Spending requires a close look

Published 11:48 am Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Letter to the Editor

Brian Thiel, LeRoy

The Sunday, March 27, Herald editorial, “Require Efficiency,” hit the bulls eye.

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Saying that for every question that comes before the Legislature or every division of the government we must dig deep to come up with the best ways to serve the public without any assumption that things must simply be continued as they are now being done.  That truly needs to be said and the advice heeded.

When times are good it is easy to lose that focus.  It is the same deficiency for everyone personally, too, not just government entities or businesses and non-profits.  When the poor habit of blindly believing that “what we are doing is right because things are going well” becomes ingrained an unhappy day of reckoning awaits.

Our domestic economy has soured, the job market has changed, new demographics have changed presumed safe forecasts, and the rest of the world is catching up to us. A day of reckoning has come.  It is now.

Since education accounts for about half of everybody’s tax bill, that is the first and most important place where persistent questioning about finding new paradigms is most needed.  And new paradigms are very scarce among the ‘education establishment.’

Doesn’t Wisconsin show us how resistant people can be to penetrating analysis and reform?  It is easy to be critical of all parties in that sad tale: 1) the new party in power who pushed fast for sweeping changes, 2) the old party minority who ran away to prevent serious discussion, 3) the thousands who went beyond civil demonstrations and spilled over into intimidation and borderline violence.

In Minnesota, so far we have not seen that sort of childish behavior.  May we never.