Asleep but needing to go pee

“He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.” – Aeschylus

Have you ever woken up after a night of drinking and thought, “I really don’t want to get up right now… but I simply have got to use the bathroom… I really want to go back to sleep, and I’m afraid if I get up it will be the start of my day… maybe I’ll feel better in another 10 minutes… God, I sure wish I didn’t need to go pee…”?  I don’t know about you, but I have felt that way before – resistant to get out of bed and use the bathroom, the hard day ahead looming, the desire to sleep a little longer trying in vain to overtake my body’s need to urinate.  And that’s the impression I have of Us, as I begin to open my eyes, shake off the fog of our previous night, and look around the room…

“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” – Buddha
$16 trillion in debt?  Really?!  It can’t be true… but it is.  We destroyed ourselves?  Really?  Bill Gates has 60 billion, Warren Buffet amasses 40 billion, and yet, we owe 16,000 billion?!  Their vast fortunes not even the proverbial drop in the bucket for what we owe… with the bucket exponentially expanding in entitlement programs, social security, retirements, and medicare… while we continue to lower taxes on our wealthy… and borrow more?!  As the truth of the financial disaster around me sets in, as I look at my nation of debt, entitlement, and angst, our children’s dismal future, I start to get pissed off – pardon the expression.  Or maybe we should go the other way America – maybe it’s time we embrace the expression, we get pissed off, and we wake up to go take a freakin’ piss!  How ‘bout that? 

Yeah it’s true, I feel like a man who drank way too much until way too late, then stayed up after I got home watching God knows what until who knows when, and now it is 6am and I got to pee like its tomorrow.  Like Forrest Gump I tell ya America, We got’s to go pee.  But We can’t wake up… Our Body knows it should… We need to… but We drank too much wine until way too late into the dark hours… and the day ahead seems so hard.

There it is America, that’s how I feel about you…about Us… there, I said it.  My fellow Americans I implore you, as hard as we are all working these days, as dire as our situation is, as bankrupt as we have become, see that it is time to wake up.  Realize that it is time to respond to the pressure our Body is experiencing, get off our asses, and release the toxins that are polluting us.  Urination, the removal of waste – maybe it’s the Lean/Six Sigma practitioner in me, but yes America, that’s what we need.  We have got to take a leak, leave the contaminants of past decisions behind, and then re-hydrate with something healthier for us.

“The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.” – James A. Garfield

I’m not sure where this road, this Lean/Six Sigma political project into America will leave me, will leave Us… I’m guessing that we’ll just sleep until well after noon and then wake up in a puddle, and this is what motivates me to write.  Perhaps God has called me to be our alarm clock.  At times I begin to realize that one man can’t make a difference… but then I think, well, I’m not sure of that.  Who knows?  Then I call out to God, at the top of my thought, and pray:

“Dear God, if you’re out there and you can hear me, please know that you still got one man, right here and now… yeah me, over here in the back row, the one waving here… (oh good he saw me)… yeah, what?  No, no question, no… sorry, just wanted to make sure I didn’t miss role… you know, if you’re counting to see which ones of us see the crap around us and long for something better for our children.  Sorry about the distraction all, didn’t mean to make a fuss – you know, new guy and all… but God, I just had to make sure that You knew you still had one of us out here who still cares… who is still longing to create a more perfect union… still desiring to find the best way for your country to work.”

Sometimes the thought that I am alone starts to bring me down, but then I realize that there is a whole bunch of us out there… out here.  Yes, I still believe We are good (or still good, depending on where you are in life).  As for me, I think that We are just lost…we need to open our eyes and look around for a second.  Sometimes that’s hard, particularly when you don’t like what you see.  Me personally, I like to sleep.  I justify my naps with things like, “well, it was a hard day yesterday,” or “you know, those redeye flights really throw your timing off,” but the simple truth is that I like naps, I like sleep, and I like ignoring politics.

