If a football team were this dysfunctional the owner would fire the coach. If a company ran this ineptly it would be out of business. The country is broke, both literally and figuratively. The national debt is in the trillions and the animus among our elected officials is not only palpable it is destructive. Elections are held, promises are made, results are tabulated, yet nothing changes. The ranker continues with the only visible difference being who is holding the gavel in the United States House of Representatives.
A football coach that not only allowed but also in many cases manifested a level of divisiveness between offensive and defensive players would be out of a job. A businessperson who made decisions based on their own self-interests instead of what was in the best interest for the company would fail, leaving employees and investors to pick up the pieces.
On June 16, 1858, more than 1,000 Republican delegates met in the Springfield, Illinois, statehouse for the Republican State Convention. They chose Abraham Lincoln as their candidate for the U.S. Senate, running against Democrat Stephen A. Douglas. During his acceptance speech, Lincoln famously uttered the words, “A house divided against itself cannot stand” to advocate his position against slavery. While respectfully repeated today, at the time these words were not well received. Lincoln’s law partner, William H. Herndon, thought that Lincoln was morally courageous but politically incorrect.
“Morally courageous but politically incorrect” is a perfect definition of the word “statesman.” Although Lincoln lost that Senatorial election, he stayed true to his words and later won election to a much higher national office. No matter what your political leaning is, what present-day politician do you believe merits the designation, statesman/women?
The day finally arrived, after eighteen long years you turned eighteen. Upon turning eighteen, every American is bestowed the equal right of ownership—of a nation. You are now officially part of the “We” in “We the People.” Remember when you were young going into a store with many breakable items in arms reach? The storeowner posted the same sign on almost every shelve to warn adults, “You break it, you own it!” Congratulations, you are now legally an adult, the country is broke, and you own it.
The above context leads into the topic of the empowerment of the nation’s newest ownership block. It is painfully obvious that those in my generation have done enough, thank you. In a reasonably short period, we have ineptly and selfishly ground the nation to a financial, moral, and ethical malaise. When statesmanship was needed, we devolved into partisan bickering, name-calling, and division. When you hear, pundits say, “We are spending our grandkids money,” you need to take it personal because they are talking about your children.
How can you make a difference? Certainly you can live up to your obligation as a citizen by voting every two years. That would be a start but consider, if what is happening to the nation was happening in your daily life (and it is) would you only voice an opinion every two years? What will spur you into action? Consider the following situation and, after reading the unbiased facts commissioned by and sent to the members of the U.S. Congress see if you agree with their decision. Keep in mind they will be spending your kids money.
- The Department of Defense (DoD) Manual 4165.63-M titled “DOD Housing Management” clearly states, “Communities near military installations are relied on as the primary source of housing for DoD personnel.
- In no fewer than seven reports since May 2001 the United States General Accounting Office (GAO) has criticized the DoD for their failure to comply with their own policy of military members utilizing off base housing.
- The DoD Inspector General reported that the services use inaccurate housing market analysis when determining the need for military housing.
- After meeting with each of the services to discuss the methodology for determining housing requirements, the Center for Naval Analysis (CNA) concluded that a primary goal of the services seemed to be to protect their current family housing inventories.
- In a report, sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the Rand Corporation found that, “On the margin, members and the military services would both benefit from higher housing allowances and less military housing.”
- Studies by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and DOD have shown that compared to the cost of providing military housing, the government’s cost is significantly less when military families are paid housing allowances and live in private housing.
- Over a five-year period, beginning in 2000, Congress authorized taxpayer dollars to be used to increase military housing allowance by 66% so that military members could afford to live off base without any out-of-pocket expenses.
- The overwhelming preference of military service members is to live off base
In spite of the above facts and warnings the Republican controlled Congress, responding to a request from the DoD created legislation authorizing the Military Housing Privatization Initiative. This legislation was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996. The authorization was made permanent by President George W. Bush in 2005.
This is a relevant and timely example of how self-centered motivations and the failure to take advantage of all available facts on the part of decision makers can lead to the indebtedness to which your children will be subjected.
The answer to this type of misuse of taxpayer’s dollars by government officials is by the citizenry being more engaged in the process. The decision you must make is whether you will focus your efforts on social issues or political issues. Although, it was during a political campaign Lincoln’s, “A house divided” was directed at the social issue of slavery. Dr. Martin Luther King fought against the social issue of segregation. Both these American heroes were involved in politics but their focus was on what was right for the country not what was politically expedite. The social issue drove the politics not the other way around.
The best example of social verses politics was evident during the last presidential campaign. Barack Obama was lampooned for only being a community organizer by the same people who advocated limited federal government and lower taxes to facilitate small business based on their long held principles and values. The disconnect in this thought process was telling.
At their core a community organizer is to local social issues as small businesses are to the local economy. Both most react to a constantly changing environment, acknowledge and address their customer’s needs on a daily basis, and are immediately held accountable for the decisions they make. Some opponents said that although his work was admirable he lacked administrative experience. This would lead one to concur that his naysayers believed that the principles and values successfully used on the local level could not be applied at the federal level. Unfortunately, it would appear that on this supposition they were correct.