Nation’s gravy train running out of gravy

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 13, 2011

When the prompt asked if I wanted to take advantage of a federal tax credit, aptly named “Making Work Pay,” of course I replied, “Yes.”

A seemingly free — not costing me anything — $400 for doing what, exactly? Oh, working. Making work pay, from the days delivering newspapers door-do-door with a stolen shopping cart and a beat-up dog named Heidi, meant getting up each morning and going to work. Find someone willing to pay you for what you do and do it, then get paid.

I did nothing spectacular to be given $400. And where exactly is that $400 coming from? Is it coming from the evil rich? My next door neighbor? Or will it just be added to the ballooning national debt and annual deficits?

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In reality, the $400 is less than peanuts in our financial world. It’s less than that red filmy material that covers a peanut. But multiply that $400 by the number of people taking advantage of that credit and it adds up quickly.

It’s a government payoff, something to which this country has become right accustomed. And it is certainly something from which we are going to have to ween ourselves.

Last week, according to the website, America’s national debt is $14.2 trillion — that’s 14 and 12 zeros. The nation’s unfunded liabilities — Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security for sure — are a whopping $112 trillion.

Eventually, mathematics is going to prevail and we will face a couple of options — leave our creditors out to dry with no plans of paying or make incredibly difficult choices.

The gravy train is running out of gravy. The wreck is imminent, unless we can learn to really sacrifice and make hard choices. My grandparents made hard choices starting on Dec. 7, 1941, when Japan attacked America, bringing this nation into World War II. My grandparents rationed gas, food, fuel and whatever else they had to for the better good.

Many now don’t work for the nation’s greater good, only their own greater good. And much of that greater good comes from politicians who want nothing more than your vote and are willing to hand out “free” money to get it.

Until the citizens — all of them — are willing to sacrifice for the country’s greater good, nothing will be done. And as it stands now, the people would rather get a “free” $400 payoff for working than making the changes to keep this country afloat.

Sean P. Murphy is web editor. He can be reached at