We want more

As I watched the convention this week a sobering thought slapped me in the face: If John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address was screened for them, the delegates would probably protest.

Millions of Americans would certainly feel uncomfy if they heard his words. Perhaps a majority of them would.

You see, the most cited line from his address was “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”

Tell me true, now. Do you feel that idea would fit into the plank of the Democrat Party these days? If you accuse me of being partisan, I hasten to add that a good many Republicans would not rally around such an ideal today either.

The truth is that government grows under every administration, every president. It grows more under some than others. But it grows.

Why does government grow? Because we want government to do more for us. We keep asking what our country can do for us. And the politicians we send to Washington answer with new programs. With expansions of old programs. With more grants, to fund our favorite enterprise. With more regulations, to protect us.

Since JFK’s day we have seen an endless parade of new government services. And we have learned to beg for more. Please don’t stop the parade. More Food Stamps please. More welfare, please. More money for education, please. More student loan money, please. More mortgage relief, please. More Medicare, please. More bailouts, please. More pension protection, please. More, more, more.

And these programs all started after JFK’s time.

When it comes to old programs, we are no better. More Social Security, please. More unemployment benefits, please. More subsidies for the movies I make. For the solar panel company I own. For my farm. You know the drill.

We are a nation of moochers. That is, until anyone suggests reducing one of the handouts. Then we become a nation of junkyard dogs. Don’t you dare touch ———————. Fill in the blank.

(In fact, Charles J. Sykes book A Nation of Moochers just came out. He details our addiction to mooching. Read it. It will make you sick.)

You have seen the sorry statistics. A big majority of us collect checks or other benefits from the federal government. We call them our entitlements. This week we saw a clip of a Democrat film which reminded us that “Government is the only thing that we all belong to.” Apparently no one in the party felt uncomfortable with such a thought.

Which brings me back to the second part of JFK’s suggestion. That is, “Ask what you can do for your country.”

How innocent does that sound today? How many raised eyebrows would greet you if you went around suggesting such a ludicrous activity?

We could benefit our country if we allowed Washington to cut all spending 10 percent. Every program, every benefit. Cut ten percent. Gore everybody’s ox. That would go a long way toward fixing the budget mess.

What do you suppose the reaction across the fruited plain would be to such a suggestion?

Our national slogan these days is “Ask not what you can do for your country.” Unfortunately, you know the rest of it.

From Tom ... as in Morgan.

For more columns and for Tom’s radio shows and new TV shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.

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