By Kenneth Cooper
Let’s say you’re a crackhead, and one day you find that you can no longer support your crack habit with the money from your 9 to 5, so you start raiding the trust fund your parents set aside for you. Though this would be an effective way to subsidize your crack habit in the short term, in the long term this would not be a reliable solution. Eventually, one of three things would have to happen- 1) you’d have to admit that you can’t afford crack anymore and proceed to stop smoking it.; 2) You’d have to admit that you can’t afford to smoke at the levels you’re smoking and proceed to smoke less; or 3) you’d have to get another job, or a higher paying one, that will afford you the financial means to smoke comfortably. This shall henceforth be known as The Crackhead’s Dilemma
Though our present governor and legislators are not crackheads, they are plagued by this dilemma nonetheless. Presently they are debating how much money, if any, to raid from various trust funds. If the money was being used to pay for something tangible like crack, we’d at least have a definite source of their fixation. But that is not the case. If asked where the $119 million the governor wants or the $74 million House legislators propose on using is going, the vague answer would probably be to fund various government expenses and departments. If asked what’ll happen if they don’t get the money, the response will be a threat of governmental withdrawal and systematic convulsions. Hooked on hurricane spending levels, this increased spending habit began post-Katrina when former governors started spending $4 billion in excess of what they were spending pre-Katrina. Now that the state doesn’t have federal reimbursements to support this habit, they’re looking to citizens to help subsidize the costs, obviously choosing option 3(more money) instead of 2(reducing frivolous spending) or 1(stopping excessive spending).
Let’s say you’re a king who’s inherited a crumbling kingdom. Most of your citizens, who aren’t in jail, have been left poor and uneducated. Your crown city is an economically bereft, crime-infested bowl that sits between a lake and a river. Your major income sources are a royal decree of regressive sales and income taxes, money from the gambling and tourist industry, and dwindling revenue from the oil and gas industry. But here you are, your roads need paving. Your coast is eroding. Healthcare costs are going up, and you’re behind on the pension payments for former members of the royal court and aristocracy. You need money now. What’s a king to do? How about raise taxes on the already poor and uneducated? So poof. With one wave of your royal scepter, you declare the highest sales tax amongst the 50 kingdoms. You also cut funding to colleges and the health department, making it harder for the citizenry to become healthier, less poor, and better educated. You tell them this is all temporary, but warn that when the tax expires in two years, the kingdom will crumble under the weight of a $1.5 billion deficit. This is an allegory. Louisiana is the kingdom. The king is the present governor. We are the citizenry, and we are left asking…
Why does our new governor resemble our old governor? Didn’t we elect a new governor so we wouldn’t have old governor problems? If we have a newly elected governor but still have old governor problems, does this mean that our old governor was not a problem? No. Absolutely not. Our old governor was definitely a problem, a big problem. In the history of state problems, this old governor, whose name we will never ever mention again, was…well to be nice, let’s just say he left our state with a structural catastrophe, financially. Oddly, our new governor, Mr. John Bel Edwards, has resembled him in proposed solutions.
This isn’t entirely our new governor’s fault. Like our lives, his office and decisions are haunted by the ghost of the old governor. What is to be done about this?
Well, New Orleans is a catholic city. Maybe some brave soul can walk down to Walmsley Ave. The archdiocese is there. Surely they have the hook-up on exorcisms.