Opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of The Flume
Last month I did an article where I shared some quotes from some significant figures in our history. Let me start this week with another one.
“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country,” President John F. Kennedy, Democrat.
I’m not sure President Kennedy would recognize the Democratic party of today. Look at what is happening under the leadership of our new president and a congress dominated in both branches by the Democrats.
As the pandemic is winding down and small businesses are reopening, they are having a peculiar issue. Drive through most major cities (or read posts on Pinecam from our local restaurants) and you will see “Help Wanted” signs in windows. If so many were forced out of jobs a year ago, why aren’t they now applying for these new positions? It’s because our government has made it more profitable to collect unemployment than to go to work.
When there were no jobs a year ago due to the shutdown, it probably made sense to give handouts to families. What is the government doing now to encourage folks to return to the workplace? It used to be recipients of unemployment benefits, which I have done twice in my career, had to certify a certain number of job interviews every week. The labor participation rate has actually fallen as businesses are opening up now, because recipients of handouts are not being challenged to return to work.
The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 was the first major legislation of the Johnson era after JFK was killed. Instead of giving free handouts directly to citizens, it used government money to shore up opportunities for job training and give credits to employers for hiring workers. What a difference from what we see today.
Similarly, the 1965 Immigration Act established quotas based primarily on family reunification and the country’s technical and professional needs. Johnson did not just open the gate to all who wanted to come. Controls and quotas were in place to ensure that our national and local agencies were not overrun and that those who were allowed in could indeed contribute to the country’s economy, not be given free handouts.
Compare that to today’s immigration policy. Colorado just passed a law allowing anyone to receive professional certification even if they ignored our laws to get here. Attempts are being made to give Medicaid eligibility to those who have crossed the border illegally. This is just more of “what your country can do for you” and it’s not even “their” country yet.
President Biden shut down a promising new gas pipeline across America his first day in office. This took away job opportunities for thousands of men and women which would have kept us on track with being an energy exporter instead of an energy importer.
Now, instead of counting on proud American workers to keep our energy costs in line while we work on moving toward cleaner sources of energy at a reasonable pace, our government is forcing us to rely on foreign production of the necessary critical minerals which are lacking in this country that are needed to build batteries to meet unrealistic energy goals. This puts more workers in need of handouts instead of a hand up.
One of the ways citizens have given to their country over the years is to serve in local government offices and agencies. School boards are an excellent example of neighbors contributing to our society by directing the curriculum and policies in our local schools to set up the next generation for success.
Now the federal government is slowly taking that ability away by using the Department of Health, Education and Welfare to force federally-funded and federally-defined curriculum for civics and history down to our local boards. Nowhere in the constitution is the federal government given this control, but they are determined to take it by controlling the purse strings.
What has made America the country it is today has been the involvement of the citizens and their support for their neighbors, not the increase of the government and its handouts. Let’s begin moving back to an era of smaller government focused on a free market economy and necessary controls at the local level, not an era of government handouts beyond the scope of our gross domestic product to be paid for by two or three future generations.