In 1863, Abraham Lincoln, in his famous Gettysburg Address, called America a “nation under God” and praised the sacrifice of the Union armies to guarantee that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” I don’t know to what extent, really, such a government has ever existed in America, but I do know that it has long since perished. The U.S. government today is a government for itself. Take, for example, the sequester of federal spending, which came into effect March 1. The ruling requires approximately 5% reduction in domestic spending programs, which is not earth-shaking and which is literally nothing compared to the national debt, but you would think the world were coming to an end by the sounds emanating from the Obama-led government.
The White House’s Office of Management and Budget issued a “sky is falling” press release, warning that the sequester could result in outbreaks of food-borne bacteria because of reduction in food inspections, etc. etc. etc. The sequester had no sooner gone into effect than Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced that TSA lines at airports were already lengthening. The Navy announced that it was keeping an aircraft carrier at home rather than deploy it where it is strategically needed. The White House announced that it is shutting down tours of the so-called “People’s House.” Government parks have announced that they are shutting down popular services. What is lacking is the type of message that would be spoken by a government that is of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Those words would be something like the following: “We use this occasion to apologize for taxing the people in a confiscatory manner and then spending grossly more than what we have taken in taxation so that we have gotten the country into a huge mess. It is nobody’s fault but our own, and we repent of it. Now we have to reduce the debt and start living according to our means, and we are going to do everything possible to make sure that the people aren’t hurt by the mess that we have created. The first thing we are going to do is to brutally cut waste and unnecessary and foolish spending.
The President has announced that he and his family are going to stop taking expensive vacations and he is going to curtail his expensive golf outings, and they are going to cut expenses at the White House, since they acknowledge that they have been living royally rather than presidentially, and it is not right to ask the people to tighten the belt if their own leaders are unwilling to lead the way. The second thing we are going to do is take a cut in pay so that we don’t have to cut services for the people. It has been reported that the annual salary for the director of the White House Visitors Office was raised from $70,000 in 2009 to $100,000 in 2012 (‘White House Visitor’s Office Director,’ Daily Caller, March 6, 2013).
This is true, and we apologize for this in a time when we are borrowing a large percentage of every government dollar spent. We are hereby reducing her pay. The President also informs us that he is going to contribute some of his own personal wealth so that the tours to the White House will not be interrupted. We are going to do this type of thing across the board in every nook and cranny of this bloated government, and it won’t be long before we are living within a reasonable budget and the shameful debt is retired. Thank you for your patience.”
(Friday Church News Notes, March 15, 2013, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)