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Conwell: One way to buy votes


Last updated 11/28/2012 at Noon

This week has been both an intriguing as well as a learning experience for me.

It was intriguing because I had a couple emails from folks upset with what I had written, the subject of which I had no control, i.e. government waste.

For me, it was a learning experience for one knowledgeable critic reminded me that research, research, research, is essential to provide credible and valid information and opinions for the readers.

Our country is one based upon civil discourse. You have the right to say what you wish; I have the same right. You have the right to be offended at my opinions; I have the right to be offended by yours.

I’m appreciative of my critics whether I agree or not with their opinions. But to tell the truth, guys and gals. In the end, we’re all in this together. How goes our country goes us—regardless of our philosophies.

And yes, ‘times are changing’ as one of my valuable critics pointed out. I can’t help being an elderly white conservative. I can’t help being one of those in whom the kingpins of diligence in work; frugality with my pennies; compassion for the less fortunate; and preparation for old age were planted.

Now you can read that paragraph anyway you wish, from top to bottom; bottom to top; forward or backward. If you see bias in it, that’s because you are biased. If you see criticism of the current administration, it’s because you want to see it.

I was taught values that make a satisfying life. That’s why I continue to rant and rave about the way government spends tax money with so little consideration.

What about what my learning experience? Well, I attributed an incorrect quote to Thomas Jefferson. A gentleman called me on it. I checked, and he was absolutely correct. I stated that Jefferson had remarked that ‘‘democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.’

My critic was right. Jefferson never said that.

However, Alexis de Tocqueville did state that ‘The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.’

And to me that another way to say what Thomas Jefferson did not say, “democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.’

Okay, Waldo? And thank you.

Earmarks are only a small percentage of the federal budget, but they are a horrible waste of taxpayer money unless naturally they benefit your communities. That’s how so many of those jokers in Washington get re-elected.

Let me talk about one of those earmarks. And I am quoting Senator Tom Coburn.

“America‘s national debt recently surpassed $15 trillion, much of which it borrowed from a variety of foreign countries.

China, whose U.S. debt holdings exceed $1.1 trillion, is at the top of that list. So taxpayers might be shocked to learn that each year the United States provides millions in aid to China.”

You read right.

Senator Coburn’s report states that ‘in 2011, the U.S. government spent nearly $18 million on foreign aid programs to its biggest sovereign lender, China.’

“This included $2.5 million for social services and about $4.4 million for programs to improve China‘s environment. In fact, China can better afford to fund these programs than the United States at this point.”

And to add insult to injury, “while the U.S. public debt exceeds 100 percent of its Gross Domestic Product, China‘s debt to-GDP ratio is only 26 percent.”

In other words, China has just about paid off her credit cards while America is maxed out and then some. And we continue to spend.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Cutting earmarks won’t balance the budget, not by a long shot.

And for my friend who feels I blame Obama for everything and wants all of us elderly white people to stand in line with everyone else, this funding has been going on for years, way before our current administration.

A perfect example is in Arlington, Texas where a private developer received a $484 thousand grant to build a pizzeria called the ‘Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers’, part of an upscale pizza chain known for its tongue-in-cheek references to drug and hippie culture. It calls its staff the ‘Shroom Crew.’ Sure, it is an unusual venue. Big deal! And reports are that they serve a mean pizza, but the point is taxpayer funds, almost half a million, were used in the construction for a private citizen.

How many of us could use $484 thousand? And how many of us would vote for the one who got us the grant?

You know what is scary about the whole thing? Even if every earmark were cut, the money would remain, and the government will spend it because it is there. That is the kind of thinking we’ve got to get out of Washington.


Good question. Maybe term limits would be start.

But that’s as likely as Israel and Palestine sitting down and having a beer together.


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