Here on the Virginia/West Virginia border the outcry against President Bush’s budget is loud and abundant.
The federal government cannot, much to the consternation of the socialists and other Democrats, pay for everything. Furthermore, the government should not pay for some things. The idea that the country depends upon Congress approving a budget that would take care of every conceivable problem may be an exaggeration of reality, but it is not an exaggeration of what a fair segment of our citizenry wants. Socialism is alive and well in the United States, although fortunately it is still looked down upon by a significant majority of Americans.
One example getting local attention is funding for three airports in the region. The program that funds the nearest airport will be cut under the President’s proposed budget to the extent that the local airport would have to raise nearly $250,000 to qualify for matching funds. This was not the case last year. So, guess what? A segment of the populace is outraged that Mr. Bush, who carried West Virginia in November, would “turn his back” on the state in this fashion.
The truth is that the airport is a definite asset to the area. However, when people travel, they don’t travel out of this airport, because the cost of getting to a connecting hub is exorbitant. Plus, it’s not that inconvenient to drive a couple of hours and save hundreds of dollars. Thus, passenger traffic at the airport is not high.
But passenger traffic is not the only service the airport provides. It allows convenient access to the area for businesses, and allows area business persons to easily go other places in private aircraft housed at the airport.
I don’t want to see the airport suffer and perhaps close, but what will it cost to keep it going, and is it realistic to expect U.S. taxpayers to fund it? Does it make sense in the larger scheme of things to pour money into this facility when there doesn’t seem to be a broad public need?
When you boil this issue down to its basics, it comes down to the ever-present conflict between what is proper and necessary for the federal government to do versus what people who don’t care about what is proper want the federal government to do. Mr. Bush’s critics scream bloody murder over the high deficit. Now that he’s doing something about it, they are screaming even louder. Brother! You just can’t please some people.
But you should never forget that it was never intended for the federal government to take so much money in taxes from the citizens, and then dole out that money to pay for things like local airports and buildings named after politicians.
It seems to me that if the area wants the airport, and needs it badly enough, the local money to qualify for matching federal money will be found, if officials are willing to go out and get it. After all, what’s wrong with asking localities to help fund their own airport?
This same principle ought to be applied all across the nation for all manner of things that people want. We have to start taking responsibility for our own fortunes, and quit depending upon the federal government to solve our problems for us.
Mr. Bush, through these budget reductions and program cancellations, is helping us do what we ought to already be doing.