Sunday, Dec 21, 2014
Columns

Obama’s way, or the right way?

BY J.G. NASH, Of Cabbages and Kings
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Once again, Mr. Barack Obama, who obviously favors the ever-increasing size and cost of federal government, has fought necessary and modest reductions in requested increases of federal funds, by directing such reductions into areas most directly and immediately affecting you and me.

Instead of logical steps to cut costs (e.g., increased efficiency, reducing overly generous pay and retirement for government workers, elimination of unnecessary agencies and offices, etc.), the president seems to prefer stopping tours of the White House, reducing hours and services at National Parks and now slowing down an already sluggish commercial air service.

According to a recent Associated Press report, air traffic controller furloughs scheduled to kick in today could result in flight delays of more than three hours at the nation’s major airports. That news item continues by pointing out that “FAA officials could find no (other) way to cut (the required) $637 million from the agency’s budget.”

If you think, even for a moment, that those “officials” really considered options such as cutting overly generous pay packages, carelessly created during economic boom times, then you also likely believe that politicians always have the nation’s, and the individual’s, best interests foremost in mind. I believe that those “officials” quite likely thought first, and perhaps only, about how they could inconvenience the general public, thus turning popular opinion against the enforced budget cuts.

We have, during the past two to three generations, created an economic monster by attempting to move toward a socialist economy in which cradle-to-grave security is guaranteed to all, and where all workers, from butchers to brain surgeons, receive the same pay and privileges.

I clearly recall, some time back around 1980, overhearing a heated conversation between a U.S. Postal Service window clerk and a customer (who happened to be an engineer with a graduate degree in space sciences), in which the clerk shouted something such as, “So you think that I should not be paid the same as you?” Those were the days when labor unions ruled the economy, while fat, dumb and happy management stood idly by and let them ruin it.

In about that same time frame, along came Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, both of whom had the foresight and courage needed to put the brakes on union greed, which, in Reagan’s case, included air traffic controllers, such as those now being furloughed, instead of, appropriately, paid less. Reagan and Thatcher’s sound economic policies temporarily saved their nations’ tottering economies. We need someone like them again — today!

One of the major problems with our economy ( and those of many other “advanced” nations) lies in that we have moved from a free economy (in which supply and demand control prices and wages) to a socialistic model (in which everyone is paid about the same and the prices of goods are manipulated by government controls). It seems unlikely that we can undo that disastrous mistake, but indeed we must try.

In some way, we must turn away from that socialistic dream world, severely cut the size of government and return to allowing a free market to determine wages and prices. As good a place as any to begin that process would be with the FAA — by cutting wages and salaries, instead of hours worked. Do you think that’s possible?


Of Cabbages and Kings is a syndicated column by J.G. Nash. Relevant comment may be sent to him at jgn@jgnash.com.

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