Each month, The Oklahoman's editorial board recognizes a contributor to Your Views for a letter to the editor that exemplifies a timely, fair, accurate and cogent viewpoint. Dick Webber of Edmond is the honoree for letters that appeared in Your Views last month. His letter, “The great shell game,” was published Aug. 26.
Meet the writer:
Dick Webber grew up in Oklahoma City. After serving in the Navy in 1945 and 1946 he attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., for three years, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in business and finance. After graduation, he managed stores for the C.R. Anthony Co. in California and Texas and was a member of its board of directors. He founded the Westoaks Restaurant chain and operated it for 27 years. Active in church and civic activities, he served as president of the Kiwanis Club of Oklahoma City, and as a member of the Board of Trustees of Oklahoma City University for 25 years. He is the founder and CEO of RDS Advantage, a national software developer of systems for churches, and president of Webber Investment Company, a family investment business that is principally involved in commercial real estate development.
The great shell game
The granddaddy of all shell game swindlers is the federal government. The game begins with members of Congress and the executive branch whose primary goal is to be re-elected. They attract players to their game by proposing goodies as gratuities from the government that appear to benefit potential voters. The goodies can be any freebie from tax benefits to exemptions from regulations to entitlements of insurance, welfare, retirement — you name it.
The sleight of hand is that what's proposed as free does have a real cost that government must underwrite. Because the federal government doesn't have the funds to pay the cost, it's supported by additional debt (seldom by taxes as they can be seen). The debt is funded by Federal Reserve manipulations that have the ultimate effect of debasing the currency. Debasing the currency causes every dollar to have less purchasing power — thus making everything cost more.
The result is the swindling of those who thought the government was giving a benefit when in fact it's taking away more than giving. Citizen Joe now has a “freebie,” but he pays more for every necessity of life; the additional cost is far greater than the benefit he thought he would get when voting to re-elect the shell-game “public servant.” Citizen Joe is completely unaware that he's been swindled. The sleight of hand works every time, and Congress and presidents delight in playing the game.