Dollars and Common Sense

Posted: Sunday, November 4, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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I’ve learned a couple things during my first year of retirement.
1)      Playing a lot of golf has not made me a better golfer.
2)      Living on a fixed income is a pain in the place where I sit down.
The comment Linda and I always used to make when faced with an unexpected expense or costly purchase was, “Well, we’ll just have to stay on the job and make more.”
Now, we’re faced with the reality of living on a tighter budget because we “aren’t” going to make more.
I’m not complaining. It was our choice. But if I’ve got to be careful with how I spend my money, I don’t think it’s too much to ask that those who collect and spend my “tax” all levels of government..use some common sense too.
We all knew things would be different after 9-11 and I was more than willing to help foot the bill to fight terrorism anywhere around the world.
But here we are six years later and despite our manpower and technology; the head terrorist  responsible for the attacks on America is still out there making home movies thumbing his nose at us and warning of more attacks to come.
Meantime, we were led into…and are now bogged down in…yet another war with no clear objective and no exit strategy.
A war that even conservative estimates place at costing over a TRILLION dollars when all is said and done…not to mention the immeasurable cost in human life.
A TRILLION dollars..a thousand Billion! 
Think of the ways we could have spent that money.
A serious health care program.
Some serious funding into cancer research.
Some serious guarantees that Social Security money will not dry up.
Some serious attention to alternative fuels to offset foreign oil prices which have jumped from 30 to 90 dollars a barrel since the Iraq war began.
How about a billion dollar bounty on bin Laden?
For that kind of dough, even the most zealot Muslim just might be persuaded to point towards the correct cave so we could root-out that scumbag .
On the homefront..heck, just half a billion dollars would pay for the Lewis and Clark Pipeline Project which is getting more expensive with every construction bid that comes in.
We could probably get a federal grant to build a couple streets by tunneling under both country clubs so those who live on the west side of Sioux Falls could finally have their east\west corridor and cut three minutes from their drive to and from work.
Maybe we could get the feds to help bankroll the cost of extending the interstate highways through downtown Sioux Falls. Then perhaps traffic would no longer be an issue in the debate over a huge new events center which we apparently must have if we’re ever to get Elton John to come back. And even though results of an  interestingly-timed study show the current arena to be structurally sound, it is in desperate need of  seven and a half million dollars worth of improvements. Maybe since everyone thinks the arena is so old we could get it on the National Historic register and help pay for things like a private shower for the occasional female referee.. plasma televisions and bar service for those who choose to enjoy games from the comfort of their private skyboxes and to upgrade ice making equipment that apparently taxpayers have to pay for so the Stampede can skate.
I know I can’t afford all this stuff  so unless T-Denny can be convinced to pony up more cash, we’re just going to have to get out of Iraq.

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