The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

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By Mike Sunderland
Thoughts from a Grey-Haired Point of View 

A Grey-Haired Point of View Part 3

T.A.N.S.T.A.A.F.L. Part 1


March 10, 2021

I can visualize readers shaking their heads and asking, “What in the world is T.A.N.S.T.A.A.F.L.? It would be great if I could take credit for this attention-compelling device, but it comes from a science fiction story written by Robert Heinlein titled “The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.” It pops ups frequently throughout the story and serves to emphasize a very vital message the author presents in this work of fiction.

So you won’t have to buy the book to decode the message, here it is in plain language: There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. I believe that T.A.N.S.T.A.A.F.L. was a very real and truthful statement at the time it was first made and is still true today. I think it should be strenuously applied to every aspect of life… and especially to national, state and local governments.

It has been a relatively short period of time since the introduction of the Great Society under President Lynden B. Johnson (aka LBJ). I, and my classmates, debated various aspects of it in high school and college debate forums in Alaska, and other Lower 48 States, as well – Hawaii wasn’t a state yet. Since then, the original messaging has been expanded and modified, and can be stated thusly: If you can be classified as “needy or poor (regardless of reason), or are a member of a racial/ethnic group that at any time in history has been mistreated” then you are not only in need of receiving free money, food, stuff, etc., with no strings attached, you have a born right to get it. Before anyone accuses me of being a racist, I AM NOT. Many of my ancestors were persecuted and socially rejected because of their Nordic and Scottish roots, among other things, such as their religious beliefs. Today I am put down for being a conservative, usually with vile, nasty language.

The flip side of this political coin is this: If you are making a living by working, if you have (insert a multitude of different forms of personal possessions earned through your own hard work), if you are of a certain ethnic, political or social class, then you must be made to feel guilty about it, and forced through onerous taxation to supply what others may not have or may want. Again, don’t twist what I am espousing. True charity is a good and necessary part of any right and proper society. But, and here is the stinger, true charity is a one-on-one activity. It happens when you or I see someone in need and we do something about it on our own, without a government or even a societal mandate. Also, we have the freedom to join our efforts together in neighborhood outreaches, and in local area church programs etc., that can enable us to reach out helping hands and aid around the nation and the world. Government overreach in taking over providing for the needy has not produced much in the way of real world results of a positive kind in the past 50-plus years.

Rather, we have seen a continual growth of peoples’ reliance on government aid, leading directly to a growing level of taxation and governmental control over more and more of our lives.

So T.A.N.S.T.A.A.F.L is a real world truth. Nothing government, at any level, provides is free. You and I, tax payers one and all, pay for all of these things. At the local level we pay sales tax, property tax, tax on the gasoline we put in our vehicles, and on and on and on… Then there are state and national taxes of various kinds, with the worst one being income tax. How much of your hard earned income goes out the window in these various forms of taxation? Sit down and figure it out some time. You will be shocked.

If, on the other hand, you are comfortable with government having this much control over your life, i.e. your money, then don’t gripe when you cannot afford to do some thing you would like to do.

But, if you are like me and are really disgruntled with what is being done with our money, then it is past time for us to stand up and make our voices heard. We must make all levels of government from local city to national governmental bodies know that we’ve had all we are going to take. It is time to retake control of our local, state and national government. It is time to stop the bureaucrats from acting like kings and queens (also known as dictators). Let your voice be heard and next time vote for candidates that will really, truly represent us. (And I don’t care what party they are from, as long as they put Americans and this nation first, and leave their egos behind!)

Next time I’ll explore the responsibilities that come with living a T.A.N.S.T.A.A.F.L life. Even in retirement there just ain’t nuttin’ that’s free.

(P.S. Do you and your progeny a favor. Get a copy of the book and read it, then give it to your kids and make sure they read it. There are some real good life lessons presented in a non-threatening manner.)


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