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My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.
|Three stories have been running together in my mind for the last several days, and I think my thoughts on them have finally congealed to the point that I can write something lucid.|
I know--nice change, huh?
First, it would seem that about half of all Americans pay no income taxes any more. If you haven't seen Mark Steyn's take on this, it is a must-read. And generally you would think that I would like fewer people having to prop up the federal government, right? The problem is, if fewer people are paying taxes, how are we going to pay for . . .
Two-thirds of all states have run out of money to pay unemployment benefits. TWO THIRDS! In order to meet their obligations, states are borrowing huge sums of cash from the federal government (California, for instance, has already borrowed $8.4 billion) And with unemployment continuing to hover around ten percent, those benefits are not going to be diminishing any time soon, it would seem. Even if one of the recent efforts to "stimulate" the economy weren't . . .
99 weeks of unemployment insurance, backed up by the federal government. That's nearly two years worth of the government paying people a portion of their previous income if they can't find new work. The problem is several-fold: one, the system is easy to game so that it looks like you can't find work as opposed to won't find work; two, the system is cooked to encourage the unemployed to not do much to help themselves--it's better to rely entirely on unemployment, rather than find something part-time to help out; three, it probably never occurred to these people that two years of reliance on one source of income probably creates a somewhat dependent relationship--once on the dole, doesn't it make a lot more sense to continue voting for people who will keep you on the dole. (Full disclosure: my family has dealt with Unemployment, as the Bewitching Mrs. BestDestiny was one of the first to feel the brunt of the housing collapse--it is, like all bureaucracies, a joke. Just the sort of people we want running health care. But that's for another day . . .)There is a decent place in America for a safety net of unemployment insurance to help keep families afloat, but there is a difference between a life preserver and a yacht!
This is yet another system that the Obama administration is pushing to the brink of collapse. States are borrowing an absurd amount to continue paying people who aren't working, based in large part on the tax money paid by the few remaining people who are still paying taxes. This is a slope that long since stopped being slippery, and is now all-out super-kinetic. When you also consider that the administration is starting to make a push to prevent banks from foreclosing on homes in default, there seems to be a deliberate effort to push the system over the edge.
And, so, big picture: if the burden of paying taxes is shifted to a minority of the people, and the people in the majority are no longer even responsible for working or maintaining their contractual obligations, at what point does dissolution of the union become inevitable? Won't the taxpayers become so disillusioned with the system that they will do anything to end the system? Isn't the only way for those taxes to continue being collected come at the end of a gun? Any guess what the country would start to look like?
Consider this for a thought experiment: what would happen if the only people who were allowed to vote were those who paid taxes? Think the make-up of Congress would change a bit? Yeah, I do too.
It may be too late to turn this one back. The only way this could possibly change is for some politician to come out and tell the absolute truth, and then ask you for your vote even though he/she was going to make your life harder in the short run. Doesn't sound very likely, does it?