The worst thing about government dependence is what it does to the moral fiber and expectations of its citizens. This was recently brought home to me as I recalled the many times I discussed my future business plans with my late father. Whenever I came to him he always started the conversation with the same question: “how much money have you saved to finance your plan?” Not surprising that I eventually developed my own conservative views.
I often hear similar breakfast discussions in the Sparta Café. But there, the first question is, “Is there a government program or grant for that?”
I was privileged to be raised by those who lived through the Great Depression. That experience burned a certain self-reliance into those people. They had lived through hard times, and had seen Government programs fail. Remember it was the Government plan of plowing up the prairie grass in order to produce corn and other row crops that caused the devastation of the “dust bowl.” Their experience created in many of them a horror of depending on institutions – one we would be well advised to heed in these perilous economic times.
My parents’ family budget was always written out, and the two top lines were always tithes and savings. What was left over went to pay the bills. If it wasn’t enough, we cut expenses. My Dad was a minister, and offerings during those times were meager, at best. My mother used the envelope system long before Dave Ramsey sought to popularize it. I use it today!
We were taught that there was dignity in all labor. To take pride in whatever work we did, and that any work that is honest is honorable. That my work would be a reflection of my character, and that I owed my employer my loyalty and my best effort if I agreed to accept his check. His philosophy was if you don’t like the job, find a new one. But in the meantime, don’t badmouth the company that is putting the bread on your table! Now, too many of us try to get by with doing the least for the most.
And when times get tough and their jobs go to China or Mexico, they are the first to cry for a government handout and to protest that unemployment compensation lasts for only 99 weeks!
Yes, sometimes even when we do our best, conditions over which we have no control can leave us jobless. It seems to have happened all too often here in White County. But that is life. So, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!”
If you want to see an example, ride up Hwy 111 between Cookeville and Livingston, and stop by “Big E’s Barbecue,” just behind the new Dollar General store. While the pork roast is smoking out back in two converted oil drums, “Big Ed”, an unemployed truck driver, and his daughter, serve barbecue sandwiches and baked potatoes to-go through a makeshift window in the side of an enclosed U-Haul type trailer. But be prepared to stand in line outside for 30-40 minutes… as happened this week to a friend of mine who drove all the way there from Sparta. His barbecue is that good. It can be done! Big Ed put some conservative views into practice.
But we can no longer rely on government programs that the most basic financial analyses will show to have little or no chance of success! It’s all political smoke and mirrors.
But let’s play a little game. Suppose I give you a million dollars… tax free! What you would do with it? Would you start a business, not knowing what your costs are going to be? Not knowing what your business tax rate, already the highest among the free nations, is going to be… even a month from now? Not knowing how to budget your fuel and electricity costs when your president has already said that his “Cap and Trade” proposal will cause such costs to “skyrocket”? So would you gamble your money with all those uncertainties, or would you just sit on it and hope for better times ahead?
That is precisely the question that confronts all businesses today, and why the much advertised “summer of recovery” didn’t happen. Our Administration says jobs are not being created because banks aren’t lending small businesses enough money. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is planning to print another $600 BILLION for another bailout, so banks can have more money to lend to small businesses. That is not the problem. As my father cautioned, you must have enough capital to carry you through until your business starts making money. And how can you even estimate when that will be or how much capital you will need when our Government makes it impossible to foresee your operating costs? With such uncertainty, a bank loan will only give a sense of false security while actually making the problem worse. And good business owners know that.
So go ahead if you wish. Go ahead and rely on a Government that has brought us such successes as the Postal Service, Medicare, Medicaid, and Tenncare, all of which are broke. Can we continue to let the politicians misappropriate (rob) our Social Security funds, for which we have been paying all our working lives? Are we going to sit quietly by and let these same politicians approve a $700,000.00 stimulus payment to the University of New Hampshire for a study of the “intestinal gaseous expulsions” (there is a four-letter f-word for that) of dairy cows, or “turtle tunnels” under I-75 in North Florida, or require us to submit to embarrassing searches of our private parts and publicize our nude photos, just to be able to ride on an airplane? And please keep in mind 11 years, and 67,000 government employees later, the TSA has not identified one single terrorist, or discovered even one bomb! (The “shoe bomber” and the “underwear bomber” were both already on board, and were discovered and disarmed by other passengers!)
I could go on with more of my conservative views, but you get the idea. Our governments, both State and Federal, are growing ever larger, more intrusive… and more unreliable. If ever there was a time when our survival as family breadwinners, and as a nation, depended upon self-reliance, this is it!