Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Government gives me the Blues

After being involved in politics at some level for over 20 years now I may have developed some cynicism but I pride myself on my consistency in arguing why a limited government is best for all concerned.

A news report out of the State of Tennessee (via USA Today) this week provides the perfect support documentation for my worldview on government . This Tennessee issue goes as follows:

"The Tennessee Vegetarian Society has tried without success to persuade Governor Bredesen to issue a proclamation praising the virtues of a vegetarian diet. State politicians have issued proclamations officially promoting pork, beef, and Tennessee vegetables. Bredesen staff members say that proclamations are an effort to promote state agricultural products."

Let me be perfectly clear here -- I do not care at all what anyone's diet is, I just don't want to have to subsidize it via food stamps, socialized insurance rates, etc. Now proclamations by governors or Congress have ALWAYS bothered me -- it is just a waste of money since these things are simply a public relations exercise paid for with tax revenues for some politician's pet constituency. Here is a nice example of what I mean: -- the US Congress declared 2003 to be the "Year of the Blues" Well, who knew that and what did you do to celebrate?? I love the blues but don't enjoy this music more since Congress blessed it -- such acts simply do not "promote the general welfare" like the Founding Fathers had in mind, now across the board tax rates cuts would be a much better Act of Congress for our general welfare.

Back to Tennessee with some thoughts and questions overall:

  • Should Governor Bredesen ask my advice I would encourage him to announce a moratorium on such proclamations for the rest of his term in office. The cost of implementing one proclamation (staff salaries, printing costs, official publication, etc.) should be calculated to educate legislators, the media, and constituents by sending them a "mock invoice" when a request for a proclamation is generated.
  • On the pork, beef, vegetarian proclamations mentioned above shouldn't the presiding governor be a dietician (insert laughter here please) to offer such an opinion to lend some credibility to the statement? What if I based my diet on governor's proclamations, became very ill, and then sued the State of Tennessee for damages?? You laugh but I am certain some trial lawyer is thinking this over as they read this posting :)
  • Is this a proper role for government or should they focus on extending freedom and reducing our tax burdens?
  • Don't such proclamations simply divide society by asking governments to speak to the governed masses on a range of topics beyond the constitutional limitations?

I proclaim government to be too expensive,


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wait a PR minute! I realize this blog offers ways to save taxpayer money - which I'm all for - but being the budget-conscious state ee I was when I lived in TN, I have to say that as hokey as it may seem, it was a no-cost way for the Gov to support state initiatives, and for cash-strapped marketing people on state agency staffs to have something to promote to tax payers.

How else would one get "National Quality/TQM Week" promoted within state government? A change of management style that ultimately cut thousands of dollars of red tape is not exactly the easiest, most tangible thing to promote to citizens. I would not have been able to promote the virtues of TQM and the importance of mission/vision/values to Tennessee state workers without that lovely a 10 cent piece of parchment with a 25 cent gold seal sticker on it. And, since there is never marketing/pr money within state government to promote what state agencies/organizations deem to be important to state tax payers this was probably the cheapest way that state government can support important initiatives without using tax dollars to motivate.

All that being said, I have to say that the effective PR is really about creating buzz. See? This proclamation wasn’t even signed and look at the buzz it’s created.