Saturday, December 22, 2012

It’s just their nature

Calvary Episcopal Church and Churchyard, Tarboro, N.C.

Grave of Major General William Dorsey Pender, youngest Confederate Major General from Edgecombe County, who died from wounds received at Gettysburg.
TARBORO — I’ll start with the old story of the scorpion and the frog.  It seems that once there was a scorpion who wanted to get to the other side of a river, but he couldn’t swim.  When the scorpion saw a frog he asked the frog to give him a ride on his back to the other side.

The frog answered, “How do I know if I help you get across the river that you won’t sting me and kill me.”

“I wouldn’t do that,” answered the scorpion. “For then I would die, too, as I cannot swim and I would drown.”

“But, once I get you to the other side you might kill me then,”

“No I wouldn’t do that, because I’d be so grateful for your help.”

So the frog finally agreed to let the scorpion ride on his back to the other side of the river.  Just before they reached the shore the frog felt a sharp sting on his back.  Indeed the scorpion had given the frog a deadly sting.

“You fool!” croaked the frog, “Now we shall both die!  Why on earth did you do that?”

The scorpion replied, “I couldn’t help myself.  You see it’s just my nature.”  So they both sank into the muddy waters and drowned.

I use this story to illustrate how I feel our government is working now as we approach the so called “Fiscal Cliff” by the end of this month.

Our government’s nature is simply “To tax and spend.”  They don’t seem to care how deep in debt we go or how high they try to raise taxes.  It’s just their nature, and if we have another deep recession with soaring unemployment because of their practicing “what is their nature”…so be it.  It’s just their nature.

Let’s take the Senate, under the control of the Democrats; it’s their job to produce a budget every year.  But, they haven’t done so since 2009.  It’s just their nature.  In 2010, the Dems completed a report, but they chose not offer it on the Senate floor.  In 2011, when the subject was brought up again Democrat Chairman Conrad said, “I’ll say something later…not today, probably…there are a lot of conversations under way.”

Later that year, the Republican-controlled House passed its budget for FY 2012 which cut $6 trillion in comparison to the president’s budget.  Back in the Democrat controlled Senate, Majority Leader Reid said, “…it would be foolish for Senate Democrats to offer a budget.”  I guess it’s just their nature.

Time for a Pelosi quote. Still in 2011, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi claimed Democrats didn’t pass a budget, when they controlled both chambers of Congress, because “Republicans would have filibustered it.”  But in this case it couldn’t be filibustered.  She should have known this.  Maybe she did and maybe she made a false statement on purpose.  Maybe it’s just her nature.

When President Obama delivered his State of the Union address last January he neglected to mention the budget failures of Senate Democrats.  The next month, Senator Harry Reid would not even consider a budget for the third straight year.  And submitting an annual budget is supposed to be their legal duty.  I guess it’s just not their nature to do their duty.  So the Dems in the Senate haven’t passed a budget in three years.  Since the last time the Democrats controlled the Senate, and actually passed a budget, the nation has spent almost $11 trillion and now we stand with a deficit of almost $17 trillion and climbing fast.  But, we can’t expect the Democrats to go against their nature … can we?

The president also wants a higher tax on capital gains (this certainly doesn’t encourage investments) and higher taxes on dividends.  Pity the people living on fixed income dividends.  He also wants to spend $50 billion on another stimulus package.  It didn’t work last time.

In August of last year Standard & Poor’s lowered the credit rating of the U.S. from AAA to AA+, for the first time ever.  They also said the outlook on the long term is negative and pointed out that the rising debt and cost of entitlements were several of the issues that should be addressed.  The U.S. debt growth ration to a percentage of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is now at 74 percent and is expected to reach 79 percent by 2015.  Canada’s is only 34 percent and going down.

Now, we have the President asking for tax increases that will take money from job creators and have little effect on our growing debt problem.  Obama now says the he should be granted the power to control the rising of the debt ceiling, taking this power away from Congress.  This would be one of the biggest power grabs ever attempted by a President.  But, then maybe that’s just his nature.

Back when George Washington became the first President of this great nation many wanted to have Washington established as King of the United States.  Washington immediately refused that idea saying that we should never consider that but we should be governed by a two house congress and an elected president with limited powers.  But, that was Washington’s nature…and a very good nature it was.

I don’t think we want an imperial president or higher debt and higher taxes that will increase our unemployment levels and send our economy back into a deeper recession.  It shouldn’t be our nature to go along with any such ridiculous program.

(Bob Harper is a Tarboro resident who writes a column of general interest.)