Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Chopping Blocks and Soap Boxes

L'economie, elle est malade.

Talk about your worst nightmare - reliving SAT prep all over again----

- Entitlement programs are to block grants what deficit is to appropriations.

- If House Bill for $X trillion passes with 224 votes and Senate Bill for $XX billion passes with 52 votes, how many State funded programs will lose their Federal match?

For weeks the citizens of our great nation have tuned in, gaped, scratched their heads, decried taxation, and then tuned out when a bill passed. You know, something was passed - a trillion something - what exactly was cut to add up to those trillions?, who knows.

Apparently Jill Citizen is confident that this debt thing will sort itself out now that something passed.

My friends we are way beyond the mystery of the Hogwart's Sorting hat.

For those who work in the trenches of the Federal government, the reality is vivid. The sorting painful. The impact deep.

It will take the American public several years before the individual citizen appreciates the uncomfortable reality of what was lost and gained.

Which is why I am fascinated by the hue and cry over the slated demise of the House Page Program. Really? This is what gets the moderates to mobilize?

There is a petition. National media. Dueling rumors as to why the program is ending - fiscal vs. scandal.

It feels so "inside the Beltway". Do North Dakotans really care?

I read an impassioned blog post today to save the vaunted Page Program and I couldn't stop laughing. I laughed so hard I cried.

Believer Blogger could not believe that this 200 year-old program that brought 4,000 youth to the Capital over a twenty year period and cost $5 million annually, could possibly be put on the chopping block! For those of you playing at home that is 200 Pages a year at $25,000 per Page.

Believer Blogger and apparently thousands of others are frustrated that a program that inspires engaged citizenry in our youth is being ended at a moment in our history that demands the next generations step up.

We had that - a federally funded national service program annually engaging over a million youth in engaged citizenry. Learn and Serve America. Reduced drop out numbers. Built community playgrounds, gardens, environmental conservation programs. Engaged youth in state and local policy and government. And this twenty year old program was cut in the 2011 fiscal debate prelude to the debt ceiling debate.

Yes, that is bitterness dripping from my text.

Each budget cut is personal.

Every single "ion" in the trillions of dollars in cuts has supported some portion of the population in some way. Perhaps we may not need a set aside program for engaging youth as informed and active citizens - they may not have a choice but to step up.

That is my impassioned blogger moment. At least this hour's impassioned moment.