparison— you conveniently discount it. You may say that you have no beef with people who need help, but then you imply that Obama is causing the fraud and then imply helping the people who need help is Socialism— with a pejorative tone. That's just scapegoating, plain and simple.

Socialism is Social Security, are you planning on not accepting it?


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@Wizard of Whimsy...Social Security is something I paid for lock, stock, and barrel and yes I do plan to take something that I paid for...there's no welfare there. Secondly, don't diminish the flawed aspects of social welfare by trying to hold something up in front of it that is even more flawed. Your point assumes that I am attempting to shield corporate welfare by damning public welfare. I am saying that there are things wrong with the system that seem to be even more glaringly wrong since 2007 yet all our government seems to be able to do is plot a line on a chart and shrug their shoulders. If the government is any more willing to go after corporate welfare...I'm all for it. But let's get to the bottom line here, for all those who have spent decades upon decades paying into Social Security and Medicare, possibly yourself included, we now have a government which wants to make apologies for the fact that they have squandered that money over time. Then, they want to add to the dilemma by thinking up some other government sponsored programs in which to dump taxpayer money which is paid for by those who are not benefitting by it. That number gets smaller and smaller as more people decide that it is easier to work the public dole than it is to be a productive part of America. They drop out and follow that course. The government in turn makes the case that those who continue to work and produce must shoulder a greater and greater burden as a result. It doesn't take a genius to come up with ways to spend and squander money...all it takes is a damn fool. There is no fiscal responsibility left in DC on either side of the aisle and the apathy of the American people allows it to continue with little or no accountability. That may not upset you but it certainly does not set well with me. So, let me suggest that you write some hubs yourself and make your case...you'll get a lot more exposure that you will making commentary on other hubs. I have no reason to believe that Obama is perpetrating the fraud in the welfare system but I have every reason to believe that a line on a chart that turns that acutely upward from 2007 on is hiding a lot of facts behind it that the citizens of this country should be questioning. WB


Wizard Of Whimsy profile image

Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City

Wayne, you write well and are a pleasure to read. We differ in view, but i have similar feelings and concerns and I applaud your passion. I have run at the moment, but I will respond with what I hope you will find to be as thoughtful a response as you've given me. Thanks for your time; it's much appreciated and duly respected. You are the kind of classy Texan I met when I was stationed at Lackland and Keesler during my time in the Air Force in the late Sixties—I'm glad to see they haven't died out.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@Wizard of Whimsy...Hey, I appreciate the compliment. I work at it but I will admit that passion drives my political essays more so than creativity. At the same time, let me say that we don't have to agree to be friends, we just have to respect each other enough to discuss the issues. So far, we have not called each other names, so I see that as a real start. I am not about rabid anything except seeing my country survive as it was intended to be. From that standpoint, I think more of us agree than not. Some thing seem more dangerous to some of us than others and that's understandable as well. But, when we quit talking to each other and take on the same aura as our elected officials then we cease being Americans and become part of the problem. I hope I don't fall short of your expectations in that regard...and, I will say, you know how to punch a guy's buttons. Thanks much. I look forward to hearing from you. WB


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota

Had a great time reading all the comments between you and Wizard of Whimsy. I think he was saying what I was thinking. Instead of black and white thinking, this is a real issue that is two sided. Some really need these programs and some abuse them. That is life but thank God we have programs for those that are trying and having a hell of a time. I too am concerned with what is going on in our government but I refuse to forget those that are truly hurting and trying to get jobs. Peace :-)


Wizard Of Whimsy profile image

Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City

Okay Wayne, I will try to acknowledge and address your points candidly, sincerely and without bile. I’ll start with what you term “the bottom line,” namely: “ . . . we now have a government which wants to make apologies for the fact that they have squandered that money over time. Then, they want to add to the dilemma by thinking up some other government sponsored programs in which to dump taxpayer money which is paid for by those who are not benefitting by it.”

The first thing I sense when I read this is your resentment, anger and frustration (all justified responses) are palpable, however, when you say “government” as some kind of amorphous “they” enemy, and then later, imply that the government IS Obama (and maybe his minions), then you lose any sense of rationality and start parroting the agitprop conceived in the right-wing reactionary think-tanks that have brought this country to exactly where it is today. (I don’t expect you to agree with this last point.)

I say this because what you are really doing (and I do it as well) is distorting facts and scapegoating. There is a group in the UK called the Scapegoat Society and the following comes from their website:

DEFINING SCAPEGOATING

"Scapegoating is a hostile social - psychological discrediting routine by which people move blame and responsibility away from themselves and towards a target person or group. It is also a practice by which angry feelings and feelings of hostility may be projected, via inappropriate accusation, towards others. The target feels wrongly persecuted and receives misplaced vilification, blame and criticism; he is likely to suffer rejection from those who the perpetrator seeks to influence. Scapegoating has a wide range of focus: from "approved" enemies of very large groups of people down to the scapegoating of individuals by other individuals. Distortion is always a feature."

OUTLINE OF SCAPEGOATING PSYCHO-DYNAMICS

In scapegoating, feelings of guilt, aggression, blame and suffering are transferred away from a person or group so as to fulfill an unconscious drive to resolve or avoid such bad feelings. This is done by the displacement of responsibility and blame to another who serves as a target for blame both for the scapegoater and his supporters.

The perpetrator's drive to displace and transfer responsibility away from himself may not be experienced with full consciousness - self-deception is often a feature.

You may conveniently discount this as this as psychobabble, but there is truth in it, in my opinion and the Brits have been around debate a lot longer than we have. What is important, however, is for you to be aware of the behavior in yourself (and in others) and to ask yourself if it’s fair and reasonable.

And more importantly, both sides are encouraged to behave this way in this polarized and divided land of ours. How can Americans solve any problems when they are so filled with so much deep-seated skepticism, hostility and mistrust? I’m convinced we all have to start looking at our behaviors and the emotions that cause them.

I just did a search for some quotes about resentment; here are a few:

“After World War I the resentment of the working class against all that it had to suffer was directed more against Morgan, Wall Street and private capital than the government.” C. L. R. James

“Anger will never disappear so long as thoughts of resentment are cherished in the mind. Anger will disappear just as soon as thoughts of resentment are forgotten.” John Dryden

“Guilt is anger directed at ourselves - at what we did or did not do. Resentment is anger directed at others - at what they did or did not do.” Peter McWilliams

“Insurgents have capitalized on popular resentment and anger towards the United States and the Iraqi government to build their own political, financial and military support, and the faith of Iraqi citizens in their new government has been severely undermined.” Tom Lantos

“Right now, politics follows the rules of talk radio - using conflict, tension, fear, and resentment to find new recruits.” John Avlon

Now I hope you don’t think I’m resentment-free after eight long years of Bush and Fox News, but that is all I have time to say at the moment. To be continued . . .but feel free to rebut or disagree with anything you like.


Wizard Of Whimsy profile image

Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City

Thanks for your comments and enthusiasm, Twin!


