Public funds are in short supply, but so far the political discussion seems bipolar; either we kill programs to trim expenses or fund them as planned. What ever happened to the idea of putting off expenditures until we can get back on our feet?
In my home town, the city is about to spend half a million dollars to study the possible negative consequences of removing a lowhead dam from a river near The Ohio State University campus. How about putting off the $1.8 million dam removal and the study for two years? The dam has been there for the better part of a hundred years already, so a little delay can't make that much difference.
The intersection of two interstates downtown is about to undergo a $100 million plus reworking. Sure, our traffic gets snarled sometimes, but if we need money to keep our social service programs funded, why can't we hold off on this plan a couple of years more?
Any family facing a drop in income will look to reduce and postpone, and the fact that our state and federal governments aren't considering the same tells me that they still haven't quite got the message. If they can't bring themselves to pull the pork off the table, at least postpone it and route those dollars to essential services. How can they allow unemployment benefit funds to run dry while we spend money to
- Build the Hunting & Fishing Museum of Pennsylvania ($100,000)
- Develop a walking tour of Boydton, Virginia ($100,000)
- Build the National Teacher's Hall of Fame in Emporia, Kansas ($150,000)
- Improve bike trails in Highland, Indiana ($400,000)
- Fund the Burpee Museum in Rockford, Illinois ($150,000)
- Beaver management in North Carolina ($297,000)
- Study of the Light Brown Apple Moth ($1,000,000)
If you think $100,000 is inconsequential, tell that to the dozens of families for whom it represents rent money and food.
I'm not claiming that any or all of these projects are unworthy, but I'm asking, do they need to be done now? Are they more important than keeping the unemployed housed and fed during the current crash?
I don't think so.