Thursday, March 8, 2012

Little paper/rant my friend Jake wrote.

I have always hated politics. I still do. People that know me have been asking me, “Why do you all of a sudden care so much about politics?” I’m tired of seeing a large portion of my paycheck go to pay for things that I disagree with. My taxes--$16,000 last year--were more than they have ever been and still our national debt rose to over 15 trillion dollars. It was 5 trillion just 10 years ago. If you don’t know me, I work a lot. Last year I put in 80-100 hour weeks for about 8 months. Then the government stepped in to take a large portion of the money I worked hard for only to turn around and spend it on wars, welfare, bailouts, and free healthcare. So, I began to ask around to find out if most people were upset like I was.
The responses I received surprised me. Most of the people I asked didn’t mind giving a large percentage of their money to the federal government. When I would follow up and ask why, I almost always got the same response: “Our taxes go to help our community. We need taxes for roads.” My response was, “Well, actually most roads are paid for by the state. Your state taxes and tolls pay for those.” The usual response was usually, “Well, what about schools, police, firemen, etc?” Some of the people I spoke to had degrees in economics or were studying for a degree in economics. Now granted, some federal government funding trickles down to the state level, but our state tax dollars pay for all the aforementioned costs. All of the things that seem to directly benefit and sustain a community come from property tax and state sales tax. Most people I began talking to didn’t seem to realize that. I can only assume it was because they were residents of Texas, renting, and had never directly paid property tax. Yet, everyone who pays rent is indirectly paying property tax. If you rent, then someone owns that property and they are paying property tax on it. Your rent dollars indirectly go to pay property tax.

“Well what do my federal tax dollars pay for?” I thought you’d never ask! Well we’ve spent an estimated 3-4 Trillion dollars by having troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. I say “having troops there” rather than saying “war” because technically in order to “go to war” the President has to go to Congress, ask for a declaration, and a vote has to pass to declare war (this never happened with our most recent invasion of the Middle East). Yes, President Bush was authorized to use military force for resolutions. But to me, that sounds like a loop hole in policy in order to use our military for whatever the President wants without actually declaring war. Having 150,000 troops occupying other countries for years is a war and it is expensive. If you want to be over there trying to fix problems that were sparked during the Cold War, then do it with democracy: Take a vote. Declare war. If you don’t want to read about it, watch the movie Charlie Wilson’s War or this clip.

Where else do we spend our tax dollars? Well we bailed out a car company because we didn’t want a bunch of Americans to lose their jobs and to have a major American industry take a dive. Don’t we believe in Capitalism anymore? Isn’t Capitalism American? If someone has a bad service or makes a bad product then the demand goes down and they either fix it or file for bankruptcy. Did General Motors file for bankruptcy and become a smaller, more efficient version of its former self? No, they asked the government for money and the government gave them billions. When was the last time you saw an Oldsmobile or Mercury and said, “Man! I have got to have that!” Yet, people say we had to do it. We just had to bail them out. It was our duty as Americans. Really? Well why didn’t the all-American Ford get bailout money? They asked for a line of credit, but not a handout. I’m not saying a line of credit from the government is right (that’s a whole different topic), but it’s far better than a free handout. What do our actions say to companies that get in financial hot water in the future? Go ahead and take risks that you shouldn’t. If you fail there are no repercussions. We’ll get the government to help you out.

What about banks? The same banks that Americans enter to apply for loans took bailout money. Why did they need bailout money? Much like Mitsubishi Motors in the past, the banks gave money to people who couldn’t pay it back. CEOs of major banks and corporations received bailout money and gave themselves bonuses for letting a business fail. Nice work.

I work in restaurants. If my competitors had an inferior product, bad atmosphere, and awful service, I would expect them to fail. If the government swooped in and gave them money to help them turn a profit, I would be furious. What motivation would I have to work hard if I watched my competition succeed based on how steep their failure was. It’s not fair to Toyota, Volkswagen, Mercedes, etc. It’s not fair competition. We are literally breeding laziness. Speaking of which, let’s talk welfare.

Welfare was first established to help those in need. Growing up during the oil collapse in Houston, I have seen firsthand that the economy can take a dive and that hardworking smart people can struggle to find a job. I understand the need for programs dedicated to help people who literally cannot keep themselves afloat. Welfare used to be something that was embarrassing. Now it is celebrated and expected. I’ve seen misuse first hand. In grocery stores, I’ve witnessed people using food stamp money to buy chocolate covered strawberries on Valentine’s day or huge $40 cakes for birthday parties. Some argue, “Well shouldn’t they be allowed to celebrate?” My response is, why not bake a cake? Why not do something special for your loved one? Overspending on luxuries is something you must sacrifice when going through a rough time.

I’ve seen people sell their food stamp card for cash. I’ve heard people talk about having another baby just to get more money from the government. Why is wrong to ask welfare recipients to submit to drug testing? Some defend the recipients’ children. Do you really think a drug addicted parent will use their welfare money on a child? I’ve had people come in to interview for a job dressed like a slob; cussing, chewing on dip, and unable to answer basic questions with a complete sentence. At the end of the interview, they would slide a piece of paper across the table and ask me to sign it proving that they were out looking for a job so that they could still qualify for benefits. When is enough, enough?

I’d like to talk about free healthcare, but this is already getting too long.

So, why do I care now? Well, my view before was that no one running actually had a very different view from the rest. They all broke promises. They all lied. They all altered their opinions to reflect the majority. Why vote when my options were between a sleazebag and an A-hole? Then, along comes Ron Paul who has been speaking the truth his whole career. His message has been consistent, but was easily dismissed because it wasn’t what people wanted to hear: “Wait, I might actually have to work hard to get the things I want? Why would I want that?”
Ron Paul literally wants to bring our troops home. He’s not just saying that as if he’s reading it off a bumper sticker. People argue that would put us in danger. Can someone explain how having another 150,000 troops here at home puts us in danger? “Iran might be making a nuke!” Didn’t we learn our lesson with Iraq and their so called “weapons of mass destruction?” People call Ron Paul dangerous and label him an isolationist. We’re acting like the guy at the bar who has had too much to drink; who tries to pick a fight with anyone looking in his direction. Is being at the bar, minding your own business considered “isolationism?” Is Canada considered an isolationist because they aren’t policing the world? How would Iran even get a nuke to the United States? We can’t afford to be at war anymore. Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Iran, North Korea. Where does it end?

Ron Paul believes in restoring the constitution. Pro-life or pro-choice isn’t even a stance for him because he doesn’t believe that it’s the federal government’s right to decide such social issues. He wants to shrink government.

Everyone is worried about creating jobs. Jobs aren’t created by the government. They’re created by people who have the money to employ workers. Obama is trying to take credit for the economy. It’s absurd. We’re further in debt than we’ve ever been. What Obama is proposing is similar to getting an advance on your credit card, then believing you’re better off financially because you have cash in the bank. It’s not. You owe it back--plus interest. I could have done a lot with my $16,000 that I paid in taxes. I want it back! Our Founding Fathers fought against taxation without representation. Who is representing me? Someone who wants to take my money and buy tanks, chocolate covered strawberries, and democracy in other countries? Wake up! We don’t even have democracy here, at home.

Take a minute and watch this video:

Thanks for reading. If you disagree, I respect your opinion. This is my attempt at a “blog” and is meant as an explanation of my recent affiliation with something that I would normally steer clear of. America is supposed to be about freedom to do what you want as long as you aren’t stepping on other people’s rights.. Let’s get back to that.


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