Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tick Off Tuesday

Unlike my sweet friend, Mrs P, I will not be discussing my favourite things today.  This is "tick-off Tuesday", indicated in the singular because if this is a raging failure, will be my inaugural and last post on this subject.  I'm not sure yet what my purpose is yet in this concept, I'm just ticked off and I wanted to tell you about it - and ask for your opinions.

I'm sure most of you know that I am a simple kind of person.  I'm certainly no theologian or economist, but I have opinions and I see in black and white. 

As our election day is quickly approaching and I am trying to educate myself in national and local officials, I find myself becoming more and more irritated.  I feel hamstrung as a voter and citizen by our two major political parties.  While I am a registered voter of one political party, I am planning to vote for a Libertarian and an Independent in this upcoming election.  The sad thing is, these guys don't have a chance.

We have become a nation of excess:  excess of government, excess of debt, and a total lack of common sense.

I don't have the answers, I wish I did.  I only know that I feel we're in too far.  I don't see a way for us to go back to the founding principles of this great republic.  I know I'm walking a tight-line here, because my in-laws very deserving ministry is the recipient of state funding.  I'm just sick of our government funding every pet project that it's legislators promise their constituents.  I feel that our country was founded on a simple principle:  to protect it's citizens - we are promised physical protection and the protections of freedom.  What started simply has turned into an out-of-control behemoth.  We are beholden to foreign debtors in order to fund the most ridiculous of pork projects. 

Please understand that I feel we all are to blame.  I strongly feel that greed dominates our nation's capital and affects everyone who govern there, blue or red, Democrat or Republican.  I do not feel our government is benevolent.  I think that power and greed are too powerful a force to be reckoned with.  I very practically  believe in the simple principle and promise of Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". This side of heaven, we will not experience a utopian society.

I am not an extremist wacko, I just expect our local, state, and national government to operate under the same principles that I need to in my home.  The principle I operate by when making fiscal decisions is the simple phrase, "can I afford this" - followed by the very practical question: "how will I pay for this"?

I hesitate to share this example from my own personal experience because, on the whole, we are beyond satisfied with our school district.  We enjoy superb education, great teachers, small class sizes, and more opportunities than our kids can take advantage of.  On the whole our school district is fiscally responsible.  The need arose for a new elementary school and a renovation of an existing elementary school.  The need arose for turf playing fields for sports teams.  We as a school district (and our family, personally) are enjoying the benefits of a new school and quality playing fields.

I think what someone neglected to understand, though, is how to pay for all of these things that we needed.  The school district is now faced with a shortfall and the school board has decided to raise taxes.  Not only have they decided to raise taxes, they have voted to raise taxes above the lawfully-established rate hike.  I was mildly irritated when I heard this, as it will be a realistically feasible sum: about $100 per year per household.  The more I speculated on this, though, the angrier I became.  Here is how I see this:  I am the school district's employer.

I'll explain further in a concrete example.  I needed a new dishwasher.  Mine was bought when we first replaced some things in our kitchen and we ordered the cheapest dishwasher we could find.  It sanitized my dishes, but many times, my dishes were dirty after the cycle had been run.  If I were the government or a local school district, I would recognize that I need a new dishwasher.  I would ask myself, "can I afford this"?  Then I would proceed to, "how would I pay for this?".  If I were our government, here is what I would do.  I would demand from Rob's employer to increase his salary.  I would explain that, even though his current employer enacted a salary freeze, I need this dishwasher and what we need is a salary increase greater than the 5% a year he was promised when hired [to buy a new dishwasher].  Do you think this would work in the real world?  Of course not, so why are our local, state, and national governments operating by the same ridiculous principles? 

I believe that shortly after the American Revolution, we started veering from our founding principles.  The war needed to be paid for.  Our country started careening towards socialism after the Great Depression, and hasn't stopped since.

I observed this sign at Knoebel's Amusement Park and believe these words to be prophetic:

spoken by Sir Alex Fraser Tytler (1742-1813), professor of Universal History at the University of Edinburgh.

A democracy cannot exist
as a permanent form of government
It can only exist
until the voters discover that they can vote
themselves largess from the public treasury.

From that time on
the majority always votes for the
candidates promising the most benefits
from the public treasury
with the results
that a democracy always collapses
over loose fiscal policy
always followed by a dictatorship (1801)

I think that quote dovetails nicely with the quote from Gerald Ford:

A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take away everything you have.

We are a nation of greedy, fallen citizens.  Until we vote for more fiscal responsibility and expect our government to operate by the same principles we follow in our homes, we will keep speeding down the same path.  I am ticked off by the greed and excess of our citizens and government.  I am scared to ponder what will happen if we don't right ourselves. 


  1. Very well written, and not just because I agree with you. Doesn't this make sense - what you just wrote? Isn't it common sense? I totally understood the concepts in your post - and if I can understand it then can't the people who are running our government understand these concepts? What a mess we're in if we can't follow through!

    Thank you for posting your Tick-Off Tuesday post. I say - bring more on. Open the conversation. Let's dig through this! Good job Kirsten.

  2. You're a radical. :)

    It's so silly that I even just wrote that sentence. How can basic common sense be radical? Sad.

    I'm very curious what you don't like about Pat Toomey.

    Oh, and you are going to love the Truth Project. Especially when they talk about government.

  3. I like Pat Toomey - I'm not voting for Todd Platts or Mike Waugh.
    Thanks for the encouragement, Emily - I almost removed this post, Rob thinks it's a little alienating - to which I responded, "who can argue with fiscal responsibility"?
    I think our government has gotten too large for common sense, that's the frustrating thing - I'm not sure anyone can do anything to stop this catastrophe - our national debt will be called - sometime.

