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America’s Sad New Motto: No We Can’t

| July 8, 2014

A nation of naysayers. (Fibonacci Blue)

A nation of naysayers. (Fibonacci Blue)

By Mark O’Brien

Driving across Alabama the other day, I heard a political candidate on the car radio proudly declaring that, if elected, he will oppose Obamacare.

Really, Alabama?

You’re a state that’s above average in only two ways – college football and payments from Uncle Sam.

Alabama is No. 11 when it comes to total federal spending on the 50 states — salaries, contracts, Social Security, Medicare and numerous other direct payments to individuals and institutions, according to a 2012 report by, the state’s largest news site.

Alabama averaged $11,819 per capita, well above the national average of $10,459. “The federal government sent almost $56.5 billion to the state, which was about evenly divided among four broad categories: defense, healthcare, Social Security and all other agencies combined,” said.

Alabama is consistent in one way — getting money from the federal government that so many of its citizens denounce.

“Ten years ago, the spending in Alabama was about $29.2 billion, or about $6,570 per person. Back then the national average was $5,739 per capita,” al. com reported.

Of course, this isn’t just an Alabama thang.

Much of the nation is caught up in convulsions about the Affordable Health Care Act and other programs that offer help to anyone deemed undesirable, morally bankrupt or not part of the chosen groups that get their subsidies the old-fashioned way — through exemptions, loopholes and lobbying in Washington.

We see it in Florida where Gov. Rick Scott and others spurn Medicaid millions that would not only help sick people but also support jobs to people who work in health care.

We used to be a nation that bragged about our plans to put a man on the moon, and we did it! We tamed diseases, improved the quality of life significantly and made numerous great strides forward.

context floridaBut now the country is caught up in its petty little warfare on matters big and small.

Fast-food operators say they will close their restaurants in military bases if President Obama goes ahead with his call for a minimum wage of $10.10 per hour for people doing business on government property. I suspect the generals and the military contractors and just about everyone else working on a military base already is making much more than $10.10 an hour, so it wouldn’t pain them too much to pay an extra nickel for their Whopper and fries.

We always seem to be finding a way to say something can’t be done – health care, education, environment, gay people in the military. Some sociologists say that our spirit of togetherness waned after World War II, suburbanization, the decline of churches and other social changes in the past 50 years.

Now it’s every, man, woman and child for himself, and instead of America pulling together, it’s American pulling apart.

Mark O’Brien is a writer in Pensacola.

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10 Responses for “America’s Sad New Motto: No We Can’t”

  1. Concerned Citizen says:

    Not really. Some liberals, if I may characterize for a second, seem to want to throw out God, give up everyone’s individual freedom to choose what they do with their time and money, and pitch a fit when they can’t micromanage everyone else’s business? That has NEVER gone down well in history in spite of the fact that we all seem to think we are all on some higher darwine-istic plane of knowledge and awareness all of the sudden instead of the long tailed fellows they truly believe they came from.

    Look up at the 12 major and 48 minor constellations that have been in place to tell God’s story for thousands of years and ask what’s holding them in place – mankind’s knowledge? (Am we really all collectively sending the right vibes right now?) Is the astronomy telling a story of how God loves each one of us in the Virgo constalation or has it been perverted by the dragon to the astrology that cons people into believing others can tell their future for them? Yikes! The signs of God’s love for all of us are all around us, why don’t we stick to that and stop slapping Him in the face by changing His laws to defy how he wants us to love and respect each other.

  2. A.S.F. says:

    What’s pulling America apart is the increasing power of corporate and special interests to appeal to the blind prejudices in people who are afraid that somebody less deserving is going to steal something away from them. And those corporate and special interests have no difficulty working against what is really in the best interests of their blindly selfish and helpful constituency than they do the poor–or anyone else besides the ruling members of their own elite tier.

