How did we get this way?
I mean, put away your political party affiliation or latest cause for a moment. Let’s just explore — I dare say it- “common sense.”
Take immigration for instance. We are ALL immigrants, right? We also know that an orderly way to enter the country- and become a citizen- makes sense. That’s why we’ve had quotas. Trouble is some people follow the system and others do not. While the number of people immigrating here appears to be lessening, can you blame people (from dire circumstances- some the USA helped create) for coming here? No. On the other hand, does it make sense that immigrants- illegal or not- can end up getting more “benefits” (immediately) than seniors BORN here get after years of paying taxes?
I know some of you will cringe after reading that, but step away from your bias and simply consider the disparity between how we treat people born here vs. individuals who may or may not come here legally? Would Americans receive similar “Welcome Wagon” treatment in other countries? Having visited 35, I’m hard pressed to think of one. Clearly, our immigration policies- which have NOT measurably changed over the past 30 years- need thoughtful review by people on both sides of the debate.
Let’s move to our nation’s security. Do you feel safer now than you did ten years ago? I don’t. While I think our military did not always spend OUR taxes effectively, most armed services personnel will say we are less prepared (to fight) now than a decade ago. This at a time when extremists — of many flavors- want to create havoc around the world. Do I want boots on the ground every time some world event cries for resolution? No, but I do want our adversaries to know we can be counted on to root out bad guys when necessary.
Being free, though, is not just about bombs. It’s about financial independence. That calls into question our national debt and continued reliance on other nations to fund our way of live. Sadly, this is boring stuff and is drowned out by some celebrity’s latest affair. If a country like China decides NOT to continue buying our treasury bonds, our tiny part of the world will change- for the worse.
Finally, some have talked about offering a guaranteed wage- something like $25,000 for every person or family or whatever. The inspiration is noble- I mean I don’t want kids to starve…. and a financial base (even at the lowest levels) assures some kind of permanent housing (and the stability that results- staying in one school district, creating ties with neighbors and so on). The trouble is this: why work for, say, $35,000 a year IF I can do nothing and get $25,000? This kind of argument gets to the heart of the question, Does the growing dependency of the American people on government programs hurt or help the human spirit? I don’t want to see anyone starve. I want people to have access to quality health care.
But, I also want people to have the dignity that comes from working, which is why I like some form of subsidized educational support. On the other hand, taking our student loans- and then not paying them back (because you misjudged the labor market) — is another way of saying, “I don’t care if one family saved and scrimped for so their kids could go to college. I want mine FREE so I choose not to pay the debt I agreed to assumed. A complicating factor, apparently, is the fact interest rates (on the loans) may have gotten out of hand, but simply walking away from debt is not the sole answer.
If you wonder why many people support Donald Trump it’s because common sense seems to have become a thing of the past- at least in some parts of our great country. Is this a commercial for the mega millionaire? No. The mere fact a man with such little preparation to become our next president is still a viable contender to lead our country tells me how much we yearn for recognition that common sense ….and straight talk……is absent from the public debate (as demonstrated by the programs, laws and regulatory actions that result).
And it’s our fault. I swear we could solve half the world’s problems by putting a handful of people- from ALL walks of life — in one room. Only two things would be required: agree to find mutually acceptable solutions that encourage human independence.
In my dreams. But my grandchildren should expect nothing less.