  4. I am glad you wrote this post. It makes perfect sense.
    As I don't live in the U.S. I can't comment on the particulars, but from here, it seems that a lot of politics is all about the votes, not about the reality. It seems to be a global trend that "it's all about me" and nobody takes responsibility for anything anymore, blame it on someone else or let someone else fix it.
    However, I am probably opening up a can of worms here, but I really don't understand why the U.S. can't have a national health system. Most countries that have good economies do. We have one here which covers basic health care and emergency issues. For all else I pay health insurance, which covers elective procedures or ensures that I can skip the waiting list if I need surgery. It is not perfect by any means, (what system is) but at least everyone in our country no matter how rich or poor is able to access medical help.

  5. Our health care system needs some serious reform. My opposition to the idea stems from two simple arguments: we can't afford it as a country - our interest payments alone to foreign countries (mainly China) are crippling. My second thought is that I feel the government should stay away from providing anything but protection (physical, freedoms). They have proven over and over that they are incapable of running a business (Amtrak train system, US postal service, as two examples).

    Our personal insurance is not good. We have a $10,000 family deductible, after which our insurance would pay for care. Big business is very similar to our government, too big to operate by common sense.

    I think it's interesting that your national health care covers emergency and basic care, but you still have personal insurance - how does your government finance it? I'm happy to hear that it supplies your needs.

    Thanks so much for weighing in! I'm always interested to hear the viewpoints of others, especially in other nations.

  6. We didn't for Todd Platts in the primary. Too bad he won. He's a nice guy, but he needs stronger convictions.

  7. Like Marg, I cant comment on the specifics of American politics ( I have enough trouble understanding Australian politics at times) but I completely agree with some of the sentiments expressed in this post.

    You'd hate living here K. We have a welfare system that has very little mutual obligation although the government would have you believe there is. I am a bleivere in welfare for those who genuinely need it and am pro social policy but how do you work out who the genuinely needy are ? Our government can find money to pay for all sorts of things the majority of us dont want and we have huge class sizes and inadequate resources in schools. I could go on and on.

    Personally I believe that if a government doesnt deliver on it's election promises it shouldnt be allowed to stand for a second term.


  8. We have a lot of talking here, Marg is right. Historically, what's been happening is that one party will have the majority for two years, the public will get disillusioned, it will switch - and nothing will be accomplished.

    And, you are right, Mrs P - how do you decide who needs what? That's why I know what I'm saying is a little tricky - I do feel that people with special needs should be provided for - as well as people that need a hand up. I see many, many able-bodied people buying groceries with taxpayer money at my grocery store - it's very frustrating.

    I certainly don't have the answers, but I appreciate the dialogue.

    And, I'm sure your country has it's perks, my goodness, it's a three hour flight from Fiji!! I think we Americans are a rebellious bunch, wanting our freedoms - and we hate being told what to do!

  9. I couldn't agree more, Kirsten. The hubs and I have been saying how we are veering toward loss of rights and freedoms for a while now and this particular administration's efforst put us one step closer.

    My answer. TERM limits. STRICT term limits. Then a person running is not trying to keep a job, it's temporary and they are more incented to do what they feel is right.

    I have nothing else, the apathy, the ignorance and the greed in our nation are too much to be simply overcome. Personal responsibility appears to be a thing of the past and it's just awful.

  10. Beck-
    I'd like to see the politicians go and in their place put the owners of small businesses. Term limit would be great - personal responsibility - how can you teach that? I guess by a little tough love - I guess what's so frustrating for me is that I see how hard my husband works and I see our politicians and the takers in our society squandering our hard earned money.
    As for our freedoms, they've been legislated away under the guise of "protecting the citizens".
    Ok, I'm going to go back to thinking about food, it's way less frustrating!
    Thanks for commenting :) I think the majority of us are like-minded in many ways, even if the media tries to tell us otherwise.

  11. Interesting reading Kirsten. As a follow up on medical insurance. Private companies provide the extra medical insurance. The government subsidizes it somewhat, but my insurance is paid to a private insurance company. Depending on your level of income, if you don't take out private health insurance you have to pay an extra 1.5% income tax per annum. This is supposed to be incentive for all Australians who can afford it to take out private health insurance to reduce the pressure on the government health system. I have rarely if ever used it, for anything other than rebates on reading glasses, physio, etc. However I know that if I ever need surgery I can skip the waiting list and also go to the hospital and surgeon of my choice. Unfortunately the health system in this state is very underfunded and waiting lists for surgeries can be over a year. Unless it is a life and death emergency, if you don't have private health insurance you go on the waiting list.
    On a side note to comments on your government, from what i gather the electioneering pretty much starts the day they get into office, Governments should be able to govern properly as soon as they are in office rather than worrying about an election in x years time. As an Aussie I also find it outrageous the amount of money that is spent on election campaigns in the US if parties did that here they would be voted out quick smart. If that could be stopped, imagine what that money could do to help out the country.
    I agree with Mrs P too, our welfare system leaves a lot to be desired, there is nowhere near enough money spent on health and education. too much money is given to people who do not need it. I suppose though that every country has it's problems, I don't know of any where their citizens are all happy!

  12. Thanks, Marg - for explaining all of that. I am so very thankful that while we've had medical bills, minor in nature, we haven't had to experience a major illness, or have to pay for it. We are blessed in this country to have access to first-rate hospitals and doctors, they just cost money. On a side note, I don't know much about our welfare system, but I really think there is help out there for the truly needy.

    Our trickiest issue is immigration, in regards to health care - is it right to provide illegal immigrants with welfare, funded by the taxpayers? Unfortunately, everything requires funding, and with our economy being the in the worst recession in 70 years, everything is a little more complicated.

    And, you're exactly right - our system seems to be very concentrated on the next election cycle - career politicians. Thanks, Marg, for all of your insights and comments.