John Gorentz (johngorentz) wrote in conservatism,
John Gorentz

Pony up

Horses may be going hungry, but here's some food for thought. It's inspired by a front page story in Sunday's Kalamazoo (Michigan) Gazette.

The article explains that people can't afford to take care of their horses, but they're required to anyway, even if they've lost their jobs and incomes. There is no longer a market for the animals, so they can't be sold. And the other alternatives (such as euthanasia) are even more expensive or non-existent. Kalamazoo County's Animal Services and Enforcement director explains:
Winter time is tough, with people being laid off and home foreclosures. Hay's expensive -- all these things add up. But I don't want to hear their excuses. They've taken on this responsibility. You can't have an animal that's solely dependent on you for food and care and let it starve just because things have changed. You've got to find an alternative, even if you have to go shovel driveways.
Leave aside for a moment the question of whether it's appropriate for a law enforcement officer to get all moralistic and emotional like this. His statements suggest a way to handle some similar situations involving humans.

Leftish people have enacted entitlement programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, which have turned out to be way more expensive than originally projected. Now the economy is down, and they are becoming unsustainable. People are now soley dependent on the government for these services.

The leftish people have basically created pets out of people, who have become dependent on their care. The recipients can't just be released back into the wild at this point. They can't be euthanized (though some societies that have found themselves in similar circumstances have adopted that as a partial solution). These leftish people have taken on a responsibility, and now need to find an alternative. Shoveling driveways won't do it, so we'll probably need to confiscate their homes and property and garnish their incomes to pay for these services. No excuses.

And what about the people who put these leftish persons in a position to do this? What about the citizens who voted for legislators who enacted the social security tax increases of the 1980s? I suggest that the thinktanks get to work and come up with formulas by which the citizens of the states and congressional districts that elected these people be charged additional surtaxes to pay for their bad judgment.

"Wait a minute!" you might say. "This is a collective responsibility that we've taken on as a nation. The country as a whole has a responsibility to tax itself into oblivion to pay for these obligations!"

Under certain circumstances, you would be right. If our national legislature did things in a collective manner, for the nation as a whole, then perhaps we'd all bear some responsibility. But that's not the way things work.

Take earmarks, for example. The latest stimulus package is full of them, no matter the claims by some people that they make up only a small portion of it. Lots of the money is designated for particular programs in particular districts. Spending decisions are not made objectively on the merits of competing programs. Instead they're made based on political clout and for the exchange of political favors. And even where funds are turned over to granting agencies that might use objective criteria to disburse the funds, they are subject to "oversight" and meddling by members of Congress who lobby on behalf of constituents. Representatives run for re-election on the basis of the bringing home the bacon to their district, and leftish newspaper editors endorse politicians on the basis of their ability to do favors for their districts.

Under this system of crony corruption, the people who vote these people into office need to be the ones who are financially responsible for ponying up when entitlement programs prove to be unsustainable.

"Wait just another minute!" you might say. Just because some spending decisions are made on the basis of corrupt favoritism, that doesn't mean all the entitlement programs work that way.

Oh, yes, they do. All these programs are inter-related. Congressman Bacon votes for Congressman Upright's entitlement program, in exchange for Congressman Upright voting for Congressman Bacon's pet project. It isn't always an explicit trade -- in fact it rarely is. But implicit in this system is trading of votes -- "I'll vote for your boondoggle because otherwise you might not vote for mine someday."

The people who create these problems need to be the ones to pay extra.

(Cross-posted to my blog at The Reticulator
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