Crabby Old Guy Hat

It’s time to put on my crabby old guy hat again.

Beyond all the disagreements about how to deal with the problem, there is a broad consensus that our country is either spending too much or not taking in enough, or both. The sequester of funding for the Defense Department and domestic programs has made a lot of news, but that small reduction in spending hardly scratches the surface of the problem.

So, when I see and hear commercials for the Hoveround which promise the consumer that the folks at the Hoveround company will take care of all the paperwork so the motorized cart will be free, it makes me wonder how it can be so easy.

People who need such a conveyance and qualify for it under the rules are entitled to it. But, I have to wonder how many people who just prefer to sit instead of walking are getting these go karts via a “prescription” from a “doctor.”

For at least the last ten years there have been radio ads encouraging people to sign up for food stamps, at least on Chicago radio stations. Once again, if a family is genuinely in need, they should seek out help. But, recently it was said that one in seven people are now receiving food stamps from a country that is 16 trillion dollars in debt.

The number of people on disability income seems to set a new record each month. Truly disabled people should have those benefits, but some pundits have speculated that as some people’s unemployment compensation runs out, they are able to find a “doctor” to certify them as disabled in order to keep the government money coming.

The problem is that the government doesn’t have any money – and in fact, it never does. Anything the government has ever had, since the nation was founded, comes from the people who work and pay taxes. We elect people to determine how much money is needed and how it should be spent, and I think we haven’t done a great job of that over the years.

Finally, I tip my old guy hat to the companies who make their livings helping people who owe tens of thousands of dollars in federal taxes to pay pennies on the dollar. I dislike taxes as much as anyone, but we’re all supposed to pay our share, and for the life of me I don’t understand why someone who owes the IRS $120,000 should get a break, and pay only $30,000. What’s the incentive to do the right thing?

For years people have complained about “welfare queens” and people spending government funds inappropriately or illegally. I’m very reluctant to cast aspersions, since there are many truly needy people and families. The fact that some abuse our government’s largesse shouldn’t taint the importance of that help for others.

However, I think everyone would benefit from a tightening up of all government programs, and incentives to avoid or emerge from those costly programs to a life of more self-reliance.

But then again, I’m a crabby old guy.


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