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How high is Your Cliff? (Does it involve food or a place to sleep)?

By Representative Allen Farley 

On New Year’s night I spent several hours babysitting our youngest grandson Asher.  We played with toys, ate macaroni and cheese, and watched Mickey Mouse.  It was great.  I had this special opportunity because Muriel, Leigh Ann, and Asher’s brother and sister, were spending the evenings visiting some moms and their kids at a Birmingham women’s shelter.

Throughout the excitement of the holidays leading up to New Year’s Day our family was surrounded with gift giving, food, and visiting with people we love.  We were also very much aware of the increasing media coverage building around “The Fiscal Cliff”.  It was steadily consuming the newspaper, television, radio, and internet.  It was everywhere.  The nationwide fear of tax increases, spending cuts, and the stock market’s reaction.  How will we survive?

When Muriel returned home from her New Year’s visit we sat and talked about our blessings.  We talked about the future that awaits our children and grandchildren.  We also talked about the little angels she watched eat her homemade spaghetti earlier that night. We especially talked about the little girl who was very quiet, and didn’t eat much.  We talked about what could be running through the mind of that young girl with four younger siblings and a mom spending New Year’s night at a shelter?  I’ll bet it wasn’t taxes, or the stock market.  But, I’ll bet that child knows the feeling of standing on the edge of a cliff.  And, she has her mom and her brothers and sisters with her. 

{Lord, can you help us slow down long enough to see the real cliff’s a lot of people are peering over? I can only imagine what that young girl was trying to deal with in her mind as she was helping her brothers and sisters get their plates of spaghetti and glasses of tea.}

Several years ago I was talking with a group of men at the Birmingham Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center.  One of my new friends asked me a question that gave me a mental punch in the gut.  He politely asked; Allen, do people think I woke up one morning and decided I wanted to be an alcoholic?  Do they really believe I chose to lose my job, by home, and my family? (This was a man with a degree in engineering from Vanderbilt University talking to a retired cop that never quite made it to the college cap & gown ceremony).  For a moment I just sat and looked in his eyes. I guess I was trying to imagine the height of the cliff my friend was looking over.  I can assure you there were no thoughts of taxes, or the stock market, at that table.  We just sat there searching our hearts for the appropriate words.  Finally, my friend smiled. (I still don’t have an answer).

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2 Corinthians 1: (3-4). Let us give thanks to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the merciful Father, the God from whom all help comes! (4) He helps us in all our troubles, so that we are able to help others who have all kinds of troubles, using the same help we ourselves have received from God.

Friends, I truly believe God is poised to come back for His people.  But, he keeps giving us opportunities to do the right thing; to take care of each other.  In God’s eyes I don’t believe a “fiscal cliff” will overshadow homeless children, or skyrocketing addiction rates that are destroying families.  We have children, and adults, in our communities who are hanging by a thread to basic comforts most of us take for granted; food and a place to sleep.  

In 2011 Alabama was ranked #1 in the nation for having the most homeless children.  The number of homeless students identified in Alabama public schools has risen by 49.3% (from 10,907 to 16,287) between the 2006-07 and 2009-10 school years.

Annually, more than 100,000 deaths in the U.S. alone are caused by excessive alcohol consumption. And, alcoholism costs the U.S. between 40 and 60 billion dollars per year.

So, as Americans, we elect 535 members to the U.S. Congress: (435 House and 100 Senate). They each receive a minimum salary of $174K per year. And, each of the 535 members of Congress receives approximately $1.3 million per year for staff member salaries.  That’s $788 million per year just for salaries.  (This data was taken from the CRS Report for Congress. It was compiled by Ida A. Brudnick and published January 4, 2012. It is available on-line).

 The National Debt has continued to increase an average of $3.86 billion per day since September 28, 2007.  We now have a national debt that exceeds $16 trillion. (This information is available on-line at “national debt clock”).

Conclusion: We’ve built the best “fiscal cliff” money can buy. And we have sacrificed our children and families to pay for it.

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Job 17:5 In the old proverb someone betrays his friends for money, and his children suffer for it.

God Bless America!!!


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