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John Block Reports from Washington

RSS By: John Block, AgWeb.com

John Block has dedicated his professional career to the fields of agriculture, food and health.

Promises, Promises

Sep 04, 2008
As great as our country is and as effective as our system of government has been, I begin to wonder sometimes -- can it be sustained?

Candidates for the House, candidates for the Senate, and for President – they promise this and promise that to the voters. But, if we are honest about it, we know the government can’t be everything for everybody. We can’t afford it. We have operated with a budget deficit 42 of the past 47 years. No family or business could do that.

The reality is that politicians just love to spend money on their constituents. As crude as it may sound, that is the way to buy their vote.

Look at some of the promises of the past. In 1976, the Democrats promised to fix the tax system and to moderate the interest rates. Well, they didn’t fix the tax system. And, interest rates went from 7% to 11.5%. In 1992, there was a promise to reduce dependence on foreign oil. Oil imports have shot up to 45% since then. In 2000, Republicans promised to downsize government. Instead, since then, we have added thousands of government jobs.

We have mandatory spending programs that are out of control. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are gobbling up 40% of our annual budget and increasing. They are on automatic pilot. The courage to cut them back is just not there. If a politician said, “I’m going to cut your Social Security check,” he wouldn’t get elected. In farm country, if he said, “I’m going to abolish the farm support programs,” he would lose a lot of votes. The best way to get elected is to promise more government support and less taxes. As this election for the Congress and the President moves toward election day, listen to what the candidates have to say. If all they do is promise more of everything for everybody, remember the old truism. “There is no free lunch.”

Think about it. You will eventually pay.

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington.

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