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DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


September 24, 2013

Sad Times in the House Chambers

Harry M. Covert

Warning, gentle reader, the following may cause considerable indigestion, deep thought, scintillating wonder and probably anger. Hopefully each of these will come true.

 

Right off, does the Congress, specifically the House of Representatives, really care about older Americans and even those who go to bed nightly hungry?

 

After watching the House in action last week, every senior in the land should be troubled. Time may have come for the constitutional dissolution of that body. It won't happen, of course, but maybe it should.

 

Watching those supposed patriots in the Capitol vote to cut in half the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program from $80 billion to $40 billion and threaten to close down the government should send serious alarm bells through the land.

 

What better way to avoid public notice of the Middle East matters than their smoke screens or red herrings? The impertinence of the 435 proves they should be dismissed unequivocally en masse.

 

The millions of white-headed, purple-headed Americans must be offended by their elected leaders. The performance has been nothing short of miserable, short-sighted and un-American.

 

Some googling and binging and media reports puts some distinct understanding on the matters and prove how out of touch are the compassionate conservatives, the harsh and mean manglers, the populists, alleged progressives, third-party enthusiasts, unaffiliated independents and general run of the mill flag-wavers. In short, all of them.

 

More often than not, when all the mischief is unloading in Washington – not the criminal shootings, car-jackings and general thieving, mind you – but the governing activities of that special group in the House Chambers.

 

Thankfully, reporters of all stripes (and different opinions) keep the eye on that crowd.

 

Yes, it's time to recall the words of H. L. Mencken, the sage of Baltimore, critic, newspaperman and contrarian.

 

Mr. Mencken said 80 years ago, “If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.”

 

Sure sounds the same today.

 

Here's a reminder. If the government shuts down, everyone should pay close attention. For starters, military veterans won't receive their earned checks. The average retired worker won't be receiving their $1,269 pay. Some 2.9 million dependents will suffer.

 

Disabled workers, some 8.9 million won't receive their $1,129 average monthly benefit, and 6.2 million survivors will miss out, too. This will be a calamity for everyone, top to bottom, homes to businesses.

 

Further, 46.37 million Americans receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program support. This is known cavalierly as the Food Stamp program. The breakdown is 22.4 million households are fed by this effort, equaling $6.025 billion.

 

There are those who like to say "let 'em get a job." Or "they should have prepared better."

 

There are millions of seniors who are eligible for grocery store help but are too proud to enroll; they seem to think there is a stigma. Many go hungry and don't have family or friends who can help.

 

Another observation is that feeding hungry people is the job of churches and people of faith. Sounds nice. Many do but, not enough of them.

 

These are the facts, not political claptrap. Nine out of 10 people 65 and older receive Social Security benefits, 39 percent of elderly income.

 

While the code words emanate from politician, the lobbyists and others the money-raising schemes are running full tilt, scaring the daylights out of the elderly and begging for money to tell more half-truths.

 

Americans are a giving people. Frankly, the politicians have now become merely takers. Those who disagree are considered ignorant, cheaters and deadbeats or partisan relics.

 

This philippic may be somewhat harsh. That's intended. No Americans should ever go hungry, no American should ever be denied medical care, no American military veterans should ever lack care of any sorts.

 

There is an art to politics. Compromise. That is not a dirty word.

 

Alexis de Tocqueville said it this way: "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."

 

He also wrote: "America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great."

 

It’s time for more teaching of history, civics and responsibility.

 

hmcovert@thecovertletter.com

 



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