where the writers are
Remembering the American Dream
10% of profits from sales of Paranoia will be donated to the Twin Towers Orphan Fund (www.ttof.org)

NJ101.5 today went a new route with their morning program by bringing a comedian on during the morning show. I couldn't help but laughing until I cried when I heard these words (and I'm paraphrasing):

I will not use some unfunded, short-term way to provide property tax relief, blah blah blah...something about making sure all middle-class homeowners get rebates...and um, oh yeah, property tax rebates will go up 10% every year I'm in office!!!!

Who was this comic genius? That's right, none other than our very own Jon Corzine who has now eliminated the property tax rebates and even said our property taxes will go up. He killed, again, with his next joke:

NJ taxpayers will understand why their taxes have to go up!

Hahaha, ho-o, ha, hee hee, heh. Whoa. Jonny Boy, you are gifted.


Sorry, that slipped.

We do understand, though. We understand that Corzine has not lived up to a single campaign promise. We understand that he's never made a tough decision about budget cuts. We understand he's never stood up to a union. We understand that he is the master of smoke and mirrors. We understand that he forces furloughs, but the people who will have to take off are stocking up on overtime. We understand that rather than make cuts, he delays payments, so others will have to deal with his decisions later on. We understand that by NJ Constitution, state income tax MUST go to property tax relief that we'll no longer be getting. We understand that you convinced us it was okay to raise our sales tax a penny on the dollar because half of that penny would come back to us in property tax rebates...that we'll no longer be getting (unless you're a senior citizen making up to $150,000 - that's right, families of 4 making $60,000, holding high mortgages won't get one, but a senior citizen making $150k with most likely no kids at home and probably a small mortgage if any, will). We understand that you, Governor Corzine, are nothing but a political hack stroking his powerful friends and biding time as he keeps his eyes on Washington, D.C. God help this country if he makes it there.


Sorry...I'll try to stop. It's just so satisfying.

The fact of the matter is, despite what Colin Powell thinks, the people of the United States do NOT want bigger government. We do not want the government to spend more because we know, as President Obama himself admitted, that it's unsustainable and that we will pay the price. Yet that's not stopping politicians from spending and implementing new programs (cap and trade, healthcare, new CAFE standards) that will continue to rip money out of our wallets. NY has determined that their stimulus money is going to do nothing but delay the inevitable. It is a one time cash payment and when it goes - the drop in the bucket that it actually is - there will be nothing to prevent the continued collapse of their economy. Though, some politicians in NY seem to know how to fix that: The federal government will have to give them more money!

It's like heroin for these guys. Get a fix. Fix wears off. Need another fix. And the federal government is the dealer who knows that as long as the states are dependent on them, they will hold sway over them. Just like the automakers. Just like the banks. Just like the healthcare industry. And so on and so on.

California proved this whole point yesterday when the people overwhelmingly shot down Governor AHHHHnold's spending bills (all parts were shot down by approximately 65% to 35%, except the one part that limited legislators' pay increases - that one passed). Tell us again, Powell, how we want more government, more spending?

And this is THE most liberal state in the country! Maybe they've come to understand that their state is spending over $10 billion a year on illegal immigrants while they suffer a $25 billion shortfall that is affecting actual American citizens - legal California residents. Maybe.

But, wait, I can hear the call now..that faint cry in the distance growing louder and louder. There, there it is, it's saying: "How can you be so heartless? What about the poor? What about the elderly? These policies are going to help them. It will improve healthcare, improve schools, give these people what they deserve."

For that, because my response would be harsh, I turn to Daniel Hannon, British member of Parliament who just yesterday said he could not understand why the United States continues to head in this socialist direction. He wishes the U.S. Government would look to him as a man coming back from ten years in the future to warn them not to go that route. Having lived under socialism for ten years in England, he warns that the people that system promises to help the most are the ones who suffer the most. The programs are unsustainable and therefore result in poor schools and poor hospitals. He's lived it. In fact, numerous other countries have, but we ignore the continued failure of this system and continue to push for it (but really, are we pushing for it, or are politicians pushing for it - politicians who stand to gain from teh population's continued dependence on them?) .

I am encouraged that more and more people are waking up to the foolishness of this. More and more people are starting to realize we can't spend our way out of debt and we can't continue to tax the citizens because that pool runs dry. People are starting to understand that we need to pull our own weight and earn our way, not be handed things by the government. THIS is the American Dream: Working hard and being able to achieve anything you want through that hard work.

To me, believe it or not, American Idol is an example of this. These talented kids (I say that though the cutoff is still only 6 years younger than me!)work hard week after week, putting everything on the line, opening themselves to intense scrutiny and criticism, logging in extensive hours learning new songs and rehearsing, all to try to achieve their dream of a singing career. The show isn't for some people, but they've turned out a number of bonafide stars. Stars that were given an OPPORTUNITY, that seized that opportunity, and worked hard to make the most of it.

Were this done in socialist terms, people like Adam Lambert and Kris Allen would have been deemed to have too much talent and told they couldn't get a recording contract because it wouldn't be fair to the untalented people who couldn't get that far. In fact, they might have even been told, in this scenario, that they had to sing so the less talented could lip sync to their vocals. At the end, there would be no winners. Quickly, the talented would stop trying out, knowing that their talent would just be exploited to advance others who were not as good. The untalented would not work hard, because they'd know they were going to be able to ride somebody else's coattails. The whole system would crumble.

What we need to realize, and realize fast, is that the stakes are much higher than a Fox reality show. The American people need to speak and be heard. If we can cast almost 100 million votes to crown a singer, we can begin placing calls to congressmen and women, to senators, to whoever will listen to tell them: No more.

We the People say NO MORE.

J.E. Braun is the author of Paranoia, a 9/11 survivor's tale. 10% of profits from sales of Paranoia will be donated to the Twin Towers Orphan Fund (www.ttof.org). For more information, visit www.jebraun.com.