Tough Sailing Ahead
|Mary Wakefield Buxton|
by Mary Wakefield Buxton
Urbanna, Va.— The presidential election held no good news for me. I was hoping for change. I think the nation is headed down the wrong path by a president who must finally accept responsibility for bitterly polarizing the electorate to a point seldom seen before. What a tragedy this division is for our nation.
In all fairness, however, whatever candidate was elected, was in for tough sailing ahead. The 50% of voters may not have been concerned with the nation’s present $16 trillion debt, but very definitely 48% of the voters were. And the election did not solve our severe economic problems. They are still with us, unfortunately, and the barometer points to stormy weather at sea.
How this administration will get the tax revenues they need to fund their huge social programs without further weakening the job market and small business, I cannot guess. Yet, I’m philosophical. I’m 71 years old, still working, still paying payroll taxes, and making contributions to Social Security and Medicare. But let’s be excruciatingly honest. My generation is mostly retired now and out of the workforce and paying far fewer taxes than younger Americans who have a job. I think it’s fair to say we seniors have done all we can to keep the ship afloat. It’s now up to younger generations to pay the lion’s share of taxes and to figure out ways to solve the nation’s revenue shortfall.
The nation’s future path, of course, greatly concerns my generation even if most of us are retired. It’s our children and grandchildren who will face the enormous debt, and we worry about their quality of life. We wonder if they will be able to afford to pay the massive taxes that will be required of them, or even if they will be able to find good jobs.
Much of my generation descended from strong, hard-working, immigrant pioneer stock that built this country to the strength no other country in the world has ever known, valued individual freedom and autonomy, and despised, (yes, despised) big government, socialism, communism, or any dependence whatsoever on government. Well, guess what? We’re no longer the majority and the new majority thinks very differently from us.
These voters see nothing wrong with government that employs millions of workers to take care of us and run our affairs. Such a shift is anathema to those like myself who see our beloved Republic collapsing . . . a Republic that once offered freedom to pursue dreams without bureaucrats hovering over citizens over every move.
I saw actually the change coming. Some 20 years ago I started hearing college graduates say they wanted government jobs with job security, benefits and no responsibilities beyond a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. work day. What? What? But my generation dreamt of starting a business and making money and we didn’t care about job security or benefits or how many hours we would have to work each week as long as we could be in charge of our own lives.
How sad that our nation saw initial welfare programs and unemployment checks grow from helping just the needy few to the point today once unthinkable in America—47 million Americans on food stamps, 6 and 7 generations of families who have never worked, and teenagers today who will never know the wonder, thrill and, yes, joy, of a first job and earning a first paycheck.
America is changing rapidly and there’s really nothing any of us can do about it. We are turning from working, independent citizens into a society dependent on government. The transformation is happening right before our very eyes.
The good news is if the majority one day once again dreams of personal freedom and opportunities to pursue business in the private sector without the help of government, well, they can orchestrate the change back to the America we once knew—smaller government that encourages independence, business, work, creation of wealth and jobs all over again.
In the meantime, let us adjust as best we can and accept the changes gracefully. The future will create a society of workers who must support the growing legions of non-workers. This will eventually cause great troubles in our society but younger generations will have to deal with the outcome. We seniors have passed the baton to them.
As for me, I love America and pledge to do all I personally can to work, pay taxes and support this great nation as long as I am able. In my view we will need all hands on deck pulling his own weight on the sheets if we hope to save this beloved ship of state.