“Free Stuff on the Fourth” By James Jay Schifrin

           image022Yesterday in Patronage County, everybody was getting ready to eat BBQ and watch the fireworks to celebrate Independence Day, but our Consternated County Commissioners were complaining about the high price of gasoline these days ask themselves: are we truly free and independent?

        “Of course we are,” said Commissioner Filch. “Every Fourth of July, Americans celebrate the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The signers of the historical document declared themselves a sovereign and independent nation free from tyrannical British rule.”

        “You’re wrong, Filch,” Commissioner Pilfer interrupted. “The sad part is that Americans are more dependent on the government than ever before.”

        Then Commissioner Swindle explained: “Since our current recession began in December 2007, government programs have grown at an alarming rate. 128 million Americans or more than 41% of the population now receive benefits from one or more federal assistance program. Between 1988 and 2011, people receiving government assistance grew by 62%.”

        “Do you mean like people on welfare,” asked Commissioner Filch.

        “It’s not just welfare,” said Commissioner Swindle.  You have to include food stamps, subsidized housing, “free” medical care, “free” child care, and home energy assistance.”

        “According to the Senate Budget Committee, the federal government has spent $3.7 trillion on about 80 different poverty and welfare programs over the past five years,” Commissioner Pilfer added.

        “And the thing we really have to worry about,” philosophized Commissioner Swindle, “is when it’s time for us to get ourselves reelected every four years, is making sure all the voters in Patronage County believe all that free stuff is coming from us.” 

image020This op-ed column never appeared at any time in the feisty Mt. Washington Press personally edited by eminently renowned publisher Dennis Nichols