DICK BAYNTON: Equality

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Dick Baynton

It is interesting to note that most of us live in a world of equality. For example, most capitalist democracies offer equal opportunity for all. On the other hand socialism usually offers equal misery for all (Winston Churchill said it).

While the comparison is a play on words, there is a conduit of truth considering that where there is freedom, opportunity usually prevails. The problem in all nations is that there will always be those citizens who seek the low road to survival rather than the high road to prosperity.

In some nations, like here in the USA, people can be unwittingly trained to be dependent on government instead of themselves. The reason that we should not feed the bears in our national parks is that the bears switch their menus from natural foods provided by nature to processed foods offered by spectators. Zoo animals cannot be released into their native habitats because they have become accustomed to having their food delivered through iron bars or over a wall.

Currently our national debt is over $22 trillion while our annual Gross Domestic Product is 5.5% less at over $21 trillion. Currently congressional spending exceeds $4.4 trillion and is almost $1 trillion over budget.  Congressional leaders are discussing $2 trillion for ‘infrastructure’ that includes plenty of ‘pork barrel’ spending.

In his aspirations to gain the Presidency, Joe Biden advocates $1.7 trillion over 10 years for ‘Clean energy and Environmental Justice.’ Democratic competitors for Biden’s candidacy are Washington Governor Jay Inslee who has proposed $3 trillion and Robert Francis ‘Beto’ O’Rourke has offered to spend $1.5 trillion for similar causes. Mr. Biden suggests that his cost of $1.7 trillion would be funded by ‘reversing many of the Trump excesses of tax cuts.’

According to Professor Pierre Yared at Columbia University, the ‘Green New Deal’ will cost more than $5 trillion and ‘Medicare for All’ could easily cost more than $32 trillion over the next decade. Other expensive causes for concern are student debt that stands at $1.6 trillion and the cost of proposed ‘free college’ education and the cost of paying all citizens a monthly salary of $1,000.

All of these spending plans could raise our nation to astronomical levels of unsustainable national debt. Remember that saying something is not a solution; solutions arise from doing something.

There are about 37 million of us living in poverty, 80 million on Medicare, 37 million on food stamps and nearly 170 million people (over 50% of our population) who receive monthly government checks. It should be shocking to all of us that we have spent $22 trillion on anti-poverty projects since President LBJ established the “Great Society’ officially at The University of Michigan on May 22nd, 1964.

The amazing result is that according to a report by Professors Erik Hanushek and Paul Peterson of The Hoover Institution at Stanford University, the ‘war on poverty’ remains a ‘stalemate.’ The important message about entitlements is that the proceeds to fund entitlements always come from taxpayers. Government is the collector of taxes that are the source of entitlement payments. Government is always an expense, not a direct revenue generator.

Poverty in all its variations is enigmatic and apparently stubbornly refuses to be solved by the use of money and government logic. Government money and logic hasn’t really brought much peace and prosperity to Native Americans through the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) that was established 195 years ago.

Our Legislative and Executive Branches of government know where to turn. We need to reduce spending and balance annual budgets. Adjustments must be made in Social Security, Medicare and other agencies where spending is off the charts. Why do we still have 65 as a retirement age when Social Security life spans in 1935 (when FDR introduced Social Security) were in the mid-50’s but are now in the high 70’s?

There are no easy solutions to the dilemma of our overall debt. One place to start is to research and re-evaluate our  spending through education and training programs. The great axiom in our Democratic Republic is that there is no free lunch; we must all be a part of the economic mosaic. Socialist programs are not part of the solution but part of the problem.

  • Dick Baynton