Journal Express, Knoxville, IA


November 30, 2012

Another View: An Amateur Balancing Act

Pella — I know that balancing our budget can’t be as simple as I portray it.  I know that democracy is hard.  I know it’s a challenge to reach financial agreement among representatives (and lobbyists) from all parts of our society.  And I know that some of us are downright unreasonable, stupid, or evil.  But there have to be safe and fair ways to protect from the debts that create fiscal cliffs.  And I’m probably the cheapest budgetary advisor around, so here goes:

All subsidies to billionaire oil companies like Exxon, Shell, and Mobile should end immediately.  Perhaps they are left over from times when oil exploration was vitally necessary, but now the companies are gluttonously rich and deserve no more of our government largesse.  

Neither do the high end farmers who receive the largest subsidies, especially not now in a time of record farm profits.   The farm bill currently stalled in Congress needs at least two serious budgetary changes:  First, unlike earlier farm programs, there is no requirement that recipients must practice soil conservation – so we let priceless soil that we’ve paid to save wash away unprotected.  Second, there is no limit on payments.  

Another area where we both waste money and endanger our future is in the realm of climate change.  Here, we should follow the example of President Reagan.  He acted effectively against an earlier climate threat – a hole in the ozone layer – because he figured it would save money to do so!  How about now?   Estimates are that Hurricane Sandy repair will total at least 60 billion dollars.  We would actually save money – and create jobs – by investing in more ways to lessen the carbon in our atmosphere and protect against more climate change.

I’ve recently explained the unnecessary expenditure in the military category which now consumes 60 percent of our overall budget.   

I’ve also described before how we could save vast sums by legalizing marijuana, perhaps cocaine and heroin, too.  (Our drug laws have been as effective in controlling them as Prohibition was in ending alcohol use.)   We could save by ending prosecution efforts and starting instead to reap benefits from hefty taxes on drugs.   We would save much more if part of the tax proceeds were used to support addiction clinics, helping people heal from drug use.  That would save dollars which society now loses on drug-related crime and diminished human potential.   

Here’s a big one:  instead of all that money going out in “unemployment” checks why not offer – or require – employment?   Remember the mighty works of the WPA and the CCC?  Why not let currently unemployed take jobs like that?  We could use road repair, new bridges, national park restoration, and so much more.    

Finally, here’s a very small one, but it’s close to home.  Go to the Post Office for stamps and ask to view their whole collection.  You’ll see many works of beauty, many that portray important historic events or significant people.  But think of the dollars it must take to provide that collection.  Why not let stamp lovers pay enough extra for special stamps to at least cover the expense?  

Perhaps that’s the message today:  first, make common sense cuts to the budget, and then let us – or make us – pay enough to at least cover the expense.


Text Only
  • Another View Charlotte mug Another View

    Last week on TV – remember?  Pictures of the D-Day landing when Allied troops waded through cold waves, June 6, 1944, to face Nazi guns and land on the beaches of Normandy, France.  

    June 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • In the House of Wood

    I sometimes worry about what little regard is shown for human life these days. 

    June 18, 2014

  • Heisman winner's legacy wasn't about football
    If you've heard of Nile Kinnick, you’ve never forgotten his story. If you haven't, it’s a relatively short one with a sad ending.

    June 5, 2014

  • The Rules of the Road By Jill Pertler I do not consider myself an excellent driver. I am good, or maybe just okay - around a B-minus to a C-plus if I were giving out grades. I am not great at maneuvering into tight parking spaces or knowing when it is my turn at a four-wa

    March 21, 2014

  • Steve mug Creativity rules! I've noticed as a married man that there are times in our marriages when it is just nice to be right. Take for instance Monday night. By the time I got home from the council meeting, I was pretty hungry. I didn't grab anything to eat before my evenin

    March 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Frankford mug Acute Temporary Comfort Rejection Syndrome By Phillip Frankford Acute Temporary Comfort Rejection Syndrome

    March 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Shivvers pic 21st century overwhelm, beginning with shampoo I was in a hurry and needed only one more item at the grocery store. Shampoo. I wanted shampoo to wash my hair. But I found a hazard course - and couldn't remember how I got through the last time. What should I do? Would it be simple "anti-itch liqui

    March 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Next time ... To the Editor: While surfing my Facebook page, I came across this message: "I Shall Continue To Do What I think Is Right Whether Anybody Likes It Or Not." -Harry S. Truman. After reading this quote, I decided to tell my experience. I was walking to m

    March 21, 2014

  • Protecting Iowa's children A topic that most Iowans prefer not to acknowledge nor discuss is human trafficking. However, it is a serious matter in our society that we can no longer afford to ignore. With the I-80 and I-35 corridors that crisscross our state - and the I-29 corr

    March 6, 2014

  • Letter: Disagrees with Shivvers To the Editor: I read, with interest, Ms. Shivvers' comments in her opinion piece "Another View-Breaking Bad in Iowa" in the Feb. 14, 2014, edition of the Knoxville Journal-Express. It is the first time I have heard today's agriculture compared to th

    March 6, 2014

AP Video
Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Air Force: Stowaway Triggers Security Review Minnesota Fire Engulfs Home, Two Garages Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Officials Unsure of UCLA Flood Repair Date At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Jury Awards Ventura $1.8M in Defamation Case Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando Raw: NH Man Held on $1M in Teen's Kidnapping New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Upon completion and reopening of Third Street, should the City of Knoxville wait to start the next stage of the Streetscape and Infrastructure project until 2015?

     View Results