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Politics: Why Get Involved?

Our country is at a key turning point. To help avoid a complete disaster you should get involved.

I have had a number of people ask me “Why are you so involved in politics?” and “Why don’t you run for something?”

The answer to the first question is that I am as involved and active as I can be primarily because I feel personally threatened by what is going on at both Federal and state levels. For the first time in my lifetime, I am not optimistic that my children and grandchildren will have as good a life as I have had. Let me offer a simple way to think about it.

Spending is more fun than cutting.

I have had the opportunity over my career to manage some relatively large projects, both the kind that involve spending large amounts of money and the kind that involve cutting jobs, closing factories and restructuring. Cuts are painful. Spending is fun.

Put these thoughts into a political context and much of what is going on becomes clear. Politicians (of BOTH parties) love to spend money, take credit for the programs and use them to convince you to vote for them. Once a spending program is launched, it immediately creates a constituency that will fight very hard to keep that program going. Think about Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps. Yes, there are some benefits to these programs but the cumulative costs of expanding their constituencies and benefits (buying more and more votes) have now put the entire U.S. economy into real danger. This same simple principle is what drives the crisis in Europe and may prevent them from avoiding a complete meltdown.

That’s why I feel threatened.

Many folks agree with me. After the President overturned the work requirements of the popular welfare-reform law, a recent survey by Rasmussen revealed that these requirements had been quite popular: 83 percent of adults favoring work requirements with only 7 percent opposing them.

HHS Secretary Sebelius explained that the administration gutted the work requirement in order to increase work. However, the HHS has accepted waivers to reduce work, but has not accepted any policies that increase work and the agency stated that it will not approve policy initiatives that are "likely to reduce access to aid."

The government runs over 80 means-tested welfare programs and roughly one third of the population receives benefits.

Total welfare spending in 2011 rose to $927 billion in 2011.

A study found that 43 percent of immigrants who have been in the U.S. at least 20 years were using welfare benefits.  Additionally, 57 percent of all Mexican immigrants are on welfare.

See the attached chart. Over 100 million people in the U.S. are now receiving some form of Federal welfare. Our country is entering very dangerous territory financially.

Keep this in mind as you weather the onslaught of campaign commercials on both sides. The phrase “end Medicare as we know it” is inevitable no matter who wins.  The hard truth is that “Medicare as we know it” is completely unsustainable. The only question is whether it ends by migrating it to something workable or it ends by crashing into financial meltdown.

As for why I don’t run for something: I would make a terrible politician. First, I can’t remember names very well, a deadly fault for a politician. Second, I have extreme difficulty not telling the blunt truth as I see it. Third, I have difficulty compromising, especially on issues of principle. Fourth, I have little patience with the political manipulations that most members of our General Assembly or of Congress find necessary to “get along”.

I believe I can make a much better contribution by doing my best to bring attention to basic facts and logic and hopefully motivating some of you to get off the couch and get engaged in the process.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Louis Jones August 18, 2012 at 01:24 AM
Part 2. CBPP was recently cited as a neutral authority by Mitt Romney himself, but you won’t hear that on FOX. While you are examining these facts you may want to peruse the column on the right to get more useful FACTS about Paul Ryan’s plans! Blatant Right-Wing Lie about Obama “stealing from Medicare” cuts exposed here: http://www.offthechartsblog.org/health-reform-strengthens-medicare-doesnt-rob-it/ Medicare in the Ryan budget: http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3731 Mitt Romney’s Budget plan for America: http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3658 Of course you are probably part of the 2% that benefit from these extreme and draconian policy proposals – if that is the case I am wasting my time. However, the chance of that is slight, so I will put this out there for any other American that may be consumed or bombarded with “one liner” and “bumper sticker” politics - or worse yet informed by FAUX NEWS (Fox) or your comments. So, turn off FOX and Limbaugh, and spend the weekend reading – I will!
Louis Jones August 18, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Jimmy – I was not basing my comment on “common sense” – I was merely responding to an article I took issue with. This is still America. I won’t clog up the site with repeating what I shared with TruthSeeker, but I do invite you to check out that information. It may clear up your understanding of the $716 Billion lies being floated about. Good evening.
Charlton Allen August 18, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Thank you balancing the facts. Our entire public policy discourse is filled with misinformed "truth" stated bluntly by those claiming the know facts, but ignoring the inconvenient facts. Spin, egoism, self aggrandizement , and deliberate misdirection are rife and often used by those who claim to declare the "truth" bluntly and dogmatically. I applaud the admonishment to get involved, but the equal partner to that is "get the facts" and then get involved.
Cheryl Miller August 19, 2012 at 02:28 PM
I agree with the premise of your blog post - people do need to get more involved in politics right now. However, I find it hard to believe that the Welfare Program was developed as a way to "buy votes" as you suggest. Statistics tell us that the poor are among the least likely groups to even be registerd to vote, not to mention actually vote on an election day. And, besides, if anyone could find a way to "buy votes," don't you know the Republicans would be all over it by now?
Dean Sheridan August 21, 2012 at 12:41 PM
@Cheryl Miller ; I was one of those that did get up off the couch. Respectfully I would ask you to research Thomas Jefferson's writings of the time dealing with these subjects. You can even go further to the Federalist papers. They struggled with giving the nod of power to the legislator over the others for just this reason; but welfare wasn't worded as such. They figured once the people figured out they could vote for anything - it would mean the end. Hence the Representative Republic. They did it for one reason - the main job of the legislator was to protect us from Foreign enemies. We have the tools and the power - we must be aggressive and take it from those who would make themselves King.

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