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The Red-headed Stepchild of Politics

By Christina Stein
Opinion | November 10, 2010


GREAT BEND, Kan. - The federal government is a punching bag for the frustrations that Americans have with politics.

The federal government is blamed whenever anything goes wrong in our country; it is the red-headed stepchild of America.

On the flip side whenever anything goes wrong, American's look to big brother for help and a bailout. We can complain as much as we want about the federal government being around, but in the end we also complain when the federal government is not around.

Natural disasters, insufficient funds, stopping terrorism, are all things we expect from our federal government; especially in this state, as Kansas has a sparse population and less of a tax base than other areas.

Last year in the state of Kansas Medicaid services were cut by up to 10 percent. As a state we had to depend on the federal government to help us out and ensure seniors' services. So much for the federal government wanting to kill Grandma with death panels; the federal government helped out Grandma in our state.

Public education. Last year in the state of Kansas the federal government, bailed out (through stimulus funds) public education. The federal government pitched in to ensure our children have a sufficient education. When I was in the second grade school closed several months early as our school ran out of money, seemingly cool for a kid, it was a torturous long summer for my Mom. School closings and consolidation do happen.

That money from the federal government is planned to dry up this year. Which means it is now our states responsibility to balance the budget. It is fairly certain state officials will blame the federal government for monetary issues concerning our state, they are the perfect scapegoat. Holding ourselves accountable in politics is rare, unless things are going well.

Kansas has received in stimulus funds this year $266,756,506 in contracts, $1,989,553.651 in grants, $165,000,000 in Research and Development funds (source document here).

This is on top of what we receive back from the federal government. Kansas (in 2005) received back $1.12 for every dollar paid into the federal government (source document here). How is that for a deal?

Our state is getting more money back than paid in? That means other states are chipping in on the productivity of our state.

At a state level, the government has more pull than many realize. The state makes many of the laws for us to live by and directs funds to where they need to go. The state makes decisions on, smoking ordinances, ensuring productivity of business, ensuring productivity of citizens, ensuring a living wage for citizens, social services, public education.

Most of our business takes place on a state level. Many state officials disdain the federal government, while at the same time hold their hand out for a monetary contribution to balance our budget. It is a great game, hold the federal government accountable for a states short failings while at the same time increasing productivity with federal dollars.

The state of Kansas, would have very serious issues if the federal government had not stepped in and given us funds needed to continue production. It is time we start paying attention to where our funds are going in our state. It seems we hold the federal government accountable for what our state and local officials do.

For years we have had a state wide stimulus package for big business in the state of Kansas. There is no accountability, and tax exemptions are handed out like candy to the good friends of legislatures (source document here).

We must pay attention to what is going on in our areas, as well as at a state and federal level.

Here in Barton County, those who represent us have given tax exemptions to a company who came in from out of state, and created jobs. Unfortunately, this company doesn't pay a living wage. So, out of my tax dollars I pay for this company several times over, once in a luscious tax exemption for the company, secondly for food stamps for their workers because they are not being paid a living wage. If the company is not environmentally friendly, and they pollute my river, I end up paying a third time (visit BartonCounty.org to view minutes from county commissioners meetings.)

When a community pays a business to bring low paying jobs to an area, crime increases. If a worker is not paid a living wage, if the population is less education, if people have no way to support themselves they resort to crime. On top of my hard earned tax dollars going for the CEO of a company's private jet, unnecessarily low wages, social welfare, and environmental cleanup, I am also paying for this with crime in my area.

Obviously issues pertaining to state and federal government are more in depth than this article.

It is difficult to pay attention to state and local politics as most people watch the news, and the news mostly discusses federal politics. It is time to use the internet and check voting records, attend council meetings, get involved, pay attention to what is going on at home. We need to hold state politicians accountable for state policies, local politicians accountable for local policies, and federal politicians accountable for federal policies.

As members of the 'tea party state,' we need to hold politicians accountable; we need to know what is going on at the state, federal, and local levels.


2 Comments

I agree that we need to pay more attention to local elections. Kris Kobach is going to be our Secretary of State. He helped write Arizona's immigration law. Sam Brownback is going to be governor. I can't even describe how much I disagree with him or his obvious desire to use Cedar Crest as a jumping point to the White House. Great post.


We holler for accountability of government, but refuse to be held accountable for our personal failures. Those who do vote vote blindly in support of their partisan candidates and blame the system for not deliivering equally and fairly to society. Those who don't vote, sometimes they exceed 50% of elegible voters, sit back and complain about how it doesn't change anything when elections are over. Special interest groups and radicals control communications from the coffee shop on up through the halls of congress. The common folks fail to speak up, even when they know there is no basis for the radical's or special interest group's position or accusations. For instance, how many checked the source references in Christina's article? How many of you just stopped reading if the source wasn't from the right partisan spokesman or your favorite spin meister talk show entertainer?

Kansas voted overwhelmingly for a governor who a few years ago declared that the most pressing issue facing our nation was same sex marriage. Never mind the free fall in economic conditions and the runaway spending for an unwinable war. Never mind the immigration problems. Never mind the intrusion on government policies by huge multi-national corporations. Never mind the bankrupt failures of our education system. Good old Kansas with our fundamental conservative religious right leanings grabbed the campaign flags and cheered him on.

We get the kind of government we deserve! We hunt for the scapegoats to hold accountable and fail to notice that 'we is the enemy'!


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