As a working citizen of these United States, I am struggling with this notion of personal responsibility.
Many leaders, most notably our President, speak publicly about the idea that everyone is duty-bound to “do their fair share.” This is certainly true.
How do we construct a society in which everybody can be incentivized to “pull their own weight?”
Almost everybody seems to be running out of money. The government is gone hog-wild with uncontrollable spending. Its as if we’ve got a monster perpetual motion societal machine that grinds up resources and assets and then extrudes them as public benefits–“benefits” if you’re poor, “profits” if you’re rich.
Some people game the system and do really well at it; they come out smelling like a rose, and richer. The liberals call these “the rich,” or the “1%.” The Dems and the Occupyers want to up the ante on these opulent types by raising their tax rates, so that there is more for the rest of us. I’m not so sure the system actually works that way. Once assets get ground-up in that perpetual motion spending machine, maybe they’re lost forever. Maybe they come out in a black hole somewhere out in space beyond the demoted Pluto.
Other Americans, on the low-income end, barely get by. They wander around looking for employment, and get public assistance–welfare, subsidies, disability, and whatnot. But there seems to be a dropping point, a precipice, at the end of a slippery slope of public assistance. If po’ folks have been on the dole long enough they forget (or do they?) how to really look for work. Do they forget how to think like a person who needs a job and must go out and just dam-well find one? Like, the next-one-that-comes along! What if it IS McD’s? What if they DO have a diploma that is irrelevant to our present situation? Do they, instead of taking that minimum-wage insult, then choose to ease on into the public fix? Will they drift into our 12-step welfare enablements until they have at last lapsed into a prison of their own making?–a hazy cubicle smoked-up with cigarettes, beer, narcotizing tv, maybe little pops of legally-acquired or not-so-legally-obtained pills? These are the ones that the Repubs and the Tea Partiers want to cut off, because they are not pulling their weight.
In my helpless opinion, we’ve got dead weight on both ends–the rich skaters and the poor slackers–and there’s very little we can do about it. The Dems and the President cannot fix it; the The Repubs and Romney cannot fix it, although they claim that they can. Ha! We’ll see about that round about this time 2013. Furthermore, Congressional supercommittees, God help ’em, have passed the buck as business as usual.
I certainly don’t know what to do about it, so I guess I’ll just go to work this Monday morning–thankful that I have a job– and hope for the best, and pray: May God help us work this dam mess out in some kind of way that every citizen will somehow find cause to somehow “do their fair share.”
So you see I’m praying for a miracle here. But I have faith in God.
CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress