This country, if not the entire world, is embarked on a course that can only lead to collapse from within. By our sheer numbers we are straining the resources of many countries and areas of the world. This essay is not a liberal diatribe to 'save the world.' I am not as concerned with the snowy owl, tsetse fly, or the ozone layer as I am disturbed by the poverty layer that is being heaped upon the world at an alarming rate. Poverty, encouraged by an attitude of "I am ENTITLED to all the good things in life," is surely eating away at the basic tenant “that you must earn what you get out of life.” In the United States, we have tried to fulfill these desires by implementing program after program that has proved ineffective. Through debt financing and poor leadership their cost has been shifted to future periods and generations that will be literally taxed to the point of rebellion (anyone still remember the Boston Tea Party!). Here are a few ideas for thought - if anyone still thinks on their own.
The following programs, proposals are designed to place our society back on a "pay as you go" basis. They may, on the surface, appear to be severe; but, when given careful study, they most assuredly are too long in coming and are designed to encourage "self determination" and get America back on the road that we embarked on in our founding days. We need to make people responsible for their actions. We are not required by the constitution or by any law, "right" or by Act of God to impose the requirement on others to support us or pick up our obligations to feed, clothe, house and provide the other necessary amenities of life for us or our off-spring, no matter what the final situations life deals us. We must start a process at the earliest stages, for the development of our own destinies and in educating our off-spring.
The best place to start is in what I call "the beginning." Unfortunately, "THE BEGINNING" must of necessity be considered NOW since we have done nothing in past history to start such a program.
The "Great Society" was ill conceived, mismanaged, changed, for the wrong reasons, and is not now and never did work. A sound "PAY AS YOU GO SOCIETY" would have to start with a complete change of attitude and separate programs that would allow for individual control of one's destiny. If a person chose to become a bum - then so be it. BUT, don't expect to be able to return to society and try to sponge a living from it because you made a mistake. It would be upon the individual's shoulders to correct their mistake. The same opportunities would be there to be what you want to be. Just because your neighbor made the right decision and is successful in his endeavors does not mean that he should be responsible for feeding, clothing, housing and caring for you because you disregarded the obvious benefits of providing for your own future and threw your chances away. Sure there will be exceptions to any system of rules and life styles, but I am not talking about catastrophes or true hardships that could not have been provided for by the individual; although, I am firmly convinced that there are few if any of these that could not be adequately provided for with responsible personal and financial planning or insurance. The success of all individuals would be whether or not they start at the "BEGINNING". If they ignored the obvious, then they would suffer the obvious - no one would take care of them or their own.
My "BEGINNING" would start immediately and would include the implementation or discontinuance of many Government Funded or sponsored programs - both at the National and local level. Not all programs that we currently have on the books are bad. Many have been altered so drastically that they do not even resemble their original purpose - such as Social Security. Others were fostered by politicians for the sole purpose of "buying votes" and have subsequently gotten out of hand by the further meddling of politicians and the greedy public they benefit - such as the Food Stamp Program. Still others should have never been instituted - such as Medicare, Unearned Income Tax Credit, Aid To Families With Dependent Children and Rental Subsidy Programs. The following are some of the more glaring examples of where programs should be eliminated or started so that America can get on a "Pay As You Go Basis" and get off the "GIMMIE" merry-go-round:
a. Curtail immigration and place severe restrictions upon who can or cannot immigrate into the United States. Such things as educational level, skills, and ability to support one's self should be the major determining factor. The admission of one individual would not guarantee the admission of their whole family regardless of ability to care for themselves. We should never have any more "disasters" such as the boat people from Cuba, Haiti, Vietnam, or Laos. A prime and priority effort should be made to put an immediate stop to the flow of the unemployable coming in from any country, especially from the South.
b. Establishment of specific and detailed sex education in our public schools at the earliest grade levels - probably the 1st or 2nd grade starting with what is the difference between love and affection and sexual abuse. By the time a child reaches puberty there should be no "surprises" about where babies come from, what causes pregnancy and how you can prevent it and the consequences of not taking the necessary actions.
c. Establishment of Birth Control Clinics at all public High Schools throughout the United States where any individual of the age of puberty or older can get unlimited birth control advice and birth control devices FREE.
d. Allow timely abortions free for the asking at Government expense immediately from the "BEGINNING". With the implementation of "b" and "c" this part of the overall scheme should never be necessary except for those rare instances of irresponsible actions on the part of the totally stupid or due to criminal activities.
e. NINE MONTHS and 20 days from the "BEGINNING" stop all additions to the SCHIP (an uneeded program to replace the old Aid to Families with Dependent Children). This costly program, and its forerunner, which has fostered untold thousands of illegitimate children, could then be phased out and ELIMINATED completely at the time that the last current child recipient reaches the age of 18 years or is no longer attending public school, whichever comes first.
f. NINE MONTHS and 20 days from the "BEGINNING" stop all additions to any Government Funded Day Care Centers. Phase out the funding of this self inflicted hardship and discontinue completely at the time that the last current child recipient reaches the age of 12 years of age. If a person cannot pay the full costs of raising a family -then they should not embark upon such a course.
g. NINE MONTHS and 20 days from the "BEGINNING" stop all additions to the Food Stamps Program. Phase out this fraud ridden, inefficient and self perpetrating program at the time the last current child recipient reaches the age of 18 or is no longer attending school whichever comes first. Concurrent with this change, no food stamps should be given to any adult.
h. NINE MONTHS and 20 days from the "BEGINNING" stop all additions to Subsidized or Low Income Rental Programs. Phase out the Program and cancel it completely when the last current child recipient reaches the age of 18 years or is no longer attending school whichever occurs first. This action is predicated on the assumption that no childless adult should be allowed to receive subsidized rent or housing; therefore, no adults would be allowed to participate in any Subsidized or Low Income Rental Programs from the very "BEGINNING."
