Blunt: Federal Gov’t “Non-Functioning”
By Mike Scott
“The federal government is as close to non-functioning as it has ever been, except for the rule makers…the regulators seem to be in full force,” said United States Senator Roy Blunt to a goup of around forty Kahoka and Clark County constituents gathered at Steve’s Family Dining on Monday afternoon, August 22.
“The only thing that makes anything happen is some kind of crisis, and if it wasn’t for the crisis, I guess we wouldn’t be getting anything done.”
“I think there’s a bigger thing going on in the county, I think we really are having a big debate, one that we have every 25-30 years about who we’re going to be for the next 25-30 years. One option is to be like everybody else, the western European countries, and the other is not. I really do think we’re deciding how much like everybody else we want to be, or do we want to be us?” he said.
Blunt noted similar moments when the country decided its direction came under Presidents Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Johnson and Reagan.
“The re-tooling clock has come around again, and we we’re trying to decide who we’re going to be,” he said.
“Our number one priority ought to be private sector job creation, but we’re not doing the things we need to do to create that certainty so that people will take the chance and create the jobs,” added Blunt.
Several local leaders spoke to Blunt about their concerns.
Clark County Presiding Commissioner Ron Brewer explained a problem with funding for a bridge project.
“We’re trying to save a bridge,” Brewer said. The Little Fox River is changing course, threatening Bridge #151 in the northwest part of Clark County. ?Funding had previously been awarded, but was now no longer available.
“If we can’t find any money, we’re going to have to abandon the project,” Brewer said.
Gary Trump discussed over regulation by the federal and state government
“The EPA and DNR are putting this country out of business,” Trump said. “And it’s really killing the small businesses. There’s no common sense in what they do.”
Blunt agreed there is a problem with over regulation, noting that the federal government set a record in July for the most rules and regulations ever enacted. Congress has little power over the regulations, because they answer to the president, he said.
“Regulators are trying to do by regulation what they never could by legislation,” Blunt said.
Several cabin owners at Gregory Landing enlisted the Senator’s help in dealing with the Army Corps of Engineers, who have told 14 cabin owners that they cannot drive or park vehicles on the levee, despite then having done that for over 40 years.
“That levee has withstood three major floods with no damage to the face of the levee,” Dave Riggs told the Senator. “If anything, those cabin owners have improved the levee.
Jerry Redding expressed his frustration at the impact of the welfare system on hiring.
“I can’t get anybody hired because I have to beat the benefits they can get from welfare.,” Redding said. “We’re going the wrong direction on a lot of this stuff. We can’t compete with the way you guys hire them on welfare.”
On the subject of government spending, Blunt said, “We’re spending 25 percent more money, relative to the overall economy, than we were in the 40 years before 2009, 2010 and 2011.”
Spending increased from 19 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2008, to 25 percent in 2009.
“That’s a 25 percent increase in one year,” he said. “You do $800 billion in stimulus, that’s a pretty big chunk, but we’ve kept spending at that level for 30 months.”
“We’ve gotten to the point where everything is a federal problem. Part of it needs to be making levels of government work like they’re intended to in our system. For example, we should be doing virtually nothing about elementary and secondary education in Washington D.C. ?That’s a local and state responsibility, and the money will be spent so much better if it stays here.”
Spending reform will have to impact entitlements–including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which spent 101 percent of revenue received.
“We borrowed the money to do every single other thing the government did,” he said.
“Divided government, where we are right now, would be a good time to actually deal with social security and Medicare, because the other side won’t be able to spend the next 20 years saying ‘you guys did this’. ?So this is a moment where we should be able to solve some of these big problems. Apparently, we don’t have the will to do that,” Blunt said.