Friday, July 31, 2009

You Want It Bad? You'll Get It Bad

When selling their $787B stimulus package, the Administration made "shovel ready projects" yet another basis for one of Sally's drinking games (take a drink every time you hear it). They also said this money needed to get out the door immediately to repair our failing infrastructure and used the case of the Minneapolis bridge collapse as an example of the looming crisis with the state of our nation's bridge spans. This little story about the wrong bridges getting just about all of these funds while the most needy went unserviced indicates one of the problems with government employees when it comes to spending the taxpayers' money...there are too few of them who have an integrity to doing what is right vs doing whatever gets them the most money now before someone else who is even less inclined to do the right thing snatches that money away from them. And I've watched this occur up close and personal in over 7 years of inside the beltway government service (those of you who recall my railing over the term "budget dust" have experienced how much I admire this trait). I will say that I am pleased that my home state, the great Commonwealth of Virginia, along with South Carolina, eschewed that kind of approach and vectored the money to the most needy bridge repairs. I wonder if Alaska's famous "bridge to nowhere" got funds to repave their unused lane surfaces. This is also why I think it is utterly IMPOSSIBLE for a government run health care system to reduce costs of health care, to save money or to target dollars to the most genuinely required services. Until we change the culture of "budget dust" and "end of fiscal year money grabs" so prevalent throughout virtually all governments, there is no way I will vote for anything new to be run by government.


Greg "The Hammer" Dail said...

10th. Amendment: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Enough said.

Mudge said...

Greg - You raise a very good point...IF I had written about the states failing to follow federal guidance. Regrettably, I did not do you that favor. Nor will I likely ever for I happen to embrace the concept of States rights, but only less so than individual rights. No, what I intended to convey was that as long as the CULTURE so prevalent in Government circles is one akin to our tax dollars being this limitless reservoir to be drawn upon before someone else does, we will continue to see decisions such as these which, ultimately, do very little to serve the public who gave the government employees that money in the first place. Coincidentally, this is also the 2 yr anniversary of the Minneapolis bridge collapse. I have no problem with states saying "these are my priorities" in serving my state citizenry. But I doubt very many state officials who sacrificed dilapidated roads, bridges, embankments, etc to gilding already polished examples of the same just because it was expedient, will be able to go to their citizens and say "look how well I served you." If I was over the top in praising my state officials, it is because I was refreshingly pleased at their behavior. It is one of the reasons I chose to live in the Commonwealth. And were it not for our Virginian forebearers in particular, we would not have had a 10th amendment. I happen to believe that those same forebearers also understood the responsibility that retaining that authority accompanied. I like to think that remnants of that culture still exist here today. And the decision to act more responsibily, as opposed to expediently, with the entire nation's tax burden, only reinforces that belief.

Smoothfur said...

Neither the 10th amendment nor states rights mean a damned thing if "We the People" as in "government of the people, by the people, for the people" do nothing to ensure that the federal government is not allowed to ignore them.

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