cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
We are hypocrites. As I watch the battle for government largess (our tax dollars, of course), I am struck by that simple fact.
If we get some of the pork being doled out, we think it is great. If we're passed over, we lament the sad state of our nation. So long as we get "our share", the taking from some and giving to others appears to be okay. So long as we are net receivers rather than net givers, it seems to be okay.
Even worse, it doesn't appear that many of us "get it".
Back to my rant: government only takes and redistributes; government does not create.
The old saw about pigs at the trough seems very appropriate. If you've ever had the opportunity to watch pigs being "slopped", you'll identify. The pigs have been conditioned to expect their food at a certain time and they sense when that time has arrived. They gather around the trough and wait for the farmer to pour in the whey or whatever they're accustomed to eating. The bigger the pig, the more it gets as it squeezes its way in to the trough. Those that are smaller, tend to stay smaller because they get the dregs. That doesn't stop them from trying, of course, because that is all they'll get from any source.
How does this relate to our current situation? The bigger pigs are those politicians whose party is in power at the time; today that is the Democrats; yesterday it was the Republicans. The smaller pigs today are the Republicans; yesterday it was the Democrats. The bigger pigs get the grants and the appropriations and the favored treatment for government programs.
When some of the government redistribution of our money somehow finds its way to the smaller pigs, the Republicans today, it is grabbed up as if there may be no tomorrow. The Republicans, while "abhorring" the process, are certainly not above taking the crumbs that are available. Even when the money will cause us to launch programs that will soon be impossible to fund without the grants, we suck it up and launch the programs (unfunded mandates).
Given this dynamic, we stand about zero chance of ever reforming the system we've permitted to grow over the decades. Every once in awhile, a bad actor is criminally charged; the other bad actors cluck about the shame of it all, but it doesn't deter them from continuing to be "hidden" bad actors.
This is never more apparent than when we watch the change-over from one reign to the next and watch as the lobbyists queue up at the front doors of the new power brokers. The new power brokers begin to see their campaign coffers expand as they'd forgotten was possible. The new power brokers find themselves receiving the "speaking engagements" that coincidentally force them to accept an expense paid trip to someplace exotic and away from the prying eyes of the press. They find contributions flowing quite nicely, thank you very much!
Our new president was adamant that he would end government as we knew it; he would end earmarks and special favors. It seems he has, so far anyway, either forgotten those pledges or he never intended to do those things.
And we, the people, sit in the wilderness of fly-over country and hope that our life's savings will not disappear overnight as we watch the market gyrations day-in and day-out. We see the machinations of our governing elite and we tend to marvel that they seem not able to see those things that are obvious to us. But we are the visionaries and the builders. They are simply the group we elected to take away from us to give to others...especially if we are among that ever smaller group that actually works and builds some value while risking all that we have.
And yet, we rush to the trough whenever there is the chance we'll get some of what was taken from someone else.
Shame on all of us. We are hypocrites.