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Dick Palmer: Managing the mismanaged managers of mischief

For you anti-Dick Palmer buffs, at least you can be thankful I'm not writing a column every week. In fact, as retirement is finally settling in, I'm toying with two books and making some progress. The problem is, I have been writing regularly for...

For you anti-Dick Palmer buffs, at least you can be thankful I'm not writing a column every week. In fact, as retirement is finally settling in, I'm toying with two books and making some progress. The problem is, I have been writing regularly for the Budgeteer for around half a century and those deadline pressures are hard to brush aside. However, looking at the world from outside the composing and newsrooms is also a rare treat for me and I'm slowly adjusting.

Editor Jana Peterson advised she had a hole to fill this week and I responded, "Why not?"

Most of us now fully realize we are in a recession and things could get a whole lot worse before they begin to improve. So, we wondered, how did all this happen? Who yanked the chain and what is going to keep us from being flushed down the drain? Too many people haven't faced the significance of all this yet, but they will soon enough. Our concern is that the right people have to take their heads out of the sand and look around; it is not too late to curb this most serious challenge.

There is a lot of finger-pointing these days. Some of it unquestionably hits the mark -- for example, those lenders who offered "free" money for the taking, and the people (who should have known better) who purchased cars, boats and houses way beyond their means, enticed by lenders who also knew better but who were out to make quick profits.

Governments, at all levels, simply went berserk with project after project authorized without solid financial backing. And the federal government, in all its self-proclaimed wisdom, just kept promising more and more. As our dollar depreciated in value, Washington was forced to print more and more and the value continued to decline.

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Before we went off the gold standard, the United States was sitting on top of the heap; we were the financial leaders in a world economy. Today it isn't America, instead it is China, India and other foreign powers that are controlling our economy and taking away our jobs and positive prospects for our present and future generations.

The fact that the United States is so dependent on foreign products today is frightening beyond words.

Even the mines on the Iron Range have all but closed because the demand for taconite in foreign markets is on hold and we can't use the taconite here because most of our steel-making facilities have been shut down.

In the electronics field, little is manufactured in the United States. And look at our auto industry, now operated in part by the U.S. government.

No, the unions were not totally at fault, but they do share in the demise with management's self-serving interests as well. Now the government says it is going to rescue the American automobile industry from extinction? Don't bet on it.

Perhaps one of our biggest liabilities, as average citizens, is a willingness to sit back and let it happen. We wave and cheer for our favorite political alliances without a thought of who the participants are and what is needed to turn America around. Either we are too lazy or we simply don't give a hoot. We elected a comedian to the Senate; this past week his office sent some folks to Duluth to get input from local citizens. Hurrah! You can bet this group isn't staying at the local YMCA and that our senator is not paying for this excursion out of his own pocket. It is either taxpayer money or special-interest money. But he's not alone: Republican politicians are doing the same thing, covering their backsides with a waving flag and a tearful, self-serving message of doom and gloom, depending on who you are talking to.

Here is the bottom line: Politics today has become an out-of-control profession. The cost of government is so far out of line it has become an embarrassment and is certainly on its way to self-destruction. Even our state legislature has gone berserk! We've addressed this many times in the past, but smooth-talking political kingmakers continue to have their way. It's time to put a stop to these mismanaged managers of mischief.

And on the lighter side

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Lars: Hey, Ole, I understand you and your wife celebrated your 25th anniversary last month. I suppose you had a party ... killed a chicken or something?

Ole: No ... ve vouldn't do dat, I don't believe in making a chicken suffer for something dat happened 25 years ago.

~ Red Stangland's Ole and Lena

Contact former Budgeteer publisher and editor Dick Palmer at rpalmer341@aol.com .

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