Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The River

At this stage in life I have a better  sense of flows and ebbs than I did when I was younger. When I was a teenager I was in a town on the Mississippi river. I saw the river often and the bridge that connected the two states on each side. There were markers on the bridge pilings that measured the depth of the water at any given time. The measurements  were more important than I realized.  Memphis was a town built on cotton trade and when the river's water level was to low the cotton couldn't get up the river  to the market. If the water level was high the river was flowing so quickly the barges had problems getting  up river. As a teenager this had little interest to me simply because there wasn't any way I could connect the river stages to my life, my family's life, or the financial life of the city.

Just south of Memphis the Mississippi delta begins which at the time was one of the most productive farming land anywhere is the world. Although not wide it stretches  a hundred miles and I didn't have any problem connecting the river levels with the lives of the people who lived there. My grandmother had relatives in the delta. Every few years, when there was a  rainy spring, the river would flood and the relatives would pack their belongings in the wagon along with their three children and two dogs. After a few days on the road they would show up on grandmother's front porch. They would stay until the flood subsided, pack their  belongings and back they would go not knowing if their house was still intact or if it would be dry enough to get the cotton planted in time  to make a crop. For them the river levels measured on the bridge pilings was more than a number. As a teenager I couldn't relate the river levels to my family or the city's finances but could link the river numbers to people in the Delta who I knew.

Numbers in and by themselves aren't important but what the numbers represent has impact indirectly and often directly on each of our lives. Such as these massive deficits that will also impact our the children and grandchildren's lives, as well as the  financial life of towns, states, our country and the countries that do business with us.

Today we are bombarded with numbers from our government that represent every aspect of our lives. More often than not what the numbers represent simply are not understood. We hear them so often they become meaningless sound bites.  How many people hear 7.8 unemployment numbers and know what they mean in a real sense to them at a personal level? If you count the people on the Food Stamp program along with the myriad of other government social services and include all the people who manage these program within the government they are growing to as many people who have productive jobs.  

These numbers, like the river level numbers on the bridge pilings, are warnings.

There is a small percentage of people in our country who know and understand what all of the government reported numbers mean and because of this knowledge they are safe and can profit no matter if the river rises or falls. While we or our wives go to the local grocer after stopping to top off our gas tank and wonder what just happened. Spent more - got less. Later in the evening watching the less offensive anchorman/woman inform us that our government spent more money today than it had and our debt per household is greater than  the amount of money most of us make in two years and we wonder how did this happen. 

So long as we continue to wonder "how did this happen" it will continue to happen. So long as we don't know what numbers represent and how government works it will never stop. The Tea Party hopes the answer is to get rid of the 'good-old-boys-and girls and elect a new group of good-old-boys-and girls. We have shuffled the deck before and it has helped…. Helped in the sense of  slowing but not solving the problems in any long term way. Most of our 'NEWLY" elected boys and girls have been invited into the cloak room in the House and Senate and are quickly seduced to the dark side. In these dark places they have been assured that their lust for power and wealth is good and that the fraternity will protect and help them achieve their real goals.

Ignorance, popular socialist  leaders, and the liberal media are the dangers to our way or life and wellbeing.  The leaders prey  on the ignorant. The liberal press guides the ignorant. This ignorance has nothing to do with color, education levels, or financial status. Within this group there is a need to be taken care of… a reliance on government to protect them and their families from real and perceived dangers. No matter how many examples they are confronted with each day they still believe that government is their protector, their friend, and their ally. Abandon all hope for no amount of education, cajoling, or personal experience will sway them. This is a character disorder of magnitude and unlike personality disorders, which are responsive to learning and change, the character disorders are not.

The country is divided along many different fronts. What was once the political conservative party is divided. Alvin Toffler wrote over twenty years ago predicting these divisions within the nation and explaining how these divisions would come about, saying the outcome would be that all power would be taken from the citizens and centered in government.

The Rubicon is crossed. All of the shortcomings that lie within a democracy have happened. The voters through our leaders have voted to take from the productive and transfer to the unproductive. All of the promises made to the good-old-new-boys and girls in the cloak rooms will come to pass.

This government has already run out of 'other people's money' and has been borrowing money to keep the show on the road. Europe is showing us the cost of this way of governing. We see the numbers, we hear the outcries, but like the numbers on the river pilings we don't link them to our lives.

All of our cities where government has been most proactive are dangerous, decaying, bankrupted cites, such as Detroit, Memphis, New Orleans, along with the bankrupted cities in California where citizens live in poverty and fear. Where city fathers did their cloak room deal, expanding their wealth and power, while the children kill children, where children kill adults, and where adults assault and kill children. Moral and financial decay. Memphis has accepted that it cannot educate their children and gave up their school charter to the state which turned the problem to the county school system which has no real means of managing the Memphis school system. Now the county school system, which was doing a good educational job, will now be lowered if not brought down by the financial burden.