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@Minnetonka Twin...Thanks for those good words. I tend to agree. These issues are never totally black or white and they will never be perfect. We most certainly have to have some methodology to help those who do really need it but I am not sure that I agree that the Federal Government should be the almighty in executing that process. When we see a 74% increase in people seeking nutrition aid since 2007, we really need to be asking why instead of just continuing on with life. If this is just a function of the financial fallout of late 2008, then I would say that it is also very telling of any "improvement" in our economic conditions since that 800 billion dollars was dropped as a stimulus. We have come to the point in this country where every solution if a monetary one. I really do not see that as a reasonable answer to the problem. WB


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@Wizard of Whimsy....Look I am not attempting to shield myself against blame by identifying a situation which appears to be a bit out of control as do many things in our government. If I look at the financial situation that developed in 2007-08 in this country, much of it stems from a collapse of a "false housing market" and the related mortgage industry. Track that back and you find that the Clinton Adminstration was the mover and shakers of simplifying the mortgage application business much to the point that any Joe could walk in off the street and buy a house totally out of his price range with nothing or very little down. This was justified by the Clintonites as an attempt to allow all Americans their "rights" in terms of home ownership, which, the last time I looked was more a "priviledge than a right". This legislation created an environment in which the mortgage industry could operate with minimum restraint and the housing ballooned beyond its true market size. The Bush Adminstration warned Congress in 2007 that these programs were a dangerous circumstance in their present format. The plea fell on deaf ears. The house of cards collapsed and a whole lot of people who could not afford what they had been sold ended up as victims of good intentions. So, if I point that out, I am making Clinton and his administration the scapegoat? I don't think so no more so than asking the Obama Administration and Congress to be accountable for the $800 billion dollars of "so-called" stimulus money that was anything but. These are monumental mistakes which this nation can no longer afford and we cannot allow those elected to office to simply shrug their shoulders and go, "oh well, it's not my fault, I'm not accountable". Now, if I had voted for Obama, and was now criticizing for his actions, then I'll take some of that scapegoat label but right now I am just a concerned citizen who only possess the power of his own vote which seems to be of little consequence today. When a recent Rasmussen Poll showed that 69% of those sampled felt the government was no longer carrying out "the will of the people", I think we have some unaddressed problems which have gone on for far too long. America is no long at a level financially in which we can continue to absorb financial mistakes and disasters without severe consequence. We have far too many of the old guard in DC on both sides of the aisle who live by one mantra...spend, spend, spend and they keep dreaming up new ways to do it. Spending is our problem or at the root of a vast number of our problems and yet our elected officials want to continue in that direction without restraint? What rationale lies there in that reasoning or am I just a babbling scapegoat? WB


Wizard Of Whimsy profile image

Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City

[On edit]: Wayne your latest post wasn't there when I first came here to post what is below. I will read it and respond to it later . . .

Wayne, good points, but if we were to look at our economy as an engine that stalled and needed to reignite or as a plane that stalled in mid air, while the drivers or the crew argued over which solution (more gas or less glass—throttle up, throttle down) was more effective—would you agree that this is the predicament we as a country are now in?

And if you agree with this analogy, then don't we need to address not specifics, but our core views and methods for making effective decisions?

This is what I wrote before I came here to post:

To continue and recap, Wayne . . .

Yeah, admittedly I punch buttons, mostly to probe and see quickly how someone feels and thinks—it can be effective sometimes, or it can put people off. I’m impatient and I risk offending others because they identify with their own words and beliefs so strongly. I tend to view words, ideas and concepts as nouns that point to realities — that is to say, things (or more accurately thinks) that should always be questioned and challenged and clarified. I taught for a long time and it was effective in getting people to question their own unconscious (or unquestioned) assumptions. We are all indirectly programmed by our cultures and it’s very easy to assume things we don’t realize we are assuming. Please believe me when I say that it is my intention to challenge the ideas and the behaviors of a person or group without projecting onto them some kind of evil intent.

If we look at America as ocean liner, it is frighteningly close to no longer being able to sail effectively and for lots of reasons we would probably agree upon—and disagree. The important thing, to my mind, is to recognize that if we just blame and scapegoat each other, the ship just continues to list to port or starboard depending on which captain and which crew is fighting for control of the boat. This pathetic situation augurs that the boat will never get anywhere and is likely to capsize or sink at some point if repairs aren’t made and mutinies avoided.

At this point I’d like to know if we can agree on this analogy and then hopefully go on to discuss specifics.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@Wizard of Whimsy...Good response in both cases and I will give you some points there. Having been a flyer for a number of years, I will point out that those flying airplanes generally do not attempt process that are not proven to work in a safer setting. My problem is when we have elected officials who make assumptions that it is the government's responsiblity to fix the economy and in doing so they spend oodles and gobs of money that we don't have as a first solution to the problem. Keep in mind that this is happening in the case of the Obama Administration while making it more and more difficult for the private sector to function. The Obama Administration created over 9 billion dollars in regulaton related costs for the private sector in July 2011 along...a rate of almost 100 billion dollars of additional costs to private sector industy on an annualized basis. Most of this came through executive order...not by legislative decree. We claim that we cannot fix Medicare nor can we afford it but we can implement a healthcare reform which is projected to cost even more and leaves the private sector business huddled in the corner shaking in their boots as to the future of the buiness environment. The attitude is Washington projects on to the private sector of saying, "if you need more money, just spend more money...borrow what you don't have coming in." That is not a reality for a private sector business which is totally dependent on cash flow in today's economic environment. Cash will always be king in the business sector and when times turn unpredictable the private sector will hoard that cash and wait for change. We can't fire an economic engine in which the private sector is surpressed as it is under the Obama Adminstration. Government does not create jobs on any scale which compares to the private sector nor are the jobs they creates contributing to the bottom line profit margin...they are simply overheat of government operation. It is government's responsibility to sustain an economic environment which is desireable and reasonably functional for private sector operations. When government is loading private business down with regulations, that environment is disappearing rapidly. When Obama allows the EPA to increase its operating budget by a factor of 125%, the private sector heads for the hills and takes their cash with them. We will see the impact of some of that intervention by next summer as the EPA starts forced shutdowns of some coal-fired power plants in January of 2012. These units will shutdown before there is anything in the eletrical grid to replace them. Come summer of 2012, America will see brown-outs and complete power losses in some regions of the country due to this warped thinking. The environment is important and we need to be reasonable and good stewards of it...but not rabid, irrational, police state types that destroy the ability to function within our own world. So, it's no mystery to me why Obama cannot get his economic engine an inflight start. He's not using logic, common sense, or rational thinking as part of the startup process...he's not using an approved checklist. WB


Wizard Of Whimsy profile image

Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City

Wow, Wayne you aren't seeing what I'm pointing at. Nor were you willing to even address any of my analogy questions. I tried not to ignore your points in your original post and I'd appreciate it if you'd addressed at least a few of mine.

You've just given me a morass of opinion mixed in with information that I perceive differently. Moreover, it's obvious that you are a details kind of guy and I'm not. My approach tends to be more holistic or from general to specific.

Nor am I implying that you are scapegoating, but you are still blaming while evading the points and questions of my recent posts.

I still see us as two kids arguing about who is to blame for the broken toys in our playroom. Can we stop or shall I forget about trying to establish some mutually agreeable conclusions about our American predicament?


