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Steve D. Scheel, Published January 03 2009

Let them know how we feel

Perhaps it is time that a good number of us, the modest, Scandinavian Midwesterners, break out of our shell and let our congressmen and congresswomen, who have only a 19 percent approval rating in the latest poll, know how we feel.

Perhaps we have sat on our hands and watched Washington in action for too long. It is as though the federal government, including both political parties, the president, the Senate and the House, think that throwing money at every conceivable problem is the best fix and the only solution.

Politicians speak up with the usual, programmed response in their voices to be seen and to be heard in the media, and pretend to be concerned about spending our hard-earned money, but in the end they vote to throw our tax dollars at every problem that rears its ugly head. The media fans the fire to create an emotional blaze that consumes even the unaffected.

Certainly, times aren’t as rosy as they were a few years ago, but this is not even close to 1929; 94 percent of us who want to work are employed. Yet, every “crisis” is blown out of proportion by the media, and our elected representatives vote to throw our tax dollars at every problem, with no rationale for doing so, and absolutely no idea if the trillions they throw will do any good.

Most hard-working Americans don’t want to subsidize poorly run banks and insurance companies with their tax dollars. But, that is just what our politicians are doing. Let the poorly run banks be bought by well-run banks, let the poorly run insurance companies be bought by well-run insurance companies, or let them fail. Let them file for bankruptcy protection, if need be.

General Motors, Ford and Chrysler should not be bailed out by taxpayers. Period. Why should workers in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota or any other states subsidize the auto companies and auto workers in Michigan or Ohio? This is precisely why bankruptcy laws were created. If these companies cannot operate profitably, they should be forced to file for protection under the bankruptcy laws.

Next in line with their hands out will be states such as California that have no idea how to rein in spending or balance a budget with expenditures that match revenues. They have spent so much on so many “feel-good” programs that they are now expecting those of us in well-managed states to subsidize their state and their expensive programs as well. This is almost hard to believe. Perhaps they should spend only what they take in, and when the taxpayers in California have had enough, they can vote out those politicians who love to spend someone else’s money. If things get bad enough in California, they will. They don’t deserve a bailout. They created their own mess, and they can budget their way out of it, without the tax dollars of workers from other states.

Now is a good time for every voter to call his or her senators and representatives. It is time to stop spending money we don’t have, time to stop bailing out poorly run businesses, time to put dishonest and greedy politicians, CEOs and execs in jail, and let the chips fall where they may. There are too many hard-working Americans whose tax dollars are being used in ways that would make our Founding Fathers roll over in their graves.

If we don’t let our politicians know how we feel, it will not change. They will continue to drink their cocktails in Washington and spend our tax dollars, while their approval ratings hover around

20 percent. My guess is, it will not change, and the finger-pointing and partisan politics that gets nothing done will continue.

In less than four years there will be another election when no politician takes responsibility for anything, and all we hear is who’s to blame. Perhaps those in office now should shoulder the responsibility, quit throwing our tax dollars at every problem, and make the tough decisions that they are elected to make.

Scheel is a Fargo businessman