Tom McLaughlin

A former history teacher, Tom is a columnist who lives in Lovell, Maine. His column is published in Maine and New Hampshire newspapers and on numerous web sites. Email: tommclaughlin@fairpoint.net

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wagon-Pullers Getting Tired


Got an over-the-table job? Paying taxes? Paying for your own health insurance? Well, you’re pulling the wagon. If you’ve been pulling it very long, you’ve noticed that it’s getting heavier. That’s because there are more people riding and fewer pulling. How long can this go on? Not forever, that’s for sure and the load is about to get even heavier - much heavier. How long before the wagon runs into the ditch and everybody falls off?

Do you know people who work, but make make most of their money under the table? Who don’t pay taxes? Don’t pay medical insurance? If you’re like most of us you don’t just know them, you’re related to them. They’re everywhere. They ride the wagon when they get sick or injured, but they don’t take their turn pulling it. They walk alongside and snicker at the rest of us in the harness.

But you get your medical insurance free because your employer pays it, you say? There’s no such thing as free. For those with, say, an Anthem family policy, it costs more than $50 a day and it’s part of your compensation whether you know it or not. Your employer knows it because he figures it into the cost of employing you. He could give you the $50 and let you send the check to the insurance company, but then the government would take some of it too and you’d pay even more. Nothing is free. Somebody pays. The wagon-pullers pay.

How many people do you know who have gone on disability? How many of them are actually disabled and unable to work? How many have grossly exaggerated their ailments to “qualify” with the help of lawyers from Binder and Binder? I bet you’re related to some of them too. Most of us are.

“The trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money,” said former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The wagon-pullers either quit or collapse in harness and that’s happening already in the UK. It’s nearly bankrupt. With it’s enormous social programs and surging illegal immigrant population, so is California. The whole USA headed down the same road - and with “bailouts” of a trillion here and a trillion there, we’re picking up speed.

The $825 billion “economic stimulus” package is being shaped by the Democrats in control of Congress and the White House as I write. Obama’s chief economic advisor, Robert Reich, testified before Congress, saying: “I am concerned, as I’m sure many of you are, that these jobs not simply go to high-skilled people who are already professionals, or to white male construction workers.”

Hmm.

Not only will we have increasingly socialist tax policies, money raised will be spent according to race. I thought the Obama Administration was going to be the first “post-racial” presidency. Did I miss something? Reich went on to say: “Criteria can be set so that the money does go to others - the long-term, unemployed minorities, women - people who are not necessarily construction workers or high-skilled professionals.”

Hmm.

Obama says he wants to build roads and bridges and other infrastructure with all that money. He assures us that there are plenty of these projects “shovel-ready” all around the country, just waiting for the funds to go ahead. I can see myself now - being stopped by a chubby wagon-rider with an orange vest, a walkie-talkie, and a STOP sign on a pole in front of a government work crew standing around, leaning on those shovels and smoking cigarettes.

Later, when I drive over one of those “new-infrastructure” bridges, I’ll remember that there weren’t any “highly-skilled, white professionals” involved in building it and I’ll thank God if I make it to the other side.

President Obama told Joe the Plumber he would “spread the wealth around” by raising taxes on the “rich.” Trouble is, the “rich” are paying most of the taxes already and, if you’ve worked all your life and you’re still alive, you’re one of them. As a teacher with a wife and three kids thirty years ago, I was “poor” - officially under the federal poverty line. I’m still a teacher, but with two additional part-time jobs, a working wife and four grown-and-gone children - but now I’m “rich.” Rich and poor are not static categories and my story is not unusual. The top half of American earners pay 96% of federal income taxes. The bottom half pay less than 4%. If you factor in the “earned income tax credit,” most of that bottom half pay less than nothing; they get paid instead. Yet Obama and Pelosi want to give them a rebate! On what? You have to pay first to get money “back.” Let’s just call it what it is - a massive redistribution of income from wagon pullers to wagon riders.

