published Monday, December 17th, 2012

Smith: The patient is dying

By Robin Smith
  • photo
    Robin Smith, former Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party and congressional candidate.
    File Photo/Chattanooga Times Free Press

Several years ago in another career, I was blessed to work in a critical care unit which included patients who were seeking heart transplants. Some had congenital heart disorders, some had circulatory problems such as extreme hypertension, some had heart-valve disease or disorders, some had unusual infections or viruses, some had drug use and alcoholism problems -- in each case, the problem had resulted in heart failure.

Too many of these patients were there because of lifestyle choices and behaviors that took a toll on one of their most important organs, the heart.

One patient will always linger in my memory. He was a successful businessman with a picture-perfect family from a coastal state. His heart failure was secondary to his alcoholism, drug use and other organ damage. He had successfully moved through treatment overseen by his local cardiologist before landing in our unit.

As his condition worsened, it was becoming apparent that even with a new heart from a generous transplant donor the overall state of his health would not improve.

His case could be a metaphor for modern America, which has also become financially ill because of bad decisions. Reckless behavior and an addiction to government spending has created a dependent class of individuals and businesses.

America's heart, her pump, is our free-enterprise system. Over time, America has been excessively strained during times of war, by terrorism and global unrest, during the erratic lurches and lunges of policy directives that harm the nation, our nation's body.

There's a feeble attempt for her heart to push through its network of vessels enough work, production, and commerce to keep the patient alive.

The United States is in critical condition. The debt crisis that has drained the earning capacity of American workers is based on the addiction to government spending.

It's a stunning admission to hear calls for more revenue (taxes) on the newly defined "rich" (any person or small business that earns $250,000 annually or more) demanded as an absolutely necessary part of the equation to solve the nation's problem of excessive spending.

The view that America is at its best when it offers opportunity to anyone who is willing to strive and earn success is now rejected. Instead, a weakened, flabby, pale economy is the new normal after years of abuse to America's well-being.

The disorder has been inflicted from within by irresponsible spending on items like corrupt government contractors and lazy well-bodied individuals who exist on the backs of those who strive, rewriting the law of the harvest from, "You reap what you sow," to, "A few of you sow, a few of you reap, and everyone gets their fair share."

The affable businessman who made a last-ditch effort to improve his health status and attempted to qualify for an organ transplant perished. The family was devastated and experienced enormous guilt.

They all recognized that poor choices and the enabling of unhealthy behavior over two decades had consequences that were unintended, yet very real and permanent.

America's in systemic failure. The patient has endured and given much. It's time for aggressive intervention that addresses the cause, not that perpetuates an almost lifeless existence.

America can regain its health and life; the heartbeat of our nation can be strong again.

Robin Smith is a wife and mother living in Hixson. She served as chairwoman of the Tennessee Republican Party from 2007 to 2009.

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The debt crisis that has plagued Americans?

Nope, not government spending. Except maybe lack thereof, when it comes to failure to regulate the financial industry that caused a major crisis that not only disproportionately hit the poor, was largely a result of fraud and deception by those financial industry players who the government was rescuing.

You obviously weren't paying attention to what was really being sown.

But no, America isn't in systemic failure, not by any means. America itself is strong. Take a chance and learn about America, not just the Wall Street America, but the real one.

The same thing happened during the Great Depression, BTW.

December 17, 2012 at 3:19 p.m.
Facts said...

Even with an article that points the finger at corruption in government contracting and in too many "able bodied" on welfare, some just can't get over the messenger. There's no real surprise here but it proves you could care less about a transparent, accountable government on the local, state or federal level. You just want your agenda supported.

I'm sure I'll get to read of your glowing support of Andy Berke and all the City Council minions he wants elected. Doesn't matter who it is, you're for the ones who'll line your pocket too.

December 17, 2012 at 3:47 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

It's amusing and ironic to hear Robin Smith talking about corruption when her new business partner is Albert Waterhouse.

Robin's just another political hack.

December 17, 2012 at 4:33 p.m.
Facts said...

Awwww. The same Dayton Darwin who apparently didn't get hired by Wamp, Gobble, Fleischman, Greg Vital or insert name. It's fun to watch who the critics are. Again, another reason I left the GOP. Folks like me don't fit but sure won't watch you inside politicos insult about the only smart person on the scene of late.

December 17, 2012 at 5:10 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Neither did I get hired by Crutchfield, Berke, Favors, Littlefield, Sally Robinson, McGary, or Representative Floyd the Barber. But I didn't apply for jobs from any of them either.

Robin Smith sure was smart teaming up with Waterhouse, wasn't she? Reminds me of the German-Soviet Non-aggression Pact.

December 17, 2012 at 5:20 p.m.
inquiringmind said...

Robin offered no specifics but only the broad political platitudes expected of someone who can't get too far from the tea party line lest her political ambition dims more. Give us some of your targets to cut, medicare? aid to dependent parents? medicaid? Strike fighter? Aircraft carriers? other defense spending? Be specific so we can see what value you place specific programs. I'm not sure how a drunk, drug-addicted businessman got on the wait list for a heart unless some hospital and doctor was more interested in the money paid for the surgery. What about putting ceilings on medical fees doctors can charge, and penalizing them for failed treatment and surgeries like the one she cited?

If you want to see how austerity programs work to solve the financial problem go to Europe and observe. Every legitimate economic study shows Federal spending stimulates the economy in hard times. The problem is keeping people's feet to the fire afterwards to pay down the expenditure by taxing those who benefit the most, those making the most money.

Don't forget the Federal budget ran in the black under Bill Clinton and we had the largest peace time expansion of the economy, and we taxed the rich their fair share. I've never met one of these so-called small business people (and there are quite a few around Chattanooga) who wouldn't spend money and hire people (at minimum wage and try to fire any one who even looked like they wanted to say "union") if they thought they would earn some more money.

I guess Robin adheres to the logic that if you are rich you know best how to run people's lives and part of that obligation is to earn more to spend on yourself. They, and she seem to have a blind spot to Matt 25:31-45, and Luke 4:16-21.

December 19, 2012 at 9:15 p.m.
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