Thursday, October 23, 2008

My Economic Rants Continued....

A new date, a new quote for your consideration:

"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have."

For your consideration: You are voting for Barrack Obama. You want the government to hand you rebate checks & health insurance. You would like the government to create jobs and fund your schools. You want better roads, better infrastructure, lower taxes.

My oh my - you want it all! (That's okay - so did my children - when they were two....they've outgrown it by now.)

When your children (or nieces or students or pesky kids in the store you work at) beg for more stuff in that whiny, insolent tone, what do you answer? Do you hand them the object of their desire knowing that it surely is better than that character-building exercise we call 'work'? Do you run up your personal credit cards in an effort to please them with things at any cost? Do you encourage their behavior thinking that if they kick and scream in Target long enough an employee will come over and hand junior that new Lego set for free? (Here's a hint - if you answered 'yes' to any of these things you'll probably want to throw in "Government-sponsored parenting classes" in the list of things you want.)

Gerald R. Ford can be attributed correctly to the quote I began with. Starting with the first part (which is where our country seems to be heading):

"A government big enough to give you everything you want...."

Health care, infrastructure, roads, schools, rebate checks....everything you want as far as the imagination can stretch. There are plenty of government leaders (and campaigners) who are more than happy to grow large enough to give you all of this. Oh and so much more! This is Big Brother in far more ways than wire taps and Guantanamo Bay ever may have been. This is well on its way to Ray Bradbury's firemen who will give you security and peace of mind for a small price. This is that bowl of stew which many are gladly trading for a birthright.

That birthright is liberty. It is the pioneer spirit that moved us west, the pilgrim courage that brought us to a new world. It is the same spirit that propelled some into space and others onto a beach in Normandy. It is my right to worship in a church and your right to worship in a synagogue or on the side of a mountain. You are trading in your liberty each time you allow the government to own a piece of your life.

This leads seamlessly into the second part of this quote: "....is strong enough to take everything you have."

If you believe that only those evil rich people will pay for your wants. If you believe your "right" to benefits you have not earned will be paid by the guy behind you in line, then you remain like my children at two - young, naive, uneducated as to the nature of humans and large governments. If you hated Enron for its excess and more recently AIG for taking your billions and hosting lavish parties - what makes you think that a government that gets huge will be any better?

And once the wealthy close their businesses because you have required taxes of them to pay for the health care you feel you deserve and the extra roads and 'infrastructure'? Once the class that was formerly wealthy has been reduced to the proletariat who is left to pay for the items you whined so heartily for? (Proletariat: working class lacking the capital or earnings to advance from said class....it's a communist term....we'll get very accustomed to it in the coming years.)

Don't be the two year old whining in the aisles of Target. Be the parent who knows that toys and games and even food and clothing are earned. Be the parent who teaches a child that possessions are not 'rights' but gifts. Be the American that remembers that they have been endowed by their creator as our epicurean President stated, for "....life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness...." Do not steal life - liberty - or happiness from anyone to feed your self-destructive desires. Be the parent - not the two year old.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It's Time...

We are nearing a major crossroads in our country with two divergent paths (not in the Robert Frost sense) which will lead us in two very different manners. It's time to talk about it and talk about it and talk about it some more. It's time to say things in a clear, concise manner to people who will listen. It's time to forget some Ms. Manners admonition to not talk about religion or politics. It's time, pardon the term, to become economic evangelists.

This year's Presidential contest is not about much more than our economy. Defense is important but unless either candidate gave a list of their full cabinet in advance, we have no idea what is to come. Health care is important but it is so wrapped up in economics that to treat it as an issue apart from economic policy is to be far too tunnel-visioned. Gay rights, abortion.....these will be state issues - don't kid yourself.

What this election is about is the economy.

What this blog is going to drag on about for a while is the economy.

TODAY: "I have never gotten a job from a poor person."

