Conservative Views On Personal Responsibility

DSHolman Conservative ViewsThe 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!

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3 comments for “Conservative Views On Personal Responsibility

  1. Pingback: Susan Jones
  2. Pingback: DH Holman
  3. greg holman
    December 19, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    good post and some good points. But let me comment on some things noted:

    1. Cap and Trade- I think any business can basically guarantee this is not happening any time soon.

    2. Business tax rate- While our top corporate business tax rate may be the highest, when you add up different tax schemes such as Value added tax etc. that other countries pay we are doing ok. The best and easiest way to compare business taxes is by percentage of Gross Domestic Product; when viewed that way we actually have one of the lowest taxes on corporate income among developed countries. see Congressional budget report-
    http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/69xx/doc6902/11-28-CorporateTax.pdf

    3. Extending unemployment insurance (which i think you are getting at by the 99 weeks). Unemployment insurance gives you 36% of what you made before you were laid off due to no fault of your own. Under normal economic conditions they usually only last 26 weeks (i think it differs by state) but we are not in normal economic conditions. While unemployment insurance surely dissuades people from excepting very low paying jobs it certainly does not replace the job people lost. As with any social safety net, you must be careful not to encourage dependence or abuse (creating perverse incentives not to look for a job) but the alternative may be letting people lose their house or even starve. I don’t know, seems like a choice between the lesser of two evils.

    4. Whats wrong with the postal service? Seems my mail gets to where it needs to for a relatively good price. A similar-size letter mailed in the U.K. costs 65 cents versus 44 cents with the USPS; in Germany, it costs 78 cents. If you want better service than lets up the price.

    5. The extra 600 billion is for a program called quantitative easing 2 (QE2). Basically the idea is that the government buys back a bunch of treasure bonds from banks so they are forced to invest in “riskier” assets, that is small businesses etc. During a huge economic downturn like this banks are hesitant to invest/lend in risky endeavors so they invest in treasure bonds and other low risk investments. While not crazy about the idea, it’s kind of the last thing the fed can do to try to stimulate the economy. Funny youtube on QE2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTUY16CkS-k and a good reply http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUxBDdjsCmk&feature=related

    It is a problem right now for small businesses and potential home owners to find loans and that does mean it is harder for us to economically recover. For better or for worse, we live in a business climate that requires loans. Who can realistically pay for a house, college, or business in cash? If you look a places that don’t have credit (often communist countries), their businesses struggle and so do the people because they can’t get loans.

    6. Medicare and Medicaid are certainly broke but that is probably because they are underfunded and overextended (guaranteeing too much to too many). None the less, they appear to be relatively popular programs.

    7. TSA saving nude photos of you? I think this is more conspiracy theory than fact. http://blog.tsa.gov/2010/01/whats-wrong-with-this-picture.html
    If you find these images arousing than I can point you to two hundred plus websites online that are 100 times better. The TSA can’t save the photos and even if they could, who would want to waste their time looking at them?

    I think a problem is that people today are unrealistic about what they want from the government. They want all the services they have and to pay less taxes and that simply isn’t possible, so we end up borrowing huge sums of money rather than our politicians telling us “no”. We are spoiled children and our parents (politicians) don’t want to disappoint us so they keep buying us stuff on credit.

    We do need more personal responsibility and we need the government to seriously commit to becoming more efficient. The solution is not to sack the government but rather to make it become leaner and more efficient. We need to be able to overcome political differences and special interests and seriously evaluate programs, tax breaks etc. and figure out what should go, what should stay, and what needs serious modification.

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