In 1956 President Eisenhower gave a speech in Peoria, Illinois to a group that included many farmers. He spoke to them about how with few exceptions the people in Washington from Congressmen to bureaucrats didn’t understand the first thing about farmers or farming.
Eisenhower told them, “Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and a thousand miles from a corn field”.
When it comes to those same folks who are running the government today, you could easily substitute “farming” for any other industry and the “plow and cornfield” for any other tool or location and you would get the same result.
They don’t know the first thing about how business and industry works, but they know how to use a pencil or in today’s world a computer.
But the main problem with the leadership of this country is that they never confront the real problems facing us preferring to kick those poor old cans down the road.
And that is not limited to just Washington.
In every state capitol, county seat or city the political class either by design or plain stupidity has let problems fester until they get so bad they are unavoidable.
And when that happens they go to the taxpayers and squeeze them a little harder to find the money to correct their mistakes and believe me it always comes down to money.
Here in the California there is a dam not too far from where I live that has a spillway that is used to release water when the reservoir behind the dam gets to full from the Sierra runoff. And boy there has been a lot of runoff this winter.
The spillway has a giant gaping hole that is getting worse by the hour as the concrete breaks apart creating a nightmare for the state’s water managers.
The Oroville Dam was built in 1968 as part of the State Water Project and at the time it was an engineering marvel.
But that was 50 years ago and like anything that old it is showing its age. Trust me I am on the backside of 50 so I know about aging.
In fact much of California’s infrastructure is showing its age so much that it is at a crisis point. Our roads, highways and bridges rank 48th out of 50 states and they are getting worse.
But our politicians here in Venezuela-by-the-Pacific are more concerned with fighting President Trump and his policies particularly on immigration than they are about their mundane responsibilities like ensuring California has an adequate infrastructure to serve 38 million people.
And now that Governor Brown and the Legislature have at long last decided to fix our roads and bridges their solutions are higher gas taxes and vehicle license fees which will hit the poorest Californians every time they go to fill up or register their cars.
Where will the money to fix the Oroville Dam spillway come from? Higher water rates? Higher taxes?
No one knows yet but I and other Californians should hold on to our wallets.
If they are counting on President Trump to bail them out they shouldn’t hold their breath.
Now much of our infrastructure problems are blamed on what is called “deferred maintenance”.
But no one ever asks the right questions especially the media.
Questions like, “Who deferred the maintenance and why? And if the money to pay for the scheduled maintenance was deferred where did it go?”
This deferred maintenance of our roads is so bad that that we have a $136 Billion backlog that would take decades to complete. And catching up to the backlog even if possible does nothing to build new infrastructure to serve even more people in the years ahead.
And instead of fixing what we have and planning for the future, Governor Brown wants to build a high speed rail train that no one wants, no one knows the full cost or when it will be completed or who will ride it.
Avoiding solving problems is a national disgrace and whether the perpetrators are in Washington D.C. or Sacramento the result is the same.
The problems get worse and the solutions get more expensive.
So here is your Cowboy Wisdom for the Week.
“Life is simpler when you plow around the stump”.
Yes its true life is simpler when you avoid your problems by plowing around them.
But when you do it that way your furrows are crooked and you will never straighten them out just creating more problems down the road.
So while it is harder it’s best to do the back breaking work of removing the stump.
We need more stump removers in politics and government and fewer folks willing to plow around them.