• Victor C. Bolles

Not JFK



So we have seen the first debates of the Democratic presidential candidates a full 494 days before the 2020 elections. Actually, I did not watch them – only the highlights on the news. I mean, after all, how much of this can any person take. How are people going to get on with their lives amid all this political haranguing and bluster? How are we going to live and work with our fellow citizens if every moment of our daily life is transformed into a political event?


And, of course, they all blasted President Trump. And he has given them many opportunities through his speech and behavior. He is not a very nice man (in addition to being a man he is also white and old – the worst combination imaginable). But can we all endure 494 more days of outrage from Democratic candidates, MSNBC and other media outlets (someone needs to explain to Rachel Maddow the health consequences arising from constant stress and anguish)?


And virtually every one of these candidates wants the government to give you something. Something you deserve. Something you’re entitled to. Universal basic income, working class tax rebates, reparations for slavery, a $15 minimum wage, elimination of student debt, a free college education, Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, universal parental leave, affordable housing and $1 trillion for infrastructure. The list goes on and on.


And there are still 490 days until the election and each candidate will be forced to add even more entitlements and benefits as they try to distance themselves from the horde of other candidates. Many of these programs cost trillions of dollars and the trillions will add up as the campaigning really heats up.


They will tell you that they will pay for all this largesse by taxing the wealthy one-percenters. Let me tell you that the one-percenters didn’t get to be one-percenters by letting every Tom, Dick and Harry dip his hand into their wallets. What are they going to do when the one-percenters take their money and go elsewhere? They’ll come after you because you cannot afford to move to Monaco like all the other billionaires.


You know it wasn’t always like this. The government wasn’t always considered some big piggy bank that you could raid to get the money to buy a popsicle from the Good Humor man. People didn’t always think that they were entitled to receive things from the government (which actually come from their fellow citizens or their own offspring).


President John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, said in his inaugural speech, “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” What a novel idea! Instead of demanding that government give you more and more, you do something to make the world and our country a better place.


Many of you readers may not be familiar with John. F. Kennedy or what times were like then. That inaugural speak was fifty-seven years ago. Only old guys like me were around when he was elected. Before people got all whiny and needy.


The Democratic presidential candidates will tell you that the one-percenters have all the wealth. It is true that they have a lot of wealth. But they didn’t take it from you. They created it. You don’t like the fact the Jeff Bezos is the richest man on the planet – cancel your Amazon Prime membership and shop at your neighborhood store (you might also meet some of your neighbors). You don’t like the fact that Bill Gates is worth over $100 billion - dump your Microsoft operating system and cancel your subscription to Office 360. Don’t like the fact that Mark Zuckerberg is worth over $70 billion – close your Facebook account, put down your phone and talk to the person next to you.


Those people got super wealthy by providing valuable products and services to you, many of them for free. And you want to thank them by taking huge chunks of their hard-earned wealth? Besides many billionaires are donating much of their wealth to The Giving Pledge including Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Larry Ellison, Mark Zuckerberg and Michael Bloomberg. Over $500 billion has already been pledged.


The could just give their money to the government. On June 24th of this year, a group of wealthy progressive Democrats requested in an open letter to presidential candidates that their wealth (inheritances mostly) be subject to an annual wealth tax. But the donors to the Giving Pledge have decided collectively that their money can be more effectively employed outside of government. Besides, the wealth tax proposed by presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren wouldn’t even close the current deficit let alone provide oodles of cash for costly the new projects she and others are pandering to the public.


It is going to be a long campaign and the candidates will be constantly upping the ante by proposing ever more generous giveaways. But, if elected, they will be doing it with your money.


 

And while we’re at it:


There was another thing that JFK said in his inauguration speech, perhaps not so well remembered as the famous “ask not” quotation but very, very important. He said, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”


You see, JFK got it. The purpose of government is, as written in our Constitution, to, “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”


People seem to have forgotten this. They want entitlements instead of liberty. They think healthcare and a pension are more important than liberty. They think that government guaranteed parental leave is more important than liberty.


They are wrong. You need to understand why Founder Ben Franklin said, "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." If Americans sacrifice liberty for dependence on all the enticements the Democratic presidential candidates are offering, they will soon discover how difficult it will be to get that liberty back and what enormous sacrifices will have to be made. JFK understood. Do you?




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