Sunday, June 26, 2011

We The People Are To Blame

There is a huge uproar these days about the direction our republic is headed.  There is a lot of discussion about spending, debt and entitlements.  There are a lot of suggestions out there about what could and should be done.  During these discussions, many display anger and frustration toward our elected officials, but ultimately, all the problems we currently face can be placed right back in our laps.  What is happening today is a direct result of our lack of engagement – or perhaps our engagement, exacerbating the problem.

We have been electing leaders to go to Washington for decades to “bring home the bacon,” when that was never the intent of our founders.  When I think of our founders risking their lives and pledging their sacred honor for our freedom, when I think of the bloody feet of the soldiers in the snow at The Battle of Trenton, to enable our elected leaders today to “go get bacon,” I know they would be disgusted with us. 

Our good intentions are killing us.

In the last century, we allowed our Government to begin a “war on poverty,” (an unwinnable war) which is not defined anywhere in our constitution.  This war has failed miserably and has become rampant with fraud.  I saw first-hand some of those who are defrauding our government while I was in the banking field.  Quite honestly, this war has permitted extended families and churches to shirk their God given responsibilities in this area, “because the government takes care of that.”  It is time the Federal Government had an exit strategy from this war, and placed the responsibility for this where it should really be.

We allowed our government to begin insuring seniors in the last years of their lives, a plan that was never part of the vision for America, and is not defined anywhere in our constitution.  This one area now controls the largest portion of the liabilities that are bankrupting our nation.  In the last few decades our Federal Government has led millions of people to not plan for themselves, but to be dependent on the Federal Government for their existence.  Sadly, I met a lot of these elderly people while I was in the banking field.  In addition, this system has quite honestly permitted extended families and churches to shirk their God given responsibilities in these areas, “because the government takes care of that.”  Our founders did not risk their lives to create a dependency – they wanted to provide freedom for their posterity. 

We allowed our government to take over providing medical care for seniors, another colossal failure. 
This take-over has stifled the free market and created huge opportunities for fraud.  Furthermore, (you probably are catching a theme), this system has permitted extended families and churches to shirk their God given responsibilities in these areas.

We have allowed The Federal Government to federalize education.  Every year we add new federal regulations and increase federal expenditures in this area and we see overall performance continue to decline.  Fortunately we have seen homeschooling and private and charter school’s explode, not only in numbers but also in performance.  Certainly there are some good public schools out there, but on the whole, our investment in Federalized education has not seen a good ROI.  Where we see the best performance taking place is at the lowest level, not the Federal Government, often that level is the homeschool.  This is despite the ever growing size of the Department of Education.

Finally, we have allowed the government to become the fastest growing segment of job growth in our republic.  Despite the lack of success in the areas listed above, as well as so many others – Federal and State Governments continue to hire at record levels.  Having spent 20 years in private industry, this is completely mind boggling to me. 

Up front, let me say, I know countless “Type A,” extremely hard working folks within the federal system, but I do want to refer back to my title, “We The People Are To Blame.”  I have met countless people pursuing jobs within the government, often not because of the great work that they plan on achieving there but simply for security.  Higher salaries, benefits and retirement plans, as well as the fact it is virtually impossible to be fired are the reasons I routinely hear for people seeking jobs at the Federal Level.  Countless people have told me, it is far too risky to go start a business or work in private industry.  During my banking career, I could not tell you the number of people that told me they would wait to purchase the home they had just been pre-qualified for “until after they began working for the government.”  Because they knew their personal risk factor was vastly reduced at that point.    

So it goes back to my second paragraph where I mentioned our routinely, for decades, electing people who could “bring home the bacon.”  Now that the bacon (or the credit line) has virtually run out, should that continue to be our priority?  I say that for our elected officials, but also individually.  We need to stop thinking about “what’s in it for me” and decide if this republic worth saving?  We are rapidly approaching the tipping point, where 51 % of our citizens depend on the government for their sustenance.  That is a huge dilemma.  If we believe the republic is worth saving the question must no longer be “what’s in it for me?”

What is needed now is the hand of God and a couple of generations of Americans who are willing to give back to their country, and perhaps risk everything like our founders.  If we place our resolve, like our founders did, as they closed the Declaration of Independence: “With a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence,” I believe we can.

Some personal thoughts on what I feel is needed later this week, but a clue to my thoughts were included here.

Blessings to you and yours!

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