- Politics and Social Issues
The Reformation Of The Entitlement Society
Who's Going To Blink First?
I personally don't care who blinks first - just get to blinking. As I read voraciously, I sometimes think people just don't realize how dire this budget crisis is. But upon examining the facts, I can sincerely say that something better be done and sooner rather than later. The "kicking the can down the street" crowd needs to regroup and step up to the plate. The federal government, in case you failed to notice, has been trying to be everything to everybody. That's fiscally impossible. It also isn't what our founding fathers intended its role to be.
We have bred the entitlement mentality into generations of Americans now which is unfortunate A freshman Congressman from my state of South Carolina, Trey Gowdy, paid a visit to some school classrooms over this past recess and asked the kids what the role of the federal government is. Here's what he found out. Most children think the government's role is to provide health care, Social Security and an education to its citizens. Does that speak anything at all to you about breeding the entitlement attitude further than it has already been ingrained into our society? What the heck is going on in our schools systems, not to mentions homes, all across this nation?
We also have a President now, in this time of crisis, who seems to not have a clue about economics, and he admits to that. His tendency to want to be everything to everyone is also apparent. He is sitting in the wrong chair if that is truly his attitude. Being the President of this country in these times has become a rather thankless job - damned if you do and damned if you don't. But he needs to take the lead in reducing the deficit, reforming the present entitlement system and manning up to the economic reality he has helped create himself by his reckless spending over the past two plus years. He has become part of the problem rather than part of the solution.
Entitlement reform has been the "can" that has been continually kicked and that baby has some serious body work that needs to be done now. "Whatchu talking about FP," you ask? It's past time for them to pluck their heads out of their third point of contact and see the light of day. That requires that one blinks. Not just one or two or three of them but all of them in unison. Over the decades these well intentioned "great thinkers" we call politicians, many of them who can't see past the end of their noses much less into next week, may have had good intentions, regardless of what political party they belong to. I'm so far past that point that the discussion becomes like a tribal drum beat. They together, in unison with the orchestra droning away in the background, helped create this mess so now use the same orchestra, if that is a must, and fix it.
If you are scratching your head and asking "Fix what?" you are lost. I'm not fond of politicians in case you fail to notice. One of the main reasons is once they screw something up, they don't want to first, recognize the screw up and secondly, don't seem to want to have the backbone to fix it. In short, they are a soft lot in life who think they can't do, don't do and never will do any wrong unless they stick to some idiotic party ideology. Most of it centers on kicking the can on down the road so the "other party" can wear the black hat when necessary.
Guess what? Necessary is here in full vivid color my fellow Americans. The Big 3 entitlement programs - Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid - consume approximately 42% of the federal budget. That is unsustainable and if left unchecked they give every appearance of dwarfing this nation's entire gross domestic product by somewhere between the years of 2040 to 2050. Give that some serious thought. We cannot just keep putting the plane of autopilot, someone needs to start sitting at the stick, get on the stick and fix it. That's just the Big 3 folks and doesn't include the many "freebies" we make people now feel entitled to. Though called "entitlements," the working people of this nation contribute our hard earned dollars into the coffers to fund the biggies, at least two of the three fall into that category anyway. Medicaid was designed to assist the poor.
Reality has to come into play. The reality is that the federal government has over promised over the decades to its citizens. Is that a big deal? You betcha it is because right this very moment the expenditures being made just to dispense the promised social security and medicare benefits to those they were promised to exceeds what the federal treasury is collecting to fund those programs. WHOOPS! That's where not seeing past the end of their noses becomes apparent. I am a baby boomer. We are now the largest segment of the population of this nation. We are also entering the retirement window after having coughed up trillions of dollars over the course of our lifetimes into those systems. Are you telling me that the wise sages, some of them have been up there warming chairs for decades themselves, didn't recognize that my generation would reach retirement age?
Instead of thinking clearly, they collectively have squandered monies that should have been held in "trust" on other things they felt were more important. For those who don't know, all of this started with Lyndon B. Johnson and his creation of The Great Society. Well guess what LBJ? What you created is an unsustainable monster that people have grown accustomed to and things down here on earth, in our nation, aren't going so great. History has always shown many of us that there is no free lunch. The federal government has failed to grasp that concept. It's always soooo easy to spend someone else's money, even if they don't have it, right?
As the budget crisis looms larger and larger and the national budget ceiling is rapidly approaching again, I'd say it is past time to institute some radical ideas before the ship of state goes belly up. Radical events are sometimes the cause to institute radical ideas. I don't consider a balanced budget amendment to be a radical idea myself but Lord-a-mercy to the "old ways" politician it borders on heresy. I don't consider revamping social security, medicare and medicaid because we obviously can't sustain the way they are working as radical. Old Geezer Harry Reid says there is nothing wrong with it and opposes touching the mechanics, though he added that he might consider it when he is 91. Why is that guy still warming a seat in the Senate?
Obama appointed a debt commission so that the appearance is given that he is serious about reducing the national debt and maintaining some semblance of fiscal solvency. The commission reported, the politicians ignored it and bam - the can gets kicked again, without even a blink. Look none of what needs to be done is going to win a popularity contest for people seeking re-election so they can continue kicking the friggin' can. But instead it gives every appearance of business as usual from Foggy Bottom. Politics, as usual, rears its ugly head and it becomes gamesmanship again of pointing their bony fingers at each other claiming that this party, or that party, is going to be the black hat wearer. But that surely isn't going to FIX anything but maybe some blame for the mess they have collectively created.
Congress, recess is over. You shouldn't ever recess again until you actually start reforming what needs to be reformed. I believe that the majority of Americans "get it." What is their problem? The hard line, business as usual crowd want to see if coming back from recess, after being bombarded at town hall meetings (for those who had the nerve to hold them anyway, did yours?) has softened any of the reformist message that was sent up there this past November? Don't hold your breath on that one. It probably had the opposite effect and has made the steely resolve even more steely.
On the political side meanwhile, it seems the Democrats are in a bit of a conflict. Now Uncle Harry isn't pleased as punch as 32 of his Senate Dems have joined hands with 32 Repubs in urging the President of the United States to take a leadership position and address a very much needed, broad based budget deficit reduction plan which includes reforming both social security and medicare.
Will someone please start humming the music to Kumbaya so we can get on with what MUST be done before we're economic toast? I'm just saying....
Have a good day and as usual...
The Frog Prince