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An open letter to the President of the United States

April 19, 2011

Dear Barry

I know you and your wife the ‘gardener in Chief’ are busy folks so I won’t take up much of your time today. She’s got her garden to weed…good thing too, we’re all going to be living on carrots and turnip greens soon…and you have all you can do campaigning all over the country in MY jet and on MY dollar. Your latest job, insulting and attempting to humiliate good men like Paul Ryan probably takes some planning and teleprompter time so I’ll try not to keep you. I know you’ll be pleased to learn that I have solved the budget problem and wanted you to have your solution ASAP.

At my advanced age, I actually know more than a few folks who live on their Social Security benefits. I also know these folks have paid into the Social Security fund their entire lives in order that they might have a little (and it generally IS little) income for their golden years.  At my advanced age, I actually AM one of those folks who look forward to enjoying my little Social Security savings account in a couple of years. So the news is getting irksome to me.

I’ve been watching and reading about your plans and the plans of Congress to begin now to chip away at Social Security and Medicare in order to save our children from future debt. Saving our children from debt is a good thing and I’m sure we all enjoy the Congressional concerns, but why on earth do you imagine we need to cut Social Security or any other benefit to elderly Americans when it’s completely unnecessary??

Allow me to suggest the following:

I live in a small town in rural Mississippi. The population here is dwindling and we are slowly dying for reasons you needn’t be bothered with today – suffice to say, we’ve shot ourselves in the foot multiple times and are slowly bleeding to death. The important thing about this one tiny town is, like most other towns, we have among us people who live in Federally subsidized HUD housing.

We have more than a few citizens here who absolutely deserve and who have probably even earned the right to enjoy the benefits of subsidized rent. There are elderly men and women living on the aforementioned Social Security checks as well as single mothers trying to make ends meet on the wages one gets here in the south. Knowing this makes me proud that we have not one, but TWO housing projects here in town. (Interestingly, one was built on the north side of town and one was built on the south side of town. Some day when I have an extra hour or so, I’m going to inquire about why that was done, but my first guess would be it was done for some bizarre racial reason.)

A few years ago a friend of mine was appointed to sit on the local Housing Authority Board, which administers our housing projects.  He immediately came face to face with chaos.

It seems that grandmothers are, indeed, living in the projects for very good reasons. Shockingly, in grandma’s house you will probably also find a daughter or two, their children, and the latest batch of children which are being born to high-school aged girls. In most cases, the inhabitants other than the matriarch are under the age of fifty. In other words, a very good and helpful Federal program is being pillaged by people who have not earned the benefits they enjoy.

A casual drive through the projects this time of year will treat the observer to a bountiful crop of young men sitting on lawn chairs and watching the world go by as if they hadn’t the first worry to wrinkle their brows. I don’t know where the women are, but I suspect they can be found at the food stamp office whence the food to feed the multi-generational apartment dwellers comes.

My friend, seeing the need to improve the system presented a plan to the Housing Authority Board. First, a census of the projects would have to be completed. Then, each person living under a subsidized roof, would have to either qualify for the program or find a new place to wax their Escalades. This seemed to me to be a reasonable way to proceed and I applauded his suggestions.

The other members of the Board, however, did not agree. My friend’s plan created quite a stir all over town. To my total amazement I was often told that “These people are to be pitied! Somebody needs to take care of them because they can’t make it without help.”

HOLEY GUACAMOLE, Barry! Talk about racism!

Anyway, because I know you are half-black and that you, like me, stand opposed to racial bias, I thought you might like to level the playing field here in Aberdeen, Mississippi. Come on down at your earliest convenience and visit the projects. Explain to the inhabitants therein that they are being subjugated and misused by the evil oppressors and encourage them to break the bands that bind them.

The result of such a visit would, of course, be a mass exodus from the projects. Those young mothers and the young men in lawn chairs would be out pounding the pavement seeking work and, while your jobless numbers might spike for a while, perhaps these newly emancipated people would become infected with that good old American entrepreneurial spirit and create a few jobs of their own! (Preferably jobs which did not involve drugs, of course)

To my original point, Barry, I just suspect that our projects are not the only public housing areas which are being abused. I further suspect that a serious effort to eliminate waste in HUD programs which exist all over the nation would amass a tidy sum – perhaps billions upon billions – in short order.

I do have some suggestions about food stamps and Medicaid too, but I’ll save that for my next letter. Meanwhile, Barry please don’t feel the need to insult me in your next speech. I’m just trying to do my part here. Besides, the fact that you are giving speeches behind a podium bearing the seal of the President of the United States is insulting enough.

Your pal,

 Viki