Friday, August 5, 2011

The Government Can't Save You: Return to Chains (Part 3)

It's unemployment rate day and that means it's time to once again see how close we are to no longer being free.

The Labor Department just announced the economy added 1117,000 jobs for the month of July. The unemployment rate thankfully dropped to 9.1 percent. This is marginally good news following the drama of the week. The debt-ceiling deal that may or may not have sold the country to the devil, China downgrading our credit, Moody's keeping our credit rating at AAA but effectively putting us on downgrade notice, and then yesterday's Wall Street free fall with the DOW tumbling 512 points -- the most since October 2008. To say the least it's been a rough week. This notion got me to thinking that if in one week we can see triumphs and still consider them epic failures than actual epic failures are catastrophic catalysts to explode the country. Which basically means you better fend for yourself because the government can't save you.

Take the debt-ceiling deal:

  1. It does not raise taxes
  2. It does not close corporate loopholes
  3. It increases and cuts funding for post-secondary funding
  4. It cuts spending but does not reform the three big spenders (Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security)
  5. It creates a BS commission to make recommendations for further cuts that if not voted on with a simple majority will go into effect no questions asked
This deal pushes the real problems out of the way (again), cuts spending in programs no one can readily identify but we probably depend on, and does nothing to increase the capital coming into the capitol so we can do more than just pay bills.

This is not a government working for its people. This is a government working for itself to save face with the electorate before an election.

Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Tea Party people like to say they're working for their people. They like to tell their opponents to visit their district and talk to "real" people about what they need (like a job). They encourage each other to talk to the small businessman like Joe the Plumber to find out how businesses make their budgets work, or ask the family of five how they make their budgets work. They like to suggest these actions that no one ever really acts on. They like to insinuate that when families or businesses don't have enough money to do all the things they envision themselves doing they simply don't spend over their means and begin to cut back.

Umm...cutting back is a relatively new phenomenon as in circa 2008 when the economy went to Hades in a gasoline hand basket and people thought... "Hmm maybe I should pay off some of my debt if I want to keep credit since banks aren't offering new lines."

Our country's culture is to consume. If you don't want it eat it, spend it, buy it anyway. That's how we operate. This saving thing might as well be Chinese communism because it's as foreign as that system of government. Yet our government is still insistent upon us learning from the "little people" on how to manage life's -- or the economy's -- ups and downs when really you would think, hope, some sort of example would, should, or could be set from the top down.

Clearly that's not happening if our Government as big or small as it is and will or will not become continues to defer to constituents on how best to run the country. That deference leads me to believe that in times of crisis there will not be a strong government to lead the way, to take the cliched bull by the horns; instead it will be every man for himself anarchy and we might as well prepare for it now.

  • Social Security: Hope that it's there for you but have a backup plan, like a healthy 401K for your retirement years (if you can ever retire)
  • Medicare: Again hope it's there but have a back up insurance plan
  • Medicaid: Just find a way off
  • Education: Depend upon your own resources and private scholarships. Federal aid may be available in some capacity but don't get caught slippin' and then get caught up trickin'
  • Personal Finance: Practice responsibility, if you risk big know that you can lose big, and have a stash of something somewhere else just in case you do. As we've learned recessions have a way of sneaking up on you even if you see it coming (Just ask Dick Fuld)
These ideas/tenets/principles are basic. However for a country whose government and citizens now constantly live on the edges of recession/depression it is important we realize the social programs of the 50's are no longer safe options for us to depend on. The government cannot and will not save its citizens when faced with the task of having to save itself. The power structure will be preserved before any person can fix there mouth to wonder, "Where's my bailout, life boat, helicoptered donut hole?"

There is a quote by our first President, George Washington, that describes exactly why the government cannot and will not save We the people.

"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."

Because our government and many of the people who run it don't reason that their decisions affect people and not just how history will portray them and their ideology they are at best a reactionary exemplification of the mood of the country in the midst of a snap judgement. Snap judgements are not pontificated speeches of excellence no matter how moved you are by President Obama's words or Speaker Boehner's tears. Our snap judgement personified in the people we call our leaders are calculated moments; the driving force behind why our government works and sometimes does not work in any capacity. But because of a snap judgement the power is transferred from the many to the few and the few forcefully turn us against ourselves, or take the entire country hostage for a few moments of power. We are essentially slaves to a system created to be mutually beneficial.

Our government is a dangerous servant only when it is going to war or licking its wounds from a "shellacking" election. Wounds that heel faster than Wolverine's regenerating flesh. It is most often the fearful master. The master that realizes he rules by force and power and not by majority. A master that realizes if citizens paid closer attention, saw beyond the talking points, and viewed government for what it is and what it is supposed to be -- a behemoth of self-described democracy, a masthead to which people can relate -- then government would no longer be a master and always the servant.

We too often forget that government and this country is supposed to be run by We the people not We the elected. There is a difference.

  • We the elected look out for selfish self interests -- making the business of serving the people into the politics of carving out a career
  • We the people look out for the people we are brought to serve even if they only allow us one term
Government rarely plays the part of the dangerous servant. The one that fights fiercely to protect its true master. One that rides into battle to defend its citizens' glory. That is a government we no longer know. And since we no longer know it, we can no longer trust that it will be there to defend us, honor us, and save us in the best of times and in the worst of times because our government is now a fearful master; clinging to power no matter how slick the grasp.

The political wrangling of this week, the commentaries on the President's leadership style or lack there of, and the reaction from Wall Street shows and proves our government with all of its bodies that embodies it is a master leading in fear. Leading in fear gets you killed at worst and at best sets the stage for a hostile take over. While I'm not so dystopic to think that a political coup is in our country's near future, I do recognize the signs of a government out of control, an electorate as confused as it's government, and us all running in the same circle wondering why we're not getting anywhere fast.

Perhaps it's time for those quick to judge dangerous servants to prove that they indeed are the fearful master. An electorate that does not lead in fear but leads and is feared because our government, the dangerous servant that it is supposed to be is no longer holding us hostage, and no longer predicts our future with its policy, because we have broken the shackles of codependence and realize we must save ourselves, to save our government, and in turn restore our country.

1. Besides buying our own "boots" what should people do to save themselves?
2. Are we in an age when a social agenda helmed by government is an unnecessary evil used to keep future conditions at the current status quo?
3. Fearful Master or Dangerous Servant which position do you think government and electorate are playing and why?
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