Sunday, July 3, 2011

Independence Day. Really?

As we laze around the pool and enjoy the long weekend afforded us care of our Founding Fathers, I wonder how much celebrating Jefferson, Washington, Franklin and Co would do if they were sitting next to us throwing back a cold one in their floral shirts and flip flops?
Their goal to create an independent, prosperous nation where man was free to live in pursuit of life, liberty and happiness without being trampled on by the Brits was pretty inspired back in the day. Two hundred years and tens of trillions of dollars down the gurgler later, it’s fair to say that the dream of ‘American Independence’ still eludes us. Well prosperity certainly does.


Consider the state of the economy for a minute. And the economy really is in quite a state. Seems to me that the Fathers had the right idea from the get-go; Government needs to be limited for enterprise to truly succeed. Seems to me, that the same rules still apply today and
I don’t need a GPS to tell me that this country has far too much Government taking far too much from my take-home pay.

And yet, where are the Patriots willing to line up and refresh that good ol tree of liberty that Jefferson so eloquently spoke about? They’re throwing another steak on the barbie.

We’ve all heard the story about the frog in a pot of boiling water….turn the heat up just one degree at a time and poor ol Kermit will boil alive before he even senses there’s trouble a-brewing. Respective governments have done such a Gordon Ramsay of turning up the heat in our kitchen that we now willingly write a check out from our kid’s college fund to pay for that increase in government so that more of them can take out more money from our kid’s college fund. And if you think government funded programs do better/are more accountable than a privately funded business model, would you really want government running your favorite restaurant?

So fast forward to the fiscal heart attack of 2011. Whoever has been looking after the books has done a lousy job. We’re currently in hock to the tune of $14.3 trillion. $14.3 TRILLION!, and the loan sharks we were stupid enough to borrow the money from (‘5000 percent interest sounds fair’), have come a-calling.  And California, don’t stand their shuffling your feet in the dirt trying to look inconspicuous. YOU have a part to play in this and you know it. $28 billion in the red for your State alone? What the hell have you been spending the money on? It can’t all have gone on alimony payments.

If America was a woman, she would be what your mother would call a woman of ill-repute. Years of soliciting her wares to shady characters has now come home to roost and her disease- ravaged soul can barely stand up straight enough to ask you for a light. “Look away dear, it’s rude to stare” your mother would say as she drags you home behind her. 

Funny thing is, we’ve probably all got something in common with that woman of ill-repute. Hands up who voted to increase taxes? (and don’t give me that crap that it was because you thought it would go to a better education for little Johnny). What about those of you who knowingly gave government greater power to control your business in return for some PC ‘well it seemed like a good idea at the time’ mandate? 

So, what to do? Well recognizing we have a problem is definitely a step in the right direction, it seems to work with other addictions. Wanting to do something about it is a whole other ball game. Go on, take a good whiff of the stench of America’s poverty; be embarrassed that China and Indian are sniggering at us behind the bike-sheds.  Like an unwanted pregnancy, we can’t make this mess disappear overnight. We have to deal with it and its going to hurt. Because it’s going to take change, and as Albert Einstein said: “The kind of thinking that has got us into this situation, is not the kind of thinking that will get us out.” No surprises there.

Start asking some tough questions. Why on earth do we place faith in our government to have more of a vested interest in our lives, than we do. Chum, it just doesn’t make any sense. Government creates nothing. They’re parasites. They exist only because of the money they take from you. So stop giving them unbridled power already! It’s your life, right?

The thing we need to get our head around about today’s government is this. They have all the gold and they make all the rules....and we give them that power. Learn from the government, friend. They own the printing presses and they still managed to waste $14.3 trillion of your money, so wake up and stop going to them for the answer, remember what Einstein had to say.

Secondly, and this ain’t rocket science. We simply have to learn to live within our means. If you’re only pulling $500 a week pumping gas at the gas station, you’ll go broke spending $505. If you can’t afford that sexy new plasma television, don’t buy it. And walk away, I beg you, from the cosy comfort of credit. Remember the old Jewish guy in the corner store while you were growing up, always preaching about ‘if you can’t pay cash, you can’t afford it’. While you were investing your spare change in Marlboro’s and Jack, he bought up entire neighbourhoods in Brooklyn, and I’m betting he ain’t sitting at home wondering how he’s going to pay for his son’s bar mitzvah.

And see, that’s the whole point of why we need to reign in Government, because it isn’t run like a business. If we ran government the same way successful business owners ran their companies, we’d all be knee high in clover. But here’s the rub, the successful guy who makes a killing in the share market every year can’t be bothered dabbling in politics. Well, why would he? The dirty game of party politics on a fraction of the income.

The answer is in coming to grips with the price of what we’re supposed to be celebrating this weekend. Our Independence. Maybe your Mom and Dad had a point after all when you were growing up. ‘Be a stickler for personal responsibility and live a principled life’. Get educated about the price you are willing to pay for liberty. And be prepared to pay it. 

And while you’re at it, could you be a positive influence and a good role model please? Lord knows we need a few more of those in this country. Don’t sell out your values, make somebody’s kid proud, draw your line in the sand. You see, some things are worth fighting for, like freedom. Decide today what is worth fighting for and go out and remind the rest of the world that maybe, just maybe America could once again be the land of opportunity. 

And in the immortal words of Thomas Jefferson himself; “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.

Happy 4th of July.