Carl Parker sez:
Partisanship is hurting us both at the national and state levels. There is no doubt America’s debt and Texas’ miserliness is hurting citizens of America and of our state. At the national level, America is more in debt than it has been since WWII. The current debt is worse than that in the WWII era because in WWII America mostly owed Americans. I remember as a grade schooler we were encouraged to buy savings stamps to help the war effort. We kept them in little books until we accumulated enough to trade for a war bond. Many Americans purchased war bonds and most of our debt was to ourselves. Unfortunately, most of our debt today is to China, Japan and Arab countries. The interest on our debt is costing us as a nation enough to be very harmful to our current economy and to our future.
Unfortunately, because of partisanship, it seems too many members of Congress in both parties are more concerned with blame than solution. Recently, Republicans have been bragging that because President Obama has been in office for a year, he can no longer blame the Republicans for our current problems. Clearly, that is not true. For almost 8 years, Republicans waged a war without paying for it or accounting for it. The Bush administration refused to include the Iraq War in its budget projections or accountability. We spent enough on the Iraq War to reduce our nation’s deficit by substantial figures. Members of both parties have blithely ignored our escalating debt and continue to get themselves re-elected by showing who can “bring home the most bacon.” Governor Rick Perry has recently kept up the drumbeat of attacks on Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison by pointing out earmarks and other federal spending directed to Texas. Perry does this to question her credentials as a conservative Republican.
Perry, in his zeal to criticize Senator Hutchison for bringing those “dirty” federal dollars to Texas seems to have forgotten many of his excesses. Perry has ads boasting he has been the most conservative governor ever, vetoed more funds than any other and claims to have saved taxpayers of Texas millions. Perry ignores many facts of his spending foibles. While urging department heads to cut back on spending, Perry spent thousands of dollars taking himself a grand-sized trip to the Near East for no good state purpose other than giving Governor Perry an award.
Perry refers to money coming from the federal government as though it were a trap by a foreign nation to endanger our state. While accepting $12.5 million to balance the budget he let get “out-of-whack,” he turned down $550-million to shore up our trust fund for unemployment benefits in the state. Although the turndown of the $550-million helped burnish his credentials as a leading conservative, it ended up resulting in tripling the tax on us small business folks to replinish the funds in the unemployment trust funds. Similarly, while our education system continues to suffer for shortage of money, Perry has turned down billions of dollars which could be going to our school districts to improve our schools. Perry has raised the “bugaboo” the feds are trying to take over control of our schools, but it should be noted every state in the union, except Alaska and Texas, have accepted the funds.
The solution lies in self-restraint by members of Congress and understanding from American citizens. We need to quit measuring the capabilities of our Washington elected officials by how much special funding they can get for our state alone. Earmarks should stop and appropriations should be considered on their own merit for the good of the entire country.
At the state level, we need to quit blindly following the mantra of “no new taxes at any cost.” We need to pay attention to human suffering which exists in Texas, the fact we have more people than most states in the union, that our educational system is in bad need of support, and that we have no rational tax policy in this state. While it is easy to blame elected officials for both circumstances; and I do often, the real solution lies in the will of the people as expressed to their elected officials.