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April 11, 2024

  • Poetics of April
    As we enter into the poetics of April, also known as national poetry month, here are four voices from well to lesser known. The Tradition – Jericho Brown Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Brown visited the last American Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP 2024) conference, and I loved his speech and humor. Besides […]
  • Barbara Marie Minney in Perrysburg
    Indie bookstore, Gathering Volumes, just hosted poet and (transgender) activist, Barbara Marie Minney in Perrysburg To celebrate Trans Day of Visibility, Minney read from her poetry book – A Woman in Progress (2024). Her reading depicted emotional and physical transformations especially in the scene of womanhood and queer experiences. Her language is empowering and personally […]
Spring Housing Guide

US needs new plan of survival this election

This is what I hope to hear from a future Presidential candidate: “Good evening. I’d like to talk with you tonight about our nation’s financial situation and to offer some possible solutions.”

“The cause of our problems is simple: We have allowed ourselves to become beguiled by what I’ll call Easy Living on Borrowed Money.

“More and more, we tend to look to government to solve our problems. We think that either these problems are too complicated for one person to understand, let alone fix, or we think we’re somehow entitled to easy solutions.”

“So, maybe we should get back to basics. Let’s start with one of the central ideas of our Republic: that our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness comes from God and that government’s primary purpose is to secure and promote these rights.”

“Notice that Jefferson wrote of the ‘pursuit of happiness,’ not of happiness itself. This means that we cannot, nor should not, look to government for the necessities of life. It’s the individual’s task to pursue these for him or her and for those for whom he or she is responsible.”

“Does this mean we should eliminate all the so-called ‘entitlement’ programs that government provides? No. Too many people, particularly the old and sick, are counting on these programs.”

“We have a basic moral duty to help those who, through no fault of their own, are less fortunate. The moral fiber of a nation is measured by how it cares for the weakest.”

“Let’s look at the numbers for a moment.”

“The latest estimate of Federal tax receipts totals $2.9 trillion. Of that, $959 billion comes from Social Security and other payroll taxes, including Medicare. On the spending side, $3.8 trillion is the total estimate, which includes $871 billion in Social Security and $860 billion in Medicare and Medicaid.

“As you can see, the expenditures of $860 billion for Medicare and Medicaid and the $871 in Social Security add up to $1.731 trillion. The $959 billion collected for these programs doesn’t even come close. We’re short by $772 billion, just for these programs.”

“We need to strengthen these programs to ensure their survival and viability. We need to put a ‘fiscal firewall’ around Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The funds earmarked for each of these programs must remain with them. The Board of Trustees for each program, under Congressional oversight, must be free to raise taxes or modify benefits to insure their continued existence and self-sufficiency in the future.”

“For all other Federal programs, the total receipts are estimated at $1.941 trillion, while the outlays are $2,069 trillion. This leaves a shortfall of $128 billion.

“So, we have two shortfalls: $772 billion for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and $128 billion for all other Federal programs.”

“Don’t misunderstand me. Some of these other programs may have value. But the question is not: ‘Do these programs have value?’ Nor even ‘Are these programs popular?’”

“No, the key question simply is this: ‘Can we afford it?’ If we can’t pay for it currently, we shouldn’t fund it, no matter how popular.”

“Now, there will be some who will accuse me of being heartless, of not being sensitive to the needs of others. But the job of the president is to be the chief executive of the nation, not just the chief benefactor of the people or the facilitator of easy living.”

“For too long our nation has lived on borrowed money. It’s time we become financially self-sufficient. This will involve pain. We can either raise taxes, or eliminate programs or a combination of the two.”

“But it needs to be done. We should recall the words of Jefferson. ‘It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes.’ I couldn’t have said it better.”

“Thanks for your time and attention.”


Respond to Phil at

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