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Promises Made and Promises Broken


For those who remember back a few years when we knowingly paid educators badly but to compensate we promised them an untaxed (state) defined benefit retirement, this article may come as an unpleasant surprise. The availability of what was promised now seems in question. Our state government has chosen to renege on that promise by not funding the program over many years - not just recently.

We promised old age security through social security and even created a fund with payments made by the future recipients over a lifetime. Our government spent the fund and now argues that we can not afford to pay the promised and paid for benefits.

We promised medical care to our seniors. Our medical care system was built around that promise. Now for many when it is too late to recover our government argues we can not afford to keep our promises. Making this situation worse our government has added a new health care program for almost everyone else and has no money to pay for it except to take money from promised and partly individually pre-paid Medicare.

Perhaps you are seeing a pattern - I could go on. Government loves to tell us it will do wonderful things for us if we will just elect the right people. Once elected they seem to move on to making new promises and reneging on the old ones. There seems to be no accountability.

This space is replete with arguments by some that government is the answer to more and more of our real and perceived challenges. How can anyone make such an argument in the face of government duplicity of the nature documented above? If we are going to employ government to solve problems we must insure that the goal sought is locked in so that our politicians can not continue to rob from one group to give to another.

Let’s hear from the “dirty dozen” and in particular Mr. Merrill as to just how wonderful the government is!


kansanbygrace 7 years, 6 months ago

George, though I often agree with you, it is with occasional caveats. I think sometimes you conflate babies and bathwater.
The government of the United States of America is a corporation that belongs to every citizen, and has a firm legal basis requiring it to do certain categorical things. Without it we'd not have the order nor the prosperity and security that you and I enjoy. It exists only with the consent of the governed. We have suffered an inaccurate conception of it, or perhaps distortions of it, in many ways...two parties that are not democratic in their functions have controlled it for far too long. We seldom get good candidates from whom to choose. Incumbency gives office-holders far too much to sell to the highest bidder, and should be limited. In Kansas, we have suffered domination by the same cadre for decades, who have failed to maintain, to provide what they're legally required to provide, or to be accountable to the sovereign of the country and the state, that is us, you and me and merrill and Tom. You and I and merrill and Tom have fallen down in our responsibility to make those interminably sent back to the same desk accountable for their failures or refusals to faithfully do their job. Government bad? Church bad? Business bad? or people inept, dishonest, lazy, greedy? Replace the officeholders, bureaucrats, and professional administrators with competent citizens, then send them home. Hold their feet to the fire. Charge them with criminal malfeasance. Impanel grand juries.
Or is it too late for democratic constitutional republicanism? Are we really in the final slide out?

George Lippencott 7 years, 6 months ago

“I think sometimes you conflate babies and bathwater”. Guilty!

If I understood you correctly I agree with what you wrote.

I think many of us have been looking to achieve the change you suggested. In my case an element of my choosing Mr. Obama in part reflected my belief that he was an outsider and would, consistent with his campaign pronouncements, try to fix Washington. There may have been a substantial number of voters who chose that course.

Despite my rhetoric, I believe that we the voters have the absolute right to use government in ways we collective agree upon consistent with the limits set forth in our constitution. We can even agree to change the constitution although I do not agree with the notion that unelected judges get to do that.

For me, support for doing so at this time is tempered by my perception of the many failures. These failures are not just in meeting commitments but in performing basic functions such as regulating commerce where the regulators are frequently undercut by political pressure from elected officials to the detriment of the rest of us.

I find it hard to understand how our elected officials seem to get rich managing our affairs. How can millionaires understand the needs of the rest of us? Just what makes anybody believe they will work in contravention of their own interests? How can we continue to fall for manipulation in turning blocks of voters against each other to the advantage of those very officials?

Since my efforts and apparently yours have been undercut by the very officials who promise us they will fix the problems, I remain committed to minimizing the role of government until I feel I can trust it to do what I want it to do without aggrandizing selected elements of our population at the expense of the rest of us.

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