Dick Palmer: Do we really want change? Swell, it's up to us!

School is now in session, the primary election is set for this Tuesday and, indeed, then it's on with the show or whatever you would like to call it.

School is now in session, the primary election is set for this Tuesday and, indeed, then it's on with the show or whatever you would like to call it.

I'm not going to waste your time or mine listing the candidates. We will probably find them listed in this issue of the Budgeteer, the Duluth News Tribune or, obviously, our local community newspapers, radio and TV outlets. The rest is up to us.

What I am concerned about is our serious interest in all this. Both the national Democratic and Republican conventions are history, candidates have been selected and approved by the hierarchy of each political persuasion and millions and millions of dollars will be spent between now and November convincing you and me which party has the ultimate leaders to save us from the demons.

We'll read on a daily basis stories and listen and watch sound bites on radio and TV about Barack Obama and Joe Biden as the presidential and vice presidential Democratic contenders and John McCain and Sarah Palin representing the Republican cause, shouting to the heavens about their plans to get America back on track.

The personality show will obscure the seriousness of our plight today as the United States continues to bury itself in debt beyond reason. We have lost our manufacturing domain, inflation is running out of control and we are mired down in an Iraq and Afghanistan political nightmare; yet our focus is on a presidential contest that is more fluff than fact.


The real quagmire is not taking a serious look at Congress. You know, those 435 members of the House of Representatives and 100 senators who write the laws of the land. They are the folks who control our destiny and, as of late, have been doing a horrible job.

Two years ago the Democrats took control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives in Washington.

"Hurrah," some of you are saying, but look at our country today: Consumer confidence has eroded; unemployment has increased considerably; regular gasoline was around $2.20 or so per gallon and recently escalated to $4 per gallon; our mortgage equity has dropped by trillions of dollars; tens of thousands have lost or are losing their homes; the stock market is taking a beating and reduced consumer spending is swiftly tearing the hearts out of our retail businesses.

Congress writes the laws, not the president. Congress approves or adjusts the budget, and hides in the closet whenever things get a little sticky.

You want to blame George W. Bush for our country's economic crises? Be my guest, but remember: Congress authorizes the expenditures and they hold the checkbook you and I have given them. With a flick of a button, they can continue to spend our money while working folks wonder just how they will pay the mortgage or put food on the table.

Doesn't anyone care? Is it right to vote the prescribed party line without knowing who will be pulling the strings in those hallowed halls in Washington? The same holds true in our state legislatures. All Minnesota state House members are up for election, and some county commissioners seats are also being challenged. In almost every case, candidates will hide behind the party loyalty curtain, avoiding the real issues facing America today.

The liberal solution to our national debt is to raise taxes on the rich. Conservatives opt for streamlining departments and cutting out the fat and, I'll readily admit, neither is doing a responsible job selling their positions.

Consider this: Patching the holes in our economic ship of states seems much more logical to me than sinking the whole ship by doing nothing. Look at our economy today and be honest: Aren't you just a little concerned?


And on the lighter side

Undertaker: What can we do for you?

Ole: I vant to make arrangements to be buried at sea.

Undertaker: Why do you want to be buried at sea?

Ole: To get back at my vife. She said dat vhen I die she is going to dance on my grave!

-- Red Stangland's Ole and Lena

Dick Palmer is a former Budgeteer editor and publisher. E-mail .

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