Diary

The Junkie State

THE JUNKIE STATE

Governments on all levels suffer from an addiction.  They are addicted to your money.  This may sound like an extreme statement, but I know of what I speak.  I spent most of my professional life prosecuting drug offenders.  It’s an all too familiar pattern.

An ex-addict once described how drug addicts, “junkies” act:

For one thing, they always ask you for
money.

They try to steal whatever they can and
try to hustle it.  They’ll do anything
to get money for drugs.

They always lie, and they do what ever it
takes to stay out of jail because they
know if they go to jail they won’t have
heroin and will go into withdrawal.

They use any chance they get drugs.  They
can get clean by going to rehab, but most
addicts don’t want to get clean, the drug
makes them feel too good.

The observations above may be generalizations, but they are essentially correct.  And, from bitter experience, I never met an addict who lived happily ever after while hooked on drugs.

What does this have to do with government?  Just apply the description of an addict to the government.

“For one thing, they always ask you for money.”

When has government ever been satisfied?  It took 199 years for government, on all levels, to spend $1 trillion in a single year (1981).  It only took 9 more years to get to $2 trillion (1990) and another 9 years to get to $3 trillion (1999).  Then it got worse.  It only took 4 years for government to spend $4 trillion (2003), and 4 more years to $5 trillion (2007).  But even that wasn’t enough.  By 2009, we were spending $6 trillion.   In 2014, governments, on all levels, will spend $6.3 trillion of your money, over 40% of GNP.  Throughout the 33 year, 600% increase in government spending, you’ve heard the same messages,    “you have to pay your fair share” and “more investment (spending) is needed.”  It will never be enough.  Junkies can’t stop looking for money to support their habit.

“They try to steal whatever they can and try to hustle it.  They’ll do anything to get money for drugs.”

From 1792 to 1913, the US government didn’t tax incomes (legally).  Instead, it relied on tariffs and taxes on alcohol for its revenue.  The income tax, introduced with a top rate of 7%, has been as high as 92%.  States have taxed property for hundreds of years.  They now tax property (real and personal), income, sales, cigarettes, alcohol, gasoline, estates, home sales, and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few others.  That wasn’t enough.  When they got tired of calling them “taxes” they called them “user fees,” e.g., tolls, court filing fees, license fees, and ever higher fines for traffic offenses.  That wasn’t enough.  Now there’s revenue from gambling.  The lottery replaced perfectly good, hard working numbers runners, who offered odds of 1,000 to 1, with multi-State games featuring odds of 175,000,000 to 1.  Talk about the new math, huh?  Still not enough though, so we have casinos.  In New Jersey, casino properties aren’t enough either, so now we have online gambling.

With all these sources of revenue, New Jersey must have enough, right.  Wrong.  We’re broke.  The politicians have the solution though; we need to raise taxes.  We’ve got the highest property taxes in America.  The state sales tax is among the highest in the country.  The state income tax rate is among the highest in the country, but they want to raise it.  They also want to raise the tax on gasoline.  The excuse for this tax grab?
The New Jersey gas tax is not among the highest in the nation.  We wouldn’t want to fall behind.  Junkies will steal money from anyone or anything.

“They always lie, and they do what ever it takes to stay out of jail because they know if they go to jail they won’t have
heroin and will go into withdrawal.”

Politicians get elected and stay in office by promising you more – of everything.  Reason would dictate that this approach is unsustainable, as indeed it is, but politicians are not concerned with reason.  Sadly, many of them are likewise unconcerned with the truth.  They lie to support their habit.  The lie may be a simple euphemism, such as “The Affordable Care Act,” which denies care and is not affordable.  The lie may be a plain and simple lie, “you can keep your insurance,” “you can keep your doctor,” “I won’t raise taxes on the middle-class;” need I go on?  They’ll say anything to keep spending.  If they stop spending it’s the politicians who go into withdrawal.  How many times have you been warned that a cut in spending will kill people.  It’s not true.  It won’t hurt you, but the politicians believe it.  Withdrawal is painful for the addict.

“They use any chance they get drugs.  They can get clean by going to rehab, but most addicts don’t want to get clean, the drug makes them feel too good.”

There is a path out of addiction, be it addiction to drugs or to spending, but it’s not easy.  I’ve been in court with countless addicts who swore they wanted rehab when the alternative was prison.  Government is no different.  If pushed hard enough, government will swear off spending, for a little while, e.g., “The era of big government is over.”  Faced with extreme pressure, government even will agree to supposed, temporary “cuts” which merely reduce the rate of increase in spending. (see the paragraph above on “lying”).  But spending is a drug that makes government feel too good.

Most addicts have to hit rock bottom before they decide to get clean.  I’d say we’re at rock bottom right now.  The problem is, addicts hit rock bottom when they run out of people to give them money or to steal from.  The junkie state has a big advantage.  It takes your money with the force of law, and if you don’t support the government’s habit, it brands you a criminal.

Fortunately, we don’t have to wait for the spending addicts to go to rehab, because they will never go willingly.  We have the power to get that spending monkey off government’s back.

The first step is obvious.  Support only those candidates who pledge to control spending, and then keep after them to make them accountable.  However, this is not enough.

The most important step is to get out and talk to your friends and neighbors.  Since the media is no longer concerned with reporting the facts, it’s up to you to debunk the liberal myths, commonly known as “talking points.” (see the paragraph above on “lying”).

MYTH #1 – “Your vote is a simple choice between plenty or poverty.”  Liberals perpetuate the myth that voting liberal is the only way to guarantee the continuation of social programs,  all of which would be cancelled if conservatives are elected.  They thus present a simple-minded choice between feast or famine.  This nonsense is easily debunked by reference to the paragraph above on the increase in spending in the last 33 years.  During most of those years we had Republican presidents.  The spending addiction afflicts both parties.  If you encounter resistance, ask the non-believer to name one social program that was cancelled in the last 33 years.  I can’t think of any.

MYTH #2 – “Conservatives lack compassion.”  This liberal myth provides that you display compassion only by promising an increase in spending and proposing imaginative new spending programs.  Now’s the time for tough love.  Giving an addict easy access to his drug of choice doesn’t make you compassionate, it makes you an enabler who is leading the addict down the path to destruction.  Liberals like to talk about “the children.”  The children of spending addicts don’t fare any better than the children of drug addicts.

MYTH #3 – “Conservatives don’t believe in government.”  If this seems simple-minded, consider the source.  No, conservatives don’t hate and don’t want to do away with government.  We are not anarchists.  The “no government” crowd resides on the left (think back to “Occupy Wall Street” if you have any doubts).  Of course government has a place, but government’s place should not be every place, insinuating itself into every aspect of our lives.
Contrary to popular left wing opinion, the Constitution is not the refuge of right wing kooks seeking an America that never was.
Instead, it is the refuge of all who value the way of life which has made America the envy of the world.

Government on all levels is in dire need of rehab.  It is my firm belief that government can fulfill all of its legitimate functions and maintain the social safety net that, yes, even conservatives understand is necessary, without ruinous spending.

This is not a proposal for massive cuts.  When they’re trying to convince you that they are fiscally responsible, politicians like to predict savings from spending “cuts” over 10 years.  Consider this.  The federal government will spend an obscene amount this year, $3.7 trillion.  If the government spent no more than that same obscene amount next year, over 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office would grade this as a $9 trillion cut.  That’s how far gone we are.  The federal government can maintain its $3.7 trillion a year habit and still save us money; but it won’t take even this small step toward ending its addiction.

The Junkie State cannot survive.  Come November, let’s stage an intervention.

FRANK M. GENNARO
Roseland, NJ