“Don’t cry. Don’t raise your eye. It’s only teenage wasteland…” – Who Guitarist and Songwriter, Pete Townshend, “Baba O’Riley.”

Is the monumental political and philosophical divide in America more than the separation between mere blue states and red states, liberals and conservatives, 99 percent vs. one percent etc.?

Shouldn’t we be equally concerned by the growing number of Americans (e.g., 47 million on Food Stamps) becoming even-more dependent on Washington, D.C in the face of the shrinking number of workers that are left to pay the tax bill?

Is there a growing separation between the dwindling “makers” and the ever-growing “takers?”

And aren’t those fighting words anyway?

Sorry for the string of interrogatives, but this is really not a new subject. At the same time, it is also a topic that is not going away anytime soon.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and reporter Theodore H. White wrote passionately about this subject three decades ago in his book, “America in Search of Itself.” Is public largesse and those who promote it, ensnaring literally millions of Americans into wasted lifetimes of dependency on the federal government?

white

And with it do the takers then become beholden to their pimping masters every two-or-four years (whatever applies)? Will there ever be enough money from the makers to be redistributed to the takers?

Writing in 1982, White said that every addictive program was passed through Congress in the “name of virtue.” He said that “all entitlement programs tend not only to grow in cost but, more important, to create their own constituencies (the takers?).” He added that with the growth of the federal government comes a “legacy of bureaucracy.”

“…Those dependent on federal money grouped together, while communities organized to demand federal funds,” White wrote. That was about $15 trillion ago.

Defeated GOP standard-bearer Mitt Romney is getting rhetorically beaten up and becoming persona non grata for suggesting that President Barack Obama and his campaign consistently and persistently cherry picked Entitlement Society constituencies and systematically distributed the federal goodies. Romney called them “gifts.”

That top-down, command-and-control approach sounds like great (patronage) politics as evidenced by the electoral result, but is it sound and sustainable public policy?

Those who dare to even raise the subject (could that include little ole me?) may be the recipient of a swift poke with a sharp stick in addition to being branded as cruel, insensitive and callous. Romney is being co-signed to the ash heap of history (the usual resting spot for losing presidential candidates…Whatever happened to Michael Dukakis and Bob Dole?). In the meantime, Republican hopefuls, such as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, are running for the exits. They are contending the GOP needs to stand for 100 percent of the public and by extension, not just the “makers.”

But isn’t addiction still addiction? When do we as a society cross the line between offering a helping hand and slapping on the golden hand cuffs?  One must wonder whether federal constituencies will ever rebel against the notion of being labeled as “takers.”

Literally millions who worked all their lives for their Social Security and Medicare benefits would take umbrage against this designation, and for good reason. Ditto for military veterans, who earned their pensions under fire. But what about the oodles and oodles of the rest?

There is no argument about the need of a safety net for the disadvantaged and unfortunate, but what about those who can be productive and can hold down a career-path job. Isn’t a well-paying job with full benefits the best anti-poverty program that Darwin ever created?

google1

How can we stimulate the entrepreneurs, the innovators, the creators who made America an exceptional nation to continue to do great things and employ millions in the process? Shouldn’t the federal, state and local governments be seen as helpful partners as opposed to regulators and check writers?

Wouldn’t it be great if there was no such divide between the makers and takers? Instead there would be a robust entrepreneurial sector coming up with the breakthrough innovations of tomorrow and a public sector providing the all-important defense and a safety net. That sounds like a balanced approach.

We would have all the government that we need. We can pay down the deficit. We could once again be strong economically. One can only dream.

Right?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/romney-obamas-gift-giving-led-to-loss/2012/11/14/c8d7e744-2eb7-11e2-89d4-040c9330702a_story.html?wpisrc=nl_politics

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2012/11/15/republicans-to-mitt-romney-exit-stage-left/

http://foxnewsinsider.com/2012/06/26/federal-government-spends-3m-on-ads-promoting-food-stamps/

http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-republicans-abandoning-romney-gifts-20121118,0,7640109.story

Advertisements