On a drizzly, dark day this past Sunday with a rare couple of hours to kill, I decided to take in coverage of the race for the Republican primary in Florida on CNN. While watching clips of Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich speaking and glad handling their way through the crowds, I just had to roll my eyes and shake my head at the sheer absurdity of some of the proposals they were making.
You’ve probably heard them all by now. Moon colonies. A new federal program to deport all illegal immigrants. Fifteen percent tax rates. A balanced federal budget in 10 years. And on and on.
OK, I love low taxes and balanced budgets as much as the next guy. But I just can’t help but laugh out loud when politicians, including President Obama, make promises they have no hope of making good on.
I mean really, don’t they know that we understand the costs associated with such grandiose plans? What turnip truck do they think we all just fell off?
Imagine, if you will, our local, county and state governments, ports and school districts operating the way the federal government does. Imagine if they all could spend unlimited money on their every need and not sweat the small details — like where the money might come from.
Finally, in a really weird scenario, imagine all our local government agencies under one common jurisdiction with a local “President of Camas and Washougal” in charge of all spending. Can you imagine him or her running for re-election against two challengers and the wild promises they might make?
I’m imagining me as this other worldly politician. And I can hear myself now. “If I am elected president of Camas and Washougal I will...
...“Bring thousands of new jobs to the area. On my first day in office I will begin clearing land, constructing state-of-the-art buildings, approve a 10-year local corporate tax holiday and pay all moving expenses for every firm that locates here.”
...“Secure complete funding for Camas and Washougal school districts to purchase property for and construct a total of 10 new ball fields, complete with pre-paid maintenance and operations costs for five years.”
...“Write a blank check to each of our two parks and recreation departments for upkeep of any parks, trails or bike/walking paths they want to improve or develop.”
...“Award a full four-year scholarship to the in-state college of his or her choice to any graduating senior with a minimum B average.”
I’m just getting started here, but you get the idea. I’d be in it to spend lots of money. And where would all this money come from? Ahhh...details. I’d probably just borrow it!
Mike Gallagher can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org