So here’s the deal America:  If things have gotten so bad around here that I opened my eyes to look into it?  Well, then you know that it’s time to get up.  I have the distinct impression that, if we don’t wake up now, we will wake up in a pool of our own piss.  Or maybe… maybe you all woke up before me, saw that the mattress was stained yellow, and then decided that it’s no use anymore, so we might as well just sleep on it…  I don’t know, you tell me?  Have we decided to bequeath our children a yellow mattress, or are there Americans out there with the strength to stand?

“I’m tired of hearing it said that democracy doesn’t work. Of course it doesn’t work. We are supposed to work it.” – Alexander Woollcott


Little Red Riding Hood

“Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.” – 2 Corinthians 12:14

“Grandma?” the girl began.  “I have a question.”

“What can I help you with sweetheart?”

“Well, it’s about Medicare – you know, the program where we pay for your procedures and medicines.”

“Yes,” said grandma hesitantly.  “But you really shouldn’t phrase it that way.”

“Why not?” asked the girl innocently.

“Well, because we aren’t paying for my medicines, we’re paying for a –”

“Oh, you’re right grandma,” the girl corrected herself, “I should have said borrowing.  And that’s my question – shouldn’t we pay for your medicines now, while you are alive?”

We?  Now?” said grandma with slight recoil.  “I think you are too young to understand, don’t worry about these things.  We pay into a system you see, it’s all very complicated.  But don’t worry sweetheart, this same system will be available for you when you are older.”

“You mean, I will indebt my grandchildren just as you have indebted me?”

“Yes, too young to understand,” said grandma, the curl of her lip revealing what could be a smile.  “You know you can trust grandma right?  My generation is not stealing from yours, it just seems that way because you’re young.  In 10, maybe 20 years, we’ll talk more about it then.  Goodnight honey.”

“Have you ever saved money to pay for the medicine program that you voted in?”

“You ask too many questions my dear.  If you must know, then you will have to go look somewhere else…  But I really would rather you close your eyes now…”

“I have looked,” the girl started, and then thought to herself, “maybe I can pay off her debts…”  After a quick calculation, she resigned herself to a life devoted not only to providing for the next generation but also the previous ones… Settling into her ill-gotten fate, she continued, “Ok grandma, but can you tell me why?  I just want to be sure I don’t make the same mistakes you did, that’s all.  How come you borrowed so much money during your life, more than you could ever possibly pay while you’re alive?”

“My dear, whatever do you mean?  I don’t owe anybody anything.”

“I know you don’t.. it’s just that I do now, and I haven’t even started working yet.  To be honest grandma, and maybe I shouldn’t say anything – but it seems strange to me that, even decades after you go to heaven, I will still be…. paying for you.  Is that how a family is supposed to do it?  I spend my life trying to pay for you… and then, when I’m a grandma… I vote for someone who will in debt my children to pay for me?  It seems –”

“Really child, it is so late you may see light soon.  You really should stop asking these questions and go back to sleep.”

“But Grandma, I read our family is in debt over 15,000,000 million dollars… and there are only 306 million of us total – that’s including you, me, and others who can’t or don’t work, including everybody?!  This means our family owes… oh my God grandma, this can’t be true, can it?!”

“Well yes, it’s true.  But don’t you worry dear, God will provide for you,” grandma replied, grabbing her dentures off the nightstand and inserting her teeth into her mouth.

“Hmm…” the girl thought for a moment, and then offered.  “Wouldn’t a better system be one in which we saved during our own lifetimes to pay for ourselves?  One in which we didn’t borrow?  Wouldn’t that be a better way to run a family?”

“Sweetheart,” her grandma said as she looked over to her, “you really must stop asking these questions.  Please go back to sleep.”

“But Grandma, it’s hard for me to sleep, knowing that with every minute our family owes more and more and I will have to pay for it.  The debt’s interest alone is becoming our largest expense.  Shouldn’t we stop doing this?”

“But I’m still alive my dear.  You wouldn’t want your lovely grandma to not get her medicines and procedures now would you – of course not.  Now off to bed sweetheart, it’s late.”

