“A bad tree cannot bear good fruit.”
There is not now – nor will there ever be – enough money to satisfy government’s wish list for America. It didn’t used to be so. I’ll tell you why.
Do you remember when the money that government took it spent “to provide for the common welfare”? In the Pacific Northwest great dams were built east of the Cascade mountains to control flooding and irrigate what became a rich agricultural valley, employing thousands and feeding millions. Across the nation interstate highways were dug, graveled and paved, creating a transportation network that still moves food, industrial materials, workers and finished products across America. Airports were erected on the outskirts of busy cities, spawning new industries like Federal Express. Common funds, common welfare, uncommon benefits.
These miracles happened when tax burdens were a fraction of what we now pay. Yet today our interstate highways are parking lots through most major cities, and not only at rush hour. Airports are packed and flights stacked, requiring meticulous timing to avoid calamity. Environmentalists want the dams pulled down and the people who live and work there flooded off their land. Little thought is given to who will grow the food we all eat when the dams are gone and the land reverts to its pristine, dust bowl status.
What happened? How did America once build so much that benefited so many for so long with a tax pittance?
Enter the takers. At some point the Christian consensus in America faded. Perhaps the churches that dotted the landscape didn’t see it coming, perhaps they didn’t think it would affect them … perhaps they didn’t care. The ’60s exploded American culture like a homicide bomber. Today the wounded and incapacitated overwhelm the caregivers.
Cultural homicide bombers taught us that bad choices were no longer “bad,” just “different.” Heather didn’t yet have two mommies, just a parade of different fathers. Our job was to be “tolerant” of the bad behavior surrounding us and, oh, we did it so well! Bad behavior moved from the closet to the Oval Office where the media preached it to the world. Rationalization replaced reason until sexual boredom that ended in divorce was “best for the children.” Divorce and car smack ups both became “no fault.” The most destructive behavior imaginable was hailed by media pundits as an “alternative lifestyle” – it’s practitioners glorified for “having the courage” to leave a trail of broken homes and emotionally crippled children in their wake.
“My, aren’t they courageous,” the Fourth Estaters wondered? “Doing their own thing. How I wish I could do that.”
But where media personalities couldn’t or wouldn’t, millions of other Americans did. Children were aborted by their parents when their existence became inconvenient – those who’d had the misfortune to be born were dumped in divorce. Today inconvenienced parents simply kill. Crime soared – and why not? Why should the middle class and political-media elites have all the fun? So reasoned the bottom rung of America – those unable to isolate themselves from their choices with their bank accounts. The underclass swelled.
“Pity those poor people who are struggling and hurting!” exclaimed the media and the politicians. “We must help them.” And since neither the media nor the politicians have any money of their own, “we” became “us.”
“Common welfare” took on an entirely new meaning. No more would the poor have good behavior imposed upon them by economic necessity. It was unfair! Compassion demanded we free the poor from the burden of good behavior. Taxes skyrocketed, welfare ballooned and bad behavior – which was after all what we were subsidizing – bore the fruit of a well-tended garden.
Is the garden beautiful today? Will the weeds become fruit or vegetables if we apply more fertilizer and water? Or is the garden devoid of value and beauty, the weeds are choking off all around them? Still the demands from bad behavior’s advocates grow more shrill. More teenage mothers raising illegitimate children require more money. We must have it – now! Why? So the next crop of wounded, fatherless children can repeat the cycle. More drug addicts and alcoholics require more money. Why? So their choices will not cause them pain. AIDS demands endless sums be spent searching for a cure. Why? So “alternative lifestyles” remain available. Failing schools require ever greater sums of public money. Children must be taught tolerance, the sky-is-falling environmentalism, and “America bad!” Accountability is oh-so-unfair!
Bad behavior is a black hole. The good and the bad alike disappear within it. Nothing will ever come of the money poured into bad behavior beyond more bad behavior. There is no end to its demands. Finally, when the last productive people are drained of their resources, bad behavior will collapse in upon itself, silencing even the pathetic voices of the takers crying, “lawsuit, lawsuit, lawsuit.”