Stories like this one come into our homes every day and we think that is a problem in Memphis, Detroit, or Stockton. Mississippi has been at the bottom of the State's education ladder. It is as if that position is ours to protect. Recently Mississippi Senate passed a bill allowing  chartered schools and the House rejected the bill.  (Cloak room guidance warns against meaningful changes.)

For any reader who has gotten this far into this article I want to assure you that this is simply my view and I am hopeful. Change happens over time. Buildings see a useful life span and so do people along with ideas and values. The best we can hope for is to have some say in the change that is inevitable.

Every democracy in history has failed. They all failed for the same reason and more or less and in the same way through lust for power on the part of the good-old-boys and debt. Our democracy has lasted longer than most.

Our President, some in Congress, and the media tell us we are not in a financial crisis. We are not. We will not be in a crisis until there is no more money to transfer and the national debt comes due. Then we will be in a crisis and only then will the electorate say, "Oh, that’s what all those number meant." 

America, its government, business, and citizens have a history of doing things in a big way. No nation has had so many trillions of dollars of debt. I assume this is a true milestone. Never have we had such a small percentage of the work force paying most of  the taxes.. That for sure in a milestone. Never have we had so many people living off  government support programs. As the various countries in Europe, through social government managing their economies, wake up in crisis they are surprised even though for years they have been warned there would be a consequence to the massive wealth transfer. These governments could no longer prop up their economy and their debt came due. Crash and burn….The warning numbers were there for all to see.

To redirect the finger pointing, the numbers are here for all our citizens to see but our social express has left the station. As we lost any and all sense of responsibility things changed. In the European countries the non-producers checks are in the mail. The wealthy are moving their money to other countries and the working middle class buys less because the money is worth less. In our country our working middle class is able to buy less because their dollars are worth less and many of the businesses they work for are closing their doors while  they are beginning to pay more hidden taxes.

If our economy crashed and burned who would be hurt? What would happen? The social program group's checks would still be in the mail but would buy less. Government employee jobs would be safe and their money would buy less. In the chaos government would step in and take more power over business and people. More money will be printed leading to a greater devaluation of the buying power of the dollar.

Younger voters have never lived though a real economic down turn. Middle age voter have lived through a couple but for the most part they were too young at the time to appreciate what was happening. Older voters have lived through many and each time the middle class working person was forced to pay for government mistakes. Contrary to what government and the liberal media says, all businesses price their goods and services with the estimated tax build into the price of their goods and services. At some point after the sale the business transfer the  tax collected from the consumer to the government. All the economic blunders came about through government's social engineering. Reality is often difficult to recognize but simply put the more we govern, citizens life through entitlement, taxes, and regulations rather than allowing freedom, choice, and personal responsibility. The outcomes are the same and undesirable here, around the world, and throughout the history of fallen nations.

Pessimism is a word that leads to and is the cause of  non-action. Pessimism grows like an untreated cancer. Seems like the low older conservative turn-out in the last election was a direct result of pessimism and the loss of the election. The battle in the nation is about beliefs, values, and principles. These are taught in most families but it take time and life experiences for them to be full understood, appreciated, and incorporated into people's lives. Government social programs over generations prevents this maturing process to take place. In history 'good' serfs got to live in the shadow of the castles but not inside that walls. Inside was the administrative people, supporters of the realm, along with the leader's guards. This is where we find ourselves.

"If there is anything that links the human to the divine, it is the courage to stand by a principle when everybody else rejects it." -- Abraham Lincoln… I love this quote and at the time it was made Abe could safely assume that all men had principles to stand by. The word itself is never used by politicians nor uttered on the national media. In this current narcissistic fragmented society principles are hard to find and people who hold them are few.     

We have been able to find electable conservative leaders in the last two elections. Not nearly enough. In 583 days we will go to the voting booth again. Finding more electable conservative leaders is a difficult process as we have seen. The candidates we find will not be the choice of the national GOP and once again we will be fighting two battles. For us to have a voice in the national GOP we must be part of the state and local GOP. Simple idea but difficult to do but it is a 'must do' in each state and voting district. There will be no welcome mats. 

We are living in a unique time that none of us have ever seen… Government and society is no longer making changes here and there or taking from and adding to this or that law or program which has been the direction since the mid sixties. All of the small changes, over many congresses, has finally summed to the transformation of America as we have known it. The Rubicon has been crossed.
The nation is fragmented.    
The river is rising, all the warning signals are blinking red, time is not on our side.

We know how to win this battle and we can win.

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