“Of course I want you to get your medicines grandma – it’s not that I don’t care about you.  It’s just that I want to love my grandchildren… and if I’m to do that… Oh Grandma, I can try to pay for you for all my life, but I don’t want to leave my grandchildren in debt.  Grandma, I don’t like this system at all!  Wouldn’t a better system be one where I save for my own medicines?  I really do want to take care of myself – I can’t imagine a heaven where I look down to see my children and grandchildren working every day to pay for me.  That would be horrible!  Anything but that – loving a child and then forcing them to slave their entire lives to pay for me… oh my soul, it could never rest like that, I can’t imagine it.”

“You can and you will,” her grandma said flatly.  “Now seriously, I must insist you stop this line of questioning or there will be hell to pay.  You are supposed to sleep now, you’ll see the game when you get older… er, I mean, you’ll understand later my sweet child.”

“I won’t Grandma – I see now.  I’ll never want this for my grandchildren, I’d rather die first.  Am I alone, or have others in our family ever tried to put the children first?  Have we ever tried to make it so that our family had to balance its budget?

“Ok, if you insist.  Yes.  Yes, they did try… since the beginning they’ve tried.  In fact, it was Thomas Jefferson’s one regret.  But with enemies on all sides, what could they do but borrow?  In 1999 they almost succeeded, but fell one vote short in the Senate – just one vote short, can you imagine?  Oh, so close they were to defeating me.  So close… and now my dear, you can’t say that I didn’t warn you… you really do ask too many questions.”

“Wow Grandma, what big eyes you have… what big teeth you have…”

“I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution.  I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government.  I mean an additional article taking from the Federal Government the power of borrowing.  I now deny their power of making paper money or anything else a legal tender.  I know that to pay all proper expenses within the year would, in case of war, be hard on us.  But not so hard as ten wars instead of one.  For wars could be reduced in that proportion; besides that, the State governments would be free to lend their credit in borrowing quotas.” – Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, 1798.


Letter from the 1%

“Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.” – Harry S. Truman

From:    The 1%

To:         The 99%

Subj:      New Deal 3 Memorandum of Understanding

Dear Sirs and Madams:

It has come to our attention that has proposed a “New Deal,” an agreement to avoid collapse – what the business world calls a controlled bankruptcy plan.  This written response is intended to define us 1%er’s understanding of New Deal 3.  What follows is our non-lawyer, plain speak, man-to-man statement of understanding of our collective future together.  But first, I feel it beneficial that you hear our perspective, before you hear our terms…

No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent.” – Abraham Lincoln

First, you should know that we are not ashamed of being 1%ers; on the contrary, we are proud of it – for we have worked hard to get here, making many difficult choices and overcoming a multitude of challenges along the way.  In the process, we have come to understand, appreciate, and respect hard work.  Make no mistake, we hold a profound admiration of our hard working middle class – our teachers, our military, our nurses – we treasure the work you do.  In fact, we would like to pay you more, for we fully recognize that it is the middle class which makes America work.

The most perfect political community is one in which the middle class is in control, and outnumbers both of the other classes.” – Aristotle

We recognize that the middle class in America is shrinking and the wealth gap widening.  We understand that you need more than simply enough to get to tomorrow – you need to support a family, plan for your retirement, help your children to learn and to grow, enjoy time with family, and assist the needy in your community.  And we are more than ready to provide the hard working 99%ers out there with more.  But not with the old New Deal, not with the remnants of a previous generations’ programs, not with a government determined to pay the non-working, provide for the retired, and engage in a “War on Poverty” via government “relief” programs.  These programs no longer encourage a working middle class by combating discrimination and abuses in America; quite the contrary, they abuse and discriminate against the working middle class by encouraging people to leave it and file for government benefits instead.

