To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Observercast

We’re Spending Too Much! We’re Not Spending Enough!

on

I’ve already dinged my “doggedly determined to confuse me” U.S. Rep. Tom Cole but what’s wrong with doing it twice? Not a damn thing so here goes again.

Now that a big spending Democrat is in the White House and San Francisco liberal Nancy Pelosi runs the House, my congressman has reverted to his “small government, low taxes” mantra, a big change from the previous four years when President Trump nearly doubled the national debt and set record spending especially in the Department of Defense. Of course, with three major military bases in his district Tom Cole was just a guy that couldn’t say no. But hey. Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds or some such throwaway line and one thing I know for sure Tom does not have a small mind.

But as I recently lamented Cole has hammered hard at the Biden’s proposed FY 22 federal budget as too big, too extravagant, too unnecessary and too everything else that is bad EXCEPT

And this is where the hypocrisy comes in as Tom has larded up nearly $100 million in special project requests of his own, none of which are in Biden’s budget and all of which can easily be justified taken individually but none can be if one really thinks the federal debt is going to destroy this country.

The most suspect of the package is $50 million to magically convert Ardmore Airpark into a destination location for air traffic between DFW and OKC because, as everybody knows, the demand throughout Ardmore, and maybe Ringling, OK, too, has been overwhelming for the dollar dump into Carter County NOT. This boondoggle is simply a scheme among a handful of Republican insiders who have worked for a decade to attract — get this — a Chinese car company to locate in Ardmore. These boosters of small government and low taxes don’t blush at all in promoting this longshot of a project that may generate a handful of jobs while adding a large pile of green to an even bigger pile of red known as the national debt.

So how much is $50 million to be spent on a small size airpark in southern Oklahoma and what have the local authorities put up toward the effort? A drawing of rehabbed buildings — yes, from the locals and the private promoters? I think they went to China on the state’s dime a few years ago but outside of that and a few speeches — zero, nada, nothing, zilch.

Since I am a Democrat and, therefore, just a wasteful, liberal big spender, I normally should be for the Ardmore effort and all the other projects on Cole’s $88 million want list, so I will be … and while I’m at it let me throw my massive influence behind U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas’s much more modest $6.2 request for airport, health and internet needs for his district. Now I feel better, but instead of this political game of blasting Biden while at the same time loading up on their own special projects, why don’t they just act like adults and do the following: Let’s have bi-partisan support for the president’s infrastructure package, their pork, and pay for it with a mix of existing revenue [the elephant approach] and a package of Democratic sponsored fees and taxes the unpopular gas tax for roads and bridges and fees for the others such as user costs for those who benefit from the airports, internet and other necessary facilities and modern devices and connections.

See that wasn’t so hard. Both sides would have their hands in the federal cookie jar; neither Cole nor Lucas will be defeated next year whether they are for or against cooperating with the president and the entire country will finally get some real action on both small and large infrastructure needs that have been allowed to ossify through several administrations.

And, done right, millions of jobs, both temporary and permanent, will be created as was the case nearly 100 years ago when another big thinking president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and a progressive Congress, saw our nation was in crisis and actually did something about it.

Come on, Tom and Frank. If it was your man Trump proposing the Biden Plan, you both would be an automatic yes and, more importantly, when bridges fall in or dangerous roads kill people, it’s not Republican steel or Democratic concrete. It’s American stuff, hopefully made, shipped and used in America by American workers.

After all, think of all the ribbon cuttings and bridge openings you can go to when a big package of construction becomes law. Bound to be more fun than holding Zoom town halls listening to redneck Okies claiming Biden is a commie or some other nonsense. And since I’ve listened in on three of those town hall Zoom zingers of Democrats, that’s about all that is said. But that doesn’t mean you have to take all that hooey seriously Tom.

Because I know you know better.

Cal Hobson
Cal Hobson, a Lexington Democrat, served in the Oklahoma Legislature from 1978-2006, including one term as Senate President Pro Tempore.