By Joe Rector

I’ve listened to plenty of presidential campaign promises. The Republicans and Democrats assure the public that they’ll save us money, provide more benefits for us, and cut spending. The old saying never held more truth: “You know when a politician is lying? When his mouth moves!” I’m just about over some of the things that we are being promised.

We’re not going to build a wall that will keep out illegal immigrants. Oh, the government can spend what is estimated to be $8 billion to erect the thing. Yes, I’ve heard that Mexico will pay for it. Really? How is a president going to force another country to pay for our construction of a wall?

Some want to deport several million illegal immigrants. Yep, according to them, we’ll round them up and drive them to a place where they will be forced to return to their original countries. Logical thinking indicates that such an endeavor is impossible. First, all those folks can’t be found. Second, the cost of such a project is prohibitive. Last, rounding up a group of people who are mostly of one ethnic group sounds too much like what the Nazis, out of hatred and fear, did when they rounded up the Jews. I don’t know what the answer to the illegal immigration problem is, but this isn’t it.

Candidates told us that they’ll cut taxes for everyone, including businesses.  Doing so will magically fill the coffers and make the country flush with cash and individuals richer than they’ve ever been. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I’ve not seen a great windfall for individuals as the result of recent gains in the profits for businesses. The wealthiest still have most of the money. Why would they cut loose of their money to give the rest of us a boost? I’d bet that most of those tax cuts for businesses would go toward their bottom lines.

Now, the other side has its own strange ideas. One says that the Affordable Care Act will be scrapped and its place will be “Medicare for all.” First of all, if Obamacare is ended, I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that no other program will ever replace it. Too many politicians hate it and aren’t about to let the next thing come around. What we have is rife with problems, but at least we have something that offers coverage for all. Instead of “reinventing the wheel,” those politicians on both sides of the aisle might work together to cut the costs of prescription drugs that are produced by the same companies who would get tax breaks and then would pass on savings to the American public.

Times are tough for folks; I get that. However, providing free college tuition for everyone is not reasonable, nor is it fair. My mother had 3 sons whom she struggled to send to college. We boys worked in the summers and served as head residents in dorms to offset as much of the cost as possible. My two children attended state colleges, and we paid for that education; it was what we owed them as their parents.

If college is important to parents, they should begin making plans for that possibility as soon as children are born. At some point, the children themselves must begin working part time jobs to save for a college education. The state of Tennessee now offers free community college to all state students. I’d suggest that those who want to attend school but struggle with money might consider this route, and while they do, they can work to save for the final years toward college for a degree. I’d further suggest that they become smart shoppers to find the state school that offers the desired course of study. Any loans they might take out should be for education ONLY. Buying vehicles or renting apartments or other extraneous things should never be bought with educational loan money. That’s what jobs are for.

Yep, it’s that time when the politicians make promises, but we all know that the vast majority won’t be kept. Let’s settle down a little bit, put on our thinking caps, and figure out what our best courses of action are. None of us needs to be hoodwinked by slick-talking folks who have never lived as most of us have. Let’s all be smart voters and demand the best for the entire country.