The New Deal is plainly an attempt to achieve a working socialism and avert a social collapse in America; it is extraordinarily parallel to the successive ‘policies’ and ‘Plans’ of the Russian experiment. Americans shirk the word ‘socialism’, but what else can one call it?” – H. G. Wells
My fellow Americans, for this New Deal to succeed, you must understand that the reason hard working Americans are unable to garner wealth, provide for your future and your present, prevent your children from being overburdened in federal debt obligations…  the reason you are now relegated to an endless existence of work and toil just to get by… it is not due to our greed.  It is due to the funneling of your pay into the coffers of government wars, policies, and programs.  It is due to your forced participation in a retirement program that takes 12.4% of your pay and, in return, provides you only with vast debt obligations that your children must shoulder.  It is due to your obligation to pay government employees, including members of Congress, a defined benefit from the age he or she “retires” until some future date many decades into the future.  It is due to your mandatory participation in medical and welfare government aid programs that ensure the hard working among you pay for those who have retired from the workforce and those who fail to participate in it – a segment of the population that is expanding rapidly, and why wouldn’t they?

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” – Winston Churchill

We, the 1%, still whole-heartily believe in the vision that is America – a place where a person is free to excel, encouraged to innovate, and provided an opportunity to live well. But as such, we cannot support our current course.  Yes, we know that trickle-down economics is a failed philosophy, we’ve told you as much.

The rich are always going to say that, you know, just give us more money and we’ll go out and spend more and then it will all trickle down to the rest of you. But that has not worked the last 10 years, and I hope the American public is catching on.” – Warren Buffet

And yes, we are ready to pay our fair share of taxes, to return to the day where the rich pay a higher percentage than the poor.  And yes, we understand that we have an obligation to use our wealth to support our fellow man.

Let your heart feel for the afflictions and distress of everyone, and let your hand give in proportion to your purse.” – George Washington

But my friends, for us to move forward, you must understand that it is not the greed of us 1%ers that is at the root of our nation’s problems, it is the system itself.  This is what you must recognize if you wish to avoid collapse.  We simply will not support a system which continues, in today’s day and age of equal rights, to identify the government as the proper mechanism to provide for the citizenry – for it is not, we have always known this.

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” – Thomas Jefferson

The former Soviet Union, modern day Greece, and a look at our own Welfare State demonstrates that it is time to resume our proper course.  A society which gives its wages to the government and expects the government to provide for the people, whether said government is democratically elected or not, is left with a broken people and a broken nation.  Throughout history, this has been the case.  So make no mistake, we will let this failed philosophy implode before we bankrupt ourselves supporting it.

The reason why men enter into society is the preservation of their property.” – John Locke

Although we are prepared to handle the financial collapse of our great nation should we fail to reach an agreement with you, we sincerely hope and pray that we can work together to foster a different outcome.

It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

We see the inevitable result of our current course, and we will not be a party to it.  Our current end state is a citizenry reliant on an inefficient, ineffective, and corruptible government, one catering to special interest organizations, one unable to meet its obligations to the people, and one imposing ever increasing taxes on its working and ever increasing debts on its future generations.  Our course of government subsidies for our citizenry will leave us destitute, with a divided nation pitting those who receive government checks set against those who work to provide them.  Our current system is destined for failure, destined for collapse, and we will not support it.  You must vote to end it.

“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” – Alexis de Tocqueville

It is the lesson of the ages, and we will simply no longer allow our great country, this noble idea called America, our most-treasured experiment… to fall to the bureaucrats.  We love you, Us, too much to let that happen.  If you wish to plot a viable future together, if you wish to balance our nation’s budget, if you wish for America’s children to have a chance at success, you must abandon the notion that the government provides for the people.

A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.” – Thomas Jefferson

In this century’s New Deal, we will accept a tax system designed to target us 1%ers for the overarching limited government necessary to promote our society.  We will support legislation and tax code simplification that eliminates tax breaks for us, as well as encourage smart government regulatory bodies to provide the necessary check to our capitalist nature.  Our businesses will bid on competitive government contracts to provide energy, infrastructure, and societal advancements for us as a whole, but not for individual government handouts or mandatory government programs.  All government expenditures should be investments in our future, programs that potentially pay for themselves, not taxes to provide government backstops and entitlements to certain segments of the population.  Government can invest in our youth and unemployed by promoting job training, advanced education, and proven work programs.

