Post 21: Values & Value


As I listen to the debate in America, or are we just talking past each other (see my Blog entitled “Spit Wads.”), I stop and wonder what will this once great country be like when my grandchildren are my age. Will they have enjoyed the same freedom and prosperity that I have? Will they have the opportunity to create their own lives or will they be indentured to the will of the ruling class? Will they have any understanding of personal responsibility? Will they experience the rush of success and the heartbreak of failure or will they be sheltered from these extremes by the compassion of the Statists?

During the recent inane “debt ceiling” fiasco I came across a picture of a young girl, maybe 6 or 7 years old, holding a sign with, “I owe $46,000 of US debt,” scrawled in immature lettering. My first reaction was how powerful this image was. It distilled the issue into real world terms that were easier to understand. The picture illustrated the real life affects of the 100-year march towards Statism and the destruction of the founding principles for this nation.

Then it hit me. What was this young girl getting for that $46,000, what were any of us getting for the massive Federal spending that has resulted in all of us owing tens of trillions of dollars! What’s the value to me for the government spending my money? And what values guided the ruling class in spending my money?

Value and values, that’s the question we should be discussing. Without an honest dialog about the value and values associated with any government program or policy we are left with ideological self flagellation that leads the country straight to ruin. We can’t make any progress because we never stop and unpack an issue to it’s core and understand what we are attempting to achieve and wether or not we’ll be successful. No, we stuff the turkey, dump it into the oven, turn the temperature up to high and walk away leaving the consequences to those that come after us. Who cares if the turkey catches on fire and burns down the house? You made a promise to provide a great turkey you didn’t say anything about eating it!

Where’s the discussion about value and values in the current budget and debt ceiling nightmare? You won’t find it. The flapping jaws from both sides are only interested in their own plans and self professed brilliance. It’s all about what’s best for them, their not thinking about that little girl holding the sign. If they stopped mud wrestling for power and votes they might be able to confront the trillion dollar elephant in the middle of Washington – the federal government wasn’t intended to provide anything for the citizens except protection from foreign enemies and a secure environment to exercise their free will.

Understanding that government is not intended to PROVIDE stuff to the citizens is crucial. In fact this is the core difference between Liberals and Conservatives. The Left feels the need for the government to supply the needs of the citizens, especially the underprivileged, while the Right believes in empowering the citizen to take responsibility for his or her own life. I’m not talking about safety nets, I’m talking about entitlements. I’m talking about the cultural mindset that so many people now have that the Government owes them certain things in life.

“now common knowledge that our welfare system has itself become a poverty trap — a creator and reinforcer of dependency.” Ronald Reagan, April 1987

“We’ve gone astray from first principles. We’ve lost sight of the rule that individual freedom and ingenuity are at the very core of everything that we’ve accomplished. Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.” Ronal Reagan, March 1981

This Nation was founded on the fundamental belief that the citizens were to be free from government control, they were to be responsible for their own “Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness.” They created a governance system, codified in the Constitution, that insured those rights by specifically limiting the powers of the Federal government (Enumerated powers). The Founders did not intend the government to tell the citizen which light bulbs he can use or which healthcare insurance he has to purchase. But that is exactly what the government is doing and has been trying to do since the Great Depression and the presidency of FDR, because the Left believes that they know better than you and I how we should live our lives.

Where we find ourselves today then is in a struggle between two diametrically opposed value systems…the Left values central control; the Right values personal responsibility.

No wonder we have what appears to be an impossible budget situation. The Left’s values dictate that big government programs, especially entitlements, be continued and expanded. Conservatives on the other hand don’t value these programs and see them as harmful to the citizens that receives the largesse. Therefore, the question must be framed and answered as to what we as citizens, at least the majority of us, value most before the budget nightmare can be resolved. Otherwise how can anyone determine what to cut and what to fund?

Politicians of both parties try to confuse us and keep us from considering what we value most so that they can continue to promote and implement their own values above those of the citizens. Hence, all the mud slinging and bumper sticker slogans and visuals of pushing grandma off the cliff. It’s time that this stops and We the People speak up and clearly communicate to Congress what we value most and that Congress must only budget our tax dollars for programs that are consistent with those values.

“A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned – this is the sum of good government.” Thomas Jefferson

Establishing and committing to a set of values, like spending less than you take in, is the first step towards resolution of the economic challenge. The second step is determining what value we receive for the tax dollars (our money) spent! This is the problem with the “tax the rich” or “we need to increase revenues” arguments from the Left. What value are we receiving for the money spent? The Left bristles at any mention of cutting existing programs, with the exception of defense, but really what is being purchased with our tax dollars? Most citizens would be happy to pay more in taxes if those funds were spent wisely and effectively.

Congress needs to perform a zero-base analysis of every single Federal program in every Department to determine what value is received, if that program is consistent with the overall values mentioned previously and they are Constitutional. For years, maybe decades various Congressmen and Senators have unsuccessfully presented bills to require legislation to be reviewed for compliance with the Constitution prior to any vote. Along with the balanced budget amendment this is a policy whose time has come.

The Department of Education is a prime example of a whole department that would not survive a value-based funding analysis. Click over to the Heritage.org web site and look up their “Book of Charts” (http://www.heritage.org/budgetchartbook/) and you’ll find evidence that spending more at a Federal level on education has absolutely no impact on student performance. Not an enumerated power, massive money spent and no value received!

In what way are the trillions of dollars being spent by the Federal government adding value to the life of that young girls pictured above? She’s being saddled with the debt so what is she getting for it? Is she free to pursue Life, Liberty and Happiness? Is she free to succeed or fail on her own merits and efforts? Or will she grow up a slave to the ruling class in Washington?

Values and Value those are the real questions we need to address, and we need to do it now!

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About rightthoughts
Husband/ Father/ Grandfather/ Architect

One Response to Post 21: Values & Value

  1. Terrific Article! Your concepts and information are easily worth researching. You definitely provided beneficial data. Thanks for posting this!

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