No. 471



No one likes to have their parade rained on. However, when that parade is headed in the wrong direction, a little moisture to dampen the enthusiasm might not be a bad thing. Over the past several decades, a situation has developed in America that could lead to our demise as a nation. What I am talking about is the endless number of grants, that is, "free money" from the public treasury, that does not have to be paid back and are funded by the American taxpayer.

If you think IÕm all wet, here is something to think about. About the time our original 13 states adopted their new constitution, in the year 1787, Alexander Tyler (a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinborough) had this to say about "The Fall of The Athenian Republic" some 2,000 years prior. "A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent from of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship." This reminds me of what the Irish philosopher George Bernard Shaw once said, "The government that robs Peter to pay Paul, will always have the support of Paul." Tyler continues, "The average age of the world1s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations have progressed through the following sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to complacency; From complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependence back into bondage." Before I continue, here is a question you might want to ponder for a few moments. Where do you think America is today in this sequence? You will have to answer that question for yourself, but I see the proliferation of grants or "free money" as a sure sign that we have become more dependent on our government than on ourselves. When I was doing research for this column, I went to the Internet and typed in the words, "Government Grants" and up popped more information that I really wanted. The first article I came to was developed by an individual who was charging a fee to teach people how to apply for and get "free" government money. You will note he was getting a fee.

When I downloaded this article, it was 16 pages long. In part, here is what it said, "Each day, millions of dollars in Free Government Grants is given away to people just like you for a wide variety of business and personal needs." You may be thinking, "How can I get some of that Îfree1 grant money?" He goes on to say, "Anyone can apply for a grant from 18 years old and up. Grants from $500 to $50,000 are possible. Grants don1t have to be paid back, EVER. Claim your slice of the FREE American pie. Another point he makes is that this money is not a loan that requires a lot of paperwork.

These government agencies don1t have to operate under the same stringent requirements that banks do." Not to belabor the point, but here is the story in a nutshell. Over 20 million people get government money every year. Over one million entrepreneurs get money to start or expand a business. Four million people get money to invest in real estate. Six million people get money to go to college and 10 million get free help and training for a better job. The point I want to make here, and you may or may not agree, grants are somewhat like lawsuits. Some are necessary and serve a useful purpose, but most are frivolous. The same is true for grants. Some grants do serve a useful purpose and are in America1s best interests but the vast majority are not.

What we must keep in mind is that grants or "free money" has to come from somewhere. The bottom line is that this money comes from taxpayers who not only fund the grants but also pay the salaries and overhead of the people who are giving the money away. The people who should be the most concerned are those who have a legitimate and valid reason for a grant, because the rest are actually getting your money. Let1s teach our kids what we know is right. Get a loan and pay it back. That1s always been the American way.

(Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)