Sunday, April 18, 2010

No Free Lunch

I frequently rant about the evils of giving people something for nothing. I am in favor of helping those who are trying to help themselves, but vehemently opposed to lifetime entitlement programs that dispense money to people who not only make no effort to earn it, but who bitch when their entitlements are reduced. What is the incentive to work when every month, while people are out there struggling to make ends meet, the non-contributors in our society sit home watching "The Price Is Right" and waiting for their free money. If they refuse to get jobs, let the cities put them to work doing something constructive. No work, no money, it's just that simple.

America made a huge mistake when it allowed a big part of our manufacturing economy to be exported overseas. We now buy so many manufactured products from countries like China that we are deep in debt to them. Our economy relies heavily on loans from countries we once dominated economically. So many manufacturing jobs were lost; entire cities that once thrived on factory jobs are now ghost towns. People lost the dignity that honest work brings, and started looking to big government to pay their way. How could this happen? Who was asleep at the switch when our very livelihoods were stolen from us? There is plenty of blame to go around.

Let's start with labor unions. At one time unions served a valuable purpose when workers were abused and unfairly treated. At some point they not only ceased to be useful but actually became a big part of the problem. They made impossible demands for more and more benefits, refused to embrace even the most fundamental productivity improvements, and shut down industry after industry in the face of foreign competition, while paradoxically professing to protect local jobs. The classic example is the United Auto Workers Union whose inflexible and unyielding leadership saw the destruction of one of America's greatest industries. The rise of the $150,000-a-year assembly line worker signaled the demise of Detroit and the dozens of subsidiary industries connected to the manufacture of cars.

At the same time computerization and the resulting need for smarter factory workers was on the rise, America's educational system was in a death spiral. Once the pride of the world, our public schools began to fail on a massive scale. Academic standards were weakened to give the illusion of progress, but in reality countries like China, India and Russia were blowing by us academically. The weakening of the traditional family unit and children being raised in unstable homes with no caring parents contributed to the collapse. Technical jobs followed manufacturing jobs overseas because our high school graduates were not capable of doing them adequately.

Let's not forget the government. Instead of finding ways to help private enterprise do what they do best, creating jobs, the government moved into the cradle-to-grave entitlement business, and taxed the socks off businesses and individuals to pay the tab. They failed to enforce banking and brokerage regulations which led to a near collapse of the American economy, and wiped out savings for so many citizens. They looked the other way as millions of illegal immigrants entered our country and not only failed to stop them, but instead gave them full access to the entitlements normally reserved for legal residents. These illegals took cash jobs off the books, depriving the government of income tax revenue and cheating the economy out of jobs normally done by bona fide citizens.

Some of these Tea Party folks are a little too rabid and coarse for me, but I do understand their frustration. It seems like fewer and fewer Americans are working and paying taxes while more and more free riders are climbing aboard the entitlement express. We want the government to stop "redistributing" our income to people who have done nothing to earn it. We need to win back the jobs we've lost, put a lid on illegal immigration, hold our public school system and parents accountable for educating our children. Finally, we need to aggressively enforce the laws we enact to regulate our financial institutions. Somewhere we lost our way and we need to restore the work ethic that America was built more free money.


Children's Craniofacial Association


Joseph Del Broccolo said...

YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT! If we can afford to give the money away as handouts, why DON"T we make the recipients at least work for it? It becomes a job then, or is that a bad idea? Would it hurt to have people doing something productive in their lives?

Joseph Del Broccolo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Pantaleno said...

I'm moving to Arizona!