Join me in a national commitment to train two million Americans with skills that will lead directly to a job.” – Barack Obama

In this century’s New Deal, the government must again be removed from the charity business, eliminated from the retirement planning business, and extracted from the drug subsidy business for the elderly. This is a part of the deal some of you 99%ers may think you don’t like, but you will find America is stronger as a result.  Medicare, Social Security, all Government Defined Benefit Retirement Programs, and all government welfare programs are eliminated.  Bankruptcy style court proceedings will be used to determine the payout to those who have had their wages garnished for years, to those who have spent their lives as public servants expecting a government pension, and any other creditors claiming liens on America’s future.

It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes.” – Thomas Jefferson

Going forward, America will offer no future obligations other than the debt determined in court proceedings.  Going forward, all federal employees, to include Congress, military personnel, and any government entity, will be enrolled in a private sector retirement program that pays as it goes into a citizen owned and managed retirement account.  These will be regulated by the government, but not guaranteed by the government… the people… our unborn.  Going forward, each generation will be responsible for ourselves.

There are no easy answers but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.” – Ronald Reagan

Those who work hard will find that they have enough to provide for their well being, save for their retirement, support a family, and have money left over with which to assist the elderly, disabled, and struggling in our society.  The elimination of the government programs designed to “help” us will, in fact, help us.  We will find that we are all better off when the common man is allowed to live independent of government, rather than forced to pay into a government system designed to provide for his well being.

I’m a Democrat. But I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed: That Government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more.” – Barack Obama

The private sector can provide unemployment insurance for those who wish to purchase it.  The private sector can and does provide retirement plans and elder care health plans.  The government can and should regulate these industries – that is its purpose after all, to regulate – but that is the extent of its role here.  The government should create a fair and just business environment, ensure workplace and environmental standards, and punish those who deceive, manipulate, and try to operate outside of the law.  It should not, however, attempt to raise more taxes in a vain effort to continue to promote a failed political vision.  Defense of our community, regulation of our industry, and investment in our future – Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – this is the full extent of what the government should do for the people.

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” – George Washington

So that’s the New Deal 3 as we understand it:  Social Security, all Government retirement programs, and Medicare are ended via a lump sum payout to contributing parties, as determined in bankruptcy court, of some amount that our society can possibly afford.  Government Medicaid, Housing, and Welfare Aid is ended, and all charity will be left to the private charities, many of which we 1%ers have already started.  If you cannot agree to this, then We 1%ers will be forced to let the impending bankruptcy occur.  Your pyramid scheme of borrowed money that is tied to nothing more than the paper it is drawn on will be allowed to run its course…  and then we will try again with your grandchildren to develop a sustainable society.

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” – Ronald Reagan

My fellow Americans, we hope you will accept our offer at increased taxes on us 1%ers to balance our budget.  But you must couple this tax increase with the shared understanding that government is not meant to ensure that everyone, regardless of work history, health condition, or age is “taken care of” by the same government that polices, taxes, and administers the aid.  Such a system will never work – we are $16 trillion into the midst of this truth, and time is running short.

To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” – Leonard Bernstein

Take these charitable and unquantifiable responsibilities out of the hands of Government.  Agree to limit it, as you know in your heart it must be.  Let the government set a fair playing field, let them regulate Us, let them inspect Us, but let not their police confiscate our hard-earned monies to pay for unsustainable health, retirement, and welfare programs, particularly when these programs aren’t even being paid for as part of a balanced budget.  My brothers and sisters, let us continue to grow as One Body.  Let us get through this downturn by re-embracing the notion of an honest day’s wage for an honest day’s work – a square Deal.  Do that, and we can once again work to encourage a vibrant middle class and a better America.

The middle class is teetering on the brink of collapse just as surely as AIG was in the fall of 2009 – only this time, it’s not just one giant insurance company (and its banking counterparties) facing disaster, it’s tens of millions of hardworking Americans who played by the rules.” – Arianna Huffington

With heartfelt love for you, our country, our world, and our future,

The 1%ers