Cal  Thomas

ARCHBOLD, Ohio -- Here in Middle America, where farmland extends to the horizon, I pass an inspirational yard sign: "Self-Control: Having a Life Purpose Bigger Than Self."

It's a message our representatives in Washington would do well to learn, especially after months of raucous partisan bickering that nearly culminated in another "government shutdown."

Here in Archbold farmers still labor to produce crops from the soil. In Washington, liberal politicians and lobbyists labor to produce careers for themselves and pry more "entitlements" from overburdened taxpayers to give to people who in some cases have not earned them. People have been taught envy and entitlement in ways that would have shocked and angered our relatives who survived the Great Depression on far less.

A simple web search finds numerous Depression-era survival stories, which puts into perspective for those living now the concept of living through "hard times."

In a 2009 story in the Saginaw News, writer Sarah Nothelfer quoted 79-year-old Jean R. Beach, who compared the 1930s with today: "To me, as a country, we've been on a binge. Now comes the time to put things in order."

Carrie Iles, 87, said: "I have good memories of those days. We didn't have it good, but we always had enough." Imagine, good memories of the Depression and thankfulness for having enough.

In 2011, too many Americans complain, not because they don't have what they truly need, but because they don't have what they want, and worse, what they feel "entitled to." Too many suffer from an addiction to government checks.

As Stephen Moore wrote last week in The Wall Street Journal, "there are nearly twice as many people working for the government (22.5 million) than in all of manufacturing (11.5 million). This is an almost exact reversal of the situation in 1960, when there were 15 million workers in manufacturing and 8.7 million collecting a paycheck from the government." And "Every state in America today except for two -- Indiana and Wisconsin -- has more government workers on the payroll than people manufacturing industrial goods."

Cal Thomas

Get Cal Thomas' new book, What Works, at Amazon.

Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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