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WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

We get all caught up in corporate welfare vs individual welfare when we should be asking where government gets its constitutional authority to provide either?

We need to decide whether we want to enforce our Constitution as written and intended, or continue to allow politicians and liberal courts to bastardize it.


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Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City

I should NOT have said you didn't address my analogy questions, but rather that you kind of jujitsued them into your own concerns. I'm trying keep from arguing details and agreeing on basic concerns.


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Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@WoW...Sorry Wiz...you got a long name! LOL! Okay, let me back up on that analogy just bit and see if I can make it clearer. If we use the aircraft in flight as an analogy platform and a stalled engine represents the economy. My response to the analogy is that a trained pilot would not implement undefined methods to restart the engine. In this case, I see our leaders hitting the start button with one hand and the stop button with the other. That was my point in saying that you cannot dump oddles and gobs of money in on the government side and expect that the private sector is going to respond if on the far side you are also loading it down with regulation and regulatory agencies. In a word, the akaline is neutralizing acid and everything remains in limbo. We have a President who subscribes to an economic formula which has long since been proved not to be a viable solution for economic recovery...in fact, just the opposite. So I am saying that not only are the employing poor methodology but they are also in a sense cancelling out their own potential for success by over regulation and an unpredictable future on the other side of the formula. You can't have both factors in a totally over-reactional mode and expect any result other than what we have...the engine remains stalled but the clock keeps ticking. So if you boil that back to MY basic concerns, I am concerned that we have a government wich sees it role as being the only stimulus for economic improvement while also being a government which prides itself on over-regulation in the private sector. My concern is that we have no one at the helm who realizes that sometimes the best thing the government can do is to get out of the way and simply reassure those in the private sector of the economy that conditions will remain tolerable to the business climate. Then, in my opinion, we will start to see economic investment, growth, jobs, and movement. Does that spell it out any better? WB


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Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@WillStarr...What you say is true, Will. We really don't need to be caught up in it when there was no real basis for it initially. Unfortunately, we are and the effective of it is just a portion of the "spending" burden which is slowly pulling us under as a nation financially. Until we get the government to adapt a balanced budget amendment and shut down deficit spending, there will never be enough money coming into the coffers in Washington to support what exists and what they can dream up. More Money = More Spending...thatis the only formula which Washington knows or can apply it seems. WB


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Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City

Sorry Wayne, but no, you still are not seeing what I'm pointing to. The analogy is not a platform for arguing your points. It is meant to point out that we have people seeing different realities and not agreeing on what reality is because of the ideas and ideology in their own heads. The point is to recognize those ideas, mindsets and cultural filters and understand how they can prevent one from accurately fixing a problem. Does that help? (I have to leave soon.)


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Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@WoW...Yes, but only in the current circumstance that what is relevant and current applies to Obama's beliefs and approach to solving it. The differences in approach in terms of knowledge of what is being done in most cases stops at the elected level. The results or performance there of is generally what affects the thinking of the population. In other words, Joe Blow is going not to say that Obama's approach to the economy is wrong because he is employing Keynesian economic principles. Joe's going to say his approach is wrong because he is not getting the desired results the public wants to see. As a voter, Joe may vote you into office because you are a Republican or Democrat but he'll vote you out because you failed to achieve the results. We can't necessarily blame George Bush of Obama for the legislation that was enacted in the LBJ Administration allowing the government to raid the Social Seccurity Trust Fund...we have to blame the voters for being naive and apathetic enough to allow it to happen. Our current situation is not all the doing of Obama or the current Congress...we taken decades to get here in some cases. But, one only has to look at the spending levels since mid-term elections of 2006 to realize that this President and his initial Congress contributed greatly to the damage which has been done. We are way off the intent of this article now but for the purposes of this discussion, we seem to have an elected elite in place on both sides of the aisle which, with few exceptions, have the same common desire...spend, spend, spend. So if I am "scapegoating" per se, then let's just say that I am blaming the either government for where we are at the present either in terms of helping us to get there or in terms of not fighting hard enough to stop it. Regardless of one's political orientation, common sense says that you cannot spend more than you take in on a continuous basis and expect anything to happen except an ever increasing debt load. That is reality and any concept that denies that fact is a fairy tale in my mind. WB


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Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City

No, sorry, Wayne. You still don't see where my words point but I'm happy to take responsibility for the miscommunication here. We are still on different frequencies, I'm afraid.

Save all of your effort for an argument worth having maybe down the road.

I want first, to try and get you to see that the real problems in America aren't in the specific details of governing or in the economic decisions you want to focus on, but rather, on something more profound and much more destructive in the short and the long run.

I'm alluding to the the relationship between blue states and red states, the many competing ideologies: conservative v. liberal, Capitalism v. Socialism, religious v. secular, straight v. gay, good v. evil, black v. white, etc., that seem to sink all of our efforts to solve any problems this country faces.

If you noticed, all of those examples above are binary—either/or ways of dealing with a world that Eastern philosophies have described as "the mutual arising of opposites." That is to say, with hot you get cold and with light you get dark and so on. To cut to the chase, in contemplating this duality, they eventually realized that you cannot separate each polarity from the other—it just can't be done. And yet we Americans, who love to solve problems, fail to grasp the subtle meaning of this idea—especially when it comes to looking at our polar opposites, ideologically.

For example, if I see you as the enemy and myself as the good guy, it automatically puts us in a binary relationship that forces us, (like a magnet) to oppose each other.

Are you with me so far?


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Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@WoW...Okay..I get your drift. But let's look at it from a standpoint of forming a country. If I take what you propose to the nth degree, we all believe the same thing and there is no disagreement. Conversely half of us believe one thing while the other believes the polar opposite...a mexican standoff. Then we get to the in-between which is no longer black or white but light to dark gray. America, was never seen as a country of like thinking, even from the start. But, it was established as a country with a governance that represented the majority and that is the only we way we can function at all today is to consider the will of the majority as the best we can do for the "democratic process". America has become a velcro ball of sorts in that so many divisions are added on wanting their fair share but their fair sharing being something that was not America to begin with. It is impossible for a country to cater to the needs of every tangent...ie...gay, racial, religious, political, etc....without establishing a simple base and conforming to it, which is what I believe the founding fathers did. One can have their freedom of religion and practice it here but let's not take it to the point of declaring "sharia law" to override the desires of the majority in term so to undermine the judicial structure of America. If you really need and want to be here, no one ever promise that America would change its value system for you...you have to want America enough to change your value system for it. If America is not "Mexican" enough for you, then maybe you need to live in Mexico, not expect America to change to suit your needs.

I get your point totally but America is based on a "center line" aspect. We will not persecute you in the name of religious freedom but in term don't impose your religion on the American people. The same hold true for other areas. You can't come here from Ethopia, ask to be a citizen and then expect to live under the laws and religions of Ethopia...America is not capable of that and hopefully never will be. The only way that America is safe as a nation is that the majority of the citizens want the same thing...we may disagree on how to get there but we want the same thing. If that is not the case, we no longer have the basis for a country, a club, or even a partnership.

