I’m going to personal for a few minutes, then turn you over to a friend and leader I greatly admire, for a very personal reflection of his own.
I grew up in Nashville, Tenn., eldest son of Archie and Margaret Boone. Ours was a very happy and close family, two boys and two girls and a mama and a daddy who did everything they could to raise us properly and provide for all our real needs.
Daddy was a building contractor, and his small but widely respected company built schools and churches and homes all over middle Tennessee. With four kids, though, money was tight, and we never had a family car till I was in the eighth grade. It seemed all my friends’ families had some kind of car, even if it wasn’t new, but all we had was the Boone Contracting Co. pickup — durable but kind of beat up from all the work it had to do.
Daddy was a carpenter and architect by training, and he made a sturdy bench in the back for my brother Nick and me to ride on, right up against the cab of the truck. When it rained or was very cold, all six of us somehow jammed into the cab. At first it was fun, but as I headed into my teens, I was greatly embarrassed to be seen riding to church or school in the back of a pickup.
Increasingly, for several years, Nick and I begged, cajoled, and pleaded with Daddy, “Can’t we have some kind of car, even if it’s second hand?” And dear Daddy calmly said, “Kids, I’d like a car too, and I know you sure do. But we can’t afford it right now. We’re still buying our house, your clothes and schools, our groceries and doctor bills and everything else, besides taxes. When I can afford it, I’ll get us a car.”
And he did, when I was in the eighth grade. It was a two-door black Chevy, with absolutely no extras. But to me, it was a Cadillac, a beautiful, shiny, sleek chariot — and I felt I had moved up into some kind of equality with my friends.
What’s my point? And what’s this got to do with our fractured and severely threatened economy? Just this: I learned firsthand that sensible folks buy only what they can afford.
Though I would have loved for Daddy to do it, I’m so glad he didn’t hock his soul — and our future — giving in to our “wants.” Instead, he kept his eye on what we actually had to spend and what we really would need in the future, and though it had to hurt him to say no to us, he did it for our sakes.
Wouldn’t it be great if our elected leaders did the same thing?
We Americans have become such a “gimme” society, wanting all the latest stuff and willing to charge it all to some giant credit card. Knowing this, and actually sharing the same unreasonable desires, our Congress and both political parties promise to pay for everybody’s health and education needs, housing and retirement and welfare, everything anybody could want.
After all, they reason, there’s all that tax money, with more coming — and if we ever run out of that, we can just print more! Doesn’t everybody have a “right” to all this?
And now, President Obama and the Democrat-controlled congress have expressed their intention to ramrod a $10 trillion agenda during the next three years, doing all the above — and more!
Well, a much-respected black leader and conservative activist, Wayne Perryman, shared with me a letter a gentleman wrote to a granddaughter soon after Obama’s election. And I want to share it with you:
“Guess you heard that 68 percent of ‘the youth vote’ went to Obama. You’ve let me know that included you. So here are my thoughts.
“The election of Obama comes down to this. Your grandmother and I, your mother and other productive wage-earning taxpayers will have their taxes increased, and that means less income. Less income means we’ll have to cut back on basic purchases, gifts, and handouts. That includes firing the Hispanic lady who cleans our house twice a month. She just lost her job. We can’t afford her anymore.
“What is the economic effect of Obama’s election on you personally? Over the years, your grandmother and I have given you thousands of dollars in food, housing, cash, clothing, gifts, etc., etc. By your vote, you have chosen another family over ours for help.
“So in the future, if you need assistance with your rent, money for gas, tires for your car, someone to bring you lunch, etc., call (202) 456-1111. That’s the telephone number for the Office of the President of the United States. I’m sure Mr. Obama will be happy to send you a check from his personal or business accounts or leave cash in an envelope taped to your front door.
“It’s like this. Those who vote for the president should consider what the impact of an election will be on the nation as a whole, and not just be concerned with what they can get for themselves (welfare, etc.). What Obama voters don’t seem to realize is that the government’s money comes from taxes collected from families. Raising taxes on productive people means they will have less money to spend on their families.
“Congratulations on your choice. For future reference, you might attempt to add up all you’ve received from us, your mom, Mike’s parents and others — and compare it to what you expect to get over the next four years from Mr. Obama.
“To congratulate Mr. Obama and to make sure you’re on the list for handouts, write to: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C., 20500.
“Love you, but call the number listed above when you need help.
My daddy would have loved this anonymous granddad, and Wayne Perryman even more. I do, too. Why not visit him at www.wayneperryman.com? He’s a brave and brilliant man.
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