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18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The government creates a problem so they can come to the rescue and fix it. They are destroying the dollar so they (and the world powers behind the scenes) can decide the dollar is no good any more and initiate a "world currency" under UN control to fix the problem. "He who controls the money rules the world." I don't know who said that, but is is certainly true. Tighten your seatbelts, folks. The ride os going to be rough.

Harvey in North Baldwin

1/28/09, 10:38 AM  
Blogger aliledar said...

Great article, Tom, as usual! I'm so glad that in the past few articles you are really getting into the facts of our economic and social situations today - and how those facts are demolishing this great nation and what made it special and therefore great.
I AM getting tired!
Alice, a tired wagon-puller

1/28/09, 10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom, as usual, you're right on the mark. What you write is plain, common sense. It makes me wonder if those creating these policies are intentionally pushing us on the same path as Rome. How can we not collapse? True, there are people in need and I feel the gov't (as well as our Churches, extended families, and even neighbors) should serve as a temporary safety net to help those get back on their feet. But unfortunately, our gov't policies have created not only a sense of entitlement but generational dependency. I would much rather teach a man to fish than to hand him one each day.

As a capitalist I see a silver-lining in what you predict. Perhaps I can invent some type of flotation device that comes equipped only on environmentally-friendly vehicles (not SUV's)so that in the likely event of a bridge collapse - due to inferior craftsmanship - airbags are deployed thus saving lives. This idea will probably never get off the ground for I can't afford the the workmen's comp, matching social security taxes, income taxes, etc.

I sometimes wish John Lennon would have written additional lyrics into his song, "Imagine" like "Imagine no accountants, it's easy if you try, no 1099 or FICA ....." You get the picture. Too bad he took the Godless, communist route .... the song had so much potential.

My liberal friends tell me there's going to be a revolution in this country because of all the excess the rich people have and how the system is rigged for their benefit. And yet the top 10% of income earners in this country are floating approximately more than 90% of the nut. It is very easy to attack a minority group when you are a politician. And doling out the freebies ensures political job security.

Many have read the book; If you get a chance, rent the John Adams mini-series produced by HBO. It will show you how far we've deviated from the path chosen by brillant men and women.

Keep up the good work, Tom, and thank you for taking all the arrows for us up here.

- You friend on the other side of the Hill

1/28/09, 11:35 AM  
Anonymous Gordon Davis said...

Right on the mark as always Tom! Keep up the fight,you are not alone!

1/28/09, 6:50 PM  
Anonymous Samantha Bradley said...

What a totally irrelevant photo. You are clearly an islamophobic sociopath and your writing sucks.

1/29/09, 9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THE BIGGER PICTURE

Whether we like it or not, the 21st. century will be known by future historians as the century when the peoples of the world came together. By the end of the century there will be no such thing as a European, an African or Asian, we will all be in the stamp of Barack Obama and Tiger Woods.

We may regard this with fear and loathing and mourn the loss of variety etc. but it is inevitable.

That will make out century as the last of the great shakedown epochs that the human race will go through. It will, unfortunately for us, mean decades of war, strife and massive experiments in human living systems.

Face it, it is here! Gordo

1/29/09, 9:57 AM  
Anonymous TC said...

Samantha.

You are absolutely right! The comrade McLaughlin has repeatedly shown a lack of ideological discipline in the past.

I suggest a public trial of the traitor in front of a People's Tribunal.

The USSA has to protect itself against islamophobic sociopaths and all other enemies of the people.

I say, send the reactionary McLaughlin off to re-education camp in the potatoe fields of Maine!

Kommissar TC

1/29/09, 8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. McLaughln,

I'm confused about your article on wagon-pullers. ? My wife and I have counted on both hands the number of people we know who are on disability. Some of them earn more than we do. I work in the construction field, as my father and brothers did. My wife and I have no children, so we don't get any government credits. The taxes we pay are no different than anyone who has ten children. Health insurance deductions from my check total over $500.00 monthly for an HMO with an extremely high deductible. I've built bridges and I can guarantee you would make it to the other side. I don't consider myself a chubby, cigarette smoking, wagon rider. I smoke cheap cigars because I can't afford the good ones. Did I interpret your article correctly?