We certainly have those among us more than willing to promote class envy, political differnces, religion, and any number of things to create division and envy. This is not leadership nor are those who practice capable of leaderhship...Obama definitely included along with several others. The challenge of leadership is America is to take its diversity and keep it in a oneness of mind in terms of what we believe about freedom, justice, and the American way. That is leadership...to look above the fray and say "these are our guiding principles and our differences do not rise to a level to oppose them. We have the freedom to practice much of our desires in the sub-cultures of America but to simply demand that they take precedence over what we have as a foundation and basis of this country would be nothing short of insane.

I get your point. While Utopia would be that everyone had their equal say in how things were going to be...it is not realistic. If 10% of the population is gay, that group of people is not going to decide the direction and culture of America. The other 90% does not subscribe to such actions in one form or the other. When things get to that level, the "realistic" aspect is that one has to ask themselve what is the higher priority...living in America, or promoting the dominance of gay rights. I am not picking on the gays here per se...just citing one potential scenario that could be applied to race, creed, sex, or religion in America.

The minute that you decide that America can satisfy the needs of every faction within it, you have lost sense of what America was intended to be. We have a structure in terms of a Constitution and a Bill Rights which addresses the basic of our core in terms of government and people. Don't show up here with a new group of people who represent something far less than the majority and expect everyone to fall on their knees and change things to suit your sex, religion, or ideas...that is so far of the original concept of America that I can only believe it would be assumed by someone who totally misundstands that which is America. WB


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Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City

Good grief, Man—how much coffee have you had today?

I'll have to read all of this again, but it seems to me that you just want to rail about what you think and I'm just trying to point out that the relationships between and among Americans is dysfunctional because we are all mistaking the menu for the meal.

Frankly though I'm discouraged—but I hope it's just because I'm tired. I struggled mightily not to bring up political ideology and polarizing viewpoints, but you can't seem to avoid it.


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Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@WoW...Okay, then don't read it as a political statment; look at it in terms of simply establishing a club. If half the people in the club are the polar opposite of the other half...what is the basis for the club? Obviously, I am making the point here on things being opposite to the nth degree. If I go to a given church and decide to join it though my views on religion are totally at odds with the beliefs of this church, am I to expect that the church will modify itself for me? You mention Europe having this awareness but what are they doing with it? I do not see any social experiments as such which can be pointed to in that region of the world to say that they have overcome the issues of human nature by better understanding what separates them unless the point being that eventually so many differences exist that the only viable approach is to have a government which rules by decree...damn what the people think, everyone is going to do what the governing body wants...that simple. I don't see solutions there unless one is herding sheep or cattle. This is not to say that I expect everyone to believe what I believe...that would be irrational and out of touch with reality. But, the extreme to that is a body of people who do think in a given direction being herded around by two or three who have a dissenting opinion...now the will of the majority is not longer in play and the basis for why that particular body of people exists is in question in my mind. It that "clean room" pure enough for you, Wiz?


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Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City

Wayne, your really aren't hearing what I'm saying and I detect no inclination on your part to do so. You want to see things through your own filters and you seem to me unwilling to examine them or even consider another's way of looking at things.

I have a hurricane coming and I have a feeling that it will be much easier to deal with an epic storm than to get you to see, let alone appreciate, an alternative point of view.

You prematurely assume that you know what I'm going to say before I even say it. You are angry and convinced that you know the absolute truth. So I will end with two links—one by a rational and ethical Texan and the other by a hard-working stevedore who was fascinated with the rise of social and political movements and the people behind them.

http://www.truth-out.org/renowned-journalist-bill-...

http://www.amazon.com/True-Believer-Thoughts-Movem...


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Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@Wizard of Whimsy...Look Wiz, you are the one showing up here making all the assumptions. I don't need a link to the likes of Bill Moyers,ex-waterboy for LBJ or a psychological theorist such as Hoffner to know where I stand on issues. Apparently, you have mistaken me for a "mass movement" type as outlined by Hoffner who can be bent or swayed any way the wind blows by the promises of "mass think". I knew those people in college and the Vietnam Era...most of them were out marching in the street protesting the war while they wore military clothing they had purchased at the local army/navy surplus. Those folks are still around today hugging trees, cheering on the EPA, trying to convince someone that global warming is the reason to do away with every rational thing and that man actually holds the keys to the survival of the world in his power...please, it's arrogant on our part to believe the world is so weak. I very well know who those people are and I am not one of them...I don't need causes. I just happen to be an common-sense American who is really pissed-off at what politicians have done to this country, especially as of late and if we cannot feel a bit angry about that, then there is no reason to fill angry about anything. Of course you can hide in your house, ready pschology books by people who have never had to make a decision in their life or follow a liberal PBS commentator who is endorsed by Molly Ivins and Anne Richards as "godly". You sit here condemning me for not being "open-minded" in our discussion and then offer up this "liberal" slant for me to follow. Sorry Charlie...not buying it.


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Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City

bigotry |?big?tr?|

noun

bigoted attitudes; intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself : the report reveals racism and right-wing bigotry. See note at bias .

prejudice |?prej?d?s|

noun

1 preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience : English prejudice against foreigners | anti-Jewish prejudices. See note at bias .

• dislike, hostility, or unjust behavior formed on such a basis : accusations of racial prejudice.

bias |?b??s|

noun

prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair : there was evidence of bias against foreign applicants | the bias toward younger people in recruitment

"I'm interested in the fact that the less secure a man is, the more likely he is to have extreme prejudice. " — Clint Eastwood

"Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts." —E. B. White

"Prejudice is a raft onto which the shipwrecked mind clambers and paddles to safety. " —Ben Hecht

"Prejudice is like a hair across your cheek. You can't see it, you can't find it with your fingers, but you keep brushing at it because the feel of it is irritating." —Marian Anderson

"Prejudice is the child of ignorance." —William Hazlitt

"Ignorance is stubborn and prejudice is hard." —Adlai E. Stevenson


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WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

When the source is truthout.org, it can simply be dismissed as far-left, socialist nonsense.

I prefer common sense, and common sense tells us we can no longer allow the parasitical socialist destruction of the American capitalist host.

Our economy is in ruins because we've allowed the left to sell the 'social contract' nonsense until we are on the verge of bankruptcy. Our credit rating has already been downgraded, so take warning!


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Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@WoW...I am far more interested in the quote,"Lead, follow,or get the hell out of the way!" America is well past the point where the inciteful words of some eloquent speaker will save it from the ravages of liberalism and socialism. If we cannot count on common sense to guide our direction, then we will surely be nothing more than a footnote in history...and yes, you can quote me on that one. WB

@WillStarr...Very true, Will. We no longer have the luxury to play with social experiments in order to accomodate every set of circumstances which someone can put before us. America is worn out from everyone wanting to change it and claiming that change will be for the better...which it seldom is. We make decisions on the basis of how we feel in our hearts; on the basis of what is politically correct; on the basis of what is environmentally friendly. We seem to have a rationale for every thing we do except our ignorance of common sense. Common sense will be all that is left when everything else is gone. We assign labels to people like bigot, predjudicial, etc. because they want to apply some common sense to our thinking? Apparently bigotry and predjudice are not just a function of ignorance...which they are but also of a liberal mindset convinced that the direction in which most countries of Europe are headed is the right direction for America. Sorry, I need a far more intelligent argument to buy into that reasoning. WB


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Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City

Since when does "common sense" endorse irrational rage and a stubborn refusal to listen to reason? You cloaked your reactionary views with a feigned friendliness. Democracy is a delicate balance and you fail to realize the consequences of your foolhardy beliefs. Sadly, all America will pay for the recklessness of mob-think—it has in the past and I regret to say, it will again.


