Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Roof Perchers and Retirement

Roof-perchers. That’s what Laura Ingraham calls them, and their numbers are rising. They’re people who depend on government for everything. If there’s a flood coming, they don’t heed evacuation orders. They don’t head for higher ground. They certainly don’t keep an inflatable raft on hand. They climb on their rooves and wait for government to rescue them. If there’s any delay, they whine to the media who amplify their complaints. Why don’t they take common-sense precautions? They don’t have to, they don’t want to, and they’ll never learn to until government cuts them loose.

That’ll never happen, you say. Oh yeah? As the roof-perchers increase, the number of rescuers declines. More are climbing on the wagon to ride between floods while wagon-pullers are getting tired and getting scarce too. To sustain their ever-increasing numbers, President Obama will increase taxes on the rich, right? Trouble is, the rich are already paying most of the taxes. The top 1% pay more income tax than the bottom 90%. How much more does the president think he can squeeze out of them until they collapse? How long before the goose that laid the golden egg lays down and dies? It’s unsustainable. The socialist programs he’s pushing haven’t worked anywhere they’ve been tried and they won’t work here either.

Last June, Iowa flooded. Did you see people on rooves waiting for government to rescue them? I didn’t. Why were there so many in New Orleans? Because people there are descended from generations who have depended on government. Soon, with all President Obama’s bailout programs and pork-barrel, “economic stimulus” programs, most of the country will become roof-perchers and wagon riders just like them. They’ll reach a critical mass even in places like Iowa and there won’t be enough rescuers or wagon-pullers to keep things running. Eventually, someone is going to call 911 and nobody will be there to answer the phone.

It’s tough watching it all unravel around us. I knew it was was going to get worse when left-wing Democrats consolidated their control over Washington DC, but I didn’t think it would start collapsing so quickly. Meanwhile, it seems every other person I bump into lately asks me, “When are you going to retire?”

Heh. What a quaint notion. Retirement doesn’t seem sustainable either.

I’ve been teaching in the same community for a long time and I have children of former students in class regularly. “You must have enough years in by now,” people say. I don’t think I’ll be able to stop working until I’m either dead or drooling in a rocking chair, but I’m more fortunate than many. I have three jobs and I like them all. The work is interesting, rewarding, and I enjoy most of the people I work with. It gets a little hectic, but my schedule is flexible enough where I can get away from time to time. I’ve been eligible to retire for a while. Theoretically, I can depend on pension checks for life.


However, I’m hearing horror stories from friends in the private sector about their retirement funds disappearing as stock markets nosedive. Some envy my public-sector retirement “guarantees,” but should they? Is my pension secure? It says so on paper in the state capitol, but I don’t believe it. The Maine State Retirement System is a pension fund like others. It’s invested. Market declines hit MSRS as hard as they hit someone’s 401K and it’s down 28% for 2008 - the biggest decline ever. I hate to even look at what’s happened to it in the six weeks since Obama was inaugurated. But it’s is backed up by the taxpayers according to statute, right? Uh-huh. This poverty-stricken state is one of the highest-taxed states in the country already. Do I want to depend on the prudence of Maine State Government for my support? I’d rather depend on myself, but I’ve been forced to give them my money for three decades. I had no choice.

My wife and I had four children and they’re all working, but most of my generation had smaller families, in Maine and elsewhere. Our population would be declining if not for immigrants pouring in, many of them illegal, and with a higher percentage of them riding on the wagon than the native population. Making matters worse, Maine is a sanctuary state with better-than-average welfare benefits for illegals and all other kinds of roof-perchers and wagon-riders who move here.

But I’ll still have Social Security to help in my declining years, right? Hah! That’s funny. Retirement? People used to do that in the good old days. Roof perchers and wagon riders retire early, but retirement of for the middle class is history. That’s the kind of change President Obama has brought us.


Anonymous said...

Tom,all so sad ,but all so true. Seems that the illegals get more before they get a job if ever, then we will get after paying into the "system" for a lifetime!
You tell it like it is, keep up the good work! John Georgetown, Ma

Anonymous said...

Boo hoo! Poor Tommy Boy will never be able to retire because of those lazy dark and tan people hitching a ride on his wagon.

Tom McLaughlin said...

Mr. Gutless Anonymous playing the race card.

Guess that's all liberals can do when they have no arguments.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Tom, I think that "Mr. Gutless" actually does have an argument here. Why does it constitute "playing the race card" when someone picks up on a point you make that could be interpreted as having questionable racial undertones. Some clarification might be in order as to what the striking difference is between Iowa and Louisiana. The first answer that comes to mind is that there is a much larger minority population in LA than in IA. Please, correct me if I am mistaken in my interpretation?

Tom McLaughlin said...

Nothing in my column refers to race, only behavior.

You and the other Anonymous seem to want to bring into it.


Anonymous said...

Great op-ed...nothing to do w/ race and everything to do w/ ideology and basic ethics(work ethic,day to day life ethic and family ethic) The basic premise of "ask NOT what your country can do for you...but what you can do for your country"(preparedness....plain and simple in caring for yourself vs.government taking care of you)...crawl off that roof,stand tall and declare a minor "bump"..that makes all things possible. (I think that this is what Tom believes the Iowans had going for them) Thanks Tom for not fearing the P.C. Laurie Bartlett N.H.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 2

I do not know, if Tom wanted to bring in "questionable racial undertones". I rather doubt it.

That being said though, IF Tom had wanted to imply, that the vast majority of US welfare junkies are "those lazy dark and tan people" that Anonymous 1 is talking about, that 2 out of 3 black kids don't have a dad at home and that the black population is significantly overrepresented in violent crime statistics and within the prison population, AND that those are the people who are the mainstay of democratic party votes, and that we cannot afford welfare for roof dwellers anymore, what would be wrong with saying that?

One of the major problems of this country is the fact, that the TRUTH is considered "hate speech" these days!


Anonymous said...

Tom, you are absolutely right. The corporate wagon pullers start leaving the country as we speak.

The bottom of this slippery slope are total corporate taxes at 76% (Europe) and all the companies that can afford to leave, GONE!

THIS is how it starts!

We're headed for the dark ages, poverty and social unrest!


Anonymous said...

As one who retired, am now 77 years old and watching what I thought earlier, was sufficient to last me, now shrinking dangerously small; let me say you are right to think that you will have to keep working. I did until 67 and now wish I had worked longer as my retirement funds fail to keep up with the inflation and cost of everything.

As someone said,"I was young once and it was fun, you have not been old yet and you will find it much less enjoyable."

Anonymous said...

Mark Steyn: Welcome, kids, to the Brokest Generation