Did you know that almost everything we use began its journey on a dirt road? Think about it: wood from trees, food from fields and orchards, even metals used to forge steel or plastics to build cell phones all started their journey on a dirt road.
That is why Former Klamath County Commissioner Dennis LInthicum calls his new blog the Dirt Road Economist. As an economist by education and trade, Dennis uses his vast knowledge to make sense of the the economy and applies common sense to fiscal and governmental policy that effects all of our lives.
Have your kids ever asked “why” when you help them with their homework? Of course! Any problem needs to address “why” - if Johnny has 38 oranges and sells 12, he has 26 left - why? When I tutored my kids in math, I explained that this is straight-forward: pluses and minuses have strict rules, and we must obey those rules. In adulthood, we realize that if we don’t pay attention to mathematical rules, our currency, our bank accounts and our economies begin to fall apart. In a fictional word problem, it’s OK if we miss an integer and Johnny winds up with 16 oranges instead of 26. In the real world, Johnny goes bankrupt and has to close his fruit stand.
Which leads me to my point: telling Johnny that he has more oranges than he does, or letting him do fuzzy math is not good leadership. Sunday’s Klamath Falls Herald and News editorial critiqued my “lack of leadership” for opposing yet another tax in the Klamath Basin, but as a leader, I have to make those hard decisions. Their reasoning is that “leadership is more than saying no”. It certainly is, but I am not saying a simple “no” - I am saying what too many politicians don’t have the courage to say: “this doesn’t add up.”
Leadership, according to the Herald and News, is saying “yes”. It’s pleasant to hear that we can raise taxes and not affect the economy, or that the next levy, fee, tax or bond measure amounts to a good investment instead of faulty logic. So, the typical politician shuts his eyes to the real math problems we face. The progressive euphemisms: “investment,” “fair share” and “leadership” cover up faulty logic.
In a recent Letter to the Editor to The Herald and News (see clipping here...) James Finses of Copco Lake probes issues regarding the task force designed to “clean up the Klamath Basin water issues.”
Finses starts with a fair warning to taxpayers, “Voters beware. Here comes another sham...” Then he notes that, “In both Klamath and Siskiyou counties, voters elect the boards of commissioners or supervisors to represent the voters.”
Next, he asks a searching question, “Where are they on the list of invited stakeholders?” They are not there because socialists have rigged the system to circumvent our representative forms of government. The entire “consensus” effort is based upon the ideology that uses four distinct points for creating what is known as a “collaborative effort.” The “collaborative effort” is a methodology designed to usher progressive/socialistic ideas from the elites in academia into transformational public policy. It springs from the Progressive Policy Institute which is a liberal think-tank that was a project of the Democratic Leadership Council, an organization which Bill Clinton headed.
Last week, in a letter to the Herald & News editors, someone commented that:
“[Linthicum] never seems to use the word ‘we’, but generally expresses his personal feelings toward issues and starts every objection with ‘I’.”
Frankly, I find this odd, because, surely, my objections belong to me. While various individuals might agree, or disagree, with my positions, I am voicing them because they are mine. I see no problem with owning my opinions as my own.
Each of us as an Individual
We are all different and we all carry different ideas. We are different in height, weight, body-type, talent and skill. We each come from different educational backgrounds; we have different life experiences, families and, hence, different perspectives.
The Klamath County Budget Committee is getting plenty of feedback with regard to Meals on Wheels and the Senior Center. The committee is not struggling with the validity or need for the Meals on Wheels program. The issue, given the local stagnant economy and declining county revenue, is whether it would be fiscally prudent to fund these programs at current levels.
Public commentary is mixed but there is a sense that as long as the program passes the “compassion” threshold, then it should be funded.
One perspective supposedly has “compassion” and the other doesn’t. Long-term fiscal responsibility appears to show a cold-hearted mathematical meanness rather than a real heart-felt compassion for the public good.
The Following Guest Commentary was run in the Herald and News
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Fixing funding allocation is the solution for schools
Without addressing the real issue, more school bond measures will be required
For the past several years there has been more than $100,000,000 ($100 million) available, annually, for City and County Schools. So, why doesn’t the district have enough money to fix a toilet, leaky faucet, or broken window?
Welcome to the world of wasted money and looney legislators.
In truth, the City and County School districts have been receiving, and will receive, between $100,000,000 and $110,000,000 a year, or more (not less). This amounts to over $1,000,000,000 ($1 billion) in a ten year period.
A couple of weeks ago, I spoke about the $31.5M School Bond Measure at the Republican Central Committee. Before that, I spoke at Klamath Homebuilders Builders Association, Klamath County Association of Realtors and the Chamber of Commerce.
First, as a member of the Klamath County Board of Commissioners, my purpose is to encourage open dialog and debate regarding issues concerning Klamath County. Second, in this commentary I am not speaking for the commissioners, but rather, I am speaking as an individual. Third, as a pro-education advocate, I have several reasons for airing opposition to the current government model for allocating tax dollars to our education community.
In several of my presentations I received over-whelming support for my fundamental claim – that the “public education system” is broken. People would tell me, “I completely agree with you...”. However, that statement was occasionally followed with, “But, I feel we should support our kids...”
(You might consider this article as “Clearing the Air - Part 5.” Find previous articles here...)
On Tuesday, August 21, 2012,
“The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality had two public hearing sessions regarding its proposal to adopt rules as part of an attainment plan that will bring the Klamath Falls area into compliance with National Ambient Air Quality Standards for fine particulate, or PM2.5, by the federal deadline of December 2014.”
All agencies drafting implementation procedures, or regulations, that will be published in the Federal Register must allow a public comment period before their plan can be approved.
In Clearing the Air - Part 3, I ended with the question, "How come this stuff never gets reported?"
I'm wondering, "Are these issues getting fair time? Is there too much information? Or, could there be reporting bias."
I know claims of media bias are not new. Journalists can alleviate bias claims through the simple art of objective reporting (giving equal time to differing viewpoints). This type of reporting would be considered “fair and balanced.”
Last week, in Clearing the Air - Part 2, I touched on the biased and exaggerated data that is being used by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) despite Federal requirements to the contrary. Specifically, the Federal Data Quality Act (DQA) was legislation put in place by Congress to ensure that federal agencies use and disseminate accurate information.
The DQA requires the EPA to issue and follow information quality guidelines that ensure the quality, utility, objectivity and integrity of the information that they disseminate. Additionally, the EPA must provide mechanisms for affected persons to correct invalid, inaccurate, and specious information.
The agency must also present the information in the proper context and identify the source along with the supporting data or models so that the public can assess for itself whether there may be some reason to question the objectivity of the sources.