A Public Service Message from the American Income Life Insurance Co.Waco, TexasBernard Rapoport, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer I Dreamed This Individual Was Running for President By Bernard Rapoport The politician of today looks at the crowd and then says, “What do you want me to say? What do you want me to be?” And as he assesses their wants, he responds accordingly: “I’ll say what you want to hear, and I’ll be what you want me to be.” Too often that’s the complaint about today’s politician, and more often than not, it’s a deserving one. Why has this come about? Sometimes I think the answer is made most poignantly by the coffee drinkers. They can’t even wait for the coffee to percolate. They want instant coffee. That’s the way it is with we Americans. We want, we have to have, and have it right now. We have yellows, blacks, whites, reds, browns and inbetweens. We have Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, agnostics, and all shades in between. We have rich and poor and middle class and shades in between. We have males and females and even there we have in-betweens. We have every kind of ethnic group. We have young and old and in-between. Each of these groups and yes, there is a crossmingling of interests but the fact remains that each of these groups has a particular vested interest which it demands be fulfilled by its politician. There is no compromise. It is a black and white issue with each group that is so busy importuning its point of view that it gives no thought to any tangential or pejorative effects that enactment of its proposed legislation might have on other groups. Our politicians are no longer advocates, they are responders. Whatever each of these groups want, that’s what they are for, even though there is such a crazy patchwork of conflicting ideas and objectives. If only one-hundredth of one-tenth of one percent of them were enacted, our country would be in a state of ennui that is, in a much worse mess than we are in already. So what’s the answer? We need someone to speak and to speak loudly for America? There are so many groups committed to preserving only a part of our constitution, whether it be the Bill of Rights or whatever and thank God we have such advocates but I’m looking for something and someone different. I’m dreaming of that politician who will take the organic overview that’s necessary for America to achieve the potential that is within its reach. Sadly, the word “government” has an almost sinister connotation. It should be one of the most beautiful words in the English language. On the kind of government we have rests our hope for a free and productive society. There isn’t anything wrong with government. There are, however, lots of faults with those who run it. Government is always at the mercy of those who are its leaders. Government doesn’t unbalance a budget, leaders do. Government doesn’t impose taxes, our leaders do. George Will is right when he says: A market economy is less damaging to social fraternity than is an economy politically managed for egalitarian purposes. This is so for two reasons: First, scarcity is divisive, and market systems are more apt to produce abundance. Secondly, allocation of wealth and opportunity by impersonal market forces is less embittering than allocation by political decisions. I don’t think that any impartial analyst can disagree with that proposition but only up to a point. In every contest and whenever we buy or sell something, whether it’s goods or services, it’s a contest there has to be a referee. Just as the emphasis on more has had an assumption of quantity only, so we have come to extol winning without sufficient emphasis as to how that victory was achieved. That’s why referees are so necessary. And in our democratic society, the referee must be government. Who says so? Everyone, including all corporations and labor unions when it suits their purpose. Note their varying positions when it comes to such a subject as deregulation this, whether it be in trucking, airlines or what have you. I was amused one day while reading in the Waco paper about a fight within the cinema industry. Evidently, the controllers of the films wanted to have the theater owners openly bid on the right to show their respective films without ever seeing them. The fighting got so intense that they brought the matter to the Texas Legislature. One of the state senators bemoaned, “Can’t these businessmen ever settle anything among themselves without bringing government into it?” Probably the most serious indictment of today’s politicians is their unwillingness to accept confrontation with reality. And also to thinly patch today’s problems which may have ramifications for decades to come, knowing that the patch is not going to hold and leaving it to the next politician to put a little firmer patch on a patch, too, that will not hold. In other words, never to accept confrontation with resolving the problem. So again I ask the question, who’s going to stand up for America? The Jerry Falwells? The Moral Majority? I submit that their usurpation of this role is made possible only by the failure of the chameleon politicians that supposedly represent you and me. They try to placate each of these power groups to which I alluded earlier. They never get around to representing America. Just a few examples. We’ve had politicians who told us we could have wars and didn’t have to pay for them. Indexing and American Income Life Insurance Company EXECUTIVE OFFICES: P.O. BOX 208, WACO, TEXAS 78703, 817-772-3050 BERNARD RAPOPORT Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer 16 AUGUST 19, 1983
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