"A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves." — French philosopher Bertrand de Jouvenel (1903-1987)
My brother sent me one of those “pass in on” e-mails that seen to circulate in cyberspace with some regularity. This particular electronic epistle was a letter directed at former Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY) regarding comments he made calling senior citizens the “Greediest Generation” as he compared "Social Security to a Milk Cow with 310 million teats” in August, 2010 during his recent tenure on the President’s Budget Commission.
After reading this anonymous letter I began thinking about the comments the writer made and how they pertained to me. The more I pondered these remarks the angrier I became. So, with that in mind I decided to expand on the writer’s remarks in the context of my own life.
The following is my open letter to Senator Alan Simpson.
Dear Senator Simpson:
I was particularly annoyed by your remarks directed at seniors who were he current or soon to be recipients of Social Security and Medicare saying they were citizens or the greediest generation and like a milk cow 319 million teats.
First let me tell you something about myself so you may better understand of which I speak.
I am a retired professional civil engineer and land surveyor. I am a self-educated high school graduate who has never taken a penny of public money for my personal use or that of my family.
I began working while in high school at the ripe old age of 16 and since then the days of work I missed were the ones while I was relocating for Ohio to California, a state that you and your cohorts managed to destroy with your taxes and regulations.
For the nest 55 years of my life I supported my family by practicing my chosen profession and offering my services to those who needed them. This meant that for 55 years I paid federal and state income tax, FICA, SDI and Medicare taxes, gasoline taxes, sales taxes, property taxes and sales taxes. All of these taxes were paid with a belief that I was contributing to my retirement, my future health care and the public good. I did not ask or elect to pay the Social Security or Medicare taxes. You and your cohorts in crime forced me to pay them. You told me I the money I and my employer were was paying was going into a trust fund that I would be able to draw upon at my retirement. You said this was a sacred contract between my government and me, a contract that I could depend upon. You and your cohorts lied. What you really sold me was a Ponzi scheme, something Bernie Madoff is serving a life term in federal prison for. Why aren’t you and your cohorts with him?
As I stated earlier when I was 16 years of age I began working at the profession I would make my life-long vocation. I worked hard and studied when I could. I took correspondence courses and attended night school and seminars for which I paid for with my hard earned dollars. I did not take a dime of public money for my education — no student loans, no scholarships, no government subsides and no preferential treatment because of my race or ethnicity.
For the next 16 years I work for someone else until I, along with two partners, opened our own civil engineering and land surveying business. For the next ten years I along with my partners work 10-14 hours six days a week to build our business and provide jobs for others. During this time I performed many daily tasks including providing professional and technical services, managing a business, marketing the firm, business development and attending continuing education classes so I could better serve my clients. What were you doing this time? I bet you were busy raising other people’s money to finance your next political campaign by promising them more of my money.
After ten years of denying my family much of my personal time we had built our business to 100 employees. During this time I was raising a family of three children and supporting my aging parents who were living with us. You see my wife and I bought a house large enough to comfortably be a home to the seven of us with my parents having a three room suite of their own.
Oh, I almost neglected to mention that my wife also worked as a bank executive for 30 years until her retirement. She also paid income tax, FICA, SDI and Medicare tax. Fortunately her employer offered he stock options and a 401k which yielded much better than your government run Ponzi scheme.
I would also like to remind you Senator Simpson that while paying property taxes to support my local public schools I sent my children to a private parochial school for a fine and moral education — an education that allowed them to succeed in life, become productive tax paying citizens and have families of their own. Families that you and your cronies in Congress are hell bent on destroying with your socialist tax and spend policies.
In the late 1970’s you and your Democratic partners in crime under the leadership of the worst president in the history of this Republic, Jimmy Carter, began destroying the economy. Inflation was rampant and mortgage interest had risen to 23%. By 1982 our business had shrunk to 7 employees and the future looked very bleak.
By 1982 things were looking very bleak. Money was drying up and loans were coming due. I and my remaining partner did not look to the federal government for subsides and bailout like you gave to your cattle rancher and cowboy buddies or the banks, auto companies and insurance companies. We sucked it up, tightened our belts and work a little harder and longer.
Instead we found a similar firm in similar straits. This firm had two offices, three principal owners and 72 employees. We were able to strike a deal, without government intervention, and merge the two firms. I then became a principal owner of the new firm.
Over the ensuing years until my retirement in 2005 I spent the next 23 years working long and hard to build this new business into something I could be proud off. By the time I retired the firm had 850 dedicated and loyal employees.
Senator Simpson, do you have any idea what this meant? Well, I’ll tell you. It meant working 12 hours a day and fretting each night over these 850 employees. You see I had 850 families who depended on my ability to bring in work to keep their bread winners gainfully employed and well compensated. I worried about 850 mortgages, 850 medical care payments, 850 car payments, 850 school tuitions, 850 food bills and 850 families with enough money to enjoy life and pursue happiness. You see, Senator Simpson I was one of those greedy corporate owners.
Over the years I paid and my wife paid over $2.5 million dollars in federal and state income tax. We also paid approximately $400,000 in FICA tax and at least $250,000 in Medicare tax (including my employer’s share — which in reality was me and my partners). That’s $650,000 into your Ponzi scheme
And what did you and your associates do with this money. You pissed it away on freeloaders and corporate welfare. You tossed into your personal kitty for subsides and earmarks. You not only did this to me and my family you did it to millions of other American families. You broke trust with us and you call me greedy.
If I would have had the opportunity to invest my and my wife’s FICA and Medicare tax into a private, interest bearing investment account like a 401k, we would have millions in our retirement account and we could tell the government to take their money and shove it. But we didn’t have that opportunity. You and your cronies made sure of that. You had the law and he guns on your side. You needed the money to support your Ponzi scheme and you got it at the tip of the Roman spear.
Fortunately my wife was able to put aside a good portion of her earnings into such a private account and when I retired I received a payout for my stock in the company
As a career politician you have been slopping at the public trough for fifty some years and you dare call me greedy. You and your cohorts have continued to spend other people’s money on every damned socialist program you can think of. You have regulated us into a soft tyranny dictated from Washington D.C. A tyranny that is now telling us how many calories we can eat and what kind of light bulbs we must put into our lamps.
Senator Simpson, How much money have you earned from the American taxpayers during your 50-year political career? At what age did you retire from your political career and how much are you receiving in annual retirement benefits from the American taxpayers? How much do you pay for your government provided health insurance? And what cuts in your retirement and healthcare benefits are you proposing in your disgusting deficit reduction proposal, or, as usual, have you exempted yourself and your greedy political cronies?
It is you, Captain Bullshit, and your political co-conspirators called Congress who are the "greedy" ones. It is you and your fellow nutcases who have bankrupted America and stolen the American dream from millions of loyal, patriotic taxpayers. And for what? Votes. That's right, sir. You and yours have bankrupted America for the sole purpose of advancing your political careers. You know it, we know it and you know that we know it.
So, Senator Simpson, don’t call me greedy. I have made at least twice the contribution to this republic as you and your cronies in Congress and the state houses have. Senator Simpson, the next time you want to call someone greedy take a look in the mirror.
A pissed of American taxpayer and patriot.