Sunday, August 30, 2009

Is it getting warm in here, or is it just me?...

I’m sure we’ve all heard the old theory that if you put a frog in a pan of hot water, it will immediately jump out, but if you place a frog in a pan of warm water, and turn up the heat slowly, the frog will stay in the pan, no matter how hot it gets.

I can’t testify for sure if that is true. I do remember one time in my younger days when my old buddy Stinky Wilmont and I decided to give the theory a test. One afternoon, over at Stinky’s house, we filled his mother’s stewing pot about half-way with warm water, and put it on the kitchen stove.

The plan was that Stinky would put his pet frog, Harold, in the pot, and I would start turning the knob slowly upward until either Harold or Stinky couldn’t stand it any more.

Unfortunately, as was the fate of many of our adventures, it didn’t turn out exactly as we had planned. As soon as Harold hit the water, he made a mad leap out of the pan, across the kitchen cabinets and behind the refrigerator. In our efforts to catch him, we knocked the pot of water over on the stove, and spent the next several minutes trying to outrun Mrs. Wilmont and that extra thick Redelman’s Hardware Store yardstick that she kept around for just such occasions.

Thus ended our scientific experiment. We never saw or heard from Harold again.

And we never figured out if the water was to hot right from the beginning, or if Harold just figured it was going to get to hot, and decided to make good his escape before that happened. We seldom spoke of Harold after that day.

Government has a way of turning up the heat slowly whenever it institutes a new program, and the American people seem to be pretty accepting of such things, as long as things increase slowly enough. When the income tax was first initiated in 1862, it took 3% of most Americans( in the north) income, except for the very poor or the very rich. It was eliminated 1872, shortly after the war was paid off.

When it was re-adopted in 1913, (most politicians consider permanently) it again started as a small percentage of income on a portion of the population. That percentage has slowly grown and fluctuated over the years, reaching as high as 94% on some incomes at the end of the Second World War, before settling at our current levels of nothing to 35%, depending on your income. Of course, a myriad of other taxes, such as sales and property tax, have also increased slowly and gradually so that must of us spend about half of what we make to support government services and programs.

Social Security worked out about the same way. It started out in 1936 claiming 1% from the employee and employer on the first $3000.00 of income. The plan was to slowly increase the maximum “donation” to 3% by each party. Had that remained true, even adjusting for inflation, the most you would pay today would be $700.00 per year. The government turned it up to $12,500. Slowly. Some of us even remember when the maximum Medicare deduction was $43.00 per year. The combined unfunded liability of both programs is now around $60 trillion.
There is a growing opposition to the health care plan that is being proposed in Washington right now. Maybe because a lot of people realize it is too expensive right now. Maybe because a lot of people realize it is going to be even more expensive in the future.

Thomas Jefferson warned that it is the natural tendency of government to grow. It’s also the natural tendency of government to turn up the heat.

I think even Harold knew that.

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Blogger Randall said...

I agree with most of your views. I am new to the LP, and am currently reading Wayne Root's book, it is very well written and I recommend it. I am going to do my best to get information about the LP out to my friends in Liberty and Connersville, and hope many others do the same. We need real change, keep up the good work. Thanks

11:44 PM  

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