Tuesday, August 2, 2011


To read the newspapers one would think that everyone in the county is hard working, honest and ambitious. The "Wikipedia" entry for hard working is revealing, very informative and worth reading.

Hardly a day goes by that doesn't contain a newspaper article lamenting the plight of the "hard working" people who can no longer afford to pay for entitlement programs.  One is left with the impression that all welfare recipients are leeches, living off the taxes of others, all of whom are hard working.

Truth be told, there are people who receive government assistance who are less than deserving; people who spend their benefits on alcohol and cigarettes, on candy and lottery tickets and whose children suffer as a result.

By the same token, there are tax payers who don't work all that hard.  Drive by a work site and it's soon clear that not everyone is working very hard, if at all. The policeman sitting in his cruiser, lights flashing, receiving regular pay, maybe even overtime pay. When was the last time an officer was actually needed to enforce some traffic violation? He could be replaced by civilian volunteer and a blinking lantern - maybe even just the lantern. But a union has made sure that won't happen regardless of the actual need for public safety.

It's no surprise then that a vocal backlash has emerged, powerful enough to have a significant impact on the direction of our government.  Sadly such polarization can have a terrible impact on what America is becoming.

We are thus faced with a choice.  Given that our laws are often poorly written and inadequately enforced, often to protect one group at the expense of the whole, we have to choose between paying for things we really don't need and can't afford on the one hand or hurting people who truly need and deserve government assistance on the other.

Lawmakers must help all the people instead of special interests. A few areas that need some help:

  • If a less costly means (e.g. of traffic control) can do the same job, use it. Too often the job is just "make work" and not essential. That goes for administrative duties as well.
  • If people on assistance are able to work, make work a requirement to receive benefits. They might even monitor a work site.  
  • Provide free or low cost child care for such parents receiving assistance so they can work.
  • Regularly review laws to determine their effectiveness and costs. Sometimes lawmakers can make a mistake. 
  • If a person receives disability benefits make sure they are disabled. Why do I even have to write this?
  • Decide if there's a difference between taking an illegal drug and killing someone. Killers have been sentenced to long sentences with less time to serve because jails are filled with petty drug convictions. Recent story in the Providence Journal where the sentence for murder was 15 years and the murderer was released after 6 1/2.
Surely there is much room for improvement in our government. Or have we become too incompetent or too stupid to govern ourselves?

Maybe it's just me.