Thursday, June 3, 2010

Barrels of free money…ready to go!

Remember this old song?  I thought it may be from one of the classic Bob Hope & Bing Crosby “road movies,” but apparently not.

Oh, we ain’t got a barrel of money,

Maybe we’re ragged and funny.

But we’ll travel along, singing a song,

Side by Side.


Don’t know what’s comin’ tomorrow

Maybe it’s trouble and sorrow………

How much more dated could you get?  Who says we don’t have a barrel of money?

Just look it up in the papers.  If we “ain’t'” got the money we want, just put a bond issue before the people.  Dress it up in “common good” and “vital investment” and '”job creation” tissue paper, and next thing you know, “free money” is rolling in.  Who cares how much debt we build up in a growing iceberg just over the horizon?  Hey…..somebody else will take care of it later.  Just like “somebody else” will pay off your credit card debt.

And besides,  you can trust government to be prudent and responsible in such matters.  They’re more careful with your money than you would be, so just hand it over.

Oh, proponents of government borrowing will tell you it’s just like when you take out a mortgage to buy a house, or to pay for your kid’s college.  No it’s not.  You can sell your house and get out from under your debt.  Government has nothing to sell to get out from under debt except more debt.  Have you ever seen a Capitol building with a “For Sale – Seller Motivated” sign in its front gardens?

Combine this “free money” world view with the high-jinx at the Ostrich, and you get a double dose of mis-informing and un-informing, especially when the Ostrich can’t even be consistent with itself, let alone the facts.

Take yesterday’s edition (Wednesday, June 2, 2010), which carried a front  page article on the Question 4 bond issue, and then an editorial on the same subject.

On the front page, Seth Koenig, named both Maine and New England “Journalist of the Year” in recent months, reports that of the $23.75 million in proposed borrowing:

$4.75 million is slated to help make five buildings on the Brunswick Naval Air Station property handicapped accessible,

Wow!  Those must be some ramps and elevators!  Nearly $1 million a building, or twice what it cost to build the Cooks Corner Fire Station a few years back.

Surely he got it right, award winning journalist that he is.

In the editorial, however, we get this variation on the facts:

$3.25 million for rehabilitating buildings to meet federal Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and fire codes, and making other site improvements needed to attract businesses to the Navy base.

Must be that the language for the proposal is confusing; or maybe, like most legislators, no one took the time to read it.  More important to trump up support for the free money, I suppose.  Especially when you consider this prize in the editorial:

The $8 million in BNAS funding will leverage $32.5 million in additional federal funds — a small investment with a big return, particularly considering that the new SMCC Midcoast campus, if built from scratch, would cost more than $80 million.

Wow, kids!  It’s not only free money, it’s a free money multiplying machine!  The state borrows $8 million and the feds are compelled to borrow $32 million more on our behalf!  How could anyone possibly look this gift horse in the choppers?  Are you nuts? 

It had never dawned on me until now that “freedom of the press” encompassed freedom to mangle, mis-report, or otherwise confuse the plain and simple facts.  And the freedom to contradict yourself in your own pages on the same day.

And they want to be our “guardian of freedom” and “government watchdog?”

Who are they kidding? 

Besides themselves, that is.

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