Poverty is a topic that we often hear about, yet I don't believe many of us have ever truly experienced it. I am writing about poverty based on my knowledge and without claiming that I have done research on actual statistics. No, I won't be telling you how many poor people are in the world and how many have died as a result of poverty. I will however give you my perspective on how poverty will affect us in the future.
First of all let me say that poverty is a very broad subject and I won't get very detailed because all I want to do is to get a point across without making you fall asleep. Poverty is directly influenced by politics and economics and reality is that poverty will always exist. It is very sad but the world is not perfect, had never been perfect, and it will never be perfect. You'll also find poverty to be different based on which part of the world you're in. If you go to Somalia you probably won't find the 350 pounds woman paying for her mountain full grocery cart with food stamps. Please don't think I have a problem with overweight people because I don't. My problem is with those that claim they're poor yet they have their own big plasma TV's, they're using prepaid cell phones, they buy lottery tickets on the first day of the month, and are not starving, for sure.
For now I will not discuss poverty in Somalia or Zimbabwe. There are however certain characteristics that are quite similar in all countries where poverty exists. One of the characteristics is the direct relation between poverty and education, or shall I say "lack of education". Now, lack of education does not mean necessarily that one is stupid but it provides an incredible avenue for others from a different class, a much higher class to exploit them. I hear all the time politicians, university professors, and "community organizers" saying that they're all fighting to extinguish poverty in the world. Fine, I'm all for it as long as they don't make me poor.
But let's go back to the correlation between poverty and the lack of education. I thought that when you give a man a fish you feed him for the day. And when you teach a man how to fish you feed him for life. But this is contrary to what our politicians are doing. They take and take from us, in form of taxes, to give and give to some in form of welfare, Section 8 housing subsidies, and food stamps. And don't forget they get FREE health care, too!
When I first arrived in America I was entitled to all these government "goodies". I was ashamed and embarrassed waiting in line for the welfare check the government was handing me, however I noticed that feeling was not quite predominant in the Welfare office. For many around me it was just a "usual" thing. After 2 months I decided I'd get any job available out there and I did. I just could not stand the humiliation. And even though I was making less money from my minimum hourly wage employment I was happy because dignity was something I grew up with.
Receiving something on a regular basis for just "existing in this world" is called "dependency". Contrary to being self-sufficient, dependency is like a deadly disease. Now, I am not referring to the elderly nor the disabled whose conditions are completely justified. I am referring to those that are able but not willing to work. Yes, generation after generation that depends on these kinds of govt. programs. Have you ever wondered WHY are our politicians feeding these folks on a daily basis rather than teaching them how to fish.
OK, you are educated, and many Americans are educated. Unfortunately there are many whose brains are so darn passive that nothing can make them think. Of course, when food and all the rest of the life's necessities are met by the surrogate government, why bother? Notice one thing with these folks? They have the right to VOTE. And who do you think they're going to vote for? Those politicians that would make them get off their behinds to go work for a living or those that promise them to not cut off the "umbilical cord"?
When a man is educated he is a threat to the government. He is a threat because his smart brain is able to figure out if the government is cheating him or if the government is lying to him. The smart man is able to distinguish between what's right and wrong. The smart man will challenge the corrupt politicians. The smart man is able to see through the pompous words that have no substance. The educated man will challenge the politician's position and consequently his lavish lifestyle. Now you'll understand WHY the "unfit" politician would rather keep generations of folks dependent on the government.
Looking back at my childhood in communist Romania I remember the respect towards authority that was instilled in all of us. Yes, I grew up in a system where the authority was always above everyone else, they were never wrong no matter the circumstance and we had the right to keep our mouth shut and never dispute their decisions. Judicial system was not a venue for the average citizen to pursue. Not one person would dare to bring suit in a court of law against the government because repercussions would certainly follow. Something like this could only happen in a corrupt regime and please trust me when I say that all communist governments are filthy of corruption.
On the other hand, our national television channels - and we had two in Romania during the 70's - were showing almost all day coverage of how great our economy was and all the wonderful things our president was doing for our country. Whenever I'd turn on the TV at night he was on - does this sound familiar to any of you? President Ceausescu was speaking of the "great society" the Romanian people were creating through their hard work. He was using all these pompous words that, as a child, had no meaning to me. When I got into my teens I started to realize that nothing he or the national media were saying made any sense. The authority was saying we were a prosperous nation yet my mom was waking up at 2:00 a.m. to stay in line for milk, butter, and eggs. The authority was saying we had a high standard of living yet we only had hot water in our government owned apartment between 6:00 - 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 - 10:00 p.m. daily. And let me clarify the fact that the shortages we had were ALL created by the government. The food and the energy Romania was producing were all exported to other countries.