i. Anyone under the age of 18 at the "BEGINNING" or born thereafter, who did not or does not graduate from High School would never be eligible to receive Unemployment Compensation paid for or subsidized by any Government Program, regardless of the nature of his or her unemployment. Private Unemployment Insurance would evolve quickly and another "spread the wealth program" would die.
j. FIVE YEARS from the "BEGINNING" stop all subsidies to any commercial, agricultural, recreational or any activity of any nature where the original intent of the activity was to start up a profit making organization or enterprise. This includes the Farm Subsidy Program; massive subsidies to the oil industry; the Small Business Administration Programs; mining subsidies; shipping subsidies; the transportation subsidies; Downtown Development Programs and, the list goes on and on. If an industry or activity cannot make it on its own merits it is probably not needed. If airline rates go up then those that cannot afford to fly, can take the bus, walk or stay at home. If the fans cannot or will not pay the price then Football and Baseball stadiums will not be built with taxpayer funding. If the price of wheat goes up those needing bread can stop smoking, drinking or buying the most expensive cars and buy the bread first. I think you are now getting the idea. Maybe then we would not have to drive through neighborhoods where the streets and yards are completely littered with dogs, cats, goats, cars, trash, abandoned toys and furniture intermingled with a multitude of children that look like they have never had a bath.
k. EIGHTEEN YEARS, nine months and 20 days from the "BEGINNING" any person who has not qualified in their "own right" (that is they do not have 40 or more quarters of paid up coverage through payroll deductions from salaries earned) would not be eligible for benefits from the Social Security Administration Program. This would eliminate the wrongful drain upon the fund for payments paid to dependent wives who have never worked, children of workers, or the physically/mentally handicapped who have not qualified in their own right for benefits under the program as it was originally conceived. If you cannot "afford" wives, children or the consequences of trying to acquire them, then why should others have to pay for your self created problems.
l. From the "BEGINNING" any person under the age of 35 years of age (or some other possibly more appropriate starting age) will no longer be required to contribute to the Social Security Program. But, they would not be eligible to receive any benefits from the current Program. The current Social Security Program would be phased out and the Program would be completely eliminated at the time the last qualified member dies (qualified as outlined above). Social Security is the largest "ponzi” type of scheme that has ever been invented by man and will never work in its current form. It puts the burden of "security" on the current working group and rewards those that have not or refuse to provide for their own retirement and welfare after they no longer are able nor desire to work.
m. To more efficiently allow the implementation of a self directed program to replace the "give away programs" and allow each individual to determine the level of affluence that he wants to provide for him and his family, effectively immediately, the current Individual Retirement Act should be expanded to allow anyone to place any amount of "earned income" in an Individual Retirement Account and the deposits and the earnings or gains on them would be completely tax free until they were withdrawn similar to the current provisions of the IRA Program. This would encourage tremendous participation, in a logical way, to provide for our own retirement and at a level that the individual determined. The incentive would be built in and would provide billions of dollars for economic development such as new homes, factories and the resultant jobs by providing a ready source of investment funds.
n. From the "BEGINNING" anyone under 35 years of age (or the age selected above) will be notified that in as much as the Social Security Program is being effectively eliminated in the future they should immediately take the necessary steps to see that they will have the necessary funds to provide for their own future retirement, medical, and health needs for the rest of their lives. This can be done adequately through the purchase of insurance and proper family and financial planning. Again, you should be getting the picture. If you get married and have children (or have them even if you do not get married which seems the preferred plan today) you will be expected to take care of them for life unless they are capable of doing so on their own.
o. CONCURRENT with "l" the Medicare Program (a totally under funded program designed to buy votes) should be eliminated. This socialistic program is without merit and could easily be replaced by an insurance program that would be paid for by each individual. Proper planning for one's future welfare from the beginning of their working years would eliminate the need for such "give away programs" and make for more responsible personal financial management on the part of the workers and not bleed the earnings of the earnest to take care of the irresponsible.
p. Dittos for the Medicaid Program. Treat it the same as the Medicare Program in 'o' above.
q. From the BEGINNING stop all grants, awards and support programs that are not directly related to the source of the revenue that the grants, awards and support programs receive. For example, there would be no grants to states for Parks and Recreation unless there were User Fees charged to all Parks and Recreational Facilities that included an amount that would be returned to the "revolving pool" of funds available for future distribution to such activities. Any such funds should be limited if for no other reason than to keep down the vote buying that would be attached to the latter distribution of the funds.
r. From the BEGINNING make it mandatory that all programs that are funded by government are approved by a two thirds majority vote of both houses of Congress and subject to a line item veto by the governing head - President or State Governor. A similar law should be adopted by every State.
I could go on for hours about the reasons given by individuals and families why they get into a moral, social or economic decay; however, I do not feel that any excuse is adequate -provided planning was or is done from the "BEGINNING." There is no FREE lunch - someone is going to have to pay! I am not a conservative little rich kid. I was born in poverty in 1932 to poor white trash; raised in poverty (primarily on sharecropper farms); came from a 'dysfunctional' home (deserted by my Father as a baby and I had six stepfathers); went through school in poverty; but, from the day I graduated from high school in 1951 I have never received a penny in welfare of any type, a donation from a service organization, drawn unemployment, nor have I ever missed a meal, gone unclothed or without a home because of the lack of my own funds. I have done one thing - I planned my life and family from the time I had initial control and I have never been afraid to work one, two or three jobs if that is what it took to get what I wanted. And, you know what? I feel good!
James H. Brown