Gen. John M. Elkins Remembers
My friend Gen. John M. Elkins lives with his wife in Sherman, Texas. He retired after 45 years of uniformed service to his beloved country, but he never retired from service to his country. He continues as a member of the Texhoma TEA Party Patriots and in other roles.
Through an exchange of email and photos on the subject of the Great Depression, I shared how my parents survived one of the darkest times in American history. (For the record: My father was born in 1895.)
John and his twin brother were born in Joliet, Illinois in 1930 – 80 years ago. John is one of an amazing group of Americans we call “The Greatest Generation”.
John was born in the heart of the Great Depression. Only the year before his birth, the New York index of industrial stocks plummeted in value on “Black Tuesday”, October 29, 1929, and the Great Depression officially began.
His father, John Marion Elkins, received a job offer in Dallas and the family endured a difficult and weary journey to their new Texas home, spending nights along creek beds and living in a tent. The family car failed as they travelled through Commerce, Texas. Flat broke and unable to pay for repairs, the car was sold. Commerce became home. His parents never made it to Dallas and are interred in Commerce.
His dad got a job busting rocks for building roads with the Works Project Administration (WPA). After several near-starvation years, John’s father landed a ‘good-paying’ job at the Cotton Oil Mill for 15 cents per hour.
John and his twin dropped out of school in 1946 when they enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps at the ripe old age of 16 years. The brothers both had military careers.
As Gen. Elkins writes, “The good old days were not so good!”
With 80 years of life experience behind him, John sees that our present administration and both houses of Congress take us on an undesirable journey, a painful reminder that history may repeat itself.
Not a Pretty Sight
The New York Stock Exchange “crashed” and fortunes went to “money heaven” – life
savings, homes, farms, factories lost almost overnight. Jobs vanished and much of the American labor force found itself in soup lines or wandering across the country in search of work. Many men travelled about the country “riding the rails” as stowaways on freight trains.
Social upheaval fundamentally changed America forever. Approximately eleven million unemployed persons represented about 9% of the entire US population a little less than 123 million. At this moment in time, approximately 30 million Americans are out of work, equivalent to almost the entire population of Canada, more than the population of all of Australia.
At first, working men got into bread lines opened by churches and city halls, later men dressed in “fedoras and business suits” joined them. There was no immediate government relief, except for banks and railroads. Life was living hell for many.
I requested depression-era photographs from my friend John. He had none: his father could not afford a camera.
Can It Happen Here in Rockwall?
In fact, it is happening here in Rockwall. Unemployment and home foreclosures are all too common. Sales tax revenues are down. Middle class citizens join traditional poor at Helping Hands, Lake Pointe Church and other community relief sites for help – food and utility bills.
Will we see shanty towns, tents and families living in their automobiles. Probably not, Rockwall City government would require zoning compliance, stone-festooned tents, masonry shacks, all too costly for a bankrupt people.
Market over speculation that drives stock prices far above the natural value creates what we today call “bubbles”: Dot-com bubble, housing bubble, real estate bubble, dollar bubble, stock market bubble, and the gold bubble. Bubbles eventually pop.
Authors of “Aftershock” predict a global financial meltdown marked by collapse of the sovereign debt bubble and the dollar bubble. I tend to expect a collapse of the gold bubble, too, but who am I to question so many smart gold investors?
Actually, the US economy collapses one state at a time, one municipality at a time. In the poorest performing states, governments curtail services, lay off employees and cut expenses.
Here in Rockwall we have a costly government center (I know, the Court now calls it a courthouse because we twice voted against a government center) already millions over budget and it is only now coming out of the ground. The City of Rockwall has curtailed or reduced some services like mowing public right of way only twice annually.
A second Great Depression was inevitable, but now exacerbated by accelerated spending by the Democrat majority led by a trio of ideologically-driven leftists – Obama, Pelosi and Reid. Instead of empowering the people by keeping financial resources in the private sector, liberal Democrats are taxing us to death, robbing us of valuable capital essential to building businesses to serve a growing population.
What’s the Cure, Brother?
What do you do in your private household, when you have more month than paycheck? You probably cut back on expenses, set thermostats to energy-saving levels and make fewer trips.
Does it make sense to borrow money to pay your debts? No? Well, that is exactly what your federal government is doing: borrowing money from China to pay interest on treasury bonds sold to China. Soon, sovereign debt service will consume 100% of our GDP. Is that sustainable? Of course not.
To be sure, most Americans know we are in a difficult situation with respect to taxes and debt. They are simply unsure what the best course of action is to take. Liberal Democrats think to stimulate the economy by printing fiat money, borrowing more from China and Japan and spending more on “pork u less” projects like Harry Reid’s $8 billion passenger rail line between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Here is my solution: cut the size of government at every level from the feds down to the local school district. Cut taxes everywhere, cut government spending everywhere.
Presidents Kennedy and Bush knew this simple tactic and it worked.
But, you say, didn’t federal spending increase under Bush? Yes, it did. But, I ask, which body of the US government writes the spending bills? Obviously, it is not the president. It is the House of Representatives that has Constitutional authority to write spending bills, even though most of the Senate does not know that. They probably don’t read that archaic old Constitution.
Which party controls the House and how long have they been the majority party? Since 1947 Republicans have controlled the Senate 10 years out of 63; the House 56 years out of 63. As you can see, the Democrats, with the help of RINO’s, own the national debt.
What can we do? Let’s elect conservatives to Congress, whether Democrat or Republican. I don’t mean the Scott Brown or John McCain kind of Republican, I mean the conservatives that believe in and uphold the US Constitution, who believe marriage is a holy relationship between one man and one woman, that believe all people are either male or female, that understand that homosexuality is a behavior, not a gender, men and women who are aware of the perils of globalization in matters of international law. We need lawmakers who love America, not communists or socialists who continually apologize for being American.
November 2, Election Day, is only 100 days away. Are you registered to vote? If no, do you know how to become registered? If you are not registered, you cannot vote.
Do you know the candidates? Do you research issues via voting guides such as are provided free of charge by organizations like HeritageAlliance.com?
To which public political meetings do you attend? None? Why, don’t you care what happens to your children and grandchildren?
Here in Rockwall, contact the Rockwall County Republican Womens Club(RCRWC) to get registered, even if you intend to vote Democrat. It’s non-partisan by law. Click on this link to contact the club: http://www.rcrw.org/index.html
Are you on the Rockwall County TEA Party mailing list? Simply comment on this article and request to be added to the mailing list.
Follow us on as TEA Party Rockwall.