Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

A Different Perspective: 5/29/2024

The primary elections are just ahead, where perspectives collide, and some are eliminated in the rush to November. This may be the most emotional and anger-tainted campaign ever, with little agreement on any front. There are so many perspectives!

In the olden days, like in the last century, the choices were fairly well-defined. The questions on the ballots were simple: Democrat, Republican, Independent, and maybe a Socialist or Green party thrown in as a token gesture.

Now, none of those choices are at all clear, and billions of dollars spent on campaigns aren’t going to help.

Within the two parties, there are Trumpeters and awe o’Biden citizens competing with the DETAs (Don’t Elect Trump Again) and ABBAs (Anyone But Biden Again). The divisions get split ever finer over gender identification, immigration, war support (or not) of different sides, inflation, climate change, green energy, medical costs, … and voting itself.

With two wars and a raft of brushfires going on, demanding US dollars and weapons, on top of foreign “aid” to nearly every other country on earth, there are the national issues many feel should have higher priority. Hordes of illegal immigrants are slipping into the welfare system, already trying to take care of the poor, homeless, and otherwise unfortunate here at home. Many of them find work in jobs that are “beneath” native Americans but compete with immigrants who invested to be here legally.

What to do, what to do? I know! Let’s throw money at the problems! A billion here, a few billion there, our President (of either party) and elected congresspersons scatter the cash about with glistening publicity under the often-conflicting pressures from constituents and powerful lobbying forces. People scream about taxes but gladly welcome “free” money for purposes near and dear to them.

The national debt, as of now, is about thirty-five TRILLION dollars. That’s a number you can read, but no one can comprehend. Perhaps the most stunning perspective is to put it in terms of time: A million seconds is 12 days. A billion is almost 32 years. A trillion seconds is 31,688 years. Thirty-five trillion seconds is over 11,000 centuries.

The debt is increasing at the rate of 9 billion dollars PER DAY. If a day in your life were debt-equivalent seconds, you would age 285 years in those 24 hours.

Ah, what joy to wallow in deficit spending. Would that we could run our personal finances that way!

How much our government is spending isn’t at the front of everyone’s mind, but it is probably the most important long-term problem we have, far more than climate change or social concerns, from my perspective. Numbers are boring to most people and are usually minimized and mishandled by reporters, so it’s easy to ignore them.

We can also feel that our vote makes little difference. The power of those votes was just demonstrated in the Butte School levy ballot. It was originally tied out of 7,749 votes cast. In a recount, it won by three votes. A petition forced another recount, where it lost by nine.

Nearly all the people marking ballots have a vested interest in some or many of these issues in one way or another. Unfortunately, many, perhaps even most, will not take the time or effort to inform themselves about the details.

When you vote, use your logical mind, and don’t be swayed by social media, celebrity opinions, or emotion. There are few easy choices, but try to vote for the future of the state and the country.

 

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