Monday, August 8, 2011

P.S. -- P.O.'d

Okay, I'll just come out and say it: I'm pissed off. I have in my lifetime done just about every job you can imagine, from agriculture to publishing, from working in a butcher shop to working for an NFL team. I have mopped floors, emptied trash bins, milked cows, pumped gas, taught school, written novels and screenplays. I got my first job when I was thirteen, and I have not stopped working since. I worked through high school, college and grad school. And I expect to go on working until the day I die.

In college I vacuumed floors at the Ben Franklin Hotel in Philadelphia (I once calculated that I vacuumed no less than three miles of carpet in one summer.) While I was at film school in Paris, I worked as an apprentice butcher. My first job was to go into the meat locker every morning, get down on my hands and knees, and mop up the frozen blood from the carcasses that hung overhead. Later, when I graduated to cutting meat, my hands became so frozen during the day that, while I sat in lectures at film school in the afternoon, they would thaw and blood would flow from dozens of cuts I had unknowingly inflicted on myself. My mother committed suicide when I was fifteen and my father drank himself to death. My family left me nothing. I started out my adult life with nothing.

At one time in my twenties I moved fourteen times in two years because I could not afford to pay the rent. There were many months when I had to choose between food and rent, or between eating or paying the phone bill. I was even homeless, briefly, on two occasions. Anything I have now I acquired through unremitting hard work, a stubborn refusal to give up, and a talent with which I was born.

I am not wealthy, largely because the government will not permit me to be. Currently, the government confiscates over fifty percent of my income in taxes of various kinds. And yet, despite this, the president tells me that I am not "paying my fair share." He pontificates that I have been lucky, and because of that, that I have a moral obligation to contribute more. I have four children. I have put one through college and grad school, I have two more in college currently, and the fourth is in private elementary school. None of my children attended public school, since I consider it a form of child abuse to put a child into a public school in Los Angeles. Nonetheless, I am forced to pay taxes to support the public school system, which I cannot in good conscience make use of.

And still the president, this smug, sanctimonious son of a bitch, insists that I must contribute more. For what? I am now told that under Obamacare, I will be paying for strangers' birth control pills? With Nancy Pelosi's twisted logic, I must fund years' worth of unemployment benefits that actually pay people not to work? Under the new California law, I will have to subsidize a college education for illegals, who cannot even work legally once they have graduated? I am certainly willing to pay a reasonable amount in taxes to support the legitimate activities of government, but over fifty percent of my income? The American Revolution was fought because the nominal tax rate under the British was twelve percent!

I own a small business. I would like to hire an assistant, someone to answer the phone, handle the scheduling, take notes at meetings, and learn the film business from inside. I would like to, but I cannot afford to because I must pay so much in taxes. I would gladly create a job for someone who needs a job and wants a career, someone who would pay taxes, and I would do it if the government would get off my back and out of my way. Don't they understand this? No. They keep demanding more to fund their criminal overspending on programs the Founders never envisioned when they wrote the Constitution. Programs that, as often as not, waste money, accomplish nothing, indeed, produce the opposite of the intended result - programs the main purpose of which is to buy votes for professional politicians.

The government did not generate the wealth I have created - I did. The government did not earn the money I have worked my entire life for - I did. It is not their money, it is mine, and Bill Clinton's bald assertion to the contrary, the government does not know better how to spend my money than I do. I feel like a fool. I play by the rules, I obey the law, and yet everywhere I see scoundrels and wastrels flourishing - at my expense. It has to stop.

I see this country becoming a shadow of itself, spending itself into oblivion, utterly bereft of leadership, cut from its spiritual, philosophical and political moorings, drifting toward a bleak future in which my children and grandchildren will have to labor under the debt my generation has accumulated, and for this they will rightly upbraid me. Obama promised change, and he gave us more of the same, and worse. In short - he lied. It is now time for a true change: a return to the values which made this nation preeminent on Earth, the dream of all those who, like me, feel cheated of their liberty and opportunity and the rewards of their labor by a cynical system populated by buffoons, liars, toadies and worse.