By Patrick F. Cannon
At the risk of being a bore, let me return to some of my more unpopular ideas as we enter the new year. None of them is likely to gain any favor, but what the hell?
Once again, it’s probably too late in Illinois, but some way must be found to take redistricting out of the hands of politicians like Michael Madigan. Actually, most citizens support this; at the same time, they elect representatives who don’t. Go figure.
I’ve heard all the arguments about limiting the number of terms an elected official may serve. One says that this is something the voters should decide by simply not re-electing Congressman Jill. But what if she is in a “safe” district and no one actually runs against her? See above. Eight years is more than enough for a representative; and 12 for a senator. If they can’t stand to leave politics, let them run for something else, maybe dog catcher.
I’m not naïve enough to think it’s possible to put a cat back in the bag, but it was a mistake to permit public employee unions. Since it’s too late to ban them, we should at least forbid them from taking any part in elections – no cash donations, no ringing doorbells, no nothing. Please understand that I’m not against industrial, trade and craft unions. I’ve actually belonged to a couple in my long life. But isn’t there something inherently wrong with bribing legislators to vote your way, particularly when you’re using my (and your) money to do it?
Apparently, no one – not even Republicans – believes in balancing budgets. Now, there are times when it’s not feasible – this is one of them; World War II was another. In general, it should be a goal. The problem is that politicians don’t want either to raise taxes or reduce spending. Frankly, I wouldn’t object to a slight increase in the top income tax rate for those horrible billionaires who employ so many people; but not if we don’t also take steps to rein in the bureaucracy.
For example, the number of Federal, state and local government employees who are involved in the administration of the dozens of entitlement programs designed to help lower-income people is staggering (governments at all levels employ 20 million people). A particular family might be eligible for food, rent, medical, utility, and educational assistance; and also for the earned-income tax credit. Can you imagine the number of bureaucrats who are involved in all of this? Why not just eliminate all the middle men and send the family one payment to cover everything? To the argument that people can’t be trusted to spend the money wisely, I say, so what? You mean there’s no fraud in the current system?
Finally, a couple of correctives. One hears a great deal about the income gap. In 1900, there was also a huge income gap. Our left wing friends don’t mention this, but the rich folks then paid no income tax; and the poor had literally no assistance other than local charity (if there was any). People actually starved to death, as there were no food stamps or food pantries available to them. See above.
Let me finish by saying that no one should be punished for something they said or did 20 or 30 years ago. Making people grovel and apologize might make the thought police feel better, but it’s unnecessary and undignified. And the current holier than thou folk can’t shame historical figures into being as virtuous as they think they are. Pulling down a statue might make them feel superior, but it won’t change history. Let’s worry about the future instead.
P.S. What do you Trump supporters think of your fair-haired boy now?
Copyright 2021, Patrick F. Cannon