Friday, February 12, 2010

My View

Random thoughts from a warped and fevered mind...

Much of our attention has been focused on Washington and the federal budget and the deficits that we are running at the national level. Rightly so. However, ferocious budget battles are playing out in most states that will have a dramatic impact on taxpayers. Most states constitutionally require a balanced budget, and all but four states are currently running substantial deficits. Many states face underfunded pension liabilities for state employees and federal mandates for spending on certain programs without accompanying federal dollars. Just today, newly elected New Jersey governor Chris Christie froze all state government spending and unilaterally took over the budget process. The state faces a $2.2 billion dollar deficit that has to be eliminated. This is endemic to many states, and the options to remedy the situation are limited to cutting services, raising taxes, or some combination of the two. Many states have been very generous in their pension plans for state employees, often times much better than what is found in the private sector. States have also been guilty of creating new programs during good economic times that strain budgets in down economic times. There will be bruising legislative battles and difficult decisions ahead for most state legislatures. We would be wise to pay attention to these deliberations.

My wife asked me if I had trouble making up my mind. I told her "yes and no".

Regardless of your politcal stripe, the shenanigans in Washington are both interesting and sad. Leadership at the national level has degraded into pure partisanship to the detriment of our nation. Rather than ask "What is good for the country?", both sides ask "What is good for my party?". There are a multitude of difficult decsisions that our leaders in Washington will have to address, and there are no easy answers. By framing potential solutions in the context of party rather than country, our leaders have abdicated their responsibilty to the citizens of this country. Until both parties in Washington rise above the short sighted partisan view, this great nation will suffer. And valid and potent solutions to the problems we face will not be forthcoming.

I always thought I would like to ride the range, but I kept burning my pants.

I was in New York on Wednesday when the city received approximately 14 inches of snow.The snowfall started early in the day and continued through the time I went to bed late that night. The amazing aspect of this to a southern boy in the big city was not just the amount of snow that fell from the sky, but that the next morning the streets of the city were entirely cleared. Not just main streets, but side streets as well. New York is an amazing city for a lot of reasons. I will add snow removal to the list.

One should never steal. The government hates the competition.

And that, my friends, is my view.

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