Trick or treat
By: Dan Juneau
It is one of my favorite days of the year. I sit on my front porch on a cool fall evening and watch the little apparitions approach in the twilight.
The youngest ones are especially cute as they tug on their ill-fitting costumes and often stumble as the excitement spurs them to run a bit too fast. They blurt out the “trick or treat” mantra; their parents remind them to express gratitude; and they trundle on to the next house with a porch light on.
Tonight, as I sit again on my porch - next to witches, skeletons, ghosts and scarecrows - I will ponder the symbolism of this ritual and what the future portends for the little ghosts and goblins smiling for the candy bestowed by neighbors. Hopefully, their futures will not be haunted - but I have my doubts. The “treats” doled out by politicians to their elders may prove to be the cruelest of “tricks” for these innocents as they march toward adulthood.
Even before the historic recent bailout of our financial system, today’s kindergartners were in harm’s way. Massive entitlement programs and the invasive practice of unbridled deficit spending has mortgaged their futures. There are no K Street lobbyists who cajole members of Congress to reverse the actions that have caused the prospects for a decent standard of living for these children to be so cloudy. Whatever hope there was for righting these wrongs was tossed out in the cold when our federal government fashioned its response to the latest financial crisis.
The future generation who will frolic in the cool autumn air tonight didn’t lobby for huge, substantially unfunded entitlements; they didn’t take out subprime loans they couldn’t afford; nor did they hide bad loans in sinister new financial instruments that led to the near collapse of the pillars of our financial system. But, once again, they are the ones who will bear the brunt of the even higher budget deficits that will result from the excesses of their elders. Trick or treat, indeed.
It is hard to calculate the trillions of dollars our government is committing to the financial bailout. Beyond the massive outlays and financial commitments to American financial institutions, our government has recently announced it will provide $30 billion each to numerous other countries experiencing financial crises. Where does all of the money come from and who will pay the price for it all?
The costly pandering continues as we move past Halloween and approach Election Day. Voters are promised tax cuts and even more entitlements from politicians masquerading as individuals who care. They attempt to out-bid each other for the votes of an electorate that has been conditioned to rebel against sacrifices and to expect government to provide a growing array of unfunded benefits. Few ponder the cost to our young, who will have to pay for this largesse once they enter the challenging workforce of the future.
Tonight I will enjoy the sights and sounds of another Halloween. I will watch the future voters of America smile brightly as they mask and have fun on another special evening. And I will lament what the politicians and many adults are doing to dampen the future of these youngsters. Poor kids. They have the bad luck of not being a member of a large voting block. Since they can’t deliver “treats” to the political class, they will continue to get “tricked.”