When I was a boy we lived next to a pasture where livestock were raised for rodeo use. A small stream ran through the field. About two blocks away was a slaughter house. At the close of the day, they cleaned up by washing the floors and running it into the little creek. It then turned the creek red for several miles. If you got into the creek, you would find small disgusting creatures on your skin-Leeches. The dictionary says they are small segmented worms, but when they are on your skin they are just disgusting! They live by sucking blood from another animal that ventured where they lived in the water. So what, you ask?
There is a lot of discussion about the global financial mess that we find ourselves in, and much of that problem deals with Leeches of another variety. The attitude of entitlement is destroying the integrity of entire populations. This is not just a political problem, it is a moral problem endemic in our societies. If you are taking any kind of subsidy, pension, food stamps, insurance, etc that you don't pay for, you are a part of the problem. Most politicians don't have the courage to even acknowledge the situation. Lets look at some of specifics:
As means of getting out of the great depression, there were a number of programs that were tried, in order to get people back to work. Some were more successful than others. Large numbers of men were employed on government programs that gave them temporary opportunities to work and feel productive. At that time there was established what was known as Social Security. From the beginning, although the goals were noble, it was & is a huge Ponzi Scheme. The plan was to have current taxes pay for those that were retiring and would not be paying further taxes. That worked for a time but as is the case with these types of plans, they are not self sustaining. The AARP is running ads telling the elderly that they have "earned" these benefits. This is simply not the case. Some believe that their money has been kept in an account somewhere, waiting for them to retire. The fact is that their payments went to their parents, the same as it is today. We who are paying FICA taxes are supporting those who are presently receiving checks. About 1,000 people are retiring every day and many of them are filing for benefits. Smaller families and the present economic conditions are making the problem worse.
Unions were organized to protect worker rights. As the movement evolved it resulted in abuses that looked great to workers but again are unsustainable in the long haul. Pensions are now being scrutinized because they are a dole that cannot be funded at the level that was promised and there is some outright fraud involved in the numbers. Congress has some of the most egregious examples of dole payments, funded by us the taxpayers. Politicians were not intended the be and paid like celebrities or sustained by the public for the rest of their lives. The cozy connection between celebrities and politicians should be a warning sign. Their perks, such as insurance are inexcusable. Pensions and insurance plans are bleeding Municipalites and States into bankruptcy.
Health insurance and the cost of keeping people well is escalating for a number of reasons. Among them is the disregard for healthy lifestyles. Much of the present costs would be avoided by simply healthy living. Much of our present health problems are related to risky behaviors, unhealthy eating, tobacco and drugs, and we all pay the price. Insurance in its basic form is to pool resources to provide for individuals who will need it. We have a system where free care is given at emergency rooms, primarily to those who have chosen to not have insurance, which costs are paid by the rest of us.
Another group who drain are economy are the Entertainment industry and professional sports franchises. These people are idolized and billions are spent on activities that have little social merit or lasting value. People will spend money they do not have to buy tickets to concerts, lotteries and games. Pornography is the largest industry on the Web, and ruins lives, destroys families and wastes billions of dollars.
Is there any hope? We can get back to an attitude where we make our own success without waiting for someone else to pay our way. Spend less than we make. Live healthy lives including weight control and proper exercise. Serve others in any way possible. Eliminate selfishness and greed from our own lives and promote families. Vote for individuals who support these goals. Ultimately it is the people, not politicians, who will make the real changes required. Is that too much to ask to save the world as we have known it?