Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The War on Poverty, and Modest Means

It was LBJ, I believe, who conned voters with the War on Poverty. Since then others used the ploy with names like War on Drugs and War on Terror. You take something people don't want, like poverty, then claim you are waging a war against it. All the real details, like exactly what does that mean, remain vague as people rally to the cause. None of these wars carries a solid, specific definition or intelligible plan of action. But al do become an excuse for otherwise questionable actions.

In the case of terror, regular citizens and babies undergo humiliating scrutiny because we all have to make sacrifices if we are to lick this terror thing. Same with drugs. Bend due process a bit, and only slightly obliterate certain rights, because if you got nothing to hide, you shouldn't care. It's patriotic, dammit. Why am I not rich when the public demonstrates over and over again that they will buy anything?

So now the war on poverty takes a new twist. The assault is exactly what it says for a change. A change you might believe in, to steal a phrase, sort of. The war is on, and if you are in poverty or of modest means, your ass is going to get kicked, or you've already been bulldozed.

Take the Cash for Clunkers scam. If you are at whatever the legal poverty level is, your best bet for buying a car was under attack. They not only wanted to outbid the market so you could not compete as a buyer of the vehicle, but they wanted to destroy the item, Forget that it probably takes more energy and resources to do that than leave it alone. The "Save the earth" excuse was lame and bogus. Full of holes. Next time someone asks if I've been saved, I think I'll get hysterical and reply, "Me? Forget me. What about the Earth?" How will we know when the earth is finally saved? From what? People? Does this mean that to save the earth we have to all vacate the premises?

OK. The cash for clunkers scam hurts the poor by disrupting the cheapo car market. It also hurts them by removing a treasure trove of potential salvage parts, in case they have a car that might fit the clunker category and are handy enough to keep it going. Lots of people get parts from junk yards. That is why they are in business. Repair shops sometimes get things there, too, which lowers the cost of repair. And who needs low cost repairs the most? The poor, and those of us who are trying to get by with not so much cash flow in our lives.

Fortunately I think that program may be bust and with luck it will never happen again. But, then there are the rumblings of health care for all. Yippee!! If that goes through as many want it to, then once again those of modest means are forced to buy or be smitten. Maybe it will get gridlocked and fail. One can only hope. It does make it difficult. I can see someone trying to establish a life from scratch being faced with a choice--buy a cheap car, pay all the licensing fees, insurance and such, or get health insurance and have no reasonable way to work. If you go the "government option" whatever that really means, then I suppose they charge according to how much you make. And you have to subject yourself to a sort of welfare line bunch of garbage. No thanks. Maybe if you are very sick it won't be so bad, except that you may have better options now since you don't have to have the same degree of bureaucratic approval, and doctors are a little bit more free to treat as they deem advisable, without that added oversight which could be like trying to reason with the El Cajon branch of CA Highway Patrol.

These are not beneficial things for those in poverty. The ones who have succumbed to the government's solutions and dubious methods of "help" in the past have found themselves in perpetual poverty, government style. Their kids join gangs or live in fear and the idea of opportunity is just not in their minds. The war on poverty has made a hell of an impact on the poor. It has convinced them there is no way out. And the various assaults have cut down the escape routes rather effectively.

Penalizing private endeavor through unreasonable regulations and taxation take away the initiative to start your own enterprise from nothing, or to grow to the point of hiring anyone. Hiring people is a can of worms the sole proprietor is loathe to open unless he/she (can we please have the universal pronoun back?) is confident he has the means to deal with the liabilities (read "lawyers"), ever changing and more bizarre regulations, and general harassment. You get duped by an illegal, it is your fault, so you get punished for the crime of a non-citizen. You have to get involved in all kinds of things you may find distasteful, like serving as KGB agent for the government to help them keep tabs on whomever you might hire.

And there are always fees, permits and things that catch you by surprise. None of which have anything to do with the actual business you want to conduct. If you want to be your own company and you don't have triple the start up cash you think you need, stay under the table. There is a good reason the underground economy is so large, and growing. It is not lack of patriotism, or greed, or any of the garbage we may be told. It is simple survival. Some of us refuse to seek government loans or other traps they set to get their sticky fingers in our business. I mention that because people often point to "programs that are there to help people" who want to launch a small business. Once again, I fail to see why freedom is such a foreign concept in modern America.

I don't know where it will end up. Mama don't take my clunker car away...

The best step toward any true reform is term limits. Senate--no more than two terms, and those cannot be consecutive, House, no more than three consecutive terms, and no more than 5 terms total. President two terms, consecutive or not.

Take away all pension and health care, special gas pumps, and other undue compensation from these people. It was never supposed to be a career. When it is, by necessity it becomes unbelievably corrupt, and what we have is a sort of royalty. Back to the lord of the manor routine. Don't fly them around on military planes because they want to visit europe or the North Pole. If it is not the president or ambassadors and cabinet, they have no excuse to go on tax money. They rape and pillage enough at home, we needn't pay for ridiculous vacations thinly disguised as some sort of fact finding mission or goodwill tour.

If someone has no chance to be in power for long, then they may have less incentive to keep broadening the powers of office, which then entices private interests to bed down with them in order to get special legislation, direct wars, and otherwise run amok behind the scenes, using the power of government to further their ends and kill competition.

I wish politics had no personal impact, but it has come to a point that there is no escape, especially for those of meager means. Although the ones who have had the means to hire and drive commerce are also threatened, unless they are in with the in crowd. Good time to be a Chicago thug.

How can the poor fight back against this war on them? A good first step is not to take the bait, or take as little as possible. And get rid of the TV.

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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
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