Whether it is dealing with a job loss, no raise, a struggling small business or the loss from a flood, having to make ends meet for your family can be extremely stressful. So you can understand why folks get angry when they hear the politicians in government talk about the “need” for more money (from those same struggling taxpayers) and then see that same government waste their tax dollars. It is infuriating—and probably the reason so many tax proposals fail.
Just last week I saw a story that says it costs 1.5 cents to make a penny. Amazing. Only in government would anyone accept this or even survive losing money year after year. The government mentality is, “It’s not my money I am spending.” But it is. It’s our money.
But this isn’t an isolated incident. Right here in Baton Rouge we have the Federal Emergency Management Agency mobile homes being set up. It will cost from $129,200 to $170,000 per trailer, depending on where they’re placed. INSANE. People could buy a home for that.
Troy Davis, a 30-year veteran of the manufactured housing industry, told The Advocate that he could sell the FEMA “low-end mobile home” for $38,500, including sewer and water connections, and he would still make a profit as a retailer. FEMA and our government should be ashamed of wasting millions of tax dollars. I believe most folks would gladly take a $100,000 check and fend for themselves, and we would still save taxpayers millions. Unless, of course, this is about “someone” selling trailers to the government and contractors making millions.
“It’s idiotic. It’s the fleecing of America, example No. 10,000,” U.S. Rep. Garret Graves told The Advocate. “What we do in government doesn’t stand up to the common sense test.”
“The situation is that the federal government has really lost its way,” Graves added. “If this happened in the private sector, would it survive? The clear answer is absolutely not.”
And it’s not just FEMA. The Washington Post on Dec. 5 had an article headlined, “Pentagon buries evidence of $125 billion in bureaucratic waste.” The article said, “The Pentagon has buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste in its business operations amid fears Congress would use the findings as an excuse to slash the defense budget.” More insanity.
We know government is necessary to provide critical services, and that requires tax revenue. But eliminating some expenses or positions no longer needed could fund the needs elsewhere. Of course, that’s hard work. Your family has to live within its means, adjust and find ways to make ends meet. Taxpayers would say government should not be exempt from that reality. But as the examples above show, government is not accountable or an efficient provider, and it has little incentive to innovate or save—it just asks for more of your money.
OPTIMISM HIGH IN AMERICA
Despite what you might still read or hear about the mood of the country from the national press, pundits or “mainstream media” (still reeling from their biased and bad performance during the election), the numbers are clearly saying many Americans seem to be optimistic and confident about 2017 with a new President Donald Trump.
Headlines read: “Trump election pushes US small business owner optimism to eight-year high” and “Trump victory shoots consumer confidence to 15-year high” and “Stock market’s velocity after Trump has Wall Street talking Dow 20,000.”
This just goes to show (again) that the “mainstream media,” Washington establishment and Hollywood were—and still are—completely out of touch with most of America (outside California) and its anger and desire for “real change,” not the Obama kind of change.
As for what will happen in the days and months following Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, no one knows yet. But based on the facts noted in the headlines above, you shouldn’t expect more of the same that you’ve seen over the past eight years. And based on Trump’s cabinet appointments, it appears things will certainly be different. But time will tell. We all know the old cliché: “Actions speak louder than words.”
The election turned the status quo on its head, blew up conventional wisdom and created a “new normal”—proving all the experts wrong. So I wouldn’t start predicting what will happen next. Let’s just be optimistic and open-minded.
Congratulations to our new Mayor Sharon Weston Broome, and our new Metro Council on their inauguration. As our community celebrates its history with our bicentennial, Broome is making history as the first woman to be elected mayor. East Baton Rouge Parish and the Capital Region survived a tough year in 2016, but we have great potential and momentum going into this new year. We are hopeful—and expectant—that our new leaders will work together for our continued growth and success.
OUR BICENTENNIAL HISTORY
New Year’s kicks off a yearlong celebration of the Baton Rouge Bicentennial, marking 200 years since the city was incorporated. We’re doing our part to honor the people and events that have made Baton Rouge the innovative, thriving community that it is today. Throughout the year, you’ll find a new feature inside of the first issue of the month in Business Report—as well as our sister publications 225 and inRegister—celebrating this important milestone. “Celebrating 200 Years of Baton Rouge” will highlight the most compelling—and sometimes entertaining—moments from the city’s colorful history.
In this first installment, you’ll discover which countries have governed the area over the years, when the Louisiana Legislature decided Baton Rouge should replace New Orleans as the state capital, how Essen and Siegen lanes got their names and more.
A special thanks to our partners and sponsors ExxonMobil and Chase for bringing this special feature not only to our readers, but to the classroom as well. Later in the year, we’re providing free copies of “Celebrating 200 Years of Baton Rouge” to students learning about Louisiana history.
A MATTER OF RESPECT
#BRRespect is a new, 42-week social movement in Baton Rouge in 2017 that strives to give every citizen an opportunity to actively participate in performing thought-provoking and habit-changing “good deeds,” and to show respect. Manners of the Heart, headed by Jill Rigby, will drive this campaign with the support of local media partners. The campaign will encourage individuals and companies (employees) to take The Pledge of Respect and join the movement.