Mt. Vernon Register-News

April 3, 2013

What do you think?



I have been using excerpts from an e-mail sent to me for the past two weeks. It listed several examples of how ridiculous our government seems at times under the title, "Founded by Geniuses; Run by Idiots."

I think calling them idiots is not a good choice of words. We have a lot of really bright people in government. Somehow, after arriving in office, they drink the "kool aid" and forget completely who they actually work for. Instead of working for the people who they represent, they quickly shift allegiance to the special interest groups who fund their campaigns.

Remember the movie, "Forrest Gump" when his mother reminded him that "stupid is as stupid does?" I do not think they are idiots; just plain stupid. Here are some ridiculous operating methods of our government and examples of why we need to publicly finance elections and kick out the ones that work.

"If a seven-year-old boy can be thrown out of school for saying his teacher is cute, but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable, you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

"If hard work and success are met with higher taxes and more government intrusion, while not working is rewarded with EBT cards, WIC checks, Medicaid, subsidized housing and free cell phones, you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

"If you pay your mortgage faithfully, denying yourself the newest big screen TV while your neighbor buys iPhones, TVs and new cars and the government forgives his debt when he defaults on his mortgage, you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots."

These things are almost as ridiculous as the daily news showing us spending money to fund "shrimp running on a treadmill" while we profess to be so broke that all tours of the White House are cancelled. I am absolutely positively sure that the only bad thing that would happen if we cut spending with a scalpel rather than a machete that the world would not come to an end. They pick the items that will create the most fear and draw attention in order to support their ridiculous methods of operating. Idiots? No. Stupid? Yes!

I get asked from my "mafia fitness center associates," where I get the credentials to expound constantly on unaffordable health care and corrupt political systems. This is a fair question and deserves an answer. I am going to confess for the upteenth time that I was the most naive and ignorant person on this planet about corrupt political systems.

I did have some rudimentary knowledge about health care from serving on a hospital board for several years and being responsible for several plants in different states. I spent my entire adult life responsible for groups of folks ranging from a basic supervisor with 10 to 12 folks to being responsible for 9,000 people in plants in the U.S. and Mexico.

My first inkling of how serious the escalating cost of health care was becoming occurred during negotiations in Charlotte when the union in that plant had to make a choice between health care increases funded by the company and wage increases in their pockets. The tipping point was $500 per month per employee over 12 years ago. That plant is now closed and although health care cost did not close it, it was a major factor in reducing their competitiveness.

Most folks do not realize the health care cost in the United States is just an additional tax when it consumes 18 to 20 percent of the nation's gross income while other developed countries operate at 8 to 12 percent. The runaway health care cost of the pst decade has siphoned off an unimaginable amount of money to one segment of our society that could have been used for wage increases. The constant trade off that existed in negotiations between benefits and wages in reality just shifted another tax on the U.S. workers.

I hope you did not miss the article on the editorial page of the Register-News recently by Gene Lyons titled, "The health care market is in need of oversight." This is another good reason to support your local paper by subscribing. He explains the problem simply and well.

I want to shift to the so-called Sequester problem we hear so much about and attempt to put it in Rip Speak with a contrast between how government operates and the real world. I remember several times when times were tough and we were told to cut expenses. I always detested what we called the "shotgun" guys who would attempt to cut everything across the board the way our government is apparently attempting to do. We had a few of those in our company, but they were never really successful. The guys that really tried to minimize the pain on everyone always used a rifle to sort out where expenses could be cut with the least affect on the folks and operations.

I would laugh out loud at the politicians and leaders in government that cannot find a way to cut 1 to 2 percent from a budget if it was not so very serious. I think most folks would agree that cutting 1 to 2 percent of fat in government waste is a long way from cutting to the bone. Then when they tell me that it is not really a reduction or cut, but just a reduction in spending growth, I really have trouble not throwing up. I suspect that one of the major problems they have is that so many of them are career politicians with no experience leading or managing anything and that they are so entrenched that they do not have a clue when it comes to performance standards. This is what you get when special interest money is allowed to determine who runs our country, state or whatever.

We need to find a few hundred or even a few thousand retired industrial engineers and turn them loose for the waste and fat in government. I think we would be astounded at some of the ways our money — your tax dollars — are spent. It is your money and they work for you. You have the right and the power to change this sorry situation. I hope everyone has seen the cute video floating around the e-mail circuit where the guy is trying to get his banker to raise his debt limit with a loan. They guy is making $23,000 a year and spending $37,000. He owes $170,000. He just does not understand why his banker will not increase his debt limit since he and his wife have found a way to cut expenses $380 a year. The banker refuses until he mentions that he is in a hurry because the family is going on vacation. The banker finds out he has two children and immediately agrees to give him the loan.

The video ends with the child signing the loan papers with a crayon. That, folks, is exactly the situation our political leaders have got us into, except the numbers are billions and trillions — a bunch more zero's.