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WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"Since when does "common sense" endorse irrational rage and a stubborn refusal to listen to reason? You cloaked your reactionary views with a feigned friendliness"

Demonize much?

Why are conservative views any less reasonable than your liberal views?

Why must you liberals always demonize your opponents by labeling? Why are your thoughts deemed calm and thoughtful, while your opponent's thoughts are deemed full of rage?

Why do you assume you are right and demand that your opponent agree with you, and if he does not agree, why claim he refuses to 'listen' to what you assume is reasonable?

And why is all that so transparent?


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Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@WoW...Whoa...Let's get this right. You are the one who showed up here with comments hinting that there may be other ways to look at things; a new European point of view but you stopped short of sharing it. You only want to walk around the edges and hint at things like polar-opposites etc. You seem to be of the mindset that if I would embrace this thinking that you hint at that my opinion would change because my opinions are a function of "group think". Well, I'm sorry to disappoint you but no group wrote this hub or any other that I post...this is what I think and I arrived at these conclusion by using common sense not the Europoean Method. What do you want to do, sit around and share a box of granola while we compare notes. The time for comparing notes past long ago. If Obama was doing something which was turning this country in a positive direction, I'd be more than willing to give him that credit. It's not happening unless you are looking at it through rose colored glasses. We are in a fiscal emergency and moving closer to a fiscal disaster by the day. Common sense says that the two most effective things you can do at the point is quite throwing away money on hair-brain ideas and get the government off of the backs of industry. I suggested to you that you should write up a hub on your perspective, show your justifications, and share with the world. Instead, you had rather sit here and say that I don't get your point...hell, nobody gets your point the way you are presenting it other that to see my lack of appreciation of Bill Moyer and a psychologic theorists who draws the parallels of the dangers of group think down through history. There is nothing easier than to Monday morning quarterback history...one can find all the parallels if they look hard enough. Those are not solutions...they are observations and quotes which offer no real change from the status quo. It simply some cockeyed attempt at appearing intellectual by insinuating that anyone who does not think like you is a function of group think...you are the one bringing group think to the table by telling me there are no dangers in what you see out there. Again, write a hub about it all and I'll be glad to drop by and read it word for word because I would love to hear the details. WB


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Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@WillStarr...Glad you have some idea what he insinuating...Maybe we have the makings of a new quiz show here..."Guess What I'm Thinkin'" Thanks, Will. WB


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CMerritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

Wayne, first of all, and excellent hub, where you clearly make your point on the "state of entitlement".

I give props to Wiz, for combating for his beliefs, though I 100% side with Wayne and Will, with their simple and common sense approach to this issue.

Wiz, I ask that you slow down a tad, and truly think and reflect on what Wayne wrote and his explainations to you.

You seem as if you are very capable of understanding logic, but yet everytime it is given to you, it seems to miss you. I am not trying to insult you in any form or fashion, I just think, sometimes those on the left, overlook simple and common sense measures to fixing problems.

Wayne, this has been very interesting to say the least.

Chris


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Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City

Wayne, you make some giant leaps of fantasy in your projections about me, all founded on unfounded conjecture. I don't blame you for not wanting to admit that your views are steeped in inflexible reactionary sentiments that won't cotton objectivity or other's views—but the proof is above us in the words you use and the behaviors you exhibit.

And please show me where I was as condescending and insulting as your last post?


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Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@CMerritt...Thanks Chris! Glad you are enjoying the discussion. I am also glad to hear that I have not lost my mind completely.

@Wizard of Whimsy...Look, I am not leaping on any fantasy as to who are or are not...that it totally up to you to decide and portray. You may feel that my opinions are "steeped in inflexible reactionary sentiment" but at least I am expressing one which I feel is not that complicate or difficult to grasp. My commentary here has been in response to something that still goes unsaid here from your part. I am wrote this article with a perspective on the economic behavior of our current government and to some extent those which preceded it. Your commentary thus far has seemed to be built around the suggestion of some form of psychological enlightenment which you do not want to be forthcoming about. I don't mind you having a differing opinion and normally welcome folks who do to the articles that I post as long as they don't just get hung up in calling everyone names, etc. As I stated earlier, I see no social experiments going on anywhere in the world which cause one to step back and marvel at the higher intelligence involved and the progress attained. European countries, at least some of them, may think that is what they are doing but the outcome does not match the desire. Look at Great Britian, the country has been so busy trying to cater to every sect that they are now threatened with Islamic domination and a crumbling financial infrastructure. In the corporate world, this is referred to as a "hostile takeover" and it is becoming a reality with countries as well. So, as I have said, any social experiment which is claiming to match the desires of all the people going on anywhere is a pipedream in the minds of those conducting it. On that basis, I don't intend to sit here and discuss changing my mind on the basis of what is going on in England or Spain...Greece for that matter. There are many lessons in Europe of late which are basically models of predictable failure for the USA financially...basically the writing on the wall which will predict our future if we continue on the same path. Obama seems to be awestruck with the European method and determined to drive America in that direction with little or no regard for the flashing red lights along the way. This is the fundamental change and transparency which those who supported him voted for? I think not. While many of us in America may differ as to "how", we still agree on the goal. In fact, I think the vast majority of Americans still agree with the constitution concept of America and do not want to see it transformed into anything less which is what it will be. We can all sit in a circle and sing peace n' harmony songs; talk about world peace and world hunger and actually convince ourselves that there is a way out there for all sects of the world to come to together and live in harmony. I don't buy it. Not that I am a proponent of attacking my neighbor but because each sect has different priorities and needs which many want to project on the face of others. The world will always have two or more sects who are in conflict because those who lead them desire it or have a particular agenda which requires one's dominance over another...it is the flaw of human desires for power and greed which drives it and it will be here as long as humans populate the planet. When I look back at my posts here, I see what I intend to say...no dancing around the point, no hide and seek. I can point out that a recent poll indicated that 69% of Americans do not feel the "will of the people" is being carried out by the current administration and Congress. Two things can be going on here...the poll is wrong...flawed in some way or characteristic or the conclusion is correct and indicative of American sentiment toward the actions of our current elected officials. Given the reputation of the company which conducted the poll, I tend to think the latter may be the case. If indeed that is the case, then, maybe it is a good thing that America is "wanting change". There are those who took that position when Obama was elected...in fact, he promised that he would "take America through a fundamental transformation". Now that we are on that bus and see the reality of his direction...most folks want off including myself. The reality is, few if any voters in America, would vote for a true socialist if that is what he/she called themselves in the campaign. We have to look at that reality and see it for what it is. WB


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Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City

Wayne, I didn't come directly to the point because I assumed you were as interested in first agreeing on certain points as I was. I then implied that the enmity and rancor in America today forebodes our own downfall, but that working on the relationship among Americans can solve the problems we face together. I didn't want to get into a hostile argument by trying to establish shared viewpoints—because I agree with you on some of the issues. But you were chopping at the bit to vent your anger, indignation and resentments. With this in mind I focused on the idea of resentment as fuel for hasty and reckless decisions.