Various people have been attributed to this quote. So many people, that in a brief google search of the quote I was left with so many different sources that I will not even begin to attempt credit.

Point blank the question is simple - have YOU ever gotten a paying job from a poor person? Now, no semantics here. Anyone reading the statement knows we mean ECONOMICALLY POOR. I've worked for some pretty poor in spirit people. I've worked for many who are poor in personal hygiene. I've even worked for someone extremely poor in inter-personal communication. This statement refers to an economically poor person. Period.

A small percentage of people will answer "yes". In fact, the company they worked for ended up folding because of lack of funds. They were employed by someone who spent more than they earned. They toiled and slaved for a guy who lost his business. That is precisely the point - the job did not last, the employment ended....you weren't employed by a truly poor person for very long.

And what does this mean for my vote? Mr. Obama will let our current tax cuts lapse in 2 years rather than attempt to extend these. He will then offer tax cuts to the working class while increasing taxes - in some cases at an extreme level - to those earning more than $250,000 per year. This includes small businesses earning at that level or more. Guess what employees? Employers will stop handing you that Thanksgiving turkey. The bonuses you perhaps have included in your yearly budget? Cut or eliminated. Benefits packages? Greatly minimized or obliterated. Don't think for a minute that an increase in business taxes will NOT affect the average employee. A business will cut expenses elsewhere and those cuts will affect you - and not indirectly mind you - directly.

So have you ever gotten a job from a poor person? No. And when your employer becomes that poor person you still won't have a job from a poor person.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Change.

This morning in our house the term "change" was referring directly to a large glass jar with a screw top sitting on top of my laundry area. I find it kind of fun (in the way only an unemployed stay at home mom may find fun) to "earn" some money doing the laundry. It has taken years for me to realize how self-esteem sucking it is to not earn a paycheck. It makes my mind wander to those who sit at home and collect their checks from the government. Anyway, this was not to be a commentary on my irritations on the welfare state...

Every time I hear that knowing clanging sound in the washer I know that I'm in for a treat. Is it a penny - two nickels - or have I scored the mother load....A QUARTER! All this change (& sometimes even some paper bills left in pockets) gets collected in an old pickle jar. This gives me the benefit of not only a visual stash of change, but also the faint scent of dill spears since that odor never seems to leave regardless of scrubbing.

Now that the change has amassed, my children have grown interested in the jar, its contents, and even more so - how will this money be put to use?

One child wants a motor home fund - he wants my wealth to be redistributed. Another is aching to use one of those Coinstar machines just for the sake of using it (never mind the % the machine will take off the top). My third just says that the money is mine because I earned it.

In light of the various economic leanings in my home I am going to keep my filled pickle jar all to myself in the event it's needed later because of a future economic spiral and socialist uprising. It's just a jar of change, but it's CHANGE I'm most distrustful of at this point.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Scenes from a waiting room....

The majority of my day was spent trying to find a comfortable way to sit in hospital waiting room chairs. I would have thought that with the extra padding I have acquired in the past years, being comfortable in a chair would be a piece of cake. Not so - anyone considering their own padding to make waiting room chairs more comfortable should consider a different way to spend their time...

I had taken my dad to the Heart Center here in downtown Grand Rapids and his particular out patient procedure gave me about six hours worth of hospital time. Six hours of magazine options, a book I should read, and more television options than I realized existed in such a venue. In the midst of these options were zen-like water fountains, original art from local artists, and a wide array of patients and family members.

One family spoke in hushed tones with strained faces and weary movements. They were what I anticipated in such a place. Their weariness was punctuated only by the loud voices of a semi-Southern family who took a full corner and proceeded to punctuate the zen atmosphere with Coca-Cola bottles and Law & Order re-runs. Then a section with two seats - filled with a couple who appeared to be far too young to spend time in a heart center. He, the husband, wore the tell-tale white patient wrist band. She, the wife, stole glances at him for an hour - perhaps not knowing what to say, perhaps knowing that all had been said, certainly observing their own personal decision - consciously or subconsciously - to wait in complete silence.

