Unfortunately, the wealth of DC is not the realistic situation of our state, county and city governments. The crisis, which has been snow balling for years, was set in motion back in the 1950’s and 1960’s with the emergence of public sector unions and the Great Society. If anything good could result from the current situation, I would hope it would be the continued awakening of local governments to their ability to decertify or eliminate any public worker unions from their organization. If a policy of zero tolerance of any union association was adopted by a local government, I guarantee they would see a resurgence of interest by the business community. It has been proven time and time again businesses thrive in an environment with low taxes and less government intrusion and where the leadership of the company is allowed to make decisions from the top down.
Local municipalities who have to cover everything from funding public education, safety, recreation, transportation and much more were already strained by a reduction in tax revenue thanks to the economic downturn. However when the stimulus package was passed, these communities were given a false sense of security. Most local officials were looking for a quick solution to their overstretched budgets with hope that the repercussions would only surface after their terms expired. Therefore, in a time when the warning signals were being sent to tighten budgets and save, many local governments did not heed the warnings, Instead, they hired additional employees and expanded services.
Part of me wonders if these same elected officials thought that when the stimulus funds eventually ran out, a rainbow would appear and a little green man would emerge and give them a pot of gold! Unfortunately, there is no rainbow and pots of gold in today’s economy and while we can continue to analyze why cities like Mammoth Lake are in the economic crisis, I would encourage everyone to go find their own local municipalities budget and take some time to read and understand where exactly your tax dollars are being allocated.
If you are frustrated with the politicians in DC and feel as though your words do not make a difference to those elected officials, I suggest you turn to your local representatives. These public servants are more likely to take notice of your questions and concerns and you have a better chance of getting an honest personal response from them rather than a generic form letter. These are the elected officials who are most responsible for your day -to -day life. These are the ones who are charged with the oath to protect your property, educate your family and provide for the overall well being of your community. These are the officials who must answer to you not only at the ballot box, but also in the grocery store, the local watering hole as well as your church parking lot.