Thursday, March 3, 2011

Can't get there from here


Who cares if the price of gas is going up?  I'm still driving my car every day and there's nothing any namby pamby liberal initiative can do to sway me otherwise.

You might rethink that when gas hits over $5/gallon.  And it will.  At that point, I'm certain many will throw up their hands and cry, "why isn't there more public transportation?"  For the citizens of Florida, Wisconsin, and Ohio, there could have been.  Each of those states' newly elected Republican governors have all rejected funds for a high-speed rail network.  
Granted that in Florida's case, the rail line would only have gone from Orlando to Tampa, but things need to start somewhere at an experimental stage.  A nationwide high-speed rail system is something of a vision, one that will take time to grow and build upon.  Politicians, especially Republicans it would seem, don't like to hear that.  They suffer from tunnel vision.  "Don't tell me it's going to be difficult and accomplished only after several years.  My constituents will never go for that."  "We're supposed to burn more oil because that's what The Jebus wants us to do!"

At the same time, I realize that we are in a financial crisis nearly unparalleled in our history.  Cuts must be made.  This is true.  I am also aware that there is really no "good" place to cut.  Human services, a favorite target amongst Republicans, is needed to support those experiencing difficult times and to keep them out of jail.  Speaking of jail, we need our police to keep communities safe.  Schools then?  Yeah, that's a great place to cut.  Especially with all of the recent statistics of how Americans stack up in education worldwide.  So...transportation?  I'd argue that we all need roads and bridges to get us to work and that we need a strong rail system to ferry cargo.  Especially that pesky coal to burn in our electric plants.
No, there is no "good" place to cut.  All of those areas that I mentioned will doubtless face drastic budget cuts if they haven't already.  Seriously, where else can you cut?  How about the pork projects?  That'll never happen.  So I propose an across the board cut to the salaries of our political leaders.  All of them.  If we're expected to make sacrifices, make our politicians share the burden.  If government-funded or so-called "socialized" health care doesn't make sense for our nation, then let's withhold health insurance from senators and representatives.  Make them buy their own if it's such an easy thing to do.

When it comes to spending, I consider myself a bit of a conservative.  But slash and burn is not the answer.  We cannot afford to gut the future for the sake of a temporary fix in the here and now.

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1 comment:

  1. On Facebook, RayL said: "Uh, Jon, there are people reading this message who are already paying upwards of $9/gal.because the price of gas in the US is subsidized to serve the oil interests who DON'T WANT to develop any alternative sources of energy. Why do you think that, despite our massive budget deficit, the Republican Congress just voted to continue subsidizing the oil companies at a time when they are making more profit than any corporations in the history of the world?"


    Absolutely.
    I have family in the oil industry who have told me frankly that the technology to have clean burning alternative energy available to us all exists, the oil industry obviously has *no* interest in fostering such things. Not even ...to be on the ground floor of a new industry. I didn't talk about this in the post because I felt I had harped on the "it's all about oil" fact a bit too much previously. And where is gas $9/gal? Alaska? Hawaii? Around here in Chicago it's just now creeping up on $4.

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