An old classmate of mine sent me an e-mail with the following six conundrums of socialism in the United States of America:
1. America is capitalist and greedy — yet half of the population is subsidized.
2. Half of the population is subsidized — yet they think they are victims.
3. They think they are victims — yet their representatives run the government.
4 Their representatives run the government — yet the poor keep getting poorer.
5. The poor keep getting poorer — yet they have things that people in other countries only dream about.
6. They have things that people in other countries only dream about — yet they want America to be more like those other countries.
While you ponder those for a few minutes, let's give them a closer look. We see some government officials working to divide our country in myriad ways, men against women, black against white, rich against poor, government against the private sector, and so on.
The government does not seem to want to look introspectively, but it/they provide us with information intended to convince us that all the problems are created by others. So, let's examine some of what they tell us.
We are told that the unemployment rate for December was at 5.6 percent, the lowest it has been since 2007. However, when we look into some other numbers, we can't help but wonder how that 5.6 percent was reached. We then look at the "labor participation rate" and find that it was 65.8 percent when President Obama took office but it is now down to 62.7 percent . . . Translating those percentages into real numbers, here is what we find:
— There are 10,000 people, "baby boomers", retiring every day; 3.65 million per year. Even with that number coming out of the labor force, while Obama has been in office, young people entering the labor force has resulted in the total force growing from 154.75 million in December of 2008 to 156.13 million in December of 2014 — a net increase of 1.38 million newly eligible workers. That's an average net growth in the available labor force of 230 thousand people per year.
— In December of 2008, 65.8 percent of the 154.75 million labor force were employed — 101.8 million people.
— In December of 2014, the available labor force totaled 156.13 million. However, the labor participation rate had dropped to 62.7 percent, resulting in only 97.9 million people who were working.
While the administration pats itself on the back for the "low unemployment numbers", we find that if we had the same labor participation rate now as we did in December of 2008, the number of people with employment would be 102,734 million, or 4.8 million more than are now employed. That raises the question, if we believe the "unemployment" number, was Professor Gruber right?
In looking at another issue, the loss of senior military officers, Investor's Business Daily reported that President Obama fired 197 senior officers in just five years, an unprecedented number. In one incident of note, the terrorist attack on Benghazi that resulted in the murder of our ambassador and three others cost both a general and an admiral their jobs. General Carter Ham, head of U. S. Africa Command, was immediately relieved of his duties when he said he intended to send support to our people in Benghazi who were under attack. Rear Admiral Chuck Gaouette, who headed up the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group, was also relieved of his command because he agreed to provide intelligence information to General Ham's people.
It is interesting to note, that a private in the Army or Marines, or a aeaman in the Navy, or an airman in the Air Force, can be court marshaled if they absent themselves from their assigned duties, whether in the front lines of battle or while on a state-side assignment. In the Benghazi case noted above, the general and the admiral who wanted to do everything within their power to try and save our ambassador and his aides, were fired . . . but their Commander in Chief's whereabouts at the time are still unknown. Go figure.
Another issue to consider is the War on Poverty. Back in 1965 when President Johnson initiated the plan, there were 34 million people, about 14.5 percent of the population, living in poverty. Since that time, the government has spent over $18 trillion citizen tax dollars in an effort to reduce that number. As of 2013, there were 45.3 million people living in poverty, about 14.5 percent of the current population. Eighteen trillion dollars didn't reduce the poverty levels but that number just about matches our current nation debt.
Businesses succeed by successfully filling a market need . . . giving the consumers what they want or need at a price they are willing to pay. Government, as it is now operating, grows bureaucratically, at great cost to the taxpayers, and in many cases is failing to meet the objectives for which they were established. Shouldn't we expect and demand better?
(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)
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