The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Columns

March 19, 2013

Primus Mootry: America becoming leaner, meaner in nation of ‘takers’

Just about everyone is familiar with the term “leaner and meaner.”

It is generally regarded as a good thing. You know, getting rid of whatever physical, emotional or social baggage that has kept you from soaring; and getting down to your fighting weight, dukes up, ready to take on any adversary. No holds barred. Lean. Mean.

That’s a good thing, don’t you think? It sure sounds a lot grittier than that soapy George Herbert Walker Bush stuff about a “kinder, gentler nation.” I never liked that idea anyway. It made it sound as though our country had been neither kind nor gentle. It flies in the face of American exceptionalism and the Second Amendment.

On the other hand, “lean and mean” has got teeth in it. Big teeth.

It properly identifies nearly half the nation as “takers” who pay little or no federal taxes; live off the sweat, work and wealth others create; and who sit on their sorry duffs, waiting for their government check.

Who cares if they are single moms who never graduated from high school and never held a real job in their miserable young lives? And so what if they are stuck at home having baby, after baby, after baby. Then, of course, there’s their uneducated, unemployed, jailbird, drug-selling “baby daddies.” It’s time to get mean.

It warmed the cockles of my heart that Indiana is considering drug testing for these people, many of whom are on a government gift program called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Back in the mid-1990s, TANF replaced that other old welfare program, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, required its recipients to get a job within two years, and limited aid to no more than five non-consecutive years. TANF doesn’t work, but who cares?

Well, even though the program serves the elderly, the physically and mentally disabled, people who got displaced from their jobs, and veterans, it doesn’t change the fact that some of these people are crooks. How much TANF cash do these slackers get per year? I’m glad you asked.

Although the amount varies from state to state, it’s about $2,500 for a family of one (probably some elderly drug dealer), and $5,000 or so for a family of four. So, you see, it is absolutely scandalous that these lazy, greedy people would take our tax money and buy drugs. Drug tests and severe penalties are the only sensible answer.

That reminds me. I read somewhere that the city of Indianapolis is also considering an ordinance to get beggars off its downtown streets. Even though they have committed no crime, these beggars are a nuisance. They hurt tourism. Some may be crime-prone. Or they may be carrying diseases such as leprosy.

New York had that problem. Even worse, Times Square was once infested with male and female prostitutes, XXX-rated live shows and movie houses, and panderers of every sort imaginable. But former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and the NYPD fixed all that. He and the police got mean and lean. Who cares if they trampled a few freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution (you know, the right to privacy, peaceful assembly, unwarranted search and seizure, etc.) — they cleaned the place up. Ends justify means, you know.  

The only downside I know is that far fewer politicians, businessmen, teachers, preachers and other upstanding citizens now visit the area at night. But that’s a small price to pay for clean sidewalks, don’t you think?

Anyway, I wanted to chat a bit about last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference and how Ann Coulter, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, Allen West and other conservatives wowed the crowd with their lean and mean ideas to lead America backward.

Most important, they are still committed to winning the White House again with a well-funded, broadly based media and personal appeal to Hispanics, blacks, Asians, women, gays and other groups who apparently missed the conservative memo in the last election.

Unfortunately, I can’t go into depth about the conference because I have run out of space.   

Besides, one of my favorite movies is about to come on. It’s a re-run of “The Wizard of Oz.” Dorothy. Toto. The Wicked Witch of the West. The Great Oz, and all the rest. It’s one of the greatest movies ever, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Have a nice day.

Anderson resident Primus Mootry is a retired school teacher. His column appears Wednesdays in The Herald Bulletin.

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