Both Major Parties are Irreversibly Broken   2 comments

This post by Cynthia Tucker in the Philadelphia Inquirer resonates with me, even though I don’t agree with her conclusions.

http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20130107_Myth_of_the_frugal_Republican.html

Ms. Tucker’s rant concerning the Republican Party can be aimed squarely at both major political parties. Neither of them is interested in cutting spending and each has their own pet projects that just have to receive full funding. The Republican Party needs to look honestly at the defense budget and make substantive changes that do not reduce our defense capabilities, including our ability to respond overseas to threats to our national security, but do reduce overall spending. There’s a lot of waste. Let’s start with a simple clear-headed look at what we ACTUALLY pay our service men. Oooo, third-rail! How dare I mention this! I live in a military town so I know things many people don’t know. Servicemen get paid a slightly below average wage for what they do. However, that is offset by a very generous housing allowance – so generous that off-base rental housing in Fairbanks Alaska is unaffordable by the average working family. It is indeed cheaper to buy here, by about 25%, and the difference is driven by the military housing allowance. I suspect if we researched other areas of country with large military presence, we’d find a similar situation in the off-base rental market. When you gather in the perks that come with a military paycheck you quickly find that military members make more than the prevailing wage and it’s a stable income. It’s also, overwhelmingly, a much safer profession than, say, electrician or fire fighter (to name two occupations that get paid about what a warrant officer makes). Yes, sometimes you have to go to war, but most soldiers never get anywhere near combat. So, let’s be realistic and give it an honest look.

Democrats – seriously, three years of unemployment? Supported housing? Food stamps? Paid-for daycare for non-working women? Free education? Free cell phones? Free mass transportation – maybe we should give these folks free cars? Free health care? Free … free … there is no such thing as a free lunch, so somebody has to pay for it. What percentage of a $250,000 income is considered acceptable? Just so you know – if you tax $250,000 at 90%, the earner still has $25,000 to live on. Does that seem fair? And, when that still isn’t enough – what then? Do we start revising the definition of “rich” downward or do we start asking people who are able to get off their butts and work for a living?

http://washingtonexaminer.com/message-from-alaska-our-disaster-relief-isnt-pork/article/2517643

Baby steps would be nice. Let’s take a good look at how we do spending bills. Instead of passing huge omnibus bills that are filled with pork or, as the above article points out, worthy but unrelated disaster relief, how about we require Congress to break these bills out so we actually know what we’re spending and why we’re spending it.

No, that’s not going to happen anytime in the next two years, but we the people can start demanding it now so that in two years we can elect representatives who will move in that direction.

2 responses to “Both Major Parties are Irreversibly Broken

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  1. Well said. I used to live in an Air Force town near Scott AFB Illinois. I believe rents were pretty high, but as the exurbs of St. Louis expanded, the purchase prices for houses went up as well.

    Military people are awesome neighbors. But I admit to getting a bit tired of dealing with Lt. Colonels in meetings (church, food pantry, etc.). They were more interested in preparing a PowerPoint presentation than actually Doing something. 🙂

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    • SOME military people are awesome neighbors. We have a family across the street right now that are a bunch of arrogant jerks; very proud that Dad is in the military and very assertive that the rest of us treat them accordingly.

      I know for a fact (because the landlady told me) that their house (which is essentially my house in plan) rents for $1900, which is several hundred dollars more than my mortgage.

      And, sadly, the problem with military people in churches goes down to at least the warrant officer level here. It’s not so much the Powerpoint presentation as ministry problem as their attempts to remake the culture in the Lower 48 mode. “Back in Alabama (Georgia, Minnesota, etc.) this is how we did it and it works so much better than what you folks do it.” The ones who stay — and Alaska is a big retirement state for the military — aren’t so bad after a few years of beating their group-think minds against our individualistic culture. Eventually, most of them are successfully deprogrammed.

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