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Springville Journal editorial: Stay classy, America

SPRINGVILLE — I work full time, rent my home, am married to a person younger than 25 and have no children. What does that make me? Eligible for enough government assistance to make the next five years or more cushy and comfortable. Especially if I quit my job and have a bunch of babies. If I have no conscience, that is.

The Boston Herald announced last Tuesday that, during the second quarter, the federal deficit fell by 12.1 percent. To $117 billion.

If I spend my bank account into the negative, my life immediately begins to spiral downward. The bank sends me threatening notes daily, huge charges pile up and I am no longer allowed to spend money. I can imagine that, if I ignored the situation and continued to spend money at the speed of light, my experiences would get worse and worse until – this is speculation, as I could never, in good conscience, be that irresponsible – I was out on the street, handing my car, TV and other toys over to the good bank employees investigating the situation.

What is the United States doing? Severely cutting spending and hoarding its resources so it can chisel away at that red, billion-dollar figure? Leaving the debt ceiling as is, to keep its goal of, I don’t know, getting into the black? Nope. It’s handing out money and resources to anyone and everyone, almost no questions asked.

Out of curiosity, I completed the preliminary application for Access NY, which determined that I am eligible for an earned income tax credit, family planning benefit program, Healthy NY, home energy assistance program, resident employment services, public health insurance or Medicaid, section 8 housing assistance and workforce1.

There are – I counted – 23 additional programs that Access NY said I would probably also be eligible for. Things like food stamps, summer meals, cash assistance and homeowners’ exemptions. And I’m not even trying to take advantage of the system. No loopholes have been cleverly scooted through.

I never knew I was so poor.

Except I’m not. I have a job. I live within my means. I don’t always buy name brands. I regularly patronize thrift stores.

And I also take pride in my self-sufficiency.

Before hackles are raised, I will say that I understand that there are many people who really cannot find jobs, who are unable to feed their children and who may be physically unable to do certain jobs. I can address that issue in a different editorial.

But when the department of social services’ Human Resources Administration website home page assures visitors that they will be well taken care of for five years and then, with minimal paperwork, be able to extend that period indefinitely, why would anyone exert themselves? Why not sit at home and accept assistance? Why not contribute to the growing federal deficit?

The HRA website cheerfully reported that 1.8 million New York City residents take advantage of government assistance. That’s a huge number, banked from just one American city.

History has not smiled with kindness upon countries that have spent themselves into bankruptcy and I don’t think I am alone in diagnosing our country with that label. How long can America bleed money out of every orifice?

If you’re up for an interesting read and are curious about your future when the country throws its hands up and finally admits that that giant red number is a horrible, bad, no-good thing, check out John Hawkins’ blog, “5 Things That Will Happen to You When America Goes Bankrupt,” at townhall.com/columnists/johnhawkins/2011/04/12/5_things_that_will_happen_to_you_when_america_goes_bankrupt/page/full.

When our country eventually goes the way of the Greeks and Romans, it will be because it asked for it.

Now is the time to be proactive and make the tough decisions, before it is too late.

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