Wednesday, July 14, 2010

An Act of Political Courage

The “Argus Leader” online edition reports that in discussions the Minnehaha County Commission discussed whether to declare the County an “economic recovery zone.” County Auditor, Sue Roust, said such a declaration would entitle (emphasis added) the County access to $2,785,000 of stimulus money.

Remarkably Auditor Roust is quoted as saying, “I don’t think we are distraught.” Minnehaha County currently has an unemployment rate (as reported by the “Argus” of 5.5%, while the national rate is closer to 10%.

Commissioners Anne Hajek and Dick Kelly balked.

Certainly County Government could always use more money. Can you think of any person or organization that couldn’t use more money? The brief article does not report that any specific need was mentioned.

Debate rages in the nation as to whether the economy is truly in recovery or in the throws of a double dip recession. Employment lags and deficits grow. Partisan finger pointing speaks to is the President’s Stimulus Package working. The White House says without qualification YES. They refer to the 2.5 million jobs that have been created or “saved” (whatever that is?)

I understand the temptation of the Washington Pols to use our money (or more accurately borrow) to give us a presents they can take credit for. I also understand the logic if we don’t take it someone else will.

This insanity must stop. The DEFICIT is the number one political issue. It is the glue that binds the Tea Party movement and certainly is motivating Republicans, Independents that are moving in droves (according to polling), and even some Democrats in their support of GOP candidates. The President though and many Democrats, particularly the U S House Leadership, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Appropriations Chairman David Obey, think the road to recovery is paved with more Federal spending. There is even talk of Stimulus II.

Our Government and Economy are a mess. Deficits must be tackled and real leadership is required. I understand how hard it is to give up the teat but as everyone knows (and has known for a long time and has not had the courage to do it) we must give up our share too. Entitlements must be reigned in.

The Commissioners need to act decisively and find the courage to say No, and the taxpayers need to understand that the only way to stop our collective fiscal insanity is to say No.

Endbar – Recollection - In the early 1980’s the City of Faith turned down a federal development grant of $400,000 to build a rodeo arena. Local Citizens did not understand why the Federal Government should pay for a local project. They built it themselves. It has been a generation ago but it is a great example of the kind of political courage all of us need today.

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