In one corner was a child's corner - complete with 101 Dalmatians queued up for play, and three mini tables with equally petite chairs. The necessity of its presence was unfortunate at best; morose at worst.

I sat alone. Still with the magazines, book, & padding that made the chairs far too uncomfortable and the CNN circular headline coverage dizzying. The coffee was perfect, the tea adequate, the hot chocolate over-used. People came and went - the majority of visitors to the room to call in updates were women. Many tired looking - the majority in the twilight of life. All giving run downs of procedures involving aortas and valves and heartbeats.

Meanwhile employees came and went. Two women dressed ironically in black served as hostesses of sorts, working seriously but carrying on with the chit-chat of two female employees discussing 'he said-she said' experiences and details with nurses and doctors and doctors and nurses. For them, daily experiences in the heart center are simply work-related. Dressed in black, but far removed from any future funeral marches & periods of depression.

As I sat there - still in my uncomfortable chair - still with the added padding - I couldn't help but find this waiting room a bit like limbo. Or, had I been Catholic, some form of Purgatory. In this case, however, Purgatory ends when our names are called though the chairs are just as uncomfortable elsewhere.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Read this blog instead...


I have been working on something for a bit but felt it wasn't "ready for publication" quite yet....as if my blog had a high standard in such matters....

ANYWAY -

It being Monday morning I've been catching up on my blog/news reading and one of my favorite places for a chuckle, Stuff Christians Like, had a great post for the 2nd day of the week. Many, many women can relate to this from small groups, Bible Study, or in friend circles. Unfortunately.

So go over and read this post on gossip veiled as prayer requests:
http://stufffchristianslike.blogspot.com/2008/10/remix-81-disguising-gossip-as-prayer.html

It will make you smile and cringe at the same time. I don't recommend smiling and cringing simultaneously TOO often, but on occasion it's good for the constitution.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The timing of birthdays....

In a matter of months during the course of 1995 our lives changed drastically. Two recent college grads embarking on the life of a two wage-earner life found themselves experiencing a first year of marriage and a first pregnancy simultaneously. Our lives have never been the same.

Sometime during that blur we purchased a first house - a 1950s cape with "good bones" in need of some "cosmetics". We both had good jobs, two vehicles, and dreams that included a starting a family around the time I would hit 30. Instead, the Lord determined that we should celebrate our first anniversary with a son.

On October 10 - five days before our first anniversary - Ethan was born. His was a pregnancy with a complication (as all of mine have been) and a pregnancy that I did not relish. Not because it was particularly bad, but because the shock was such that I never really found the enjoyment in the 9 months. However, on the first moment of birth, the enjoyment was securely found and has attached itself to our collective hearts going forward.

The Lord knew that my mother would not be present for a great deal of my children's lives. He knew that it was a gift to me that I would witness her as Grandma before she was called home. He knew that memories of her shared with my child would be treasures stored here on earth until we meet yet again. And He just plain new Ethan - before he came to be, his days were ordained and 10/10/95 was determined to be a great date for the beginning of our family.

Today my first baby turns 13! Every bit the teenager, yet every bit that heart attachment. He was the beginning of a family which was meant to begin that day in October. While I still have a hard time fathoming how quickly time marches on, I look into his eyes (now at my eye level) and hear his deep voice and know that it truly has been 13 years.

God is good - and His timing is impeccable.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

...To Everything There Is A Season...


A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted
Ecclesiastes 3:2
From the blueberries we picked this summer to the apples we'll pick this weekend. The Lord knew I would need some fairly concrete definition in my years - before I even realized I'd need that definition. He placed me here, in this very place, because He knew that Michigan would provide me with this definition. Our God is marvelous that way - meeting needs we never knew we had, sometimes before we even know we have the needs. God is good....all the time.