I wrote a column pretty much blasting an awful lot of what I call right wing rhetoric, or dogma. I'll stand by each and every word of that. Naturally, this displeased a lot of Republicans, even though what I wrote was factual and easily proven with very little effort.
However, I did mention having some issues with those on the far left and was called out on that by a few of the more liberal readers of this column, asking for specifics. Well, as a true middle of the road Independent, I'm happy to oblige with a few budget busting facts.
Welfare has become a gigantic bureaucratic morass, sucking billions of dollars out of our economy. Now, I'm highly in favor of providing food, clothing and shelter for the poor. We as a country can well afford that and morally I think we should.
That being said, poor people have no entitlement to live as well as middle class people until they're able to earn it. I do not feel sorry for poor kids not having IPods, Tablets, cell phones and electronic games. Those things an industrious kid should be able to earn on their own. Cable or satellite TV is not a necessity of life. A $28 DVD player, some cheap microwave popcorn and a movie rental is a cheap night of entertainment from a caring parent, and yes, even the poor could afford that.
However, HBO and the like are not in the mix if you're poor. Far too many on the left actually believe that poor people are entitled to all of those things, as not having them "stigmatizes" those children. Bull feathers to that. Being poor should not be fun. The unpleasantness of being poor is what motivates people to rise out of poverty.
I've heard many of my left-leaning friends when discussing some of the above and when the Internet comes up they immediately begin the "educational benefits of the internet speech." There aren't too many things on the internet that can't be found in a decent library. I can't think of anything better for a poor student striving to learn than to spend hours in a library actually reading books. And quite frankly I don't want to pay for computers for home use when I'm already paying for computers in schools. And on that subject, how elitist are some of our teachers when they assign homework that requires a computer? Do they assume everyone has one? Why would they assume that, especially in poorer communities?
I'd say about every community in the area is having or is beginning to have issues with school funding. In my opinion, much of that would disappear if we stopped using schools as the great equalizer. I see no reason to spend my school taxes on free lunches and breakfasts for children who I'm already providing food for at home. I'd say about half my friends carried lunches when we decided the hot lunch at school wasn't desirable. So now kids can't carry a sandwich and an apple and something else to eat? Thermoses even allow for milk or juice. It's healthy. I'm not paying money, or shouldn't be anyway, to make up for poor parenting. That's not my issue. On my street alone there are enough older residents for any industrious kid to make enough money raking leaves for a lot of those items they feel they need, including hot lunches if that's what they desire.
Our economy is stalled by a lack of trained workers. Many firms would be hiring if they could either find trained staff or afford to train them. Why is that? Maybe because Liberals have pushed regular mainstream college as another of those necessities of life, and denigrated vocational or tech schools or training as an option. And that college education has become in many cases less valuable due to an easing of graduation requirements and the addition of various degrees with little need in the open market.
Speaking of easing requirements, back to regular schools, it was Liberals worrying more about poor little Johnny or Joanie's feelings than their education that began the downward slide of education. It'd be nice to blame it all on bad parents and rude children, but the fact is that the requirements for graduating high school now are less than what was required for junior high many years ago. Students actually used to flunk in those days, and kids got F's for lack of effort. Kids that misbehaved got thrown out if other things didn't work. No student dared swear at teachers and other school staff. And this may be a surprise to Liberals, but there were bad parents in those days too. But the schools didn't allow that as an excuse for bad behavior in school. Liberals also managed to come up with named psychological disorders or syndromes that excused almost any bad behavior one could think of. Now misbehaving kids have not only been provided with an excuse, but the tax payers are required to spend extra money for extra staff to deal with it. Thank you, Liberals.
How'd you like to own a farm, be in a position to expand your crops, and have it denied because a patch of cattails in a seasonal wet spot is declared a "wetland"? You'd be amazed at what constitutes a "wetland" if enough pressure is applied by the most Liberal of "tree hugger" types. Now, I am not in support of poisoning the environment. Then again I'm sorry, but various species have become extinct since the beginning of life on this planet.
Fredonia was unable to double its water supply with simple dredging due to DEC rules about where the "dredging material" could be dumped. That "dredging material, quite simply, would have been mud and gravel from the bottom of the reservoir. Please, give me a break. Who's been the most responsible for giving the DEC that sort of ridiculous power? I'll give you a hint, it wasn't and isn't the Conservative party.
More business leaves this state and this country over environmental rules than labor costs by double. Ask any business owner. My political position has always been that the main difference between Conservatives and Liberals is that Conservatives want to take my money and give it to people too rich to spend what they already have if they had 100 years to do it, while Liberals want to take my money and give it to people who've never earned a dime in their lives. The last question is who in the heck is taking care of me? It used to be the Democrats, the party of the "working man."
That party no longer exists as far as I'm concerned.
Paul Christopher is a Dunkirk resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org