Tuesday, March 06, 2012


Stinky Wilmont, my old buddy back at Millville Grade School, usually seemed to have a way of making things work out to his advantage. I can recall more than a few instances when Stinky would ask his Mother's permission to join in on some misadventure that the neighborhood lost boys were planning. If his mother's answer was "no", he would then rephrase the question and perhaps the description of the upcoming event and seek permission from his father, usually asking during chore time, and while Stinky was performing his appointed duties with an unusually cheerful demeanor and determination. If he was able to elicit a more favorable response on the second ask, he would then return to his mother, explaining how his father had given his blessing for the affair, and wondering why she wanted to deny Stinky even this short time of camaraderie, especially since he had done such an excellent job taking care of his chores. I was always amazed at the number of times Stinky was able to turn initial defeat into ultimate victory using that technique.

Of course, Stinky's plan didn't work out quite as well if both parents agreed that "no" was the final answer right from the start. That scenario didn't leave him much to work with.

I've seen similar situations play out between citizens and the political parties in Congress. As long as the parties stood on opposite sides of an issue, a voter could voice approval or disapproval by casting his or her vote in the appropriate direction. As long as one party was opposed to massive deficit spending by the federal government, citizens at least had a chance to voice their displeasure with it by supporting that party. Now that both major parties agree that deficit spending is acceptable, the most a person can hope for by voting for either party is a chance to agree that a $1.28 trillion deficit isn't as bad as a $1.31 trillion deficit.

If at least one of the major parties was opposed to corporate welfare, which involves the forced transfer of taxpayer money and the granting of special favors to selected businesses, we could vote for one party over the other in hopes of discouraging such behavior. It becomes a little harder to send that message when neither major party at the federal, state, and right down to the county level, has even the slightest qualm about handing out favors and money like candy at a parade. Of course, the businesses on the receiving end might vary, depending upon that company's compatibility with the current ruling party, but the basic premise of legal forced redistribution remains the same.

We hear a lot of calls for bi-partisanship these days. Apparently some people think we would be better off if our elected officials could get along and work together a little bit better. And that might be alright if they were working together to reduce the size, scope, and cost of government. But if history is any indicator, most of the time when both parties get along, government gets a little bigger, a little more intrusive, a little more expensive, and a little further in debt.

I don't know about you, but I would feel a little bit better knowing there is someone in the front seat that will say "no", even when most everybody else is saying "yes".

I think even Stinky would agree with that.


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