Friday, February 15, 2008

The great American shopping spree

With a headline like that, you must be expecting some more ranting about the "serve your country, go shopping" plan. Not quite. There's a quote from a founding father that comes to mind whenever politicians start baiting voters with calls for "programs, programs, programs" like a midway barker at the state fair. Benjamin Franklin said "When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the Republic."

The American people don't vote anymore. They shop. And our elected(purchased) officials are the product. Americans shop for whoever will enhance their personal bottom line, preferably at the expense of someone else. There are goodies for all in the political mall. You want to grow a crop that makes little money? No problem, Uncle Sam will pay you to keep on growing. You won't ever have to learn a new skill or plant a crop that actually makes money. You want to out of a bad mortgage? They'll force evil mortgage companies to renegotiate your contract. You want a job? They'll create one for you, not because a job needs doing, but because you need a job. Oh, you don't want to work? Well, there's a program for that, too. In fact, to keep the economy going, we'll just extend unemployment benefits. You want day-care like services masquerading as education? No problem. Barack Obama has a plan to start education at infancy. (Remember Benjamin Disraeli? "It has been discovered that the best way to ensure implicit obedience is to commence tyranny in the nursery.")

When campaigns have the feel of a mass shopping spree for greedy Americans, then I fear Benjamin Franklin's prediction may soon come to pass. Then again, maybe there's more to celebrate than to fear in the end of the Republic.

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