POVERTY IN THE U.S. How bad can the poverty situation be in this country when shopping mobs turned violent across the nation last Friday as they tried to buy Nike basketball shoes named for African-American NBA star Michael Jordan? The shoes’ cost: A whopping $180 a pair!
POPULATION CHANGE: Rhode Island is losing its population faster than any other state. What is far more disturbing is that the fastest growing city in the nation is Washington, D.C. For the fourth year in a row, D.C. had the nation’s highest rate of families moving in. The federal government is by far the largest employer in D.C.; thus this influx is an indication of the ever-growing nature of big government – at taxpayer expense! Hmm, let’s see – Obama is in his fourth year of power and D.C. has led the nation in growth for four years. Might there be a correlation?
BATTLE OF THE BILLS: Republicans lost the battle of the bills and perhaps the battle for public opinion on the payroll tax cut issue. The Republican-controlled House passed a payroll tax cut measure that would have kept the cut in effect for the entire year, while the Democrat-controlled Senate passed a bill that extended the cut for only two months. Each refused to pass the other’s bill; so both were being selfish and obstinate. The Republicans finally agreed to cooperate, not the Democrats. Yet, who gets the blame for taking the issue to the precipice? The Republicans. Republicans have to get far better at getting their message out if they are to prevail in the 2012 elections. As Mitt Romney so succinctly put it, Republicans want an “opportunity society” while Democrats want an “entitlement society.” Getting this point out to America while Democrats promote class warfare will be difficult. On the bright side, the most recent poll shows more Americans are concerned about the lack of opportunity than they are about income inequality – a sentiment disconcerting to those pushing class warfare.
ROBBING OUR GRANDCHILDREN: The two-month extension of the payroll tax cut will cost Social Security and Medicare programs an immediate $37.5 billion. While it is supposed to be paid for by higher mortgage fees over the next 10 years (making the housing market worse), we all know that neither Congressional Democrats nor the president has the moral courage to stick with the payback plan for that long. Who will suffer? Our children and grandchildren whose Social Security and Medicare benefits will continue to be underfunded and will likely disappear or be severely diminished by the time they retire. We must stop spending our children’s future!
GAY RIGHTS HYPOCRISY: President Obama sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the UN to call on all nations to respect gay rights – a blatant ploy to curry favor among gay voters who are upset at Obama’s refusal to support gay marriage. Obama has sunk to the lowest level of hypocrisy as he preaches gay rights to other countries but doesn’t fully support it at home.
CIVIL vs. CRIMINAL LIABILITY: When does failing to do your job well become a crime? In Massachusetts, public servants must now fear criminal prosecution for slacking on the job. Parks and recreation managers have been charged with the crime of reckless endangerment for allowing a Fall River pool to remain open when its water was too cloudy to meet standards and a woman’s body went unnoticed for over 24 hours. Occupational negligence resulting in injury or death is a civil violation, not a criminal offense. One Massachusetts judge agreed but was overruled. Charging employees with crimes when they fail to meet all job responsibilities puts us on a very slippery slope. If someone is killed on an icy road, will we charge the superintendent of the State Police with criminal negligence for failing to close the road? Will we levy a criminal charge against a football coach who allows a 170-pound player to play opposite a 200-pound opponent and the smaller player is injured? These are civil issues to be settled by civil lawsuits, not crimes to be punished by a criminal court. If this practice catches on, our country’s legal system will then be very similar to China’s – something we should all vigorously oppose.
FREE CELL PHONES: Many received in last week’s mail an application from Cintex Wireless for a “Free Phone and Free Service.” The cover letter declared, “At no cost to you, Cintex will provide: free wireless phone, free monthly minutes for a year, free caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding, 3-way calling and voicemail.” Who is eligible? Anyone who participates in a government entitlement program, such as Medicaid, Housing Assistance, SSI, General Public Assistance, Free School Lunch, Food Stamps, etc. A query to Cintex on who is paying for this program was answered by a male who could hardly speak English. He said, “The government is paying for it.” When asked what agency or program is paying, he replied in broken English, “The central government, the central government.” Exactly how far must our taxpayers go to make life easier for people? We’re now giving away free cell phones and paying all the bills! Yes, sadly, our government is promoting a total “entitlement society.” Where will it end?
THE NEW YEAR: 2011 was a very trying year. From natural disasters to man-made mayhem, our planet and its people suffered much this year. Let’s each of us pledge during 2012 to do a little bit more than we did this year to make things better for our neighbors, both those across the street and those around the world. Happy New Year!