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President's Ponderings: Taxpayer Punishment

By Ed Luttrell, National Grange President, (President's Ponderings Blog - 4/24/13)

  APRIL 24, 2013 --

Like so many other Americans, I lost about an hour on both Monday and Tuesday by sitting on the tarmac due to the “furloughs” to cut government spending. It seems the FAA is only able to save money by cutting air traffic controllers and creating delays in air travel.

This seems to me as nothing but punishment of taxpayers. Over the years, I’ve seen city officials close permitting departments, county commissioners reduce sheriff’s departments and county fairs, and state officials shut down parks. The reason has always been that the taxpayers didn’t want to pay more and our elected officials made reductions where it would hurt us most in order to get us to approve a new or an increase in existing taxes to keep our government “in operation.”

After our President said that our skyrocketing debt and deficits are sustainable, after the sequester (which was a cut in the growth of government) was made out to be the end of government as we know it, it just seems to me that we, the taxpayers, are being punished for any attempt to control spending by our nation.

I have trouble believing that the only place that the FAA could cut was the people guiding airplanes. Was this the lowest priority item in their budget? Why didn’t the President ask Congress months ago for permission to reallocate resources based upon priorities?

I can’t guess why the administration has chosen to play politics instead of dealing with what amounts to a minor cut. However, I’d hazard a guess that a lot of Americans would rather lose an hour here and there than to see our country continue to spend itself into oblivion. We are all willing to tighten our belts a notch but we’re not willing to be punished for not wanting to continue our government’s bad habits. It is time to budget the way most Americans budget: by our priorities, not by what we want.

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