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Friday, May 07, 2010

Paying for Government

This political cycle has a common theme throughout the GOP:  We want smaller, more effective government.  No doubt, the "more effective" aspect is something both Republicans and Democrats alike can agree is necessary, it's the "smaller" part with which we have some disagreement.  For example:

1.  Do we really want a smaller military force?  Perhaps we have forgotten, but we still have boots on the ground and much like back when I served in the military during the Cold War, the Russians and China continue their war games.  And let's not forget the ever-increasing threat to the world Iran poses.  Our men and women of the Armed Forces are doing a spectacular job, but no doubt they could use more assistance.

2.  We want swift justice, but not willing to pay for it.  We are eventually going to need a new jail to replace the Oklahoma County Jail, but no one is really excited about new taxes.  Maybe if we allow it to double as an NBA practice facility, we'll like the idea, but it will represent higher taxes.  We want to prosecute criminals, but we don't really like to fund the prosecutorial processes, do we?  The Medical Examiner's office is facing scandal, some of my Republican brethren even talked of dismantling the office and now, we're surprised when it takes so long to get toxicology reports?  If we want justice, we are going to have to pay for it.

3.  Mental health services.  Recently, hundreds marched on the capitol to tell their legislators that there was and is a need for mental health services.  If we don't fund it, what do we do with these people in need?

Those are just three examples and I haven't even begun to talk about education and the most recent (but annual) exhibition of power of David Boren. 

I would argue that we do, in fact, need smaller and more effective government but it is going to require we consider all the consequences - intended and otherwise.

But the BIG question remains as to which of our government expenditures is actually authorized by the U.S. Constitution and the Constitution of the great state of Oklahoma...