MY WORD: Our decisions can perplex

-A A +A

By Bob Pearce

We received the Greater Louisville Yellow Book for 2014 recently. It was noticeably smaller than the 2013 edition. The print seemed the same size. The Yellow Pages were down to 687 pages from 1.137 in 2013…..a 40 percent drop. The white page, were down to 263 pages from 366 in 2013….a 28 percent drop.

I’m not sure I know what this means. My first thought was that this many businesses ceased to exist. Then I thought, no, there would have to be a few new ones during that period, so the news is even worse.

Is there another medium about which only our grandchildren know? Maybe I’ve discovered an economic indicator more reliable than rail-car loadings. Should I notify the Dow-Jones Company?

There’s a little blurb on the front page of the Wall Street Journal everyday explaining why the market is either up or down. