Just People Helping People? (by Mark St.Cyr)

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This week the airwaves were once again abuzz with a soundbite from
some campaign supporter screaming why you should support their
candidate. The reason? Free stuff.

I’m not insinuating condemnation for any candidate or person. No matter what side of the aisle your on or whom one supports it
breaks down just the same for rich or poor: Who’s going to give
me more stuff?

It’s that mind-set that has us all in trouble. Just too
many of us don’t see a tax break, or a deduction, or the myriad of other
scenarios in the same light. We’ve moved (or moving) away from a very important uniquely American

American’s have never been opposed to paying levies to support
infrastructure as to better the lives of everyone here. This includes everything
from social programs; to sewers and space exploration. It’s the why,
when, and how that’s gone awry in my view.

Discussions and debate with open reasoning have been replaced with
nothing more than both a verbal and at times a physical resemblance to
tactics of WWI’s trench warfare. Both sides digging in deeper with
Generals claiming victory for not losing any ground. All the while
everyone suffers from the people in the trenches, to the families they
leave behind; to the crushing of the infrastructure they both say they're
fighting to protect. As now as it was then – it’s maddening.

During a discussion the other day I was trying to explain this
dilemma facing all of us. As usual, I just couldn’t get the point
across. They were too interested in standing their ground before hearing
me out. So I used a scenario I wrote years ago to help make my point. I
offer it here…

(Insert any name here) decided to call their Government because they
noticed that if others were getting a (handout, bailout, free stuff, you
decide) why shouldn’t they ask and get something also? If everyone else
is getting something why not them? After all it’s free so why not?

The phone was answered by a very monotone voice and asked what was
needed. Once they were told the voice stated: “We need to check for
funding please hold.” As they waited online they suddenly heard a
vehicle screech to a halt at their neighbor’s home.

They stood shocked as they watched a number of government officials
forcing their way into their neighbor’s home then leaving with what
appeared to be money. The monotone voice came back on the line and
stated: “Funding for the request had been appropriated.”

The caller now stunned asked if they just took the money from their
neighbor? The voice replied: “Of course. The government doesn’t really
have money of its own. It all comes from other tax payers such as your
neighbors. Don’t worry you’re not the first to ask. We get this question
a lot nowadays. But relax, your request has been appropriated and

Feeling uncomfortable with what happened they asked if their neighbor
would know? The voice replied: “That’s very unlikely. However if you’re
uncomfortable with us appropriating your funding with someone so close,
we could get the final funding elsewhere from someone in another region
of the country.”

Still nervous yet feeling better as they wouldn’t know the person
directly the caller said: “Oh yes please. That would be better.”  The
voice said fine and hung up the phone.

Some time had passed and the incident near forgotten when suddenly
they heard a screech of tires outside their garage. It appeared the same
people they seen go into their neighbor’s home were now forcing their
way into this former callers garage.

When they demanded to be told what they were doing. They were
informed they had come for one of their cars while stating this should
be of little consequence for them since they had two. Someone somewhere
had none and needed the other.

But this former caller yelled: “I just bought that!”

Undeterred the government officials confiscated the car and informed
them they should be thankful they were able to help out someone because
the car was going to a good cause of supplying free vehicles to the

As this former caller stood slack-jawed the official decided to tell
them of another program being offered so that they may prepare and not
be caught off guard if they returned. He stated in a rather monotone

“They’re thinking of introducing another program since so many people
are requesting free items there must truly be a need. So they should
also be prepared to cover the repairs, gas, or other expenses of this
vehicle if needed. After all, they would not have bought a second car if
they couldn’t afford all the added expenses. And they should consider
themselves a winner of life’s lottery. Only people who are in need would
request something for free from the government. So be thankful you
could afford two let alone one. Remember – were here to help you.”

The former caller just hung their head only to now realize a few of life’s truths.

Nothing is for free – and what comes around, really does go around.

© 2012 Mark St.Cyr   www.MarkStCyr.com