However, you chose to ignore the basic points I tried to establish for sharing perspectives, and impatiently continued unloading your narrow-focused rage with your verbose boilerplate diatribes, parroting Fox News and the other unreasonably jaundiced peanut gallery out to kneecap Obama's efforts to help our economy. And by the way Wayne, those may be your true feelings but the ideas all come from the demagogues and mountebanks who feed you such bile.

Just reread this latest post of yours, which rambles disparately and incoherently. You haven't shown any thoughtful responses to anything I've expressed and I can't expect anything more from you—obviously.

It's like trying to convince a Flat-Earther to accept that our world is a sphere. You first have to ask him to walk around the planet with you and when you arrive at the place from which you started, he still denies it and says, the Earth might someday become a cylinder.

I don't have that kind of time or patience, "Charlie."

I can only hope that Blake was correct in his hope that: The fool who persists in his folly may someday become wise.


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Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@Wizard of Whimsy...I thought you were the one accusing me of making vast leaps of fantasy in assuming things...looks like I have had some impact on you. Your assumption that I cannot think for myself, apply logic and common sense, is a poor one. Your assumption that "talk radio" is reporting of the news is a poor one. Your assumption that talk radio exists to simply feed mindless dribble or propaganda to the public is a poor one. America is a right centered distribution with the majority of the distribution leaning to the conservative slant Talk radio works because of that...liberal talk radio struggles because of that distribution...they cannot get enough listeners and sell enough soap to make it commercially. I guarantee you the reason talk radio is wildly successful in this country is not because the government is subsidizing it.

As to Obama's valiant attempt to right the American economy and all that "folks like me" have done to stop it...I am amazed. Obama managed to get himself elected making promises he could not deliver; Obama had two years with a super-majority of democrats in both chambers of Congress and yet he still could not pass the legislation he claims to need at the present? He managed to to wrangle a healthcare reform bill through in the dark in of night with a process that fell far short of anything democratic and certainly did not live up to the standards for legislation when he was running for office. Even though a majority of Americans never suggested wanting the likes of anything about this legislation, he was full steam ahead with it in order to establish his legacy in the world early on. Now we are stuck with something which even with conservative numbers is estimated to cost the American taxpayers over $65 billion dollars annually and he has managed to drain $500 billion dollars out of Medicare in the process to finance the startup. Do you think those seniors who are now dependent on Medicare and will be in the future are better off for that? Hell, you can't even find anyone who will profess as to having written the bill, knows the contents, or supports what's in it because they did not read it before voting for it. You want to use some example like accusing me that I do not believe the world could be round yet you don't want to put forth any real details at how you arrive at that conclusion...you simply want me to embrace it and move on with the belief. I write an article detailing the extreme jumps in the use of nutrition assistance since 2007 and you want to show up and tell me that my thinking on this subject is all warped. That I, as a taxpayer, should be glad that these programs are receiving more and more use for they are finally getting to the folks that really need them. I don't think so and I don't think we have a government that cares enough to look to find whether it is operator error or consumer fraud. One could really appreciate the fact that "operator error" has driven number of users up by 74% in three years.

You want me to ignore the fact that Bill Clinton in his effort to put a chicken in every pot so gutted the safeguards in the home mortgage business as to allow every fool who showed up the opportunity to buy a house that he could not afford with money guaranteed by the American taxpayer. Then when it began to unravel in 2007, Congress turned a blind eye only to have the bubble burst in late 2008 leaving the taxpayers holding the bag. Now we have an Administration and a Congress who totally blame the financial and mortgage industry for "manipulating" the markets when in effect we have the collapse of yet another poorly designed government assistance program which grew an both the housing and financial on the basis of a false premise...then collapsed. There is a nice example of how effective the government is in attempting manage economics. You seem to have plenty of time to show up and tell me how flawed and spoon-fed my perspective is but little time to write any supporting material of your own which presents some level of detail as to what you are actually talking about. So far, it looks like we need to build a big campfire, give each other a great big hug and sit down to sing Kumbaya. Unfortunately, when we were done, we might all feel good but nothing would come of it that does anything about the issues we face today. Certainly a President who is driven to employ an economic approach which accomplishes nothing more than stacking another trillion dollars on the debt pile is that what America was voting for when they swallowed that pill laced with "transparency and fundamental transformation". America works pretty darn good when the government gets out of the process and allows the private sector to grow and create...that is the essence of the country which our present leaders seem bent on killing off one way or another. WB


wba108@yahoo.com profile image

wba108@yahoo.com 5 years ago from upstate, NY

WB--Thank you for bringing these important issues to light! These big government welfare policies are insidious in that thier effect is to increase those dependant on the government, they are hard to politically oppose on an individual basis, and they harm the economy. WW2 masked FDR'S liberal policy failures in that without government intervention the economy would have rebounded much sooner,it was only the ww2 war production that brought the economy to its feet.WBA


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@wba108@yahoo.com...Hope you have not been overrun by all the banter in the comment on this one. You make a great point. FDR was looked upon as the savior of the USA but the war is really what saved us. Do you think that is why we got in? Hard to say after Pearl Harbor, huh? WB


Wizard Of Whimsy profile image

Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City

Yet another misinformation dump, Wayne? You could have more consideration for your hub reader by serving up less tiresome gruel. A myopic fixation with arcane details that regurgitates Tea-bagger mania will just fuel the fires of deep division in our country. Or is that what you really want?

Here are some nutritious non-partisan facts . . .

[img]http://s4.hubimg.com/u/5449435.jpg[/img]

[img]http://s2.hubimg.com/u/5449437.jpg[/img]

[img]http://s3.hubimg.com/u/5449438.jpg[/img]


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@WoW...That would have to be your call, Wiz. I don't particularly see how "Tea-Baggers" are fueling any fires of division when their primary mantra is stopping maniac spending and pushing for a balanced budget in government. What deep divisions are being fired there as opposed to a President more than willing to stand on his podium and paint the rich as the root of our financial problems because we don't tax them enough. That sounds like the class envy drum beating to me.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@WoW...Please Wiz...don't serve those links up here and offer them as "non-partisan" facts. Look a little closer. The upturn takes places at the same time that both chambers of the Congress achieved a democratic super majority...the democrats were in control of the legislative and budgetary process from 2007 on. The last link referes to the period from Jan 08 to Jan o9 as "Republican Policies" yet again you ignore that Congress was dominated by a Democrat super-majority that at sitting President can only veto so much. At the same, time give some thought to the fact that Obama had that majority for the first two years of his time in office. He literally had the opportunity to get whatever he wanted simply by running it through...the healthcare package and the stimulus are such examples. So where in the dickens did the "Tea Party" have anything to do with creating a divisive atmosphere which blocked his programs or stopped his spending. That may be the goal of the Tea Party but I have yet to see where any of those actions have taken place. As I have stated before I and I am sure others will welcome any hub you want to write and lay all of this out in chronological detail. I am sure it will make for some good reading...oh, and please, include those charts and graphs by all means. WB


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WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Back to the Hub:

Obama will announce next week his latest plan to create jobs, and it too will fail, because it will not address the real problem of stimulating the true engine of the economy...the private sector.

