Public Policies, Personal Consequences

Commentary by Ron Miller

Ron MillerBefore I get into the topic of this week's column, I want to offer my readers an update on last week's topic. One of the politicians I mentioned in my article, Politicians Gone Wild, has set one thing to rights.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Eric Wargotz, the presumptive front-runner among the dozen or so running for the GOP nomination, had been accused by The Tarrance Group, a major polling organization, of misrepresenting the results of one of their recent polls. The Wargotz campaign put out a clarification in accordance with The Tarrance Group's request, and the matters appears to be closed. As I said in my column last week, I know Eric and I didn't think he wanted to be perceived in this fashion, so I'm pleased to see his campaign acted on The Tarrance Group's request. My hope is that the campaign will continue to settle outstanding disputes, or those sure to come, in a similar manner going forward.

Well, today is my 26th wedding anniversary. It also marks four months and ten days that I've been without a steady paycheck. I can't really say I'm "out of work" because I've been very busy - writing columns like this one, writing a book that's slated for release very soon (shameless plug for Sellout: Musings from Uncle Tom's Porch), looking for work, starting up a consulting firm as a possible solution to my financial dilemma - the list goes on.

I've been sanguine about my circumstances, which I'm sure drives my wife crazy. After all, I can't change the past, and I can't predict the future. The only time I have any chance of affecting is here and now.

As Jesus says in Matthew 6:34, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." That's powerful, and that's how I've tried to live my life these past few months.

Today, however, is hard. We should be planning a celebration or something; putting up with me for 26 years is a big deal! We can't spend the money to go out or buy each other presents, however. Food and shelter kind of take precedence over anniversary gifts.

My wife is typical of most women in that she puts the family before herself, and she never asks for anything. That kind of selflessness is rare in us guys, who are always out to conquer the world.

I would love to shower her with gifts, but all she wants is to be able to go to the grocery store and be confident that the money's there for her to buy food for the family. They don't come any better than her - and it kills me that she has to count pennies before she goes to Safeway.

Friends, I'm sharing my story not for sympathy but to highlight why I do what I do. It's simply this - public policies have personal consequences. Everything our elected officials do, from the county commission to the General Assembly to Capitol Hill, from the board president's chair to Government House to the White House, affects real people and real lives. And they are failing us.

When the singular focus of government ought to be the economy and jobs - and by that, I mean getting out of the way so the economy can do its thing - they are playing political games. Businesses have billions in cash to spend, but they're afraid to spend it because they don't know what government is going to do next. Economist Thomas Sowell explains the dilemma in which businesses find themselves:
What does all this say? That businesses don't know what to expect next from this administration, which seldom lets a month go by without some new anti-business law, policy, or rhetoric.

When you hire people in this environment, you know what you have agreed to pay them and what additional costs there may be for their health insurance or other benefits. But you have no way of knowing what additional costs the politicians in Washington are going to impose, when they are constantly coming up with new, bright ideas for imposing more mandates on business.

One of the little-noticed signs of what is going on has been the increase in the employment of temporary workers. Businesses have been increasingly meeting their need for labor by hiring temporary workers and working their existing employees overtime, instead of hiring new people.

Why? Because temporary workers usually don't get health insurance or other benefits, and working existing employees overtime doesn't add to the cost of their benefits.

There is no free lunch - and the biggest price of all is paid by people who are unemployed because politicians cannot leave the economy alone to recover, as the American economy has repeatedly recovered faster when left alone than when politicians decided that they have to "do something."

Meanwhile, Maryland's dysfunctional regime - yes, it's fair to call it a regime when one party has controlled the General Assembly since pre-Civil War times - seems hell-bent on making Maryland a sanctuary state for illegal aliens and a lab rat for the Obama Administration's experiments on the American public. There's a reason why recent polls show former governor Bob Ehrlich ahead of Governor O'Malley - it's because of the negative consequences of his failed policies on real people.

Don't let him or the powers that be in Washington distract you with ancillary issues, or allow liberals to throw you off the scent with ill-advised resolutions like the one enacted yesterday by the NAACP, the Democratic Party's errand boy, warning the nation about the racist tendencies of the Tea Party movement.

Congratulations, all you hard working, long suffering ordinary Americans who gave President Obama an 80 percent plus approval rating before the real impact of his policies became known. You're not really concerned about record deficits, higher taxes and increasing government intrusion into our private lives - you're racists!

At a time when we need leadership and competence, we get finger-pointing and selective outrage. It makes me sick.

Mine isn't the only story out there. I talk to plenty of people, and I find some comfort, however perverse this may seem, in knowing I'm not alone.

But when I see the pain every day in my wife's face, when my daughters are trying to help us out with their low-wage jobs but we can't help them with college or their first job out of college, when my son prefers to spend the night with friends than sleep in his own bed, a day like today just sits heavily on my heart.

I know that God is in control, but it's time for us to put the fear of God into these out-of-touch people we elected to be public servants. No more personal or political agendas - it's time that they were about the people's business.

Ron Miller, of Huntingtown, is a military veteran, conservative writer and activist, communications director for the Calvert County Republican Party, and executive director of Regular Folks United, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.  Ron is a regular contributor to, American Thinker, and You can also follow Ron on his website, as well as Twitter and Facebook.

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