www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Embarrassing economists -10/24/2014, 9:13 AM

Sherow for House -10/24/2014, 9:13 AM

It can't get crazier (wanna bet?) -10/24/2014, 9:04 AM

Digital distractions -10/23/2014, 10:01 AM

Orman for Senate -10/23/2014, 10:01 AM

Federal persecutors -10/23/2014, 10:00 AM

Kids do count -10/22/2014, 10:31 AM

Needing the past in the future? -10/22/2014, 10:31 AM

In praise of hunting -10/22/2014, 10:30 AM

What is a CID? Will it work for mall? -10/21/2014, 10:22 AM

Judging importance on the ballot -10/21/2014, 10:22 AM

Kansas Speaks -10/21/2014, 10:22 AM

Paying for schools -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Joining forces for Orman -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Research before voting -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Davis is moderate? -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

The most important election in your lifetime -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Huelskamp stands out -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Kansas farm interests -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Keeping unfounded reports from 'going viral' -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

The age of cynicism -10/18/2014, 9:02 AM

Preventable diseases -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Second term needed -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Kansans deserve better -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Officially killing Americans -10/17/2014, 10:27 AM

New era at FHSU -10/16/2014, 10:01 AM

Roberts is right choice -10/16/2014, 10:01 AM

Crumbling Constitution -10/16/2014, 9:52 AM

Redbelly's future -10/16/2014, 9:52 AM

Kansas deserves better -10/15/2014, 10:23 AM

Remember to vote on Nov. 4 -10/15/2014, 10:23 AM

You almost feel sorry for Sean Groubert -10/15/2014, 10:23 AM

Register to vote -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

Living on that 70 percent -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

New bullying problem for schools: parents -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

