Government and Snow Plows

January/01/2011 16:37PM
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We’ve had a fair amount of snow here in Illinois this winter. Unlike New York, where the unions decided not to plow the snow, we’ve had good service. The example in New York goes back to the simple common sense that even FDR had when he refused to let public employees be unionized. They can cause suffering and even death, as they did in NYC with their mischief. Will Bloomberg be like Reagan and fire them? Of course not, there will be no consequences for what they did. People died, people were severely inconvenienced, they broke the law, economic damage in the millions occurred. But, you see, some supervisors had been laid off and more were to come, and no self-respecting union can abide that without payback. In typical thug fashion, they gave their payback.

But, that’s not my analogy. Snow plows push the problems down the road. Governments push the problems down the road. The governor of Illinois, Pat Quinn, so far crime-free, cut a deal with the unions to get reelected. It worked and he beat out a businessman with a plan to try to save Illinois form certain bankruptcy. Quinn has a plan. It’s to borrow $15 billion to push the problem down the road. He needs $8 billion just to pay current bills. He needs another $7 billion to meet current obligations. This will do nothing to meet future obligations, including a pension shortfall. Like the snow plow, Quinn pushes it down the road for the next generation to deal with.

Snow plows are mixed blessings. I watched my neighbor work on his driveway the other day. He just got it done and the snow plow came by and shoved another ton of snow back into his driveway. He had an astonished look on his face. The snow plow driver had a great smile on his. Like most government work there always seems to be a big pile of problems that end up on our doorsteps when they are done. In this case the street was pretty clean. The driver had to cut into the piles at the side of the road to get the ton to deposit in the neighbor’s driveway. Hey, even snow plow drivers need entertainment. They are, after all, working for the government. Not for you.

So, as our various governments do their work, it appears there is real progress. But, sooner or later you will find much of that work was pushed down the road, and a pile of problems will eventually be left in your driveway.

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