Angry thoughts went through my head as I signed my tax check to Illinois. We don’t have a budget. Legalizing marijuana is seriously being considered to bring in more revenue that will be an excuse to spend more. Every taxpaying 401(k) employee in the state owns a share of our enormous public pension debt. Lawmakers are getting fat and happy while Illinois’ finances deteriorate past the point of recovery.
America is getting old fast. Too fast. The most recent estimate puts the 65 and older crowd at 44.7 million.1 That number is on track to more than double to 98.2 million by 2060.2 Too many planning to hang up the working life have to ask a question that will decide whether the rest of their years will be spent in happy relaxation or greeting customers at the local discount store: how do I retire with no money?
Author’s note: On July 26, 2016 I had another chance to show my civic pride. Following this post are the things I learned on jury duty.
I laugh when people preach about civic pride and jury duty. Sure, being judged by an impartial jury is one of the good things about living in a country that values the rights of the individual.
Do you enjoy wasting your money? Everyone has opinions on what that means. Your idea of a good use for your paycheck might seem foolish to me. There is one thing we can probably agree on, though. We detest giving money to Illinois. Our state is far beyond the point where money makes a difference. It only serves to enable the same behavior that put us in debt.
Here’s a quick history lesson: the pilgrims came to America nearly a century and a half before the Declaration of Independence was signed. They intruded on a country that had no central government or laws. The states did not exist. America was a wilderness. The indigenous people didn’t need them and in retrospect would have been better off had they never come.
I wasn’t thinking about skin color when I heard about the plans to shut down Chicago’s Michigan Avenue shopping district on one of the busiest consumer spending days of the year. I was thinking about misguided stupidity.
Given the racist, anti-white rhetoric currently in vogue with activists and Black Lives Matter, it was a surprise that many of the protesters we watched in news footage shuffling down city streets and blocking businesses in response to the Laquan McDonald police shooting were not African American.
We expect corruption from foreign governments. Dictators, payoffs, and graft in South America and more corruption, terrorist infiltration, and money laundering in the Middle East are facts of life. When we hear about them we are not surprised.
Corruption is a fact of life here in America, too.
It shouldn’t be.
The difference is that we don’t snicker as much when the corruption is dumped on our back door.
Instead of wasting time debating whether guns or people do the killing, we can agree that the recent mass murder sprees Obama talked about on Thursday were the works of crazy people. That’s not something Congress can do much about. No matter how much regulation we dream up, we can’t root out all the crazies or come up with explanations for their actions.