Thursday, March 11, 2010
Out of Touch.
While I become more and more angered each day with the news from Washington and Augusta I slowly realize that I am not in touch. For if I was, the surprise, the angst, and ire brought on by false promises and rhetoric would not be so strong. Amidst the din and clamor of all the voices screaming, I have for two years tried to raise mine above it all, ever hopeful that somehow a modicum of reason might find its way into the fray. To no avail, for as I said before, I am obviously out of touch with the political realities of this state and nation.
Allow me to elaborate a little.
Last week the Democrat leadership in Augusta proposed a “Jobs Bond” to the tune of ninety nine million dollars. I began to wonder, how this particularly large borrowing package was different from all the other “bonds” Mainers have been approving for the last decade. The truth is it differs not one bit; this proposal is the same damned, re named, bond we keep voting “yes” for every election. As a matter of fact, it is a cookie cutter version of the 71 million Transportation bond passed in November 2009. Oh they threw in the old argument for rail service to Lewiston, and stamped the package with a nice new title but in essence, it is the same old bag of debt.
Thankfully Governor Baldacci, that bastion of fiscal responsibility and foresight, came up with his own version of the proposal which will cost the taxpayers but a measly $79 million dollars. That comes to a $20 million dollar savings at the stroke of a pen!!!!
Let me take a poke at the idea too, how about I save the citizens of Maine for years to come another $79 million with my keyboard here, by proposing the “No Bond, Bond” package which includes an “Enough already” provision, as well as a “stop lying to us all” clause.
As I looked at this latest of schemes, I found myself more confused and angrier than ever over the whole idea, for within its entire makeup lays all the things I find most egregious about politics. Deception, lack of innovation and lastly an honest to goodness, lack of common sense.
If we already have bonds pending approval for the proposed projects, why then are our officials asking to borrow more? Especially in this time of economic ruin? Is not the 71 million bond money enough to cover the projects? If not then where did all the money go? I am inclined to believe that our leaders have become so accustomed to the Maine taxpayer approving each and every borrowing plan put on a ballot that they simply are not even going to try and come up with anything innovative to spur economic growth. You know like maybe tax incentives for business, or tax breaks for the individual. Something radical along those lines may be too forward thinking and have real consequences and results. So they “Stay the course” and borrow more money for the fancy of the day and when they get the monies be sure to make them available in the general fund. This way when the legislature cannot balance the budget or an unfunded liability (Dirigo) needs revenue it can be shifted easily.
I think my inability to comprehend the concept of spending oneself out of debt is the cause for my ire. As I see it, in my own simple world, if you already have too much debt to pay off reasonably with the resources at hand then to go borrow more is foolhardy at best. For at some point, the creditor will be calling, and the debt incurred will have to be paid back. You and I cannot go and tax somebody for more revenues or rely on “Creative accounting” to balance our family budgets, if we did, more than likely we would be spending time in a nice prison cell somewhere. Or at the very least become impoverished and homeless, this is how it works for us mere mortals in the rest of the world; I suppose the same facts and laws apply not to governments. Maybe this is why Washington leads the charge for borrowing and spending money that just simply does not exist. The reality is obviously quite different for the leaders, and the led, and I suppose I should try to understand their reality better.
Perhaps, if I go buy an old “Freedom Rock” album set and sit around listening to it, and do nothing for a few months I may come to a better understanding of how these people think.
So, I am “Out of touch”, completely bewildered, and I suppose it is time for me to go sit down and shut up for a change, which is what I’ve been told to do more than once.