Commentary: The Times They Are A Changing

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal advises that student loan debt is now greater than either total credit card debt and all auto loans. Additionally, if these loans are not paid within 20 years, the balance due is suddenly forgiven. Is this a part of the ‘nanny’ state? How many of us went to college with the understanding that our education would be underwritten by our fellow taxpayers and would be forgiven if not paid within 20 years?

The article also pointed out that states like Virginia that have right-to-work laws tend to have lower unemployment. Is it ‘fair’ that a worker MUST join a union to work in some states?

The article included a table titled, ‘Banks Get Stronger’, showing that the weakest of the banks on the list is Ally Financial. Do we all understand that Ally was formerly GMAC, a financing arm of the General Motors Corporation? In the bankruptcy and restructuring, GMAC was divested and became Ally Bank. Guess who owns Ally Bank, the poorest performer on the list. Well, 73.8% of Ally is owned by you and me. And all other US taxpayers. This information suggests that the government can’t run a bank any more than it can run the US Postal Service ($3+ Billion loss in the most recent qtr.) or Amtrak ($500+million loss in 2010, $32 subsidy for each ticket sold), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (losses of $150 Billion and growing daily), losses at Solyndra and other enterprises (more than $500 million with billions more in guarantees) and the list goes on and on. Oh yes, remember that the GM bailout of the unions is still on your ‘receivables’ list (taxpayers) of more than $50 Billion and the OMB just announced that when you read their recent report carefully, you will find that the new healthcare laws and rules of more than 2,000 pages will cost more than $1.76 TRILLION over 10 years, about double the original stated cost by the administration. And that amount does not include government administration costs!

Finally, consider the following facts regarding entitlements. Life expectancy of US citizens in 1935 when Social Security went into operation, was 59.9 years for men and 63.9 for women. Now, life expectancy for men is 75.7 and for women it is 80.8 years. In 1935, there were 17 workers paying into the system for each retiree and now there are just 3 workers for every recipient, soon it will fall to just 2 workers per recipient. And our legislators of both parties are too gutless to move up the age for benefits qualification by even a year or two. What this reflects is that while we have the best form of government in the world, we are slipping into a government of the lobbyists and pressure groups, by the corrupt elected officials and appointees and for the entitlements that a pandering government can supply. We have lost our way. Let’s start finding our way back at the next national election.

 -Dick Baynton, Roanoke