Rocking Chair Musings – By Jack Van Zandt
It seems Washington is in a mess. And the results show it.
Congress has an 11 percent approval rating. The White House and Supreme Courts ratings are falling.
This shows that the country is losing faith in those it elected to leadership. And it is well deserved.
Unable to legislate on budgets, immigration and more, Congress has resorted to gangs to figure out something palatable, because they just need to do something and cant. The result is never good.
The result of the latest gang is the sequester, which mandated across-the- board cuts in spending.
Designed as something nobody would ever allow to happen, it still happened. But it happened because Washington is simply addicted to growing the debt of our children.
When the sequester hit, politicians had complete control of the spending items that would be cut to achieve its goals. Rather than making sensible cuts such as eliminating funding for robotic squirrels, studying snails or sending money to countries that hate us, our leaders invoked the Washington Monument tactic.
This Washington Monument or Firemen First tactic is designed to cut the most visible or appreciated services in order to show the terrible effect of budget cuts and the need for higher taxes and more spending, as if we werent taxed enough.
To make this point, someone once noted: Imagine a government agency with only two tasks: (1) building statues of Benedict Arnold and (2) providing life-saving medications to children. If this agencys budget were cut, what would it do?
It would cut back on the medications for children. Why? Because that would most likely get the budget cuts restored. If they cut back on building statues of Benedict Arnold, people might ask why they were building statues of Benedict Arnold in the first place.
So, criminals were let out of prison, White House tours were cancelled, Air Traffic Control towers are being shut down, border security is reduced, all in the name of making sure we know the impact of the budget cuts and the need for taxes.
States deal with the same issues with one handicap they cant print money.
Many have created and maintained a more tax- and regulation-friendly environment for businesses and for their citizens.
The result has been growing deficits transformed into growing surpluses. They have created jobs in the private sector and some have rejected costly, inefficient federal government mandates.
Counties like Washington County are reducing the start-up time for business to help maximize their prospect of success, ensuring roads are well maintained, rebuilding communities.
Towns like Jonesborough are working with businesses, and with state and county governments to make major improvements to infrastructure, parks and other amenities. These state and local leaders are stepping up and making decisions that build up their communities with minimal impact on taxpayers. They are focused on maintaining a government that works for, not punishes, its citizenry. They dont need a Washington Monument. They are just getting the job done.
Maybe Washington could learn a lesson.