Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Houston’s Metro a Microcosm of Washington

“Houston, we have a problem”, while spoken by astronauts on Apollo 13; the line has relevance in other areas closer to home. I caught a well written article by Bradley Olson and Mike Snyder in the Houston Chronicle, highlighting local Metro’s $2.6 Billion bond plan which exceeds by about “four times the debt capacity voters authorized in a 2003 referendum”.

Normally I would have “read” a well written article; but I’ve been listening to the Astros each afternoon; spring training games are now in full swing. You could say I’m addicted to baseball and have had to wait all winter long; sitting in the dugout too long will do that to a player.

A couple of lines explains the frustration citizens have with government bureaucracies, the sinking feeling that no matter how loudly we voice our desires, the bureaucrats are going to do what ever they damn well please; pardon my French.

“Metro President and CEO Frank Wilson said the agency does not have to ask for voter approval for the additional debt because it would be paid for with sales taxes, fare revenues and federal grants.”

‘“If you read the referendum, there are a number of sources in there that we’re allowed to use that doesn't require us to go back (to voters),” he said.”

That’s like having one of your children ask to borrow the car for a trip down to Galveston’s beach and finding out, after getting a collect call from San Diego, that some of his friends talked him into going to Disneyland. “Could you wire me a few hundred dollars? That Twenty you gave me is all gone?” Have I overstated the issue?

There’s a difference between mild exaggeration and an out right lie. Voters are seeing the same level of respect, or more accurately, lack of respect at nearly every level of government, all the way to Washington.

Speaking of Social Security; my old police partner used to change subjects like that when he wanted to talk about something else. Whatever social skill he lacked he made up for in being direct.

Social Security, when put before voters, was promised to be no more than 1% and limited to the first $15,000 earned (*). That has been has expanded to 6.2% tax on the first $250,000 (*); most folks entire annual income, not including an additional 1.45% assigned to Medicare. I don’t care which age you live in; 1% remains constant. What happened to make it 6.2%; they lied to the American people.

(*) I put that in there because I couldn’t find the page with all the stats in my files and was going from memory. I tried finding the exact figures on the internet; but mostly what I found was a rousing socialist justification for the Ponzi scheme we call Social Security . I’m sure someone has the exact amounts and could leave a comment; not intending to mislead anyone by my lack of investigative skills, just wanted to focus on how the lie was established.

I’m getting off target a bit. I never even brought up the fact (my opinion) that Houston’s Metro rail system has been a disaster from its inception; building a ground level rail system which competes for space with cars, trucks, busses and pedestrians is asinine, you heard me, asinine! The toy train project was shoved down the public’s throat and competing ideas were thrown in the trash without serious debate; much like health care reform being worked out behind closed doors and being voted on in the middle of the night. Now they want to expand that nightmare to other parts of the city.

There’s a fine line between representative government and tyranny. In my lifetime I’ve watched that line edge ever closer toward tyranny; don’t know how long the average American will put up with being lied to. I hope the great fall holds off until I’ve gone the way of all the world; but what about my children and grandchildren, what kind of America are we leaving them?

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal , a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.


The probligo said...

This has always been the major pitfall of democracy, has it not? The people in power are elected by only part of the electorate; they very often have undisclosed intentions, sometimes quite contrary to those outlined to the electorate; and they always seem hell-bent on doing the wrong thing at the wrong time.

MK said...

Best thing is to never to give them much power to do anything. But that ship has long sailed, we in the west are really getting the government we deserve.