Do Our Leaders Really Care?


Listening to the media and to our political leaders one would think it is impossible to straighten out our nation’s fiscal mess, and that we, our children, and our grandchildren are doomed to mediocrity for decades to come.   Oh, they want to help us, they “feel our pain”, but the task is just too difficult.


If our federal government really wanted to cut spending and reduce the debt and deficits, they would immediately:

  • Sell all of the excess, obsolete and unused federal property, including land, buildings, military bases and equipment.  Where does our constitution authorize the federal government to buy up all this private land, anyway?
  • Compensate federal employees similarly to comparable private sector employees – reasonable pay rates, raise the retirement age,  replace defined benefit pensions with 401(k) plans, require full forty-hour weeks, and implement the same social security and health care treatment as taxpayers have.  Government-sector unions must be eliminated because the pay-for-play election scam is irretrievably corrupt and imperils democracy.
  • Pay senators and representatives each $1 million per year, and make them responsible for all of their own costs – staffing, transportation, office expenses, mailing, etc.  If they want to take a “fact-finding” junket to Tahiti, have a girlfriend in Brazil, or travel home every weekend, they can pay for it themselves.  Term limits might not hurt either.
  • Outsource most of the costs of government to co-ops made up of top private companies.  Social security and welfare fraud would be zero if administered by IBM and Visa.  Defense contractors have proved they work better together than they do in competition.  With co-ops, the winning private companies will regulate each other.
  • Establish a real, non-partisan budget and cost management department, led by private-sector experts and technicians instead of political lackeys and cronies.  Pay commissions to those who find corruption, and prosecute the offenders.
  • Implement zero-based or priority-based budgeting.  Start every department and program at zero and require true cost justification for all expenditures every annual or bi-annual cycle.  Same process for entitlements – disability and unemployment must be verified.  Eliminate unnecessary, duplicative and obsolete departments.
  • Replace unemployment compensation and most direct welfare payments with honest work projects.  No work, no money.
  • Tie all foreign aid and investment to our own national interests.  Not one dollar to nations or despots whose actions are damaging to the US.  That includes the United Nations.
  • Simplify the tax code and work with businesses instead of against them.
  • Eliminate the EPA and make the United States the energy provider to the world – aggressively develop natural gas and liquefied natural gas as an alternative to oil.  Abandon the infaturation with ridiculously inefficient wind and solar energy and pour our efforts and investments into the efficient use of proven energy sources.

I could go on.  Maybe some of these ideas have holes, or need development.  Surely there are many more opportunities – bigger and better ones.  But if you and I can discuss many methods of improving our government’s performance, why can’t our leaders talk about it?

Do they really want to solve the problem?  Are they actually interested in reducing the drag of bloated government on our economy?  Obviously, no.  Otherwise they would be doing it.

So the only remaining solution is to replace all the self-serving charlatans with motivated leaders who ARE interested.  And the only way that will happen is if we can educate and win the majority of Americans who currently don’t get it or don’t care – our neighbors, our friends, and any stranger on the street whom we can engage.

Time is of the essence.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Whatever happened
To all the good times we used to have
The times we cried and laughed
I wanna know, I wanna know

Don’t You Care? – the Buckinhams

Looking For Benefits?

For some time now, President Obama and his PR department (the mainstream media) have contended that our nation’s biggest problem is inequality.  Not unemployment, not lack of GDP growth, not the national debt and deficit, not the growing number of people on food stamps and other government assistance.  The most important problem, according to them, is the gap between the rich and the poor.

Defining rich and poor is subjective and difficult.  Most often lately, “rich” has been defined as a couple who earns more than $250,000 per year.   Presumably the threshold is lower for singles.

“Poor” is almost never really quantified.   Some of us are old enough to remember the television ads showing skinny Appalachian kids leaning on stick-built porches, wearing rags and sad faces.  I’m not saying those were the good old days, but times have sure changed.  Kids on food stamps today are, as often as not, obese.   Recipients of federal disability payments has increased by 50% in the last ten years.  Since January 2009, the number of individuals on food stamps has skyrocketed from 31.9 million to the current record high 47.1 million. By comparison, in 1969 just 2.8 million Americans received food stamps.

If you are reading this, I’m pretty sure you have never seen the federal government’s “Benefits” website (see graphic above).   The banner headline is:  “Looking For Benefits?”  Apparently plenty of people are – 70% of federal spending in 2010 went to “dependence-creating” programs, compared to 28% in 1962.  Our Secretary of “Labor” (see Hilda Solis’ statement above) now promotes benefits, not labor.