I am asking you how would you react if you had to suddenly change the way you live your lives. What if tomorrow the food will be rationed and you'd have to wake up at 2:00 a.m. to stay in line for food? What if there is an energy shortage and you'll only be allowed to take a shower whenever the govt. decides it's the best time? You think this can NEVER happen in America? Yes, it can!
Allow me to share with you that before I immigrated to America I was interviewed by the American Consulate in Italy. Among the first questions he had for me was WHY was I escaping communism? Was it for economic reasons or any other reason? I shared with him my ONLY reason for which I escaped communism and that was FREEDOM. I guess he must have liked my answer because I could see the sign of a smile on his face. He continued asking me what would I do if America went through an economic crises and there was a food shortage. I said "Sir, when there is Freedom, there is hope, and when there is hope I can keep on living." After about half an hour of more questions that I was supposed to answer he was done with the interview. On my way out he said to me "I know you'll do well in America"! Reality is that I did and it was because I had FREEDOM. With Freedom there is hope, and when the freedom is gone there is no more hope.
Is it fair for George Soros to enjoy the riches of this country while others struggle with putting food on their table? Is it fair for George Clooney to spend long vacations in Italy while a young honor student dies during a Chicago high-school riot? Well, whenever I'd ask these kind of questions, a friend of mine used to always reply with "The fair is in Columbia, South Carolina".
I am here to set the record straight about the subject of Wealth Redistribution. I lived for many years in a communist country, where every citizen was supposed to own the wealth of Romania "COLLECTIVELY". The reality was that not only we had the right to own nothing individually but the president and his powerful elite enjoyed the benefits of collectivism. There are ramifications to the fact that we were all working for the "right to own collectively". The simple answer to what were these ramifications lays in a question for you and that is "If you work hard for years and you really don't get to experience the fruit of your labor individually for yourself and your family, what is your incentive to keep on working so hard?"
The answer that you probably have should lead you to understand that communism is like the land of Utopia. It exists in theory but in real life it's not feasible. Socialism is the last step before reaching communism. So, if communism does not exist in real life, what do all those countries that call themselves "communist" are? They are dictatorships and totalitarian, where a small group - usually the president and the powerful elite behind closed curtains - control all the affairs of the country and the people.
When the Bolsheviks took over Eastern Europe and "fundamentally transformed" it in 1917 they did it with the powerful print media and the money of the powerful elite. Lots of money were invested by those with a powerful agenda into making the average people believe that the wealth of some would be taken away and redistributed "fairly" to all. But it never happened the way people thought it would. And no, I am not an idealist to believe that one day I'll have a neighbor whose name is Warren Buffet or Bill Gates and I'll have him over for the Sunday football cook-out!
Unfortunately we are now seeing history repeating itself. Are the free people going to allow the same mistake happen all under the ideal concept of "compassion"? The very wealthy ones have contributed exorbitant amount of money for the president's campaign. Do you actually believe that anyone, including the president, will dare to touch any of the wealth that helped him become president? Contrary, these are the folks that are now expecting their pay-back. For example, how come America committed to lending $2 billion to Brazil for off-shore drilling about 3 months ago when only in June - a few months prior - George Soros had invested about 24% of his securities portfolio in the Brazilian company Petrobras, who happens to be the largest oil producer in the Southern hemisphere. Do you believe this is just a mere coincidence and George Soros was just a lucky guy?
No, my friend, this kind of wealth will not be redistributed the way one might think. This kind of wealth will increase even more in a regime of "collective ownership" which is the direction our govt. is taking. So, how will this affect us? At least two major events will cause the redistribution of our wealth. Taxation and Inflation. We'll keep on working hard but we'll contribute more of our income towards the "greatest cause ever" of "collectivism". Why be selfish trying to keep more money in our pocket when we should be compassionate towards those that live in the projects? After all, they need it more than we do!
Inflation is another form of spreading equality amongst people. In a nutshell, all the govt. spending will only increase the deficit. Unless a miracle happens it's not logical to say that the budget can or will be balanced without a sacrifice. Printing more currency to pay for the govt.'s insane spending will cause our hard-earned dollar to diminish in value. With this, our purchasing power decreases causing us and the rest of our neighborhood to drop from the "middle class" level somewhere below. I know I an not ready to sacrifice my family and lifestyle for the good of collectivity. Are you?
