I’ll discuss my D.C. trip quite a bit this Thursday on Flag mornings (93.5FM 7:30-8:30) but here are some thoughts while I fly home. While I am hopeful that Flagstaff will see some fruits from traveling to DC it seems to me that DC and the Federal Government is a very broken system. I met many fine people and a lot of people that I believe are truly trying to make a difference, but the system has become so large and so mired in bureaucracy that serious reform, an overall shrinking of the Federal Government and so much more is needed. We visited over a dozen different departments, people in various agencies and elected Representatives. Most were helpful, though it appears the system has become a maze of layers and bureaucracy for even them to work through.
You see the headlines, Congress and the White House can’t even pass a budget. As a city we are required to have a balanced budget every year. Not the federal government though, they keep plodding along with no budget and a retractable roof for a debt ceiling. What you may have not seen is the massive building boom in DC as a result of all the money flowing into the Capitol, money that should be spent on productive means instead of lawyers and lobbyists. What you may not have seen is the Federal Departments with legions of security, protocols and procedures and islands of cubicles designed to create laws for people and lands far off.
So how does this affect Flagstaff? In short, we have got to become more self reliant. We must lower our expectations of how much funding we receive from the Federal Government. If we get it, great, but don’t count on it. Since I was elected I have voted to turn down grants in an effort to stop the spending, to send a message to the Federal Government to stop wasting our tax dollars on less than priority projects, and to send a message that we as a City want no part in perpetuating the $17,000,000,000,000 disaster that has been created by inept politicians and constituents that turn a blind eye. The problem of debt and spending continues to spiral out of control and will surely bankrupt our Country. I am often in the minority on these issues but that’s ok, sometimes it takes a spark.
We must continue to work as a City to find ways to do things on our own. The thinning of forests around Flagstaff is one example. It’s unfortunate we have to spend money to thin National Forest land but these are the kinds of projects we’ll have to continue to take on in light of the mess that DC has become. We have got to find ways to pave our streets, fund our infrastructure and make Flagstaff a place that can survive and even thrive in an environment of sequestration, austerity and Federal lunacy.
I liken the Federal Government to an engine that takes 5 quarts of oil. It only has a 1/2 quart of oil left and is seizing up. The parts are violently shaking and pieces of the engine are falling off but the people running the engine don’t seem to notice, or worse, don’t care. Even if we could fill the engine back up, it’s so damaged now it’ll need rebuilding.
Once again, I met lots of fine folks but they are working in a broken system. We have plenty of opportunity in Flagstaff and I am optimistic that we can take the proper action to take care of ourselves. Whatever we do, don’t count on the Federal Government for help.