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A country of takers 

A country of takers

As I write this, the country is in its fourth day of the shutdown. Whether the country thinks we should throw all of the bums out (my personal choice), or reward them for sticking to their principles will be decided in November of next year. The conventional mood of the people is that they are both behaving like spoiled children. As one who is loathe to follow conventional wisdom, let me suggest a different mentality. They are both behaving like their political lives depend on the outcome, with the Republicans more so than the Democrats. And when your back is truly against the wall and you are fighting for your life, compromise is not really a viable option. So don't expect this to end any time soon. As a member of the newly founded RWAP Party (Republicans Without A Party), let me speak to the predominantly Democrat base readers of this fine newspaper and propose an alternate reason for the Republican Party's seeming intransigence.

Think about what percentage of the country is comprised of the people in the following categories: welfare, food stamps, aid to dependent children, housing assistance, immigrants, farm subsidies, aid to the elderly and anyone else who gets more from the government than they contribute. You get the idea. It's a fairly sizable chunk of the population and an even bigger chunk of our national debt. Now add to that millions of the working poor, for whom the government will now be paying for their health care. Currently the Democrats and the Republicans each make up just about one-half of the population. Once those working poor start enjoying the benefit of free health care courtesy of the federal government, they will suddenly become overwhelmingly Democrats to make sure the benefit never stops. It will be just like crack, once you are hooked you just can't give it up. I think this is the real reason behind the Republican strategy to block Obamacare at all cost.

Let's take this one step farther now. If you don't have to work to get welfare, you don't have to work to get food stamps, you don't have to work to get housing assistance and you don't have to work to have health insurance for you and your family, then why should anyone want to get a job? And therein lies the true peril. Soon we will have a society where there are far more people taking from the government than there are putting in tax dollars to pay for it all. To quote Sir Charles Barkley, "I may be wrong, but I doubt it."

Gary Bortz

Little Rock

From the web

In response to the cover story "Football is back on campus at Hendrix College" (Oct. 3):

I am a Hendrix graduate, and I fall into the "overlooked" group opposed to bringing back football.

One of the reasons I chose Hendrix was the lack of football, big time athletics, and the overwrought Greek life. Granted we did our fair share of partying and good times. But even the worst drunk knew he had to be sober enough to go to class on Monday mornings. Academics were always top priority, and athletics, while noble and respectable, were still a distant second. Ever since my graduation, I've felt more than prepared for what life has thrown at me, and I give Hendrix the credit for that.

Football, fueled by testosterone, male competition, and the attraction of big money, has a way of subtly working its way to the top of the priority list. Suddenly spending $10 million on new grass for the football field starts making sense, at the expense of dollars that could have been (or should be) spent on academic pursuits. Football also tends to attract students more interested in football than academics. This line in the article particularly caught my eye: "He [Crenshaw] said that he would not have considered the school if not for the football team."

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