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 Texas : Features : Columns : Letters From North America :
Revolting Development
by Peary Perry
Peary Perry

ďWhat a revolting development this isĒ was a line from an old time television program back in the sixties.

I suggest to you that it sums up the current state of affairs for today. Last week the great state of Texas increased their annual vehicle inspection fee from $12.50 per vehicle to $28.50, an increase of $16.00. Now, I think youíll be surprised to learn where a good deal of this money is going to go. New roads? Nope. More highway patrolmen? Nope. We now have a program that will pay up to $600 for repairs to your car if you canít pay for them yourself. We also now have a program that will buy you a replacement vehicle in the event yours isnít worth fixing. How many of these do you think will have to be replaced? Is this a car dealers dream or what?

My heart leaps at the thought of this fine gesture.

Now, can you imagine what weíre going to see around the state? How many vehicles that donít need repairs are going to get repaired now that the great state of Texas has agreed to pay to fix them so they meet inspections? Kind of like going to the doctor or hospital and saying your insurance is only good for 28 days or $100,000. What do you think your bill is going to be and what is the maximum number of days youíll be in the hospital? If you guessed $100,000 and 28 days, youíre good.

I walk into a drug store over the weekend and find that most of the over the counter sinus medicines are now under lock and key since the bad guys started them to convert the ingredients into something called crystal methamphetamine. Seems this is the new drug of the day. The newspapers this past week are all about this current epidemic and how we need to build more rehab units to handle these poor hopeless addicts.

Our hospitals, rehab centers and prisons are overcrowded now with our citizens who have given up on being a positive contribution to our society and are now relaxing in the luxury of the generosity of the taxpayers. The social programs we have instituted to provide for those who could care less about themselves much less the rest of us who are footing the bill are threatening to bankrupt us.

Talk to a teacher in this state or any other state and theyíll tell you they are struggling to keep up and make it on what they are paid. Here we have the basic foundation of our society who are being paid less than it costs to house and feed one person a year in our prisons. We could send all of our prisoners to Harvard for a higher education on what it costs to lock them up. The reality is that we have a 50% or higher illiteracy rate among the prisoners who are released after they serve their terms. If they couldnít read when they went into prison, how do we expect them to compete in a global economy when they get released? Itís a tragedy in my mind to lock someone up for 25 or 30 years and release them without teaching them to read and write. If the schools failed them the first time, why not make them learn before they can be released?

It seems to me that our society is built upside down. Instead of rewarding good behavior and helping those who are helping themselves, we are going out of our way to provide an environment for those who are self-destructive and not trying to be a productive part of our society.

I arrive at work this morning and find a notice from my electric company explaining how many millions they give out to those who canít pay their utility bills. I bet if I asked for any of this largesse Iíd be turned down flat.

Itís ok if you donít work and want to do drugs, weíll take care of you. Itís ok if you want to abandon your children, weíll get someone to take care of them. Itís even ok if you donít want to pay for your air-conditioning, weíll pay for it. Donít worry about trying to get a job or an education; you can just exist on what we hand out to you a little at a time. Weíll pay your rent and now weíll pay to get your car inspected, repaired and a newer one if you need one.

Meanwhile the rest of us are out here slugging away at it each day, paying taxes, fighting regulations, rising oil prices, global trade, impossible medical insurance, corporate fraud while trying to keep our heads above water. Sometimes I think the guy in prison has a better deal. It makes you wonder, doesnít it?

© Peary Perry
Comments go to pperry@austin.rr.com
Letters From North America
- August 2, 2005 column
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