I often wonder what our founding fathers’ stance would have been on mortgage backed securities, big oil companies and their blatant disregard for the environment by dumping millions of gallons of oil into such a pristine body of water such as the Gulf of Mexico, thousands of babies being born daily to crack whores and without fathers, companies blasting steroids and other harmful additives into chicken, beef and pork to enhance flavor and help the growing process so they can be harvested more rapidly to meet demand, and the daily threat of being blown away in this great nation we call the United States of America by some terrorist who is upset with our way of life and is willing to kill himself as long as he can take a few of us rotten Americans with him. More than likely, our founding fathers did not have a stance on these issues as they did not exist. Our forefathers could have never imagined the world we live in today. The technology, greed, anger and even stupidity that subsist present day could not be matched 235 years ago. The argument, “this is what our founding fathers were trying to protect us from” is a pretty poor one in my opinion as the severity of today’s issues are much more complicated than those of centuries ago. What would have been John Adams’ response to Thomas Jefferson if he had accused John Hancock of a pyramid scheme resulting in the loss of many innocent people’s life savings for his own prosperity such as that of modern day Bernie Madoff? Adams would have probably responded, “I had no idea Hancock was from Egypt.” My point being, our problems, population, and money today have grown and multiplied substantially than those of that time period.
People argue our government has their fingers in too much of our business, but with more regulation, one could certainly argue the need for bailouts such as AIG, GM, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae just to name a few, could have been prevented. Granted, the market would not have exploded like it did when people were buying $250,000 homes for $750,000 while making $35,000 annually. But hey, at least someone made some money during this time and I’d be willing to bet a lot of them don’t want to pay higher taxes and are accustomed to being a “Mitch” on a daily basis. If everyone were as responsible as they should be when it comes to finances and saving, there would be no need for so many government-created watchdogs, but most people need to be saved from themselves. There would also be no need for such strict regulation if corporations were not so consumed with beating last year’s profits so the C.E.O can get a fat bonus.
With all this being said, I, for one, absolutely do not believe our government has our best interest in mind when ruling and passing laws, but there has to be programs in place to assist those in need with things such as healthcare, food and shelter. Why do I have to purchase health insurance? Why do I have to pay higher taxes so some guy on the draw down the road can get a free ride? Why do I have to pay so much Social Security tax when I’ll never see a dime? These are common questions and also reveal the selfishness of today’s society. Granted, there are quite a few taking advantage of the system, especially in Martin County. How do you get rid of these programs when all it will really do is hurt those who need it most?
With all the issues and problems we have, this is still the greatest country in the world and there are others that would trade places with us in a heartbeat.
Great article Brian! It’s interesting how so many people overlook these HUGE details about the last recession and it’s causes.
If you think more taxes are necessary, you should donate all your disposable income – all the money you have after you pay your mortgage, groceries, and medical bills (if any) – to the federal government. Afterall, all money after that is unnecessary – the money you spend on electricity, tv, cars, technology, etc, only goes to feed corporate greed. So, be the example and give!
Great article. You did make some excellent points that I have brought up to many people time and time again and that is our founding fathers could not have foreseen the world we live in today. Therefore, the Glenn Beck’s and Bill O’ Reilly’s of the world who like to bring that up as a security blanket to bash liberals (mostly liberals) end up coming off as boorish. I have never really been an advocate of increasing taxes, but in times like these would it really hurt the wealthiest Americans to contribute 1% more of their annual income in taxes? Or why not tax some of these companies who pay NOTHING like GE and Exxon. I couldn’t disagree more when politicians say that will hinder job growth. When Exxon is making a 40 billion dollar profit they can’t afford to spend 1 penny on taxes? Please.
Another thing is the great debate on entitlement programs. Just like Beano, I grew up in eastern Kentucky (Floyd and Menifee County) and I saw the welfare and food stamp system abused on a daily basis. It’s downright sickening how some parents will spend food stamps on liters of Mountain Dew or worse yet trade them in for booze or pills. However, there truly are some families out there who depend on these programs to feed their families and get by when times are hard. My parents are perfect examples. When my dad lost his job in the mines and my mom became disabled we would have starved to death without government assistance. They most certainly weren’t waiting on a handout. Dad was actively pursuing work almost everyday. One quote that Beano brought up that stuck out in my head was: “If everyone were as responsible as they should be when it comes to finances and saving there would be no need for so many government-created watchdogs, but most people need to be saved from themselves.” Now while I may agree with this statement, it’s not true in all cases. Programs like social security must continue to exist for those who lack the formal education required to properly save and invest their money. Some people just aren’t bright enough to plan ahead.