Today is the day that President Obama gives his acceptance speech at the Democrat National Convention. Driving home, listening to the POTUS channel (ch 124) on XM Radio (yes, I am hopelessly a political geek), I hear the Foo Fighters complete a song at the DNC and then a video comes on the big screen.
From the sound of it, there are about six or seven people talking about what America is to them. A land of hope and dreams, a land where you are one paycheck away from financial destruction, one illness away from bankruptcy, and a land where there is infinite possibilities if only there is help to get to the promised land.
While hearing that, I am thinking to myself, what is wrong with all of that? Then one of the speakers blamed President Bush for an all-out assault on the middle-class. Tax cuts for the millionaires and billionaires at the expense of the hard-working, broken-back (not broke-back) middle class workers.
Through the gauzy music and the misty eyes, I start feeling like a selfish bastard. Why wouldn't I want everyone to have coverage for health care? Why wouldn't I want every hard working parent to be able to send their kids to college without breaking their bank account? Why wouldn't I want everyone to have a nice home to live in? Why wouldn't I want all of these wonderful things that the Democrat plank supports? Am I that disgusting of an elitist to want to deprive these noble people from their due?
Then the practical side of me starts thinking... Maybe I have just been lucky. I left home at seventeen, skipped college and joined the Navy. I stuck with it to the point where I should (theoretically) be getting retirement and full medical in a couple of years. I have Social Security benefits piled up since I have not missed a day of being employed since I was fifteen. I have not been seriously sick, but I have been paying for my own health insurance for thirty years.
I feel like I have contributed heavily to a system of public and private support. It has taken a LOT of money to pay for insurance, house payments, property taxes for schools even though I have no children, income taxes, life insurance, umbrella policies, flood insurance and on and on. This stuff ain't cheap, but I want to be covered and I want to be prepared.
Then I hear that piece at the DNC. Health care is a right. Shelter is a right. Food is a right. Preschool is a right. Primary and secondary education is a right. College and vocational schooling is a right.
So, what about electricity? What about transportation? What about cell phones? Internet? Vacation? Where do we stop with the basic human rights?
At what point does a logical individual say to himself/herself "Hmmmm. You know, everything that I need from cradle to grave is a right and is provided to me. Why should I work a back-breaking job just to maybe have marginally better 'stuff' than is provided for free? In fact, if I work hard, won't I look like a chump or be shunned for trying to be better than my family members or friends?"
You may snicker and think that I am a fool for thinking this way, but consider what the average American had just 100 years ago... or ever 50 years ago, and compare that with what is a bare necessity today. Now, project that entitlement forward 50 more years. What does it look like? Who will pay for it all? Better yet, who will we get to actually go to work to create all of the wonderful things we take for granted in the United States?
These are the fundamental questions and they are really the crux of the difference between the conservatives and the liberals in this nation.
This November, we aren't voting for specific plans and answers... We aren't voting for the Ryan plan, or the Obama deal. We are voting for a direction and we are at the proverbial fork in the road where we must make that decision.
As I have stated in a previous blog post, we could confiscate every cent of income of the rich and it wouldn't even balance our current budget, let alone future budgets when we fulfill the dreams of the people in that video.
So what will it be? Which way do you want to go? One way leads to financial ruin and the other may just lead to financial salvation. I think that I know which way is which.