Opinion

Torrens Talk: It's much easier to criticize than offer solutions

The refrains have been said for years. Government has more than enough money to pay for everything. Government needs to cut back its expenses and live within its means. Government needs to get rid of waste, top heavy management, unnecessary services, etc. Government needs to get its hands out of taxpayers’ pockets.

This always sounds great and is easy to sell. The tough part, the part these same folks never step up to do, is to identify specifically, not in platitudes like above, but specifically, where should government wield the knife?

It is clear the first platitude in current times is ridiculous. If government is so awash in money, then why is every level of government suffering? If the state government truly has all the money it needs, then why did a recent court decision declare that state is not fulfilling its constitutional duty to fully and amply fund education?

Right now, if the state were to follow through on the court order to do its paramount duty and provide all the monies necessary for K-12 education, there would be very little left over for everything else. But, maybe that is what needs to be done: pay out for schooling and leave everything else the leftovers. That might drive home the point that there is not enough to go around.

The second platitude is no better. Government is cutting back because their means have decreased. The problem is that the cuts are really hitting home for many different groups. There has been a consistent march on Olympia from the various constituencies to protect their funding.

So, which programs that serve the public should be eliminated? Or what should be cut back? What really isn’t necessary that government currently is doing? Those who think they know the answers — and clearly they are out there by all their protests — step up and tell the state what it is obviously not seeing.

The third platitude implies that government never goes after what they should. That they always leave items untouched that should be eliminated. Yet, never do the critics name what those items are that are not needed. Again, if these items are so obvious and yet the government is not seeing them, why not do one’s civic duty and provide that information?

Lastly, government should stop looking at taxpayers for funding. Well, where else is the government going to get its revenue? The money to run government has to come from somewhere. One need look no further than the backlash Kitsap County experienced from the development folks when it tried to raise its Department of Community Development fees to cover expenses to see how well that went over.

Clearly, users of government services do not wish to pay the full freight. So, that means subsidies from tax revenues. Again, the money has to come from somewhere. If those who object to government collection of their money have a better idea, then they should share it.

This is not the time to be bashful and hide one’s light under the barrel. Government is hurting and needs help. It is much easier to throw brickbats and make government to be in the wrong. It is much harder to make the actual choices, let alone be held accountable for them.

Times are tough and no one is helped by people parading as paragons of frugality and efficiency. These “contributions” are not solving the problem, they are just making it worse.

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