Thanks, but . . .

President Obama is coming to Columbus later this week to attend the graduation ceremony of a class of new City of Columbus police officers. If you don’t know why the President is coming to a function that occurs routinely in cities and towns across America, the reason is that these recruits were not going to be hired — due to a municipal cost-cutting decision made in an attempt to try to make up a budget shortfall — until the “stimulus bill” was passed by Congress and signed into law by the President.

I’m sure the people of Columbus, myself included, will applaud the addition of new police officers to help keep us safe. I can’t help but wonder, however, if this is really the proper role of the federal government, to say nothing of whether hiring police officers will provide the kind of positive economic jolt that was the stated purpose of the stimulus bill. I don’t think the federal government should be paying for basic municipal services like police, or fire departments, or for that matter garbage collection. Instead, the local citizenry and local governments should shoulder that responsibility and, in tough economic times like these, should make the hard choices that are necessary to balance budgets and prioritize municipal activities and projects. If the federal government gets down to the level of making sure that Columbus has 29 more police officers, why should we have local governments at all? And, if the federal government is focused on that kind of activity, isn’t it being distracted from the “big picture” items that clearly are its exclusive responsibility — like providing for the common defense, negotiating treaties, and developing immigration policy, among many others?

1 thought on “Thanks, but . . .

  1. Well, as long as it creates jobs. Also, I don’t think it’s a big deal that the federal government is helping cities cope with budget shortfalls. Better than the chaos that could ensure. It’s something that shouldn’t happen often, but the current economic climate justifies it I think.

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