607: Independence and Subsidies

 

AntGrasshopper

It used to be that Americans were independent and took care of their own.

Why is it now the responsibility of other citizens/taxpayers if I fail to adequately plan, provide for, and save for my own retirement (what used to be called my ‘declining years’)? When did that personal failure become a subsidized ‘right’?

Was it when the US government established the Social Security program in an effort to ameliorate the fallout from those grasshoppers who foolishly played and spent their lives away, while the ants prudently saved and stockpiled against an uncertain future?

Now that social security is firmly entrenched (even if the last generations of lawmakers have plundered the fund to help offset their own grasshopper profligate spending) Americans save even less than they ever did – and our performance as a nation never was too good on that score in the first place.

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Yeah, I’d LOVE to have spent my productive years engaged in pursuing my own interests (financially supporting or not) instead of reporting to work – but having proved myself stupid enough to be willing to work, I don’t qualify for any benefits for sitting on my fat behind.

The idea is that people work to support themselves. Each one responsible for him/herself – unless you have turned over your financial future to someone else who agrees to be responsible for both themselves AND you (this is what many women believe marriage is for – absolving them from all responsibility). If you put your care into the hands of another person and they fail to make adequate provisions for themselves and for you in the event something happens to them, well, they failed you.

My first husband did that – he let more than a half million life insurance policy lapse a few months before he unexpectedly died. Thank God I was already a working wife, and didn’t have all my eggs in his little basket, so I had something else to fall back on besides Uncle Sam. Plus, in the past, families cared for each other. When a family member became disabled or elderly and needed care, they were cared for within the family unit – not handed off for the government (really, other citizens/taxpayers) to care for.

It isn’t the fault of the citizens that you failed to provide for yourself – it isn’t even the fault of the citizens that you are disabled, and need assistance. Neither is it their fault if accident or illness befalls you that you didn’t plan for. Yup – it’s a tough break when that happens. Thankfully, assistance is available for those who are unable (legitimately unable, not having simply purchased their disability from an unethical physician) to provide for themselves, but it still isn’t the fault of others that they are disabled, such that others are then required to pay their way.

THAT is what used to be called charity, before charity became a dirty word, and it used to be the province of faith-based people who took up the slack and provided that assistance locally. They knew their neighbors, and they knew who really needed the help, and who needed the harsh life lessons earned by making very poor decisions.

You know, like the grasshopper.

595: Different Views

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Lots of people like to claim fact to support their opinion, and that is generally a good thing – having factual support for the opinion that you hold.┬áIt does not, however, mean that your opinion is correct because you have a fact (or several) to cite.

Facts are data. Your opinion is your interpretation of how that fact came into being (cause), your opinion on how that fact has applied (effect) to the situation, and your opinion on how best to ameliorate that fact or situation you think it applies to (solution). Once you state your fact, everything else you spout is opinion. Understand that truth. Even if you have historical precedent that your opinion worked out one way in the past, it does not always mean that it will work out that way now, in the present.

Two people can see the same fact and interpret it widely differently based on the filters, experience, education, and logic they bring with them to interpret those facts, which they use to form their opinions.

Therein lies the rub, particularly when the issues that are being discussed are political ones, or social issues. Those are not simple issues, in part because they affect people of widely differing values, cultures, and circumstances. A solution that works for one segment of the population disenfranchises other segments – a truth that continually evades lawmakers.

I am apparently among the very small minority of people who can respect someone whose opinion differs from mine. I still do not think they are correct, but I can respect that they have some basis for their opinion in fact – exactly like I do. Even when I think they are completely wrong, and they have no basis in fact that I can determine, they are still a human being entitled to their opinion – exactly like I am. YES, it is best if opinions can be formed with factual bases, but understand even when they ARE, we can still legitimately differ in our opinions.

And *I* can respect that.

 

460: Bird’s Eye View

I have just experienced a bird’s eye view of professional truck driving. It was only a week and a half, so that is why it is a fly-over view only, but it formed some definite opinions within me about driving professionally in general, and federal bureaucrats in particular.

I am a 25 year teaching veteran (MS and HS mostly, domestic and international, all-but-dissertation status on a doctorate in education), and I am a reflective person. This means I tend to ruminate upon my experiences, seeking deeper meaning and thought behind what appears upon the surface of things. Not everybody does that, unfortunately.

What I learned in a week and a half as a passenger in a big rig traveling the roads of America is that our lawmakers are genuine, slobbering, drooling idiots. Don’t get me wrong, I understand why they made the laws that they made that all truck drivers now have to follow. They did it in a pathetic, uneducated attempt to reduce highway fatalities due to truck/car accidents, where, let’s be real, generally the car loses. What lawmakers failed to take into account when they made the new laws about how many hours trained, tested, certified, commercial truck drivers are allowed to drive is that most (80%) of all car/truck accidents are the fault of the car driver. http://www.trucking.org/ATA%20Docs/News%20and%20Information/Reports%20Trends%20and%20Statistics/02%2012%2013%20–%20FINAL%202013%20Car-Truck%20Fault%20Paper.pdf

http://www.overdriveonline.com/report-car-drivers-at-fault-in-nearly-80-percent-of-car-truck-crashes/

So, like the morons they ARE (I am a teacher and have had lots of experience with uneducated federal lawmakers trying to “fix” education, too), they added new, restrictive laws to truck drivers, instead of to the people who are causing all the trouble with those truck/car accidents in the first place. JUST LIKE EDUCATION, they played the only string they could see to play. I am a career teacher, and I am good at it. But, you know what? If you (as the student) are not interested in learning what I have to teach you, guess what? I can take you to that water and hold your squirming head under it until you DROWN, and you as the student do not have to drink it. I present it, and give you opportunities to experience it, discover it, and practice it until you learn it – get that? Until YOU LEARN IT. I cannot learn it for you – I already know it, because I paid attention in class, nitwit. The teacher is not entirely responsible because you did not learn. Just like the trucker is not entirely responsible for all your accidents, either. BUT – as a federal lawmaker, you are playing the one string you can play and trying to call it a symphony.

What lawmakers have done with their new driving hours law is tempt normally safe drivers to drive tired (unsafely) because of your new regulations. It used to be when a trucker was tired, he could pull over and sleep, whether he had been driving 11 hours or only four hours. Not anymore. Now, he has to drive, tired or not, because of the allowed hours per day. If he pulls over for safety reasons, he is penalized monetarily for losing some or all of the day’s allotted drive time. How many times do you think his freight company will permit that before he is fired? Thanks, federal lawmakers, for making the roads genuinely less safe because of a few spectacular truck accidents where the driver might actually have been at fault (it does occasionally happen), just exactly like you try to make every safe and legal gun owner pay for the crazy, irresponsible few. Just exactly like you punish every caring, hard-working, skilled teacher for students who choose not to study and do their assignments and homework.

New idea – how about we just get rid of the lawmakers and see how we do all by ourselves?