OpEd

Story published: 07-30-2013 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Keep the good things happening


Herb Stein once noted, “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”

And John Maxwell once noted, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.”

Unfortunately, it appears Detroit has not had a “leader” and has hit the stopping point.

Americans need to learn a lesson from Detroit to ensure we never start down this path.

It is a path that has left Detroit approximately $20 billion in debt to more than 100,000 creditors.

It is a city that has lost so many residents it now has 63 government employees for every resident in the city. It is a city that drove out the middle class with tax and other policies.

It is a city that, in 1960, had 300,000 full time jobs, and today has 27,000 full and part time jobs.

Detroit was once the emblem of America’s ability to improvise.

Its automakers ruled the industrial world having played a huge role in defeating Hitler by using the same assembly line that built cars to build tanks and other weapons.

Detroit is now destitute, a result of corruption, greed, fraud, extortion.

What happened in Detroit is, in fact, a crime against those who put their hopes in that city and its government.

Detroit is one of hundreds of municipalities and states on the edge of bankruptcy. California imposed a 13 percent income tax on its residents, who are fleeing to more tax friendly states.

But states like Texas and Tennessee are benefitting from the outflow of talent from these states.

This means a growth in jobs, in tax revenue and demand for services.

It is imperative that we ensure we hold the line and continue doing those things that are working for the residents of Tennessee and Washington County.

Leadership is the key. At this time, we have many good leaders in the county and state.

Washington County is holding the line on taxes. Efforts to establish a state income tax have been held off.

In fact, the overall taxing for the State of Tennessee is reasonable, and we are holding our own financially.

We are able to keep costs down because we have good community participation with volunteers doing things for ourselves rather than paying the government to do the same thing for us.

This “small government” concept requires a dedicated citizenry that understands that we are all in this together and that we need to get involved through volunteering in our various service clubs, scouts, reserve police officers, parents helping in schools, mentoring, library, reading help, tutoring, etc.

We see this happening in our community now and hope to see even more as time goes on.

Most important, we need to elect leaders who have that vision and who will show us the path to continued prosperity, focusing on the best interest of the entire community.

This includes leadership at all levels from governor to school board to mayor and aldermen, commissioners.

We need to pay attention at the voting booth and ensure those whom we elect will govern and spend our tax money wisely.

And we, as citizens, need to hold our leaders accountable once they are elected or appointed.

We need to attend meetings, read the newspapers, ask questions, call our elected representatives and ensure our tax money is being spent wisely.

Doing this, we can keep the good things we see happening in our community going forward.