  3. Carl says:

    That is all on the shoulders of a racist Republican congress that refuses to do anything but line their own pockets helping out big business and pissing on the the middle class , working class and poor , we cut into their bottom line , Come November I hope enough GOP voters that are not rich will realize voting Republic is like helping someone rob your house. Use to boggle my mind Hitler was able to lead so many Jewish people to their deaths without them fighting back, but now I see Americans don t make informed, educated votes , they just say well my parents voted Republican so I will too , and they hurt themselves , need them to wake up, am sure a lot of women will change their party now, so will the sick and disabled who were left behind by heartless monsters like Rick Scott who has declined every bit of money offered to help people in this state that lost jobs , insurance and homes due to the Greed Wars Republicans started to drive up their stock portfolio`s, its a disgrace, they call people lazy when they only work 170 days a year and have literally done nothing , but obstruct and stomp their feet like racist babies just trying to sabotage Obama ACA and anything else he`s tried to do to fix the big Crap Sandwich Bush left in his wake.

  4. ⓖⓔⓔⓩⓔⓡ Shalom y'all says:

    A.S.F and Carl make salient points here.

    Read up on “neoliberalism.”

    Yep, the spirit of “we can” is alive. It lives in the hearts
    of banks and corporations that have teamed up to
    screw vulnerable Americans, with the help and blessing of
    our elected officials. 95% of which are self-serving crooks.

    Wake up Americans, as you sleep your country is being pillaged.

  5. Steve Wolfe says:

    “We used to be a nation that bragged about our plans to put a man on the moon, and we did it! We tamed diseases, improved the quality of life significantly and made numerous great strides forward.”

    We got to the moon prior to the “Great Society” programs that now eat the majority of the Federal Budget. The Federal handouts all come with strings attached in order to create more Federal influence, whereas the states were designed to be sovereign for a reason, which is defeated by those strings. Those strings make some states refuse the money, as they should in order to maintain their sovereignty. Federal money should be offered as block grants without strings in most cases.

    “… so it wouldn’t pain them too much to pay an extra nickel for their Whopper and fries.”

    Typical liberal ignorance of how business works. For that matter, even of how government works, because liberal policies even bankrupt governments.

    “… and instead of America pulling together, it’s American pulling apart.”

    Who is responsible for that? Class warfare rhetoric is built into nearly everything Obama says. It’s part of his agenda of driving wedges between groups. Liberals like a divided America. Too much Americanism spoils their plans.

    A heavy-handed government, as we now have, is not your friend. Keep promoting it at your own peril.

  6. confidential says:

    Yes lets keep up the status quo right? Trying to undo the Government Health Care that so many million have signed for? Meanwhile other than fighting all this president propose and start frivolous lawsuits against him, monkey trial committees por Benghazy or the IRS wasting precious millions of dollars on distorted data…why don’t they work to promote the creation of needed jobs. Now the homes lost to foreclosure by the middle class and no so middle are being bought with the $$ made in our jobs lost! How more morons can we be?

  7. Genie says:

    Businesses are laying people off because of the cost of the mounting regulations, including Obamacare. This is why the economy is only growing at 2%. That is why H1-B visas are so popular with corporations. First, they can pay lower wages and second, they are not required to provide benefits, since this is a temporary visa. What has happened is that the program has cost American jobs. The largest job growth in the country has gone to foreigners.

    Millions have lost healthcare policies they already had because they did not meet the Obama criteria. Instead of throwing out the baby with the bath water approach, why not allow people to tailor their policies according to the needs of their families? We are not all alike, it is a waste of money in many cases to require that our coverage is the same. Many young people are not signing up because they don’t see the need for all this coverage. Why not allow them to start out with something smaller, less expensive, and it will grow as their needs grow? And why can’t we purchase insurance across state lines? We were supposed to be able to do that, were we not?

    As for the minimum wage, you should be paid according to your educational level and your abilities. Fast food wages were never intended to feed families, they were intended for part time jobs, students, teenagers. If you want to be paid more, get the education to qualify you for a better job, and more money. Community colleges offer excellent programs at reasonable costs.

    We need to empower people, not force them through needless regulations or giveaways. America has always done better when we all had an interest in the growth of the country and all benefited not just a select few.

    This is how you build a strong community and country in my view.

    • Steve Wolfe says:

      The greatest creativity is the result of the most liberty. The government, by it’s very nature, smothers it.

  8. A.S.F. says:

    “…But when it comes to my Social Security check, they better ante up and make sure to get to me on time!” Hypocrites.

    • Bill says:

      BUT there is a difference in SS and just plane ol hand outs, SS one pays into all their working life the others not so much

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