Instead, it will be the same-old/same-old government spending on government, this time labeled 'infrastructure investments', and new taxes, labeled 'revenue enhancements'.

Government produces nothing, and it is 100% overhead, so that sort of spending serves only to increase the already massive debt. Obama must be smart enough to know that, so this lifelong hater of American capitalism and success seems hell-bent on destroying both.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

BTW, pointing to Bush to defend Obama is a poor strategy. Bush was heavily criticized by conservatives like me for failing to use his veto pen on spending, especially after Democrats took over Congress.

Bush was also criticized for increasing the debt by $4 trillion in 8 years by none other than Barack Hussein Obama! But now, Obama has increased it an equal amount in less than three years!


Wizard Of Whimsy profile image

Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City

Argue for your limitations and behold—they are YOURS, Boys!

You aren't kidding anyone; you want Obama to fail so you can put another reckless puppet willing to do the bidding of the Corporate Racketeers who have already corrupted congress and the Supreme Court—be that Shrub, Romney or Pecos-Rick Perry.

Texans seem to have lost their honor and grit—how sad!

And BTW, I used the very same sources as you used for your Food Stamps graph above!


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@Wizard of Whimsy...I have no trouble with your sources, it is the interpetation that is the problem. Spending started off the track with the coming of the 2007 Congress when the Dems took the super majority in the 2006 mid-terms...things started climbing and have not stopped since that point. That shows on the graph above and it shows on the graphs which you linked as well. As to Obama failing, I have no desire to see him fail as it penalizes me when he does. It's not that I want him to fail, the fact of the matter is the methodology he is employing is doomed to failure because it is all government driven. While we wait as citizens to learn that, the debt goes to astronomical proportions and we get a very expensive lesson which we probably cannot ever pay for. I think you will see round two start up next week when Obama asks for a new stimulus package and new taxes for "revenue enhancement" so that he can investment even more money into the infrastructure of America. Probably something along the lines of double the last stimulus figure. It really won't matter except from a debt accumulation perspective because the private sector is not going to move much due to the other aforemention conditions which the government has created that stifle investment and growth of the private sector. No one in their right minds in America wants Obama or anyone else to fail but no one in their right minds wants to see this country crushed by the national debt. Our accumulated debt as a country is getting far too near the same size as our Gross Domestic Product (GDP)...basic assets versus liabilities. At some point, we tumble of the financial cliff. There's no room to experiment or be wrong anymore. That should not be a "conservative slant"...that should be the feelings of any American who wants to see the country continue to hold its own in the world. As I have said before, Obama had two years to accomplish whatever he wanted unimpeded by the legislative process....where are we? By the way, as Obama comes forth with his new plan, he is already certain based on the size of the request that the opposition to me by the conservative side will be high. He fully intends to make political fodder of that by pointing out that Republicans and Tea Party types are hampering his ability to solve the problem. In effect, he has a bigger problem if he gets the money...then the outcome will be his to justify. Unfortunately, I am not convinced that the country can survive adding that much more debt on at this point in the game. It is a two edge sword...and a sharp one at that. WB


Wizard Of Whimsy profile image

Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City

Wayne, give me eight hours to tie a ridiculously complex and extraordinarily tight knot, and then let me harass you, while I only give you two hours to untie it.

If your only tool is a hammer, every problem will look like it needs a nail!

Though I do thank you for your civility, if not your verbosity!


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@Wizard of Whimsy...Hey, I'm not defending Bush or Roosevelt for that matter. But it looks like to me that there are plenty of tools in the toolbox but Obama keeps picking up the hammer (money) to solve the problem. The private sector has not even been given a decent opportunity to invest or grow for fear of what the future holds on the short and long term. These are obstacles which Obama has had plenty of opportunity to help knock down but he keeps going back to the same thing...spend, spend, spend. He's buying batteries for a car without a starter from my perspective. We are a nation which is fiscally out of control. That should be of great concern to either side of the aisle and getting it done should certainly be a bipartisan effort just like the train that brought us here. We have many in Washington saying that the reason we are here today is due to entitlement spending. I don't buy that. Yes, we have a fair nut to turn on entitlement if that's what you call Social Security and Medicare. But, at the same time, those who would point out stop short of mentioning that they have also squandered the funds which have been collected in those programs. Social Security and Medicare are not significantly more expensive this year as opposed to last year but as I point out, go back to 2007 and watch the spending meter start to rise in these charts on food assistance, unemployment, welfare, etc....more and more money is going out the door as the direction of spending continues upward...this is driving our deficit picture of today off the chart...not entitlements. Obama wants to expand on that with more investment in more governemnt spending. As we do that once again and we will, the debt is going to significantly increase, the financial markets are going to get even more unstable, companies will start to question their own stability, consumers will pull back in fear of their jobs being lost, Companies and corporation will still be huddled in the shadow of healthcare reform and an uncertain tax future coupled with an ever-growing EPA close at hand. The private sector has no basis on which to charge forward no matter how much government revenue is wasted. It's like releasing crude oil from the oil reserves in the hopes of significantly shifting the price...the effect will be marginal or more likely like a spit in the ocean. Government can be the key to economic recovery but not in the way that it is being approached today or tomorrow for that matter. Government must put a reasonably inviting climate in place for business to flourish and seek real growth and investment. Goverment money injected into the market place is simply false revenue growth which will not be sustained for any length of time. That makes perfect sense to me. I care little for who wins because we are all going to lose when the wrong decisions are followed. WB


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

As President Reagan put it so succinctly:

"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."

Pres. Obama said that if we would just give him a trillion dollars, he'd put people back to work, and keep employment under 8%. He failed of course, because Reagan was right:

"...government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."


Wizard Of Whimsy profile image

Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City

You ARE the government and the representatives you vote for. Reagan was a carnival barker and snake oil salesman for GE and U.S. Borax Corporations. He figured out how to bamboozle people into thinking government was a boogyman and now you parrot his agitprop.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"You ARE the government and the representatives you vote for."

Fine. I hope you don't mind then if I finally obey the Constitution and give up about 90% of my scope and authority.

Your silly and juvenile demonization of Reagan is noted and rejected for what it is.


Wizard Of Whimsy profile image

Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

As I said...juvenile.


Wizard Of Whimsy profile image

Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City

Yeah this from a guy who wears a cowboy hat—I gave that up when I was eight!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Now he makes me the topic?


Wizard Of Whimsy profile image

Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City

No, I made your insult the topic.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"Juvenile" addresses what you said, not you.

"Yeah this from a guy who wears a cowboy hat..."

I believe that would be me, not what I said.


Wizard Of Whimsy profile image

Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City

If the hat fits . . .


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

If a liberal cannot win with logic, they always turn to personal attacks.

WOW is a liberal.


