(NNPA)—God has blessed me with more than six decades of life on this earth. I have witnessed economic ups and downs, wars (most were foolish), political swings and a civil rights struggle that came out on the winning side. You might say I am hardened and can look at challenges as something that happens and something we can get through. However, I have never seen such economic uncertainty and our government on the verge of fiscal disaster as we are today. When will we get through it? I have no idea and see no signs of improvement.
In fact, there appears to be a big leadership void from the top to the bottom. The White House, State House and City Hall all seem to be clueless of what to do. America, we need to examine our roots and get back to basics.
Perhaps the biggest problem is that government is just too big. The largest employer in the nation is the federal government. The highest per capita salaries are that of federal jobs. If we were to shrink the federal government to where it should be we would eliminate a gigantic part of our debt and overall federal deficit. Our economy would make a great turn for the better and there would be no need for the gigantic tax burden we all share.
Thomas Jefferson, one of our founders, stated, “A government that governs least; governs best.” He would say what we have today is a government that is governing worse. We are too big, too clumsy, too wasteful and too ineffective. Two-thirds of our federal agencies need to be eliminated. Let’s eliminate this public sector largesse and grow our private sector which would be self-sufficient with no cost at all.
Federal government involvement creates problems, not solve them. We just had a nearly trillion dollar stimulus bill which spent more money than the Iraq war cost us last year. What did we get? Basically nothing, in fact, Blacks only participated in one percent of the stimulus bill. That is not progress. They also rammed through a health care bill that nobody wants. Hopefully, it will get repealed during the next session of Congress. In essence, they just don’t get it. They are doing things that are wrong and that we don’t want but still they do them anyway. This is not a government that is representative of the populace and that probably will spell its doom.
State governments with a few exceptions have been no better. Most are like a big business falling into bankruptcy. However, states are sovereignties and cannot file for bankruptcy. Their debt is real and somehow they are going to have to deal with it. The problem is that most states have no political courage to start doing this.
Indiana and Virginia are the only two states successfully getting out of their deficits. Most, such as California and Illinois, have pension plans that are insolvent and budgets that are deep in the hole. Their school systems are “basket cases” and their citizens have little hope for a viable future. Show me a good governor and a fiscally responsible state legislature and I will show you a rarity within the borders of the United States.
Then there are the cities and counties that seem to be living in denial. They can file bankruptcy and many of them will in the near future leave vendors, service providers, etc. stuck with bad debt and workers out of jobs. A good example of fiscal malfeasance is that of Los Angeles. This city, like most, is in serious debt. Still, it found it necessary to raise a revenue bond which its citizens will have to pay for somehow to build a new super school.
The Robert F. Kennedy School (K-12) was built for the phenomenal cost of $578 million. A comparable new school these days costs around $40 million. They went on this fiscal binge while they have a deficit of $640 million, have laid off 3,000 teachers and are shortening the school year to save money. Perhaps a third of the students who will attend this school are illegal immigrants! It defies responsibility and that threatens our way of life and the security of our great nation.
My friends, it is time to fire those who cannot manage our economy and replace them with fiscally responsible managers. Find out who has a clue on how to “shrink” our government at every level and spend our money (taxes) in a sacred and precious way. We need leaders like Gov. Mitchell Daniels of Indiana who has delivered a great surplus to his state. His explanation—“We spent less money than what we took in.” Pretty simple for the disciplined and committed but so elusive for the greedy and irresponsible. Think about this at election time.
(Harry Alford is the co-founder, president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce®. www.nationalbcc.org. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.)