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Government could be role model, instead of irresponsible with money

April 19, 2008
We’ve done a lot of talking about the government in recent days, particularly the Iowa Legislature and some of its recent actions.

We can’t help but address another issue that lingers: government responsibility.

The legislature is busy working on a budget as the final days of the session near — and as usual, we hear about arguments between Republicans and Democrats, legislators and the governor, conservatives and liberals.

And this year, just like in years past, we will hear about all the irresponsible increases in spending and taxes and who knows what else once the budget is finally approved.

The situation is no different at the national level — in fact, it’s usually much worse. Congress is known for pork barrel projects being slipped into bills just so senators and representatives can “bring home the bacon” to their constituents.

It all brings up an interesting thought.

As parents, we are charged with raising our children to be responsible with their money. We are to teach them how to earn it and how to spend it — wisely, not willy-nilly.

Yet our own government, which should be able to serve as a bit of a role model, chooses the “willy-nilly” option over the “wise” method.

We see plans for an overpriced bridge connecting a town and to a nearby island in Alaska, allowing for more land development and urban sprawl.

Or funding of a lobster institute in Maine, a research center that boasts a line of dog biscuits made of crustaceans.

And don’t forget plans for a rain forest in Iowa, though those appear to be on hold — for now.

And all of these projects carry a $17.2 billion price tag for taxpayers so far in 2008.

That’s not responsible spending — not even remotely close. And it certainly doesn’t make for a good role model for our children, but then again, politics rarely do.

It all boils down to this: How are parents, teachers and others supposed to teach children responsibility when the government has none?

The answer: With blinders on ignoring the irresponsible — and often insane — actions of government.

And with the power of the pen on election day. Let’s not forget that come November.

As for Iowa legislators, we encourage them to take note of Congress’s actions and act more appropriately. Pass a responsible budget without all that “pork” Gov. Culver proposed at the start of the session.

It’s the “role model” thing to do.


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