Saturday, May 23, 2009

The pointless argument

Michigan residents should pay heed to what is happening now in California.Their budget battle is our likely destiny as well.D-day has arrived for their state due to decades of being fiscally irresponsible and the spending cuts now required to balance the budget will be life changing for many.State residents have become so dependent on Government to provide for them thru the vast network of social programs,the shock of suddenly being forced to provide for themselves will be stunning.Many will migrate to other states or return to their home countries.Some will rise up and find that they can provide for themselves when faced with no alternative.The effects of this test case cannot be understated as fundamental change in the role of Government will be implemented.Many other states face similar circumstances including ours and will be watching closely as a glimpse of the future is presented.

It is said that taxes are the price of a civilized society.The debate of what amount of taxes should be paid to provide the core level of Government services is complex.The political angle of what services Government should provide for it's citizens rages on.The priorities of the public are generationally changing and unpredictable.Some factors are constant.The Constitution provides us with the tools required to alter it to reflect these changes.By amending the Constitution,it can be adapted to the modern views of the population.The key is doing it by the majority vote process thus eliminating fringe or extremists views from dictating public policy for all.

What hasn't been properly addressed is the efficiency of Government.Generally,it falls flat on it's face in providing services in a fiscally responsible fashion.Greed in the political process is always a major factor in this.Long-term planning is woeful in providing funding for projects and agencies created.The SS and Medicare entitlement programs are prime examples.Depending on the current stewards of the taxpayers money,some problems magnify while others are held in check based on the political priorities of the decision makers.Until this issue is given far greater significance in the court of public opinion,we will never solve the core problem.

There is no better example of the problem than President Obama.Every spending bill is presented as critical and urgent.Passage without properly debating the merits and vetting these bills is criminal.Nothing short of a National security emergency should ever be allowed to sidestep the democratic process.Proof of this is coming out all the time as we see bailout recipients still going bankrupt and failing.The argument that a company is too large to fail is not valid.Using a crisis to advance political causes is certainly not new.An uninformed public that doesn't engage in the process isn't either and allows this to occur.

How do you create a Government program today that will still survive for decades to come?We can only project future funding levels,however,we can't project future economic conditions.We can't accurately project the future social conscience.We can't project future defense requirements with global security a dynamic animal that is unpredictable.Do you sunset all programs after so many years?Not practical in most cases.These agencies and programs become the staples of the budget just as food,clothing and housing are our basic requirements.Infrastructure projects become the equivalent of our discretional spending.When things get tight,we scale back on vacations and buying big screen tv's and stick to buying the staples of our budget.

Generally,things like road repair and the multitude of other pork projects presented fall into the grey area category.Many of today's politicians simply disregard any fiscal responsibility in the interests of advancing their political agenda.The debate must move to address this efficiency issue.We know Government is not well suited to accomplish this and they reject moving these responsibilities to the private sector due to the loss of control or power.

The Republicans and tea party activists are painted as rejecting all taxation and eliminating the bulk of Government.Democrats are the opposite favoring big Government and regulation.This is a battle without an outcome palatable to both sides.Finding alternative methods to fund public programs and restrict the ability of Government to allocate unbudgeted taxpayer money is key.It's like arguing which is better,an electric car or a gas powered car that gets 100 mpg.What does it matter who's right if there's an earthquake in progress which will swallow up both cars?More to come...

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