Just the other day my nephew, a brilliant 22 years old with the wisdom of a much older and experienced individual - by the way, he's also an independent thinker - brought to my attention a recent article that appeared in the NY Times. Here is the link to it just in case you'd like to read it http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/01/health/policy/01swiss.html
I had to read it twice to grasp its full meaning. By now we all pretty much know that more than 51% of Americans are against a government run health-care which makes many of our politicians very nervous since they've been committing to the special-interests lobbyists to pass this bill no matter at what cost. That means that, if after all avenues have been exhausted and the Americans still don't want it, they will still pass this bill AGAINST the wishes and needs of the American people.
To get a little more help from their buddies (the obedient media) they are now using one of their "avenues of indoctrination" called NY Times. Mr. Nelson Schwartz is presenting the idea that if the government-run health-care is presented as a successful system in another country we will then, right away, buy into it and will stop giving the president and the endorsers of this bill such a hard time. So, he is using the model of Switzerland and wants to convince us that if it works for the Swiss it's going to work for the Americans. I do not claim to know exactly how the Swiss model works but my cousin, who lives in Switzerland, shared with me valuable information.
Let's first start with the reasons for which we oppose this bill. I happen to be experienced with government-run health-care since I lived in a communist country. Government-run health-care will lead to...
1. Rationing of health care due, in part, to a shortage of doctors.
2. Increase in fraud (the larger the bureaucracy the higher the fraud, and we for sure don't have a shortage of that).
3. Huge increase in the deficit as a result of non-accountability (our govt. has never been able to be profitable in ANY arena).
4. Decrease in the quality of health care. You see, when doctors become govt. employees with a salary cap and also become restricted by the Health care Czar on the treatment of their patients, there will be no incentives for older doctors to stay in the field of medicine and no incentives for young people who sacrifice their young lives and get themselves into student loan debt. Therefore, the govt. will have to lower their medical school standards (both, acceptance in the school and the curriculum) just to get average ordinary folks into the field of medicine. At that point we will have mediocre doctors graduating from medical schools with less desires to be the best they can be.
5. There are also many reasons for some of us to believe that it may cause an environment promoting some sort of a black market. If you had to wait a few months for a procedure to be done and you had the money, wouldn't you go to the doc and say "Hey Doc, here is.....(bribe), I need to get this done next week". I believe this might happen, after all it did happen where I come from.
6. Another step forward towards the complete take-over of the American industry by the govt.
OK, what the NY Times says is that Switzerland does have a government run system that is issued THROUGH private insurance companies. They also emphasize how great this system works and they are subliminally implying that the bill introduced by the government is kind of what the govt. has in mind to do here.
Now, I tell you how this, first of all, is another attempt to persuade the American people to buy into this. Here are the questions that I would ask the editor from NY Times if he gave me the chance to a debate. So, Mr. Schwartz , please...
1. Show me official statistics of the annual percentage of malpractice lawsuits in USA vs. Switzerland. (I wonder if the Swiss have as many as we have here, including the frivolous ones that still cost money).
2. How about statistics of obesity in America vs. Switzerland. (Hmmm, last time I checked we were leading the world with our obesity rates).
3. 2008 shows Switzerland being No. 7 in the top of the least govt. corruption. USA is shown as No. 17 (and that's before we found out about Acorn). I would say we fall past 20 very easily, which means that the US govt. is much more corrupt than the Swiss govt. Corruption leads to fraud. Fraud and unaccountability lead to massive loss of money, money that the tax payers have to pay, just so that the "chunky" bureaucrats don't have to lower their standard of living.
4. How about statistics of how many "parasites" does Switzerland have compared to America? You know, those that are able to but do not want to work, are not productive in the society, and don't pay into the system yet they benefit from it. I would want the editor to look me up in the eyes and dare to tell me that Switzerland has as many welfare and section 8 housing dependents as America has.
5. How about heart attacks, strokes, and other high risk conditions that are the result of a sedentary and poor lifestyle? How is it in both countries and how it compares from one to another?
6. How many illegals do they have in Switzerland that are covered under the system? Do you think he might choke on this question? ;-)
And finally, do you think the above questions should have some answers before an obedient, politically-correct columnist from NY Times rushes to write and dares to say that what they now have in Switzerland will have the same success here in this country? I do.