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Although frustrating, it’s interesting and sometimes even comical to watch how government agencies deal with situations that folks in business have to deal with all the time – like the budget.
For months, Congress and the President have been fighting it out and neither side is willing to give an inch. Of course they talk about cutting costs, but have you noticed what costs they want to cut? Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. And, they would raise taxes.
So, under this plan, whose going to pay the bill? The working people. Us.
Okay. I know a lot of people who are getting checks don’t work and have never worked and don’t intend to work. Same way with those who benefit from Medicare and Medicaid. But still, those of us who do work wind up paying the bill. We have to find a way to keep our personal finances in order
In all the negotiations in Washington have you ever once heard it suggested that retirement benefits of former Congressmen be reduced or that the lawmakers take a pay cut? Or that their pay be withheld until the budget is finalized? That would be a sure-fire way of weeding out those who will stand in line to file for office.
Talk of balancing the federal budget is like talking about peace in the Middle East. Pardon my French, but it ain’t never going to happen. There’s something about the environment in Washington, D.C. that automatically kills brain cells.
Unfortunately, our bureaucrats at the state level want to mimic the federal folks. Consider a couple of actions that have taken place in Missouri in the past few months — bringing elk to the state and restructuring MoDOT.
During the past year, the Missouri Department of Conservation conducted town hall meetings all across the state to see what folks thought of bringing elk into Missouri. According to the figures I remember, 80-some percent of those attending the meetings thought it was a bad idea. Ranchers from Arkansas gave first-hand-experience testimonies of how the elk are competing with their cattle herds for food.
On May 5 the first load of elk were delivered to the Peck Ranch northeast of here.
Then the Missouri Department of Transportation scheduled a series of meetings across the state to talk about downsizing MoDOT — eliminating maintenance buildings and closing district offices. Folks turned out in opposition, and gave good reasons why it wouldn’t make sense. But when the vote was taken, commissioners voted to do what they had already decided to do. It didn’t matter what the people said. MDC and MoDOT had already decided. Regional meetings with “the people” were just formalities.
Let’s contrast that with how local people react to similar situations.
Earlier this year there was a proposal to create a National Heritage Area that would help promote local, rural tourism. At first it sounded like a good idea until people began to read other things into it like lack of local control and signing a blank check over to the governing board.
I don’t know if it was good for the region or not. I do believe that Kris Norman, Merideth Sisco, Matt Meacham and Kathleen Morrissey and some of the other folks in the West Plains area who supported the Heritage Region were doing it for the right reasons. Not for one minute do I believe they were out to receive gain at the expense of their own community.
But, because of the public outcry, they withdrew their proposal and backed away from the plan, not because they were convinced it was wrong, but because it became apparent the people – their neighbors – didn’t want it. Not right now.
That’s the difference in how local people think and operate and the way our state and federal agencies handle things.