Most of us have little contact with career criminals. Those who have report some of them are intelligent, sociable, funny, curious and goal-directed. Criminals can also be dangerous. This seemingly bi-polar behavior is part of why they are so hard to understand. Criminals appear harmless until they are not.
I’m thinking back to a car stop on a Los Angeles Freeway in the early 1970s. A car was stopped for speeding and pulled to the right shoulder. Approaching the car the officer saw several things, in some small part of a second, there was a single male, a bag full of money spilling onto the seat, a beanie mask and the driver was holding a revolver in his right hand while looking over his left shoulder for the officer’s approach. The officer was approaching from the right side.
As this person was sitting in the back seat of the patrol car waiting for the local police to arrive, they had a chance to talk for about 10 minutes. This speeder had spent time in prison for a previous shooting, had planned to shoot this officer, yet he was very outgoing, had a great sense of humor and was easy to like. This robber would make a great sales person, bartender or politician, so the officer said, “You could do so well if you got away from a life of crime, why do you do this?” Smiling, the robber said, “It’s what I do, why are you a cop?” The officer admitted it was what he did.
What does this have to do with a political blog? With the sequester coming, one might be curious to know what amount of danger there is to citizens due to this law passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama. Politicians appear harmless until they are not.
Forbes Magazine reports spending cuts will equal $85 billion from a total budget of $3.5 trillion. Forbes noted this is a cut of about 2.4% from the growth of government but no real reduction in spending from 2012. So I ask you, if you had to cut your yearly budget by 2.4% would it be possible? Would you also think with a 2% reduction in spending, you would be spending less?
In a spending crisis, the politicians immediately threaten things we all agree are important. In State government they talk about cutting parks, the police and fire departments. There are other possible cuts, but the emphasis is always on the things which threaten citizens. In the Federal Government they talk about long lines at airports, reductions in air traffic controllers, fewer FBI agents, more wildfires, more pests in crops, less meat, less poultry, child care cuts, a higher risk of terrorism, less drilling offshore and—wait for it—parks closing. A 2% cut is supposed to cut services, slow down checks, increase danger from terrorism and up to 125,000 more people could face homelessness. Bottom line, politicians count on citizens to be stupid, uninformed and accept we are ruined by having 2% less growth in government.
Why do politicians try to scare us into wanting to give up more of our money, and pay for them having more power over our lives? They do it for the same reason the criminals rob stores and the reason cops put them in jail. It's what they do. There are other options, but that is not what they do. Washington’s political culture is to mislead citizens, and use fear in place of facts.
This is not a political party thing. This is not a rich versus poor thing. This is not a west coast versus east coast thing. This is a thing where people with power who want to expand their influence and who want to control what you eat, where you live and how you live your day to day life, try to scare you into compliance. This month it is sequester, next month it will be shutting down the government.
Big government does not provide prosperity. An intrusive government does not end poverty. A bully government does not elevate people to new heights. What has worked is people. People helping people, people committed to their families, people who want to improve themselves. The answer is in the people, not the government.
We need to do what we do. We need to demand less government and more liberty. We need to demand less government and more opportunity. We need to demand the government get back within the confines of the Constitution. After all, every elected person swears to defend the Constitution.
Why don’t they do it? It is not what they do.
Some might say it is criminal.