According to the 2012 Index of Dependence on Government:

The great and calamitous fiscal trends of our time—dependence on government by an increasing portion of the American population, and soaring debt that threatens the financial integrity of the economy—worsened yet again in 2010 and 2011. The United States has long reached the point at which it must reverse the direction of both trends or face economic and social collapse.

Programs considered “dependency-creating” are federally paid housing, health care and welfare, retirement, federal payments for higher education, and agricultural subsidies.  One could argue that retirement is not a benefit, because it is supposedly self-funded.  Or that agricultural subsidies are not a benefit – but much of that budget is food stamps, and the rest is mainly farm subsidies to large corporations, both of which cause dependency.  I can think of other spending that creates dependency too, like corporate bailouts and other government investments in chosen industries. In any event, we are looking at the same spending categories from 1962 to 2010 – and they jumped from 28% of the budget to 70%.

We can argue until the subsidized cows come home about what is fair, or whether taking property from one American to give it to another is even constitutional.

But anyone who thinks we can continue our current spending habits, or continue to encourage the use of government benefits – regardless of how much tax is paid by the “rich” –  is dangerously ignorant.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

I hope you hear inside my voice of sorrow
And that it motivates you to make a better tomorrow
This place is cruel no where could be much colder
If we don’t change the world will soon be over
Living just enough, just enough for the city.

Living For the City – Stevie Wonder

Montana Charity vs. Share The Wealth

There was a time when we Americans watched out for each other.  If someone needed help, his friends, family, and neighbors would jump in to do what was needed.  As a teenager, my small-town dad taught me to always offer help.   Flat tire?  Hey, let me help you with that jack.  Dead battery?  We can give you a jump.   Cows got out of the fence?  Let’s help you get them back in.  House burned down?  The whole town will pitch in to help you get back on your feet.  It’s the Montana way.  And you never know when you might be the one who needs help.

But voluntary charity wasn’t good enough for the “progressives” among us.  They have never trusted their neighbors to help.  Maybe it’s because they never felt compelled to offer help to others.  So the expectation in recent years is to have government answer every need.

There’s a big difference.  An important difference.

You see, the good Lord knew what he was doing when he created the human psyche.  Voluntarily helping somebody else feels good.  You know it’s true – it really is better to give than to receive.

But when someone takes something from you – something you worked for – and gives it to somebody else whether you like it or not –  well . . . it just doesn’t feel so good, does it?

Volunteers load hay for Montana neighbors – photo by Don Danell

There was a big fire near Roundup, Montana a few weeks ago.  Thousands of acres of timber and agricultural land were destroyed, along with dozens of homes.  A small group of nearby ranchers realized that their fellow cattlemen were going to have a problem feeding their stock.  They weren’t asked to help.  And they didn’t wait for the government to do a series of studies about what was needed.  They took action on their own.

In short order, 18 fire-stricken ranchers from the Roundup area received truckloads of hay, courtesy of their concerned neighbors – even the delivery and fuel was donated.

This is how charity used to work.  This is how it SHOULD work.

Can you imagine how much it would have cost and how long it would have taken for our government bureaucracy to get hay to these ranchers in need?

Yes, it does take a village to raise a child and to help those in need.  It takes neighbors, family, and friends.  And it works a lot better without forced charity – and the complication and inefficiency of government.


Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side
thanks to Deb Hill

Enjoy this all-time classic by James Taylor

If the sky above you
Should turn dark and full of clouds
And that old north wind should begin to blow
Keep your head together
And call my name out loud
Soon I’ll be knocking upon your door

You’ve Got A Friend – James Taylor (Carole King)

Hey Barack – Send Your Poor Brother George a Check

My wife (that lovely, delicate, sensitive little flower) often exclaims (rather loudly) to any liberal who feels the government does not do enough for their parents/siblings/children or somebody else’s parents/siblings/children, “If you don’t care enough about your family to take care of them, why should I?”

She has a point.  Take our president, for example.  His aunt, Zeituni Onyango, lives in Boston in subsidized housing, on disability payments.  For years she was on the public dole as an illegal alien, but eventually she and her taxpayer-funded attorney got a “waiver” to avoid her deportation to her home country, Kenya.  So she is no longer technically “illegal.”

Um, Mr. Obama, if you don’t care enough about your aunt to slip her a check once in a while, why should the taxpayers take care of her?

The latest Obama relative in the spotlight is his brother George.  It seems George, who lives in Kenya on a few bucks a day, doesn’t hear much from his big brother, Barack, these days.  “He’s got other issues to deal with,” George says.

For someone so insistent on “sharing the wealth”, and someone who continues to amass personal wealth, our president appears kind of, well . . .  niggardly (please look it up before you call me a racist).

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

I pay my money to the welfare line –
I see you standin’ in it EVERY TIME!

Why Can’t We Be Friends – War