It’s Like ‘Animal Farm’

Editor, News-Register:

Washington and Charleston face similar financial challenges. Our problem here in West Virginia is the worse of the two. Why? Washington doesn’t seem to have to balance the federal budget, and the federales can print money.

The book “Animal Farm,” by George Orwell, might hold some insight for those trying to figure out what happened to The Mountain State. It has mostly to do with those two bossy pigs that took over when the old guy died and that hard-working horse, Boxer. Boxer worked hard, thinking that would be enough. He probably expected some help, too. The Boss Pigs just lived off his and other workers’ labors. Does that sound familiar?

When that big, strong horse injured himself working for the pigs, they just sold him off to the glue factory. Those same Boss Pigs even started eating other pigs. The trough was never full enough to satisfy the greedy bureaucrats.

In the here and now, we may have a chance to pull some hungry hogs away from their trough. We could try to rope them and drag them away from their feast. Sadly, hog roping seldom ends well for the roper. I tried it once. Catching a pig by lasso is not too hard. Doing anything with it is the problem. Efforts to lead a hog on a rope just don’t please many hogs. (At fairs, cattle and horses are led while hogs are driven about using canes or small whips.) Were one able to drag the animal to a new position, the next problem is the release. I’m told it is the same with catching alligators. The hard part is turning them loose.

A better was to deal with insatiable porcines might be to remove the food source. It only stands to reason that a farm with shrinking numbers of animals and crop acres cannot produce the same food supply, much less produce more. Quit feeding the Boss Pigs so much. Maybe they will find productive, non-bureaucratic means of earning their keep.

It takes a great effort for most of us to follow a diet. It is extra hard to put a bureaucracy on a diet. Think of all the things that have become “must haves.” How did we ever get by without two or three cars, ATVs, the latest model computer and smart phone, etc.? But if you and I get a cut in pay, or even laid off, some of the frills have to go. Should government be any different? Do we need to have the governor’s name on everything, thus requiring many changes every four to eight years? Does stationary need to be changed with each department head? Do we need to have agencies printing brochures to promote every pet project the directors can imagine? Why do we maintain an ever growing educational bureaucracy that devours more money for administration and provides less for real classroom support for actual learning? Why do government officials need to travel so much? Use your imagination. The list goes on. (I once heard a preacher say that, “Most flat tires are the result of slow leaks, not catastrophic blowouts.”)

By the way, how did all those West Virginia departments and agencies come by those hidden nest eggs that were found when our budget shortfalls were revealed? How did they plan to spend that boodle money? Maybe overbudgeting has become a way of life for government managers. The IRS might consider that as unclaimed and hidden income in the case of individuals or businesses. Please give us a break. Economize!

I do know the standard administrative response: “Raise taxes.” You can just hear the Boss Pigs licking their chops as they think about hitting that trough again. Some other standard responses are: “You don’t understand.” (Yum, yumm); “If you don’t give us more money (Chomp chomp), our children won’t learn to read and write.” (Slurp slurp) “If you don’t raise taxes, you are against service for the poor, sick, elderly, etc.” (Hand me a toothpick) “If you don’t give all agencies more money, there will be no fairs or festivals, no police protection or road maintenance, etc., etc., etc.” (Burrpp!)

To all of you in the hallowed halls of Charleston and Washington, you may be reaching the “camel’s back weight limit.”

Charles Fox



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