Wizard Of Whimsy profile image

Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City

Yeah, right, your opinion of a bad actor and lousy POTUS is logical and my opinion of him is illogical because I don't share your reactionary ideology.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

See?

Sooner or later, they always make it personal.


Wizard Of Whimsy profile image

Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City

Yes "THEY" those terrible fellow Americans who believe in tolerance, compassion and democracy over greed, cruelty and xenophobia. You see nothing, but the mutual fears and resentments you share with like-minded reactionaries. That's the point I've tried to make for this entire hub. It's not 'them" against 'us' —it's we are all the same and you just refuse to see it!


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Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@WoW & WillStarr...Wiz, I don't think that you will be able to prove that compassion, tolerance, and respect is strictly the domain of the liberal. There are many in the leadership on that side of the house who want to sell that premise. In doing so, they have to paint the other side as ugly, vile, mean-spirited so they look a lot better in the process. Now, we have come to a juncture here where there is value. You mention above that you have been trying to make the point that its "us" not "them" throughout your comments. Okay...I'll give you that but without a specific issue, I don't know where you stand so I cannot tell if you agree or disagree. We may get along, play golf, or drink beer together but totally disagree politically. That's okay from my perspective as long as you believe what you believe for the right reasons. For example, if you will look back through these comments, I have made some references over and over to things in the light, "all Americans should be concerned about this issue regardless of political orientation." I also point out that I am deeply concerned about the spending habits of the present administration and Congress. Now, you don't want me or Will to have such concerns and if we agree with you, then everyone is happy, right? But, if we disagree, we are nothing more than a bunch of cowboy hat wearing, redneck, uncaring, intolerant, Tea Party myopic, swine. Does that about sum it up? I really do not see an air of respectability in that light. At the same time, if you care to share your thoughts as to why Will, myself, or any other person in America should not be alarmed by the out of control spending prevalent in Washington today, I will be glad to listen and offer my comments. That's about as good as the invitation gets. BTW,WillStarr, I will offer you the same opportunity. WB


Wizard Of Whimsy profile image

Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City

Wayne, I’m not trying to prove any such thing. You have a way of taking what I say and distorting it to fit your own way of seeing things—which is fine, but you seem to live in an either/or world of black and white. I tried to address that as a dead-end way of looking at things because it is just arguing about a paddle while the boat sinks. I don’t view you as a stereotype, and I respect your concerns—which I share. (Also because I'm an Air Force Viet Nam era vet.)

But when I hear you call Bill Moyers a water-boy for LBJ without bothering to read what he wrote, then it seems self-evident that any kind of debate over specifics is useless.

I have read and reread the things you have written and you waver in your tone and attitude from reasonable at times to a take-no-prisoners irrationality. Which is also fine, but tiresome. I can’t quite tell if you are as hardline as Will Starr, but I can give as good as I get when it comes to insults and overt disdain. If you want to be reasonable and recognize that (as the poet said): “We are all angels with one wing and can only fly if we embrace each other.” That is the direction I always try to head. You are right wing and I am left, but we are both Americans. I can tolerate your point of view, if you can tolerate mine and I’m happy to meet in the middle. I just want a less divided country with a government that isn't always scapegoated and blamed by an angry mob of thoughtless and unreasonable malcontents.


Lapse profile image

Lapse 5 years ago from East Coast Rules

I wonder if you guys should take your argument to e-mail or what not since it has devolved into a right vs. left battle unless you think it deserves its own Hub! Either way after skimming it it seems like neither one of you is getting though to the other side. :-) Either way...

To comment on just the Hub...

The country experiences a financial crisis not seen since 1929 and Food Stamp/SNAP Spending goes out of control. Imagine that eh?

So is the point is that the government is doing a bad job regulating welfare or that there is too much welfare? Both??? I think a good argument would include specifics on just where the abuse is and on what scale and you don't present that Wayne. I hate the welfare boom too, but it looks necessary to me. Sorry. Until unemployment goes back down don't these people NEED the welfare? I hope your solution isn't to just cut them off, because it seems to me there would be rioting over food. I don't think you want that.

This notion that welfare recipients are living fat off the government is EXACTLY the boilerplate stuff WoW refers to. You're gonna have to defend that point better and I don't think you can.

That video posted about the guy that was poor but won 2 mill on a game show is ridiculous to post here. Seems to me he paid more taxes than any of us will pay in many years when he won the money with a 50% tax rate on it. So the food stamps are a drop in the bucket! He'll PROBABLY back in the category that legitimately qualifies for them in 2 years anyway (hopefully not)!!! Lol...


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

The middle of the road belongs to those without principles. I have no respect for fence sitters, trying to "just get along".

This is the current tactic of the administration. They are going to claim that they are "working hard to get an agreement", but those nasty old Republicans are standing on principles.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@Wizard of Whimsy...I give up. I don't see where you are concerned about anything with any sense of urgency. Clearly, I along with a lot of other citizens of America are deeply concerned that spending on the part of the federal government is taking us down a road of no return. This particular hub is just one example of that concern. When the number of people on nutrition assistance increases by a factor of 74% that should raise the concerns about that particular program or what is driving it. We no longer have the time to wait and see if something will work that has never been tried when it comes to fiscal responsibility in the USA. The time to teach "Fire Safety" is not when the fire station is burning around you. As I have stated previously, put your thoughts into a hub or two and let folks comment. You want to criticize me for having a position yet the only position you take is that you oppose my position but offer little in support of that point. I have no problem with that, I don't expect everyone to think as I do. At the same time, I do feel that we have reached a time in America where there is little room for apathy and carelessness as to how we run the government and how big we allow it to grow. There are no successful businesses which exist with apathy and careless disregard as their guiding force. We cannot continue to spend money that we do not have without signifcant consequences for the country and the people. Thanks for dropping by. WB


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@Lapse...Thank for your comment and perspective. All I can do is write the hub...the commentary follows it own direction. As to the video, it was included to simple suggest that maybe we do have a bit more abuse in the system that we might want to admit. I do not see the rationale put forth in your reasoning. If we have a program and the program has rules, just because one pays a lot in taxes, that does not give the the legal right to game the system. Where does that type of behavior become illegal...where does it cross the line? There is certainly no intent on my part here to say that all nutrition assistance is bad. I am simply pointing out the shift in the trend over the past two years or so. That shift should be raising eyebrows as to what is driving it. Is it unemployment? Is it abuse? Have the rules changed? These are not bad questions and considering these are public funds, they are valid questions. That's the point here. Unfortunately, whether one looks at nutrition assistance, or some other area, the spending is going up at alarming levels with an annoucement just yesterday that the 2011 deficit will be the largest in the history of the country. That trend is very disconcerting and those who are charged with correcting it are not taking action but rather continuing to throw gasoline on the fire that is already burning out of control. WB


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Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City

"If you're sick and tired of the politics of cynicism and polls and principles, come and join this campaign. "

George W. Bush

"I had to abandon free market principles in order to save the free market system."

George W. Bush


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

"My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. I hope you'll join with me as we try to change it." - Barack Obama

"To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists." - Barack Obama

We need earmark reform, and when I'm President, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely. - Barack Obama


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Wizard Of Whimsy 5 years ago from The Sapphire City

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