Exclusive: Roof-Perchers and Retirement

by TOM MCLAUGHLIN March 13, 2009
Roof-perchers. That’s what Laura Ingraham calls them, and their numbers are rising. They’re people who depend on government for everything. If there’s a flood coming, they don’t heed evacuation orders. They don’t head for higher ground. They certainly don’t keep an inflatable raft on hand. They climb on their roofs and wait for government to rescue them. If there’s any delay, they whine to the media who amplify their complaints. Why don’t they take common-sense precautions? They don’t have to, they don’t want to, and they’ll never learn to until government cuts them loose.
 
That’ll never happen, you say. Oh yeah? As the roof-perchers increase, the number of rescuers declines. More are climbing on the wagon to ride between floods while wagon-pullers are getting tired and getting scarce too. To sustain their ever-increasing numbers, President Obama will increase taxes on the rich, right? Trouble is, the rich are already paying most of the taxes. The top 1% pay more income tax than the bottom 90%. How much more does the president think he can squeeze out of them until they collapse? How long before the goose that laid the golden egg lies down and dies? It’s unsustainable. The socialist programs he’s pushing haven’t worked anywhere they’ve been tried and they won’t work here either.
 
Last June, Iowa flooded. Did you see people on roofs waiting for government to rescue them? I didn’t. Why were there so many in New Orleans? Because people there are descended from generations who have depended on government. Soon, with all President Obama’s bailout programs and pork-barrel, “economic stimulus” programs, most of the country will become roof-perchers and wagon riders just like them. They’ll reach a critical mass even in places like Iowa and there won’t be enough rescuers or wagon-pullers to keep things running. Eventually, someone is going to call 911 and nobody will be there to answer the phone.
 
It’s tough watching it all unravel around us. I knew it was going to get worse when liberals consolidated their control over Washington D.C., but I didn’t think it would start collapsing so quickly. Meanwhile, it seems every other person I bump into lately asks me, “When are you going to retire?”
 
Heh. What a quaint notion. Retirement doesn’t seem sustainable either.
 
I’ve been teaching in the same community for a long time and I have children of former students in class regularly. “You must have enough years in by now,” people say. I don’t think I’ll be able to stop working until I’m either dead or drooling in a rocking chair, but I’m more fortunate than many. I have three jobs and I like them all. The work is interesting, rewarding, and I enjoy most of the people I work with. It gets a little hectic, but my schedule is flexible enough where I can get away from time to time. I’ve been eligible to retire for a while. Theoretically, I can depend on pension checks for life.
 
Theoretically.
 
However, I’m hearing horror stories from friends in the private sector about their retirement funds disappearing as stock markets nosedive. Some envy my public-sector retirement “guarantees,” but should they? Is my pension secure? It says so on paper in the state capitol, but I don’t believe it. The Maine State Retirement System is a pension fund like others. It’s invested. Market declines hit MSRS as hard as they hit someone’s 401K and it’s down 28% for 2008 – the biggest decline ever. I hate to even look at what’s happened to it in the six weeks since Obama was inaugurated. But it’s is backed up by the taxpayers according to statute, right? Uh-huh. This poverty-stricken state is one of the highest-taxed states in the country already. Do I want to depend on the prudence of Maine State Government for my support? I’d rather depend on myself, but I’ve been forced to give them my money for three decades. I had no choice.
 
My wife and I had four children and they’re all working, but most of my generation had smaller families, in Maine and elsewhere. Our population would be declining if not for immigrants pouring in, many of them illegal, and with a higher percentage of them riding on the wagon than the native population. Making matters worse, Maine is a sanctuary state with better-than-average welfare benefits for illegals and all other kinds of roof-perchers and wagon-riders who move here.
 
But I’ll still have Social Security to help in my declining years, right? Hah! That’s funny. Retirement? People used to do that in the good old days. Roof perchers and wagon riders retire early, but retirement of for the middle class is history. That’s the kind of change President Obama has brought us.
 

Family Security Matters Contributing Editor Tom McLaughlin Tom is a history teacher and a regular weekly columnist for newspapers in Maine and New Hampshire. He writes about political and social issues, history, family, education and Radical Islam. E-mail him at tommclaughlin@fairpoint.net


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