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Texas : Features : Columns : Letters From North America :

How to Fix Our Government

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry
Last week one of our local radio talk shows had a group of young college students in their studio to discuss problems with our government. As you know, if youíve read this column for any length of time, I am not a big fan of our government.

However, having said that, I do feel that I have a certain amount of experience when it comes to any discussions about how to change our existing situation.

After listening to these young students for about an hour, I was forced to turn the radio off since their demands, wants and needs far exceeded any realm of reality. For example, they all thought complete health care from cradle to grave should be available at no cost to every person living in the United States, whether they are an American or not. We should take care of everyone for any and all medical problems no matter what.

Their second demand was for free education for any person living in the United States from kindergarten through four years of college. Here again, cost was no object it just should be free to any and all takers.

Their last demand or want was for wages to be higher across the board and thought that the minimum wage should be somewhere in the $15.00 per hour range because as one student saidÖ ďNo one can live on anything less.Ē

I would have liked to have been able to reach into the radio and grabbed one of them and give them a real good reality shake. Iím sure that isnít politically correct, but then who cares? Itís my opinion and I can say what I want.

Obviously these young people have never been in business or tried to run a business. They donít know what its like to be sued because one of your employees collects unemployment after being fired for stealing. How so? Well the judge allowed the individual to plead guilty but gave him adjudicated probation, so even though he was guilty, the court does not recognize his plea of guilt so he qualifies for unemployment. There goes your tax rate. They donít know what itís like to have your workers compensation rate increased because someone claimed an injury when they didnít even work for you and still collected. Read your policy, it says the company can pay Ďfalse and groundless claimsí. If itís cheaper for the insurance company to pay the claim rather than fight the claim, what do you think will happen? Should you as the employer be responsible for one of your employees who has an affair with a young woman and causes her to have a baby? My insurance company paid over $600,000 on one of these claims. You think these youngsters would like to have to defend an EEOC claim filed by someone who filled out an application for a job opening and didnít get hired because others were more qualified? Even though you win these kinds of issues, the time and effort to defend yourself is enormous.

As to a minimum wage of $15.00 an hour. Several years ago I got into a discussion with a waitress where we go for breakfast. The waitress expressed her opinion that everyone working in the place should be paid at least $10.00 an hour and have free medical insurance.

I told her that was ok, but I pointed out that bacon and eggs were $4.95 and a hamburger was $5.95. Then I asked her if she had thought about what would happen if bacon and eggs were, say $15.95 and a hamburger was $17.95. She answered very quickly that the place would not be in business because no one would pay that much for the food. They would go down the street to another cafť, she added.

So, I asked just how the owner was expected to pay the increase in salaries and the cost of medical insurance without raising his prices.

She walked away and didnít say another word.

The last time I looked the government was not a money making entity. In fact there are those in the government who think the word Ďprofití is a four letter word. But what I wanted to tell these young students was for them to go out in the hard, cruel world and try to run a business, pay bills, deal with employees, hassle with banks and insurance companies and still go home at night with a smile on your face and come back in the morning and start all over again. Do this year after year and see what happens. It isnít as easy as you think.

If companies donít have profits, then what is the use for their existence? As long as companies can make a profit, then employees are paid and taxes are paid by corporations as well as their employees. If you raise the taxes for total health care and education for any and all in this country to the point where the company is not profitable, then the taxes as well as the employee base is lost. Then more jobs get shipped to other countries and those unemployed United States workers become a liability to our social programs.

It is possible to price yourself out of the marketplace. Look at the US auto industry if you donít believe me.

Iíd like to know what kind of an attitude these students have about their thoughts and concepts in say ten or fifteen years. Iíd be willing to bet they will have changed.

What do you think?
© Peary Perry
Letters From North America

March 6, 2008 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
Comments go to pperry@austin.rr.com

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