We can all rest better knowing this guy is in charge…
Satire by Chris Ingram
Dear voters of Flori-duh:
Over the past year, Floridians have made their priority very clear: Create jobs and control spending. Nearly 12 percent of Floridians are still looking for work, and one of the biggest impediments to economic recovery is a track record of unpredictable government spending. What Floridians want, and deserve, is a nice $152,000 book contract. You know, one like the one I got working for that rinky-dink community college. They wanted me to write them a book about Fla. legislative history and stuff like that. So I got my nephew’s 7th grade social studies report, wrote my name on it, and turned it in. And you know what? The peeps at the community college gave me the money! Friggin’ cool man! They didn’t teach me this in college! I learned this in “the real world.”
Let me tell you, this whole thing working for the government is cool. Of course, when I’m on the stump talking to my fellow Republicans, I talk about “private sector” “entrepreneurism” “cutting red tape” and other stuff like that. The Kool-aid drinkers eat it up! I guess none of them read the newspapers because I thought I was toast when the story about the book came out. Know what happened? They put it up on Amazon.com and you can now buy it for your Kindle! Ain’t America great?
In Flori-duh, we have led by example in restraining spending (with the exception of community college book projects for elected officials with no marketable talent). In the coming budget year, forecasts predict that we will be working with general revenue equal to fiscal year 2004-2005 (back when I got the deal). With fewer dollars coming into the state (and more going into my pocket), we will not increase taxes or ask Floridians for additional sacrifices. We will spend less. Already within the Flori-duh Senate, we have saved over $1 million by reducing the size and salaries of our staff. Now some of you may be saying “whoop-dee-doo” what’s a million bucks when you have a deficit in the billions? And you’re right. And for that reason, it’s no big deal that I got $152 grand for a book report. $152 grand is a drop in the proverbial bucket. But my wife was happy because it meant we could do neat stuff like spa treatments and go to the hair salon together. My kids needed new braces too, and that helped Flori-duh’s economy because the orthodontist was then able to go out and hire people and stuff like that. I want you to know we are committed to continue this work throughout state government. And I am committed to continue my work as an author published via Kindle!
However, in a time of economic uncertainty, families and businesses need predictability to plan for the future and assess the risks of investment and growth. If businesses are to begin hiring again and if families are going to begin purchasing homes and making other investments, they must know what to expect from government. You might be sitting there asking yourself, “WTF does some podunk community college professor know about business and investments?” You know what? I don’t know squat about any of that stuff. But I read a communications book from Frank Luntz and now I know all the talking points the Chamber of Commerce wants to hear.
And when I go speak to a Rotary Club, they think I am one of them. Apparently Rotarians drink a lot of Kool-aid too. Anyhow, I am committed to leading by example in this area as well. That’s why the Flori-duh Senate has passed a ‘Smart Cap’ on all state government. The cap would ensure government spending never grows faster than a family’s ability to pay for it. Now of course this all sounds simple and easy, but trust me, behind the scenes the lawyers at the state capitol are making sure dumb voters don’t ever actually get any “benefits” from the ‘Smart Cap.’ This is what we call “smoke and mirrors” and it will be a chapter in my upcoming book, tentatively titled “How an empty suit becomes Flori-duh Senate President.” As soon as I find a new Crayola crayon sharpener I will begin writing. Unfortunately my sharpener broke from overuse when I was filling out my inaccurate financial disclosure forms for several years.
(Man these are long paragraphs. Confusing voters is hard work!)
If approved by voters, the ‘Smart Cap’ would limit growth in state government spending to inflation plus population growth. Any revenue collected above the cap would be set aside in a budget stabilization fund, unless voters give permission for it to be spent. The “unless” part is what the lobbyist told me is the loophole that will allow government to keep screwing the citizens. If the government wants to grow its spending faster than families can afford, the voters—not politicians—have the power to give their permission. Getting voter permission won’t be hard. You just hire a bunch of lawyers to write the wording and make sure they frame the question to favor a “yes” response and it will pass. You could get a ham sandwich elected to the school board if you phrased the ballot language the right way. Friggin’ lawyers. I love ‘em! “Stabilization fund” — that’s a lawyer word if there ever was one.
It’s important to note, the cap would only apply to state government. I am pointing this out because I am a professor, and what I like to do is teach, talk about small business needs, and write books. Anyhow, the cap only applies to state government because we don’t have the authority to tell Washington or your local community what to do. But if we did, we would lead by example, by getting your local community and Congress to authorize funds for me to write a comprehensive history of Sesame Street. I really like Bert and Ernie and I am highly qualified to opine about these matters.
What we saw during a strong economy just a few years ago when tax revenue came streaming in from a booming housing market—and what we still see today in Washington, D.C. despite our economic problems—is that government’s inclination is to find ways to spend money instead of planning for the future (see wasteful $152,000 book deal as prime example). A ‘Smart Cap’ structured in this way, would ensure that the ups and downs that we have seen in the state budget over the past decade would not be so extreme. OK, now, this is really me Mike talking here, not the lawyers in my office who wrote most of this letter. I think the ‘Smart Cap’ thing is a bunch of bunk. I wanted to call it the ‘Smarter or Smartest Cap’ so Georgia or some other state doesn’t come along and one-up us, but John Thrasher yelled at me for messing with the important stuff and he gave me a lollipop so I quit arguing. Cotton candy is my favorite flavor of lollipop but he only had root beer. Yuck! But I ate it anyway and kept quite because that’s what good boys do. (Okay, back to the lawyers here…) Rather than overspending in periods of growth, an effective limit on government would control wasteful spending and instead create a natural allowance for periods of slow growth and budget contraction like we are seeing now. Whatever the F that means! (That was me Mike again).
Flori-duh families should not have to give up on their plans for the future because the government cannot control its spending. (what?) Likewise, Flori-duh businesses should not have to give up on creating badly needed new jobs because government is unwilling to make tough decisions. (ha?) This too will be a chapter in my next book. It will be titled ‘Everything I know about business I learned from “Business for Dummies.”’ Elected officials have a duty to understand whom tax dollars truly belong to. And you know what, I’m the state Senate President, and I’m still trying to figure it out. But know this, when I speak to local Republican groups and talk about the ‘Smart Cap’ amendment, the wing-nuts go wild. Then I tell ‘em that it ensures that they never forget and are always accountable by giving Flori-duh voters the ultimate veto power as well as the predictability they need to make the right decisions for their families and businesses.
When I get done, little old ladies come up to me and pinch my cheek and say, “I want to introduce you to my granddaughter.”
Being a politician is cool! Gotta run. Time for an eyebrow waxing with the wifey.
Author extraordinaire and Flori-duh Senate President
Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.
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