Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Stop It!

I’m seldom the smartest guy in the room but I’ve seen more than once the multitude of prescriptions many seniors take regularly. Hands full in the morning and again at lunch and again at dinner. Sometimes the ritual is repeated just before bed as well. As much as some of these people take, their health continues to deteriorate. That is it continues to deteriorate until someone comes along and empties out their medicine cabinet. Then starting over from a clean slate without so many prescriptions, a balance is restored and health returns.

I’m not a doctor. I don’t even play one on TV. I don’t claim to know medicine. However, periodically, it seems most doctors rely too heavily on prescriptions. Oh, you’ve got high blood pressure; here’s a prescription. Oh, you’ve got head aches; here’s a prescription. You’re suffering from intestinal infortitude; here’s another pill. Complications from various prescriptions acting on the others are not too rare. We hear about it all the time. Writing another script to combat a symptom might simply be adding another link to an ongoing chain – the symptom itself might be derived from this chain.

I worry that what we’re seeing in Washington is like this illness-Doctor-script cycle. We’ve a big problem, one we’ve watched Washington worry about for a couple months now. It’s big enough to have at least two lame-duck sessions of congress. Hearings, big-three-pleadings and more hearings. Not one of these dim wits has held their eyes open long enough to actually see the cause of the cancer.

The root of all this financial evil can be traced to the most corrupt city in the world – Washington D.C. There resides that gang of marauders known as the Congress and President. They prescribe more and more bureaucrats, taxes and other sham-ridden hoopla to fix any problem they encounter. Seriously, this is the pattern we’ve seen for well over 150 years.

Even though Slavery was disappearing rapidly and it had been illegal for 55 years to import more slaves, the biggest move toward big government in the history of our country happened in the name of “Saving the Union” and the Emancipation Proclamation. I’m not exactly sure what the better solutions would have been but there was a very large body count to go along with this big government decision. I’m not certain if this was necessary.

FDR ushered in a complex string of prescriptions for the ills of his day. Poor education required the development of the Department of Education, which gobbles up a ton of money, educates no one, and hampers what education is left. Private education was simply not enough to meet the grade. Increase taxes on everyone and make public schools where, today, few get educated. Public schools have been around so long they are taken for granted. Even the most liberal minded have to admit the public school system is failing our children immensely. The department of transportation transports no one and gobbles up a ton of money as well. We needed better roads. So, we built an interstate highway system at taxpayer expense, charge no tolls, and kill tens of thousands of businesses, kill railroads, escalate the price of fuel to pay for them forever, and change the cities, air, and oil consumption of America. Housing is bad? We’ve got HUD, which houses people who shouldn’t be housed, at the taxpayer and neighborhood’s expenses, and which has become one of the most expensive and corrupt outfits today. The biggest fraud perpetrated on the American people might have been the creation of the Federal Reserve, which is not federal and hasn’t any reserves. Our money is printed – nearly created out of thin air.

The US automobile industry – more appropriately the big 3 – has known for years there was a big change brewing on the horizon. Rather than prepare for the change, they continued to make oversized, gas-guzzling monstrosities. The American public who purchased these atrocities and the Big three should have to sleep in the beds they made. Seriously, why should others bail them out of this mess? Why should the American Tax payer give money to those who failed when they had a chance to do the right thing? If the government is giving money away, why don’t they give it to those who made the right decisions? There are companies who have solutions right now, who have the technology right now. Let the big-three file bankruptcy; let them fail. The big three might fail big, leaving a void in the American Business landscape. This void would most certainly be filled by those organizations that have already made the necessary changes to meet the business environment of today. Let those companies that have spent the money in research and development move into the big factories and assembly lines with their new technology. If we must spend government resources, let us spend them wisely. Support those who have had the necessary forethought to make the technological breakthroughs that could help our auto industry stay at the forefront of technology.

Bureaucratic prescriptions of the past are only just the beginning. Sadly, we’ll see more long before we pull through this crisis. I don’t wish to be a pessimist but I think we’re heading into something far worse than a recession. I think it is probably something more akin to a depression. I don’t think Congress or the President has the right answers for this monstrous problem we’re facing. I don’t think our new President will have better answers. I worry about the day the bill comes due.

Am I completely off base? Is the answer to our problems a bigger, more expensive government? Am I wrong to think we’re going down a dangerous path? Is it OK to spend trillions of dollars we don’t have in an attempt to avoid a depression that might be inevitable? Is it in our best interest to bet the farm on Congress getting it right? Was this what our fore-fathers envisioned for us? Did they get it wrong?
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