At my elbow is a letter from President Biden that came in the mail this past weekend. It’s torn in half, dotted with coffee grounds, and slightly soggy, because I just now retrieved it from my kitchen wastebasket.
I rescued this letter from the banana peels, other junk mail, and a chicken carcass to read it one more time in the face of the inflation and tough economic times coming down the pike in our country.
Let’s dissect this letter for a moment, particularly the paragraph in which the president writes:
When I took office, I promised the American people that help is on the way. The American Rescue plan makes good on that promise. The bill was passed to provide emergency relief to Americans. I want to be sure you receive all the benefits that you are entitled to.
Sentence #1: Biden was not alone in promising that help was on the way. Congress promised the same. Former President Trump sent out a similar relief check. Now President Biden, in an act of egotism, sends us a letter to let us know that help has come in the form of a $1,400 check or direct deposit for most Americans.
Reading this sentence recalls Ronald Reagan’s famous quip: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.’”
Who asked for this help? Who wanted the government to spend trillions more of our money? Not anyone I know.
Like millions of Americans, I didn’t need that help. And like nearly all Americans, I’ll be paying for it for a long time in inflated prices for goods and services, higher taxes, and onerous public debt. The sum of these burdens will, I am certain, far exceed the assistance derived from those relief checks.
Sentence #2: “The American Rescue plan” is like throwing an anchor rather than a lifesaver ring to a drowning man. See my comments on Sentence #1.
Sentence #3: Notice the use of the passive verb “was passed.” Passive voice often provides an escape route from responsibility. “Mom, your lamp is broken,” calls the little boy rather than saying, “Mom, I broke your lamp kicking the soccer ball in the living room.”
Politicians favor the passive voice even more than five-year-olds. “Taxes were raised last year,” a member of Congress says. How much better that sounds to voters than to declare, “I voted to raise your taxes last year.” “Masks will be worn in all schools, churches, and places of businesses,” a governor says, not “I am ordering everyone to wear masks everywhere.”
Passive voice takes the speaker off the hook.
In the same sentence, we see “emergency relief.” Undoubtedly, some Americans did need some help, in part because of the coronavirus shutdowns, which, if we recollect, various state and local governments instituted. Many people I know didn’t need or seek this “relief” and understand the staggering costs of these ridiculous giveaways and the damage they will do to our country.
And what exactly was the “emergency?” By the time people received these deposits into their bank accounts, we were nearly a year into the pandemic. Where’s the emergency?
Sentence #4: “I want to be sure you receive all the benefits you are entitled to.”
How kind that President Biden personally wants to be certain we have received benefits.
In the meantime, I must wonder exactly what I am “entitled to.” How did it happen I was entitled to a $1,400 check? What did I do to deserve that entitlement? If I’m entitled to $1,400, might I not be entitled to $100,000?
I don’t feel entitled to much in this world except for my natural rights as a human being to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When the government throws out money like candy at a Christmas parade, it threatens to abolish those rights. These giveaways make slaves, not free men and women.
A final note: Please stop. Please stop with the spending. A lot of us out here beyond the Washington Beltway are doing just fine. Yes, we’re struggling and we’re working hard, but we aren’t stupid. We see that all this cash is adding up to a crushing debt on our children and grandchildren. We understand that inflation is a tax on all citizens, that the loss of purchasing power hits all of us, particularly the poor and the middle class.
Please stop with the entitlements and benefits. Let’s aim instead at getting the country up and running again.
Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at jeffminick.com. He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.