Diary

Send in the Clowns.....

A Nation of Fools by Peary Perry
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“Send in the clowns……”

I really must make it a point next week to run down (not literally) my postman (post-person? postal employee?) and ask him (her? or whatever) what happened to my application for benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Family Program. Surely it must be stuck in their (his, hers, whatever) mail sack or bag or whatever they call the thing they use to carry the mail. Forgive me if I am not PC enough to get all of the terminology correct, I’m doing the best I can.

You didn’t get your notice either? What’s up with this? Maybe we were absent the day the notice went out…..you think?

Not surprising, no one in our neck of the woods has heard of it either. It must be some sort of regional program.

A little bit of explanation. The Temporary Assistance….let’s just call it the TANF program was part of the stimulus program enacted last year. It was designed to provide some benefits and assistance to our citizens who were attempting to obtain government jobs. So, included in last years stimulus package was this little noticed program which has doled out over 4.3 billion bucks to some 120,000 of our citizens. Lucky them.

Don’t bother to get your calculator out, I’ll do it for you, it comes out to a little over $40,000 per person.

Here’s what the money was to be used for:

Basic assistance- (I could have used this and you probably could as well) I suppose that’s for food, gasoline, tires, clothes, a new flat screen TV…you know all of the things that we need to live on….doesn’t seem to be many restrictions or definition as to exactly what the word ‘basic’ actually means…but those are detail and who cares about details when you are handing our free money?

Emergency expenses-(I could have used this and you probably could as well) this money was to go for such things as rent and utilities. I have those. I could have used money for this. Especially if it was free. My electricity bill is way too high, and if the Queen of England is trying to get her light bill partially paid for by the government, why shouldn’t I? I wonder if she remembers to turn out the lights in her castles as she moves from room to room? Probably not.

Subsidize payroll on jobs- (I could have used this and you probably could as well)…this is a great way to spend government funds. You just go into the private sector and pay for a certain portion of an employer’s payroll. Talk about a boost to the economy. Why the governor of Mississippi (a republican… no less) says it helped his state keep 3,200 jobs. All an employer had to do was keep the person on the payroll for at least six months. What a deal. I really like this one the best. Let’s say I’m in the construction business and you own another company and we are both bidding on a contract. You, poor fellow, did not get notice of the subsidy program, so shame on you. If some portion of my labor costs are being subsidized by this government program, whose bid is probably going to come in lower? I know you readers, you can figure this out. Why… it would probably be mine since I have lower cost associated with the project. I win; you lose…thanks to Uncle Sam and this wonderful free money.

Free money….? Would someone, anyone be kind enough to explain to me where this free money actually comes from in the first place?

Is this the model of efficiency we need for economic growth in this country? Unfair competition for some, but not all? Federal programs being instituted to a select few who just happen to be on the inside and being made aware of what is available?

I know, the naysayers will say that we all can look for these programs, they are open to everyone. You just have to know how to look.

Sorry, but I don’t have time to look…I’m too busy working to pay my utility bills, my mortgage and taxes so you guys in congress can give away more money or pay for clowns like Steven Colbert to entertain you for a day. At least he is honest enough to admit he is a clown, none of you people will do so.

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