Last week’s news is our city’s contribution to the growing list of absurd projects for Obama’s stimulus package. Only in the minds of the hopelessly confused could Homer’s wish list help the economy. It’s just another product of thinking that is out of touch with how small our town is and what it needs. And it shows how painfully unfamiliar city government is with its own people. Wake up.
We can’t properly support what we have now unless we tax ourselves to the edge of poverty. By a large margin Homer voted against spending money on a town center. Why is the city now asking taxpayers of Alabama to pay for it? Industry is not very interested in our deep water dock project. Why is the city asking Nebraska farmers to pay for it? What possible national interest can be found in seeking millions for our museum? We just spent half a million to study a boat harbor expansion that was never going to happen. Now we ask Wyoming taxpayers to fix the floats in our harbor because we have no money?
It’s ironic that professional people in our city administration will tell you with a straight face that they believe in this wish list. This is the ‘government way’ at its absolute worst: A denial of the proper impulses we have to restrain spending: A denial of instincts we have to be practical about our dreams. In the ‘Godfather’ movies when things got bad – they needed a wartime ‘consigliere.’ The city of Homer needs one now. We need someone new at the helm, capable of seeing the economic blood on the streets and reacting smartly.
There is one great piece of common ground for most Americans – distrust of the size and reach of government. It is part of our nature as individual human beings. We do not concede our freedom nor entrust our well being to the wisdom of the ‘state.’ Why would we? The political party in charge called America an ‘overly materialistic’ society for decades. Now they are terrified that people have actually stopped borrowing and spending. Which is it going to be?
The truth of the problem lays somewhere in between. But the long term solution is not government projects. We don’t simply have an economic pump that needs re-primed with dollars borrowed from our children. We need to recognize the truth of what many democrats and conservatives have said for some time: On a national level we are living beyond our means. The government of Homer – like the US government – has grown too big to support and too distant to love. If our city was serious about economic sanity and restoring faith in government, its wish list to Washington might read like this:
1. Remove the unfunded federal education mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act
2. Limit Medicare and social security payments according to a person’s wealth
3. Remove the prohibitions on international purchase of cheaper medicine.
4. Help us move toward mass transit and transport efficiencies by ‘not’ fixing so many roads.
5. Help pay down the bond on our new hospital to free up disposable income
6. Help lower housing costs by allowing some mortgage defaults to increase the supply of homes
7. Trim local federal jobs and COLAs (who needs an Invasive Plant Outreach Coordinator?)
8. Allow us to develop geo-thermal and natural gas resources anywhere on federal land.
In other words, try some things but don’t fund projects that require more taxes to sustain them. As for believing in the city’s wish list – you’re better off sitting on Santa’s lap at Christmas.health insurance of the richest congressman in America.
Mike Heimbuch is a life-long Alaskan and Homer resident since 1975. Active for some time in a variety of political and civic activities, he is now a regular column writer for the Homer Tribune.
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