Thankfully, someone's looking for budget cuts

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It does appear that the Congressional Super Committee looking for budget cuts to federal spending was about as successful as Marshall County commissioners' two-man search for support for consolidation of government services here, or combining the county with one or more municipality under a metropolitan charter.

However, this is Marshall County, a farming community where folks are patient. Harvest seasons show the result of hard work. Should we abandon an idea? The seed planted two months ago was something of a hybrid. Consolidation of services is one prospective area to harvest savings even if folks aren't ready to go whole hog. In fact, a study by researchers with the University of Tennessee reports that combining governments in Tennessee does not have a terrific track record. Frequently, Nash-Vegas' Council seems dysfunctional enough to give a metro advocate indigestion. And Metropolitan Lynchburg-Moore County was created as a result of the late 1980s push by Tullahoma to annex part of Moore County. Jack Daniel's whiskey ads might still report Lynchburg's population as a few hundred souls, but a majority of the county and city voted to help their eastern neighbors - and relatives - from being taken in by a municipality chartered in Coffee County.

So, look forward to the next chapter in the waning saga of Metro Marshall and the Double L Ranchers, Liggett and Ledford. Will Joe and Don be riding into the sunset, or a new dawn? Stay tuned for the 6 p.m. show of county commissioners on Monday.

Meanwhile, in our nation's capitol, Tennessee's senior senator, Lamar Alexander, has taken a stance from the mid-'60s South as he's issued a statement about the failure of the Deficit Reduction Committee, AKA, the Super Committee.

"This is a failure of governing, not of money," Alexander declared.

Sounds like the line from a prison captain in the 1967 Paul Newman film "Cool Hand Luke."

"What we have here is a failure to communicate."

Sometimes you can't rehabilitate people, the captain says.

Alexander continues, "The debt will be cut by another $1.2 trillion [presumably by default because of the way the Super Committee was established] but it will be done the wrong way, without reforming the mandatory entitlement spending that is 55 percent of the federal budget, growing at three times inflation and bankrupting our country. The President and Congress should now work together on a pro-growth plan to cut the debt by $4 trillion: close tax loopholes, lower tax rates, raise revenues, and save Social Security and Medicare so seniors and future generations can rely on them."

There are other bi-partisan blueprints on how to do it, our senator says.

Tennessee's junior senator, Bob Corker, also decries "Washington's lack of discipline and unwillingness to make decisions - that we all know must be made - may cause the world to question the American exceptionalism that has been a beacon for the world for generations."

America is a beacon. Our computer technology accelerated public discourse for the Arab Spring.

Alexander's call for a "pro-growth plan" is reminiscent of Jack Kennedy's reminder: A rising tide floats all boats. Restarting GM's assembly line in Spring Hill will make this area grow.

And yet, before drought is forgotten, steps should be taken to repair the ship of state and county.