Monday, April 1, 2013

Chained in a Gilded Cage

As the "tax breaks" expired with the new year, Sir Knight and I, among countless others, felt the pinch in our paycheck.  We grumbled a bit, railed against government excess and then did what most everyone else we know did - tightened our belt.

Tightening an already ridiculously tight belt is a challenge.  Some things, like bills and the ever-present taxes, are non-negotiable, which leaves things like food and fuel to take the biggest hit.  Of course our food and fuel budgets are already stretched pretty thin so stretching them further is painful.  We are left with very little at the end of the month, but, amazingly, we always have enough to make it through - never as much as we'd like, but enough.

It seems as though our local, state and federal governments are not as inclined as their citizens to tighten their proverbial belts.  Stockton, California is the latest (and largest) of our cities to declare bankruptcy in the face of rising expenditures and lower tax revenues.  Rather than make hard decisions, live within their means and feel the pain now, they continue to increases taxes, borrow money and rob Peter to pay Paul until the inevitable happens - insolvency.  And then, they scream, cry foul and demand - you guessed it - more tax money, because, heaven forbid, if the people don't pay up children will go hungry, poor, helpless single mothers will be forced to live in poverty and the wealthy elite (who should have been paying their "fair share" from the beginning) will take over the world, re-introduce work houses and trample on the human rights of the under-trodden.  Oh, the inhumanities!  

But, in all of the wailing and gnashing of teeth, you will never hear a confession of guilt.  Not once will the government officials stand before the taxpayers and humbly admit that their overspending, poor stewardship and wanton excess was, in fact, the greatest contributing factor to the fall of the civilized world.  They will never beg forgiveness, right their wrongs and move forward with honesty and integrity.  Our leaders, in fact, are not the least bit repentant for the part they have played in the dismantling of our nation.

Budgeting is not a matter of politics and rhetoric, but rather a matter of not spending more than you make.  Many a Professor of Economics can lecture We the People on the complexities of federal budgets, tell us that we "can't possibly understand", however, we know the truth.  The truth is that you pay what you owe, you don't spend more than you bring in and you always have at least six months in reserve for a rainy day.  Plain and simple.  When your income decreases, you expenditures must decrease.  And yes, it can be painful.  It can hurt.  But it has to be done.

Just as Sir Knight and I have to be responsible with what resources we have, so our government must be responsible.  In our greed, we have allowed them to spend and spend and spend, often on things that will affect us directly.  We have not been willing to forgo the niceties and live within our means.  But now, our collective means have run out.

The answers are there.  They won't be easy.  But, they won't kill us.  People will have to step up to the plate and take care of themselves rather than expecting the government to take care of them.  They will have to take care of their own children, their own parents and their own problems.  The church will have to become what the church was intended to be and the family will have to resume its rightful place as the best and only social welfare system.  It will be hard but it can be done.

Until we throw off the shackles of a debt-ridden government we will be little more than slaves to immoral men.  Our leaders are nothing more than our fellow citizens and we cannot hold them to standards that we, ourselves, refuse to abide.

Our leaders were chosen by us to represent our needs and secure our best interest.  It is in our best interest to pay our debts and be slaves to no one.  I would rather live in poverty and freedom than to be chained in a gilded cage begging the favor of another.


  1. You are absolutely correct about the local governments mismanagement. But understand two important things in the debate over city employee pay and retirement. They basically have a two-tier system where one group is very well paid and their retirement is substantially better then the other group. Police and firefighters (I love them both, we need them and I appreciate what they do for us but their unions are killing us) get a much better retirement deal that the employees do not pay for. That is they are allowed to retire at 50 with pay and benefits as though they had finished their full employment and retired at 58 (or older in some communities). The second group who become a drag on the community are the exceptionallyt well paid jobs that far exceed their contributiuon to the community, many of these jobs are appointed and/or politically filled. Jobs where the employee makes $2-$3-$4 hundred thousand a year and enjoy similar retirement pay. It is NOT the clerks and regular employees of the city who may $20,000 a year that are created this massive debt. Lets keep this in perspective.

  2. Oh I don't know. Our local governments are a product of the population. Some of us have tightened our belts. Many are still on the fun-go-round budget and elect a government that reflects this. They don't tell themselves no, and certainly don't want a government telling them no. When things get tight, they then whine and expect us all to play fair, chipping in for services, etc. that we don't want or use. Of course, there are those that are on the dole and don't pay taxes at all. Of course, they will support anyone asking for more taxes.

    Take the local public school.(please!) They are constantly looking for a millage for buildings, football field, whatever. We can't ever defeat a millage here because of the spenders, the broke folks, and the subsidized housing. They want the BEST for the (insert dramatic breathy voice) children. Its just assumed that you will agree. Its our FUTURE after all. Of course, you get to vote. But you are usually outvoted by the rest of them who are never taxed as highly. Our future is screwed.

    I don't see too many tightening their belts. We go out to eat once every couple of months -- lunch with a coupon. :) You never fail to see fairly young families with three kids .... I don't know how they afford that. Oh right, credit cards. Everybody has a $2.89 soda in from on them. Nearly $15 in pop! Really?!?!? But I a childless will be expected to pony up so their little sunshines have ipads in school.


    (Have I mentioned my utmost regard for homeschoolers?)

  3. I very seriously doubt things will change until there's no other option-it's way too much fun to spend other people's money-and so easy! Run out? Well,so? Raise taxes/permits/fees/licenses-whatever. It amazes me how many cities think the answer is to raise taxes(or whatever) thinking that's the magic cure-when all it does is run people away to a cheaper location. I have no sympathy for a city that does this-stupid ideas get stupid results-garbage in, garbage out. Never fails.

  4. Taxes hit us hard this year too. Hubby was mad because we thought we had changed withholding enough, but with the next tax laws, we are still owing $1000 to the Fed. That and I just lost my job and we and expecting in October. My belt is literally getting bigger, but we are tightening the budget, deciding what bills to ignore for the month. Next year will be great, with the kid deduction, but this year will be hell on wheels. Sigh.


  5. Ms. Enola Gay,

    AMEN sister!