Cheerios, marriage equality, the Supreme Court -10/13/2014, 9:49 AM

Wedded bliss -10/12/2014, 5:54 PM

Who is the real fraud? -10/12/2014, 5:08 PM

Teenagers 'make some noise' -10/12/2014, 5:08 PM

Not so private property -10/10/2014, 10:01 AM

Federal funding -10/10/2014, 10:01 AM

Teacher indoctrination -10/10/2014, 10:01 AM

Vote Republican -10/9/2014, 9:49 AM

Non-partisan politics -10/9/2014, 9:49 AM

Teen driver safety week Oct. 19 to 25 -10/9/2014, 9:04 AM

FHSU party -10/9/2014, 10:11 AM

Poverty in America -10/9/2014, 10:11 AM

Let the women serve -10/9/2014, 10:11 AM

Time for new direction -10/8/2014, 9:49 AM

Improving Kansas economically -10/8/2014, 9:35 AM

Water abusers -10/8/2014, 9:35 AM

Play safe on the farm -10/8/2014, 9:34 AM

Where the money comes from -10/7/2014, 10:24 AM

The president's security -10/7/2014, 10:24 AM

Marriage equality -10/7/2014, 10:24 AM

The sins of the father are visited -10/6/2014, 9:02 AM

Cannabis in America: The bottom line -10/6/2014, 9:20 AM

A reason to celebrate -10/6/2014, 9:20 AM

Gov. shields wealthy from paying for schools -10/5/2014, 2:07 PM

Passionate protest in defense of civil disorder -10/5/2014, 2:07 PM

October is time for baseball and, of course, film premieres -10/4/2014, 2:16 PM

Alley cleanup -10/3/2014, 10:01 AM

Will the West defend itself? -10/3/2014, 10:01 AM

Find another school -10/3/2014, 10:01 AM

It's better now -10/2/2014, 9:17 AM

The answer is to bomb Mexico? -10/2/2014, 9:17 AM

Falling revenue -10/2/2014, 9:17 AM

School facilities -10/1/2014, 9:27 AM

Look ahead, not back -10/1/2014, 9:27 AM

Secret Service needs to step up its game -10/1/2014, 9:27 AM

Roosevelts were true leaders -9/30/2014, 9:18 AM

Moral bankruptcy -9/30/2014, 9:18 AM

Expect some sort of change in Topeka -9/30/2014, 9:18 AM

'A tale of two countries' -9/29/2014, 9:59 AM

The last of the Willie Horton ads? -9/29/2014, 9:59 AM

Finding answers to the future of Kansas -9/28/2014, 2:20 PM

College: Where religious freedom goes to die -9/28/2014, 2:20 PM

Honoring Hammond -9/28/2014, 2:20 PM

Do statistical disparities mean injustice? -9/26/2014, 9:53 AM

World university rankings -9/26/2014, 9:52 AM

Kansas experiment -9/26/2014, 9:52 AM

Two anti-choice parties -9/25/2014, 10:03 AM

Not in the same old Kansas anymore -9/25/2014, 10:03 AM

Domestic violence -9/25/2014, 10:03 AM

Back to war we go -9/24/2014, 9:55 AM

Piling on the NFL -9/24/2014, 9:54 AM

Emma Watson looking for a few good men -9/24/2014, 9:54 AM

Renter runaround -9/23/2014, 7:32 PM

Enough is enough -9/23/2014, 9:02 AM

Life of politics in the state -9/23/2014, 9:02 AM

What is and is not child abuse -9/22/2014, 9:30 AM

Cannabis politics and research -9/22/2014, 9:30 AM

Future of The Mall -9/21/2014, 6:14 PM

Multiculturalism is a failure -9/19/2014, 9:52 AM

State education rankings -9/19/2014, 9:52 AM

Kobach gone wild -9/19/2014, 9:52 AM

Bias prevents civil discussion of education issues -9/18/2014, 9:35 AM

Immigration is American -9/18/2014, 9:35 AM

Costs to states not expanding Medicaid -9/17/2014, 10:14 AM

Medicare threats -9/17/2014, 10:12 AM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Misplaced priorities

Published on -9/4/2013, 9:54 AM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

With the nation's debt quickly approaching $17 trillion, there are not many citizens to be found who wouldn't agree the United States is living beyond its means.

Where people differ, however, is which programs or services naturally should be cut or eliminated in order to begin bringing government budgets under control. Even those differences have a common thread running through them: Make sure the cuts don't take anything away from me.

And that makes sense. It would be a foolish person, indeed, who wouldn't argue his or her self-interest. A farmer, for example, might be extremely interested in preserving CRP payments but not care less if an investment bank receives tax credits on capital that is parked overseas. That same lending institution might not have a vested interest in the prevailing minimum wage, while a fast-food restaurant would. Examples are not hard to come by.

As anarchy would erupt if it were up to each person to plead their own case, we utilize a representative form of governance to settle claims between competing interests.

But the playing field is anything but level. Lobbyists have made sure of that. And we wouldn't expect anything different, for they're guided by self-interest as well.

Who can afford their own lobbyist? Not your average citizen residing in northwest Kansas. Sure, most people wouldn't hesitate bending the ear of U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran or State Rep. Sue Boldra if they ran into them at a Chamber of Commerce event, and most likely they'd have a pleasant conversation.

We would submit a face-to-face promise to look into something will never hold sway in either Washington, D.C., or Topeka if put up against campaign contributions from an organization seeking the opposite. For the record, we're not holding out either Moran or Boldra as examples of anything other than likely to be seen at the Hays Welcome Center.

But when it comes to debt reduction, decreasing deficits or controlling spending in any fashion, we don't see many elected officials arguing to do anything about corporate welfare. It's really not discussed much -- if at all.

What does receive a lot of attention is individual assistance.

Just this week, state leaders have decided that some 20,000 unemployed Kansans will be cut from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program unless they find a job working at least 20 hours per week. Topeka could have kept the program intact for these people with the federal government picking up the tab, but opted otherwise.

"We know that employment is the most effective way to escape poverty," declared Kansas Department for Children and Families Secretary Phyllis Gilmore.

Gilmore's hard-heartedness was applauded by Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan.: "As a nation, we must rein in out-of-control spending. Implementing these reforms will help get us back on track to reducing our deficits and promote paychecks over welfare checks."

Huelskamp is almost giddy in his callousness.

While we support the concept of having every able-bodied U.S. adult working, it's not practical. Have you noticed any large industries moving into northwest Kansas of late? Neither have we. You can't pay them enough to come to an area with such low unemployment.

Most economists readily agree that 4 percent unemployment is "full" employment. If there aren't idled workers at the ready, economies can't transition. Which is why state and federal governments reluctantly agreed to provide benefits so these necessary unemployed individuals wouldn't starve awaiting their next job.

Even worse, in our minds, is the conversation itself. We castigate individuals receiving any kind of assistance while ignoring large corporate interests that receive the lion's share of redistributed tax dollars. Simply follow the money. Who's helping shape government policy in Washington and Topeka? Certainly not the laid-off 45-year-old whose receiving a hundred dollars monthly for pre-approved food items. It's the large business that siphons billions of dollars annually straight to its bottom line.

And elected officials simply go with the flow. America, and Kansas, have lost their moral compass. Have we no shame?

Editorial by Patrick Lowry

plowry@dailynews.net

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos

AP Breaking News