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The Independence Day Blues

July 4, 2012

It’s Independence Day, July 4, 2012.

This day we usually celebrate our freedom.  Somehow, I don’t feel much like celebrating.  We have no freedom.  Oh, some perceive that we do, because that’s what we’ve always had, for the better part of 236 years, and most of us don’t know any different, having been taught that it doesn’t really matter, and our government is all good and able to take care of any situation.  For now, we can still write about and express our thoughts and beliefs, so long as those expressions do not offend anyone.  We can still go to the church of our choice, so long as we don’t display our faith in the public square, and so long as we don’t expect  our government to respect our faiths in its social programs.

If we are to celebrate our independence today, please tell me, of whom or from what are we independent?  Today, 46 million Americans are dependent on food stamps under the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), up 8% from last year.  56 Million people can celebrate their dependence on the US Social Security Program.  The US government lets out $500B a year on private contracts.  How many are dependent on that little ball of wax?  How many of us, such as this writer, are dependent upon advising private citizens about their compliance and financial matters as a result of tax returns, regulatory filings, and other such things, brought about solely because of government rules.  How many of us are dependent on jobs that include advising people in the last category, keeping them  up to date on constantly changing government laws and regulations?  I could go on, but it’s too depressing.

And then, there’re the unemployed.  In January, 2012, 12.8 million ready, willing, and able Americans were out of work.  43% of those people have been out of work for 6 months or more.  5 Million people have given up looking.  Our laws now allow for unemployment benefits to extend for 99 weeks.  Not much incentive to go out and get a job, if you ask me.

With so many of us dependent on the government’s power and present willingness to re-distribute the limited resources of this country from the earners to the takers, our government is addicted to using its power of taxation and regulation to spend much more than what’s being taken in.  The rest is got by borrowing and printing money (affectionately known as “quantitative easing.”)  No one knows what the national debt really is, but the official count is in the neighborhood of $16 trillion!

After the horrendous Supreme Court ruling last week on the Affordable Health Care Act, there are no limits on what government is allowed to do or on its ability to place chains around the people.  Now, they’ve got our health, and it’s not good.  The private sector coughs up another 60% of itself in tribute to all-powerful government.

So, no, I can’t celebrate today.  Go out there and shoot off your firecrackers for whatever reason; but freedom and independence should not be among them.

James A. Skeldon

Watertown, New York

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