Monday, February 2, 1998

Week of 02/02/1998

"Santa Clinton?"
Bill Clinton Offering More Big Government With A Candy Coating
- by David Matthews 2

In watching the President’s State of the Union speech, I was utterly amazed at the amount of pure methane being exhibited from the speaker’s podium. I wasn’t expecting for him to say two words about the present media orgy concerning Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers, or Monica Lewinsky, and I’m glad he didn’t say anything about them. The speech was to talk about the state of the country, not the state of the presidency.

No, what really set off the methane alarms was the not-so veiled hints of more government programs.

In the 1995 State of the Union speech, President Clinton told the American people that the era of big government "was over." Much like George Bush and his "read my lips" speech, this was yet another bold-faced lie to the American people. Big government was far from being "over."

Sure, Clinton talked about the much vaunted budget surplus. And to my pleasant surprise, he said he would earmark any surplus monies to Social Security. His call to "save Social Security first" was one of the best choices he could make. But this money shouldn’t be spent on trying to "save" the program as it should be to keep the payments coming to those owed the money, and to find a new program to replace it that doesn’t involve greedy politicians who would use it as a slush fund like they did ten years ago.

However, following that talk about a strong economy, a budget surplus, and some vaguely harsh words about Iraq, we got into vintage tax-and-spend Clinton.

The "spend" part was obvious. Child care, education, crime, more social programs.. more and more money. But little talk about where this money would come from, especially since he prided the federal government to be a "fiscally responsible government." There are only two ways to fund these programs - more federal taxes, or mandate that the states pick up the tab.

The "tax" part wasn’t really discussed, except to say he would favor taxing heavily the EVIL tobacco industry. I have to wonder, though, what will happen when the number of smokers shrink even further? Today, smokers account for only 25% of the populace, and rapidly decreasing. I wonder how they feel about having to constantly bear the wrath of the Gods of Mount Morality? Who knows? Maybe it will make them get off their duffs and VOTE this year!

I also found it curious that Clinton would bash tax cuts as being "reckless" and yet embrace the con job of tax credits as a means of providing "relief" to families. This is a form of relief that is still dependant on Uncle Sam taking tax money out of your paycheck, and then having you beg for some of it back. Why not give the money back in the form of tax cuts? Because then that’s less real money Uncle Sam and his fifty spoiled brats have to play with. But promise a fancy-looking IOU, and they’ll still be able to take money away from you. Your paycheck will not change - only the tax forms will get more and more complicated.

Speaking of taxes, has anyone else noticed that their phone bill went up starting in January? Yes, you’re now paying for the Clinton Administration’s incentive to wire the schools for the Internet. Didn’t know about that one, huh? It’s called transfer of costs. Uncle Sam taxes the phone companies, the phone companies transfer the charge to you. This is what happens when you "tax just the rich." By the federal government’s own information, more than seventy percent of all taxes generated come from the richest ten percent of the population. They, in turn, transfer as much of that cost to you and I, the consumers, in the form of higher prices.

Then there’s Clinton Vatican-like stance on cloning. "No cloning humans!" It’s sort of funny since cloning humans could very well be the best way out for a lot of Clinton’s worries. Then he can stop blaming everything on wrong-wing conspiracies and instead blame it on his clone!

What I really get annoyed about, though, is his claim that the Internet is "first and foremost about education." What hogwash! The Internet is about communication and information. Does our "education president" even KNOW the history of the Internet and why it’s as vast as it is today? Odds are, he doesn’t care any more than the average Joe Six-pack. It’s only a tool for him to exploit.

Oh, and Bill, save your bucks and stop blithering on about developing filtering software for the Internet. It already exists IN SPITE of your efforts to censor the Internet.

Then there’s Clinton’s claim that this is the "smallest government in 35 years." As defined by whom? Only if you define it in terms of federal employees, and that is because of the downsizing of the military. But not by the government’s apparent Pac-Man attitude concerning your money. By the government’s own records in the Department of Commerce, the federal government gobbles up 20.8% of every dollar. That’s higher than in Lyndon Johnson’s "Great Society" in 1969 or the post-Jimmy Carter recession in 1981, which were the previous record setters for government largesse.

In real taxes: Combined between federal, state, and local taxes, the average American loses 35.2% of their money to pay for Uncle Sam and his fifty spoiled brats. Twenty years ago, that number was 33.1%. That’s more than a third of every dollar you and I make!

Like a parent trying to conceal his faults to his children, Bill Clinton is inundating the people with gifts, hoping there is a program or a combination of programs that will absolve him of his past misgivings. Promises that are easy to make when you realize that it is not really his responsibility to foot the bill for them - that’s the role of Newt Gingrich and the GOP-dominated House of Representatives.

In short, the State of the Union speech was Bill Clinton’s attempt at playing Santa Claus to the American people; offering dreams of a government that would be all-encompassing yet wouldn’t bleed the public dry any more than they would have to. In a time and age where government is seen as a crutch at best, and a caning stick at worst, it is apparent that those we elect to Congress still don’t get the point. The problem isn’t not enough government, or even a "fiscally responsible" government. The problem is a government that is trying to be all things to all people and pretending it can be done at minimal cost.

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