|2/8/2014 3:07:00 PM|
Hammer pays return visit
A few weeks ago, we were introduced to a new friend, John. A mountain of a man who also goes by the nickname "Hammer," he had cornered me and was pointing out that we're losing jobs right here in River (or at least Sugar Creek) City and that he doesn't see a whole lot of the official types doing much about it.
Well, he's back. Fortunately for MCED, the chamber and others, he's moved on from his gripes with them. This time he's hot to trot over our beloved government in Washington, D.C.
"I was watching my favorite TV guy the other night," he said.
"Who's that?" I asked.
"Glenn Beck. He's the only one out of all you media types I trust.
"Anyways, ol' Glenn was talking about this new economic stimulus package. 'Economic stimulus' my butt," he snorted. "The only thing they're stimulating is the huge amount of pork they got hidden in them big ol' barrels.
"Why they said they had $150 million in there for the Smithsonian Institute. I'm all for the arts and that sort of thing, mind you. Me and the Mizzus took the kids there back when they were little. But is right now the time we ought to be spending $150 million on it? I'll tell you the answer. No! There was another $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts, for crying out loud.
"Or how about this," John said, his voice starting to go up a bit. "They want to spend $34 million to renovate one of their damn buildings! Thirty-four million dollars! To renovate! Renovate? How can you renovate a building for $34 million? Only in the world of the government can you do that.
"Did you know they want to spend $650 million on this stupid digital TV conversion?" he asked rhetorically. "Since when does my tax dollars go to making sure the guy down the street can still watch TV? They've already moved the date back once. If someone is so slow that they still don't get it by now, let their TV go off. I'm betting they'll figure it out then!
"They spend millions like I spend quarters. They have no idea, no concept of real money."
The Hammer slowed. He sat down. His hulking frame took up most of the chair in my office. At least when we were in a downtown eatery, there were witnesses around. Here, if he got mad enough I'm not sure they'd ever find my body.
He sighed. It wasn't as much an angry exhale as it was one of complete frustration, tinged with a touch of hopelessness.
"I'm tired of watching the county and the country I grew up in slip away," he said. "I'm tired of seeing stupid and stupider as the basis for the decisions our elected leaders make. Everyone is so damn afraid of ticking anybody off that they tippy-toe all over the place.
"I'm asking you, what has any of the folks we pay money to here in this county done to get things fixed? I'm asking you, why does my federal government think it's OK to spend $55 million for the Historic Preservation Fund when folks all over this country are losing their jobs?
"And then they want to talk about baling out people and businesses in the private sector? Hell, the stock market and the free market will take care of that. The government needs to keeps its nose out. After all, it's not like they've made anything better they've messed with."
"I'm telling you Timmons, I expect that it won't much matter a whole lot longer. People don't go to church as much anymore. Neighbors, instead of helping neighbors, tend to do more griping and back-stabbing than helping. I just don't know where it will end. Do you?"
Once again, he wasn't looking or waiting for an answer. The man nicknamed The Hammer just got up and lumbered away.
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