Friday, November 19, 2010

Your Friday lagniappes…..

(Admin note: as you well know, we have been less than active in posting of late.  Partly because of a trip out of town, and more so, because of a ‘free lance’ assignment we gave ourselves.  And now the holidays are approaching, so brace yourself for a diminished pace of fresh material appearing.)

Item the first:  Last week, I had occasion to attend an event in Portland, at which the well-known pollster Scott Rasmussen was the featured speaker.

Among other things, he gave us this very troubling pair of figures:

  • 67% of the political class in Washington thinks the country is on the right track.
  • 84% of the public thinks the country is on the wrong track.

Can you imagine a more pronounced disconnect between the governed and the governing?  Can you imagine a clearer indication that the ruling class is “tone deaf,” and has completely lost touch with the general public for whom they work (supposedly)?

Items the second:  We love author/commentator Mark Steyn’s wit and gift for artful language use.  He was guest hosting on the radio today, and came up with two gems.

He was discussing the Charlie Rangel debacle, and was riffing on how our entrenched career ruling class continues to see themselves as somehow exempt from the realities the rest of us must face.  He concluded by saying we have evolved to “big government by small men.”  It seemed the perfect characterization.

Then he moved on to the news of proposed cuts to Medicare reimbursements being postponed for a month.  He talked about how the government reduces the cost of medical services by simply denying the reality of those costs.  For example, if an office call demonstrably costs $70, they’ll pay $35 for it.  Voila! – costs lowered.

So it dawned on me, why don’t we use the same approach to lower costs locally?  If the teacher’s contract says they get $60,000 a year, give them $35,000, and tell them it’s part of our cost containment program.  When Crooker and Son bills $200 for a truck-full of blacktop, give them $115, and tell them the same thing.  If the Doctors and hospitals can live with it, why can’t others?  If the town is billed $10,000 a month for electric power, pay $6,000.

What could possibly be wrong with this picture?

And come to think of it, why not discount your federal income tax obligation by 40% or so, in order to keep your costs down.  Makes perfect sense to us, in a ‘government’ sort of way.

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