Do you remember the times in your life when you suddenly understood clearly what was going on? When your eyes opened and your ears heard and you could articulate enough to think everyone else would understand if they would just listen, but then no one did?

I was thinking about one of those times for me. It was a long time ago and one of the national TV stations was doing a report on taxation and how taxpayer funds are spent. The reporter is dead now, but I think it was Peter Jennings, the Canadian/U.S. Broadcaster who once also said that United States voters had thrown a giant tantrum when they elected Republicans after Newt Gingrich’s Contract for America caused a political earthquake.

His report detailed how much money was collected by the Government, how much was taken to run various programs, and how much went back to the states in revenue sharing. Jennings reported that 40 cents of every dollar stayed in Washington D.C. to fund the government. I’m not sure what that figure is today.

Seattle was then shown as a “typical” U.S. City and Jennings nattered on about the great things federal money had funded for the area, showing pictures of roads, bridges and buildings. Finally he, as I recall the amounts, concluded with the words, “How much money did the people of Seattle pay in taxes? $45 million dollars. And how much did they receive in revenue sharing for these projects? $45 million! So I would say the good people of Seattle got their money’s worth.”

If 40 percent of the $45 million paid in taxes stayed in D. C., that comes to $18 million that had to come out of a lot of somebody else’s pockets in order to pay for Seattle’s goodies. And Peter Jennings appeared not just to approve that, but seemed blissfully unaware that some little guy in Pioche, Nevada or Bangor, Maine might not find that such a good deal.

Is it just possible that a lot of money could be saved if the “middle men” were removed from the picture? If those funds did not get siphoned off in D.C.? If national taxes and programs were cut, and each city and state paid for their own programs and projects from local taxes? Let the arguments over paying for “Bridges to Nowhere” be conducted by the people who do or don’t need that service. Let the people who know them hold their local and state authorities accountable for their ideas and honesty. Wasn’t that the original intent of the rights retained by the states?

The fact that anything at all, both the program and the funding, can be added and passed as a rider on an unrelated bill is so disgusting we should all be outraged.

In one robs Peter to pay Paul, only Paul and his friends are happy.

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