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Free ride

by on December 12, 2014

Christmas time 1966 while sledding one night at an extended family function an 8 year old boy with two or three cousins on board came to the end of a sledding run against an immovable object. The result was a broken ulna and radius. That same little boy broke that same arm later that spring on the playground at school. That little blonde haired boy was Rodney and Marlene Reese’s oldest son, me.

I remember my mother saying after the second trip to the ER “we just got the last doctor bill payed now there will be another”. Broken bones, stitches and trips to the ER are not uncommon with little boys. What I find remarkable about those events nearly 50 years ago is that Mr. and Mrs Reese had no expectation that someone else would be responsible for that medical bill.

Today, the conversation might be “does my plan cover this”, or “is there a deductable”, or” does their homeowners cover this”, or perhaps “chip or medicaid can pay this medical bill”. In 1966 America, parents understood it was their responsibility to pay for the medical care of their children. Today it is not just medical bills that Americans seek to have someone else pay, it is all kinds of goods and services that in 1966 would seem absurd to ask a fellow American to cover.

In 2014 Congress paid three fourths of one trillion dollars of some Americans money to buy lunch for other Americans. But it is not just food and health care for which people today seek to have others pay the bill. At a township meeting the Supervisors were discussing the pressing need to replace a bridge on a local road. They said if only we could get state funding we could pay for a new bridge, apparently ambivilent that this bridge would benefit almost without exception only township residents, they thought it not only proper but prudent, that other Pennsylvanians pay for their bridge.

We’ve all had conversations with friends when they told of their modern geo-thermal climate control system and how tax breaks paid for $10 or $15 thousand of their fancy, efficient heating and cooling system. I have no problem with efficient heating systems, they’re wonderfull, the question is “why am I asked to help foot the bill for someone else’s system. ”

Politicians comtinue to invent schemes that benefit some Americans at the expense of other Americans. They will continue to do so until voters step up and vote out of office these people who reach into the pocket of their fellow citizens and promise free stuff to other citizens for their votes. That stuff is not free, it is time a leader stood up and said “goods and services shoud be paid for by those who consume them”.

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