As many of you already know, my personal favorite columnist is Mark Steyn. Mr. Steyn is syndicated around the world, but does most of his writing these days for National Review. In his most recent column, Steyn addresses the "spend early, spend often" mentality that modern liberal Democrats (across the country) have - regardless the financial state of their state or nation.
Last Tuesday, Harry Reid, the majority leader, took to the Senate floor to thunder that this town ain’t big enough for both him and the Mean-Spirited Kid (John Boehner).
“The mean-spirited bill, HR 1 . . . eliminates the National Endowment of the Humanities, National Endowment of the Arts,” said Senator Reid. “These programs create jobs. The National Endowment of the Humanities is the reason we have in northern Nevada every January a cowboy-poetry festival. Had that program not been around, the tens of thousands of people who come there every year would not exist.”
“Tens of thousands” would “not exist”? There can’t be that many cowboy poets, can there? Oh, c’mon, don’t be naïve. Where there are taxpayer-funded cowboy poets, there must surely be cowboy-poetry festival administrators, and a Bureau of Cowboy-Poetry Festival Licensing, and cowboy-poetry festival administration grant-writers, and a Department of Cowboy Poetry Festival Administration Grant Application Processing, and Professors of Cowboy-Poetry Festival Educational Workshop Management at dozens of American colleges credentialing thousands of cowboy-poetry festival workshop coordinating majors every year.
Well, it’s easy for me to mock Senator Reid...But what’s more difficult to figure out is why everyone doesn’t mock — and why Senator Reid (and presumably senior flunkies in the bloated emir-sized retinues that now attend our “citizen-legislators”) thought this would be a persuasive line of argument. This year, the NEA will be giving $50,000 toward the exhibition “Ranchlines: Verses And Visions Of The Rural West” in Elko.
What’s the big deal? It’s 50 grand, a couple of saddlebags in small bills. Not a large sum. But then when you’re Harry Reid staggering around in your trillion-gallon hat, it’s all small potatoes, isn’t it?
He and too many other Americans seem to be living their version of the old line: If you owe the bank a thousand dollars, you have a problem; if you owe the bank a million dollars, the bank has a problem. America owes the world $14 trillion, so the world has a problem.
What worries me most about things like the month-long, pro-union protests in Madison, WI is the utter lack of concern for the actual financial facts-on-the-ground. As Steyn alludes to, it feels as if the Left in this country have adopted an attitude that says "this fiscal mess isn't my problem...it's the world's problem...it's my grandkids' problem...I'm going to 'get mine' and the rest of you be damned."
The "Cowboy Poetry" example is just one of a thousand (or ten thousand) and so it seems insignificant, but we who live in Illinois know all-too-well that the very fact that there are thousands of such "insignificant" subsidies is the problem. This money adds up. The corruption involved in landing such subsidies and pet projects adds up. Pretty soon you have a (morally and fiscally) bankrupt state, one in which citizens slowly begin to realize that their only chance at a break is to either join in the corruption, or vote for the people who promise them the most "free" stuff.
Republicans, by no means, are not exempt from participation in this economic dog-and-pony-show. Voting for people with an "R" in front of their name on a ballot won't fix our fiscal woes.
Voting for candidates who walk the walk of free enterprise and fiscal responsibility will. Holding any and all we elect to office accountable for their policies and votes will.
Relying upon the entrepreneurial (and generous) spirit of the Americans people, instead of bureaucrats in Springfield and Washington D.C., most certainly will.