Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The American Dream

By Mark W. Danielson

The American Dream is a way of life based on the principles of freedom and prosperity.  The immigrants who founded this country were collectively committed to learning a common language and building a nation, and welcomed all who were willing to work.  Imagine their elation as they steamed into the Hudson and spotted Lady Liberty for the first time.  All endured long delays at Ellis Island and extreme hardships afterwards, but most eventually saw the fruits of their labor and were proud of their contributions to this country.

But much has changed over the years.  Programs intended to bring our nation out of its Great Depression have been unintentionally passed down to subsequent generations.  Today our nation is in severe debt due to bad decisions, horrific deceptions, and too many people who do not possess the desire to earn a living.  As a frequent globetrotter, I marvel at how other nations operate.  China is of particular interest, not only because of its vast size and booming economy, but also because of its immense population.  With the exception of Hong Kong which still basically operates independently, few panhandlers are seen, and unemployment seems non-existent.  Those who cannot find work are given a job.  It may be a menial task such as polishing endless handrails or sweeping sidewalks, but they still have a job.  Government handouts do not seem to exist in China.  When comparing this to our system of paying people to stay home, our deteriorating work ethic becomes clear.  Mind you, I am not addressing the disabled who have no choice, but there are thousands of able-bodied people who are capable of working that receive taxpayers’ checks, and even additional pay for having more children.  Few, if any of these recipients have any regard for how these handouts affect our nation’s strength.  I challenge you to name another government that pays people not to work without having earned a retirement check.

I have always maintained that only those who can provide a solution have earned the right to complain, so here is mine.  Assign each and every able-bodied person that is receiving a government check a job to help rebuild our infrastructure and clean up our streets so they can take pride in our nation.  Doing so may also increase their incentive to find a better paying job.  And while we’re at it, why not code government debit cards so they cannot be used at gambling facilities or strip clubs, or to buy alcohol and cigarettes.  (Papers such as The Denver Post and The Los Angeles Times have featured these articles on welfare abuse.)    

Imagine how our early immigrants would view our nation now that is economically, religiously, and ideologically divided.  The government at all levels fails to recognize English as its official language, and instead print ballots in multiple languages to accommodate those unwilling to learn.  Political correctness has stripped God from our language.  How dare we impose our values on other nations when our own is falling apart.  When did our nation take this wrong turn?  What can be done to restore our basic core values?

During a recent Manhattan visit, I learned that 40% of its residents are foreign born, and many are living in subsidized housing.  Considering that our nation was built by immigrants, this comes as no surprise, but how many of these new settlers speak or are currently learning English?  How many are collecting some sort of government subsidy, whether it is reduced cost housing, health care, welfare payments, or a combination thereof?  Numerous cities are now declaring bankruptcy because their handouts have exceeded their income.  Our nation is in the same boat, but apparently has not realized it.  In spite of our debt, we are still fighting wars we can neither afford nor win.  Something must change, and making people who are receiving a government handout is but one solution.

I will gladly step off my soap box if even one elected representative considers what I’m saying here.  I love this country, I spent a career defending it, and I desperately want to see it united and once again prosperous.    

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