1/29/09, 8:26 PM  
Blogger Tom McLaughlin said...

Anonymous:

You got it. I hope your harness isn't chafing too much.

You're probably one of those highly-skilled, white construction workers Reich warned us about. Am I right?

I suggest you click on the link to watch and hear Reich testifying on Youtube if you haven't already. It's Charlie Rangel's butt Pee-wee Reich is kissing. Rangel has been riding on the wagon quite a bit lately, avoiding taxes wherever he can, but he's still legislating for the Dems.

1/30/09, 6:43 AM  
Blogger gaffer said...

Tom, I am one of those tired wagon pullers. My wife and I are almost 77 and have never ever taken one dollar of government money with the exception of social security, which we paid dearly into for many years.

I too, have used the wagon analogy, and all are going to suffer when the wagon stops. My guess is the wagon pullers will be much better prepared to pain when it stops than those who have been riding in it all these many years.

2/3/09, 2:17 PM  
Blogger TC said...

Slightly OT but "funny as hell"! From the AP:

"Iran's launch of its first satellite into space is a grave cause for concern to the U.S. as the Islamic Republic continues to work toward developing long-range missile capability, the Pentagon and White House said Tuesday.

Tuesday's launch of its first domestically made satellite "does not convince us that Iran is acting responsibly to advance stability or security in the region," said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

Gibbs said any effort to develop missile delivery capability, continue an illicit nuclear program, threaten Israel and sponsor terror is an "acute concern to this administration."

"It is certainly a reason for us to be concerned about Iran and its continued attempts to develop a ballistic missile program of increasingly long range," Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters Tuesday.

"They (Iran) pose a real threat and it is a growing threat," he said."

REALLY??

Now, what was it, that the kid in the White House said? Direct dialogue, if they open their fist?

Seems to me, the mullahs have read a little more Machiavelli and Khomeini than the prez, no?

But, does it matter at all? As we're all gonna be brown and muslim in 100 years, who cares?

2/3/09, 4:37 PM  
Blogger Tom McLaughlin said...

TC:

Don't those mullahs have any hope for change? What's wrong with them? It's time for them to unclench their fists.

Maybe now that our new Secretary of State has reminded them, they'll loosen up.

Don't be so cynical.

2/3/09, 6:12 PM  
Blogger Tom McLaughlin said...

I suspect you're right Gaffer. They'll have to start from scratch in the "taking care of yourself" department. It's not going to be a pretty thing to watch.

2/3/09, 6:24 PM  
Blogger TC said...

Awww, that's TOO bad. The same day Iran surprises the White House with its considerably advanced missile technology, North Korea plays with its own intercontinental ballistic toys:

"... the missile being readied may be an upgrade of the Taepodong-2, said Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Dongguk University. The North reportedly has been trying to develop an advanced version of Taepodong-2 capable of striking the west coast of the mainland United States."

I would like to suggest three ways to cope with that:

1) offer them dialogue

2) offer them a "STIMULUS" payment. If communist ACORN can get $ 5.2 Billion, why not communist North Korea?

3) If they nuke a city on the West Coast, could they make that San Francisco on the day of the Folsom Street Fair? http://www.zombietime.com/folsom_sf_2007_part_2/ (this is the G-rated version)

2/3/09, 8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anju said...

Dear Miss. Samantha,

Allow me to review your comment.

1. "What a totally irrelevant photo."
Irrelevant you say? Really, how? It is a wagon, and a very crowded wagon at that. It
depicts the metaphor of "Wagon-Puller", a clever phrase used to describe the situation
that the United States is currently suffering from. The situation being the topic of the
article.

2. "Islamophobic"

No, rather Radical Islamophobic, but then again who wouldn't be afraid of an enemy
who is more than willing to die to kill us? We cannot negotiate with such an enemy,
they believe in what they do and they're looking forward to meeting Allah and their 72
virgins.

3. "sociopath"

Well, let's define the term first, dictionary.com says...
"a person, as a psychopathic personality, whose behavior is antisocial and who lacks
a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience."


Now let's break that down to define "antisocial". dictionary.com says...
"Tending to interrupt or destroy social intercourse; averse to society, or hostile to its
existence; as, antisocial principles."


Really now, McLaughlin isn't like that at all. He teaches a class, has a family and
interacts like any other person. He isn't antisocial. He even posts his blog under his
own identity, ready to accept any comments or criticism... unlike certain people
who go under an e-status and spew hostile and seemingly random insults over what I'm
going to guess to be jealousy.

4. "and your writing sucks."

Oh, really? The article has an introduction, a body and conclusion. The writing is
smooth, easy to understand and retains a point, not going off of the topic. I'd really
like to see you prove your statement by writing more than two little sentences containing
nothing more than rude, irrelevant insults toward someone who is not afraid to actually
back-up their opinion with actual facts.

Now, as for the article. I agree with 90% of this article. While we obviously are
neck-deep in economic crisis and many, if not more than three quarters, of the people
on both wellfare and disability are lazy, fat and are sitting at home in front of the television
whilst complaining of their "sore back". But I really do believe that Obama can fix this
country and restore the old "American dream". For the mean time, we just have to tax
those that have the money. It's not fair, no, it most certainly isn't, but it may be one of
those things that we have to grin and bear to get through these hard times.

Wonderful article and please keep writing,
Anju

2/3/09, 11:04 PM  
Blogger TC said...

We’ll Just Take the Cute Ones, Thanks
by Baron Bodissey


Everyone knows what happens to a litter of puppies at the animal shelter: the cute, friendly, affectionate, and robust pups are adopted first, and the ugly, ill-looking, strange, and bad-tempered ones are left behind. If they never find a willing owner, they eventually have to be put down.

That’s the situation the United States finds itself in vis-à-vis the prisoners being held at the Guantánamo naval base in Cuba. President Obama has declared that, by golly, he will definitely close down the notorious sinkhole of depravity and torture! But now he faces the problem of what to do with all those puppies, so he’s asked the Europeans to help.

The problem is that there aren’t very many cute puppies left, and the Europeans say they will only take cute puppies — that is, prisoners who aren’t a security risk.

Now, think for a minute: why would any prisoner still be at Gitmo if he weren’t a security risk? Do the Euro-snots really believe that we are keeping those poor innocent multicultural fellows there just for the pleasure of waterboarding them?

2/5/09, 1:24 PM  
Anonymous Bill Allen said...

Tom, while I am greatly entertained and occasionally informed by your ramblings I believe you miss an important fact. As the table below shows, unless Maine pays FAR more for teachers than I believe they do, you are not, nor never will be a puller. If I am wrong, maybe you could explain how you have so much extra time after your teaching responsibilities to generate the income to put yourself in the top financial %20 of Americans? Remember, %85 of the wealth in this country resides in the top %20 of the population. Also, the majority of taxes are collected from the lesser %85. Why is it that Republican\conservatives always confuse fairness with socialism. The bottom %85 is simply tired of supporting the upper %20 and wants a little more financial pie! Only natural. I greatly agree with the amount of abusers to the disability system as I know so many of them. What is surprising is how many claim republican/conservative standing.Not an accusation just a questioning observation. Gotta go look for work. Just finished filing for unemployment benefits for the first time in 35 years. Anyone with the slightest knowledge of economics knows that this economy is not the result of any of President Obamas actions.......

Bill Allen
Ossipee, NH

3/2/10, 7:44 AM  
Blogger Tom McLaughlin said...

Bill,
Writing and property management, plus various business deals, earn me as much as teaching does. Plus, my kids are all grown and I have no debt. I pay nearly 15% of my business earnings in self-employment tax alone before I pay state and federal income taxes. I've been pulling the wagon for quite a while now.

I'm genuinely sorry about your layoff, but when you say "Anyone with the slightest knowledge of economics knows that this economy is not the result of any of President Obamas actions......."
well, I have to advise you to stop drinking that Democrat Kool-aid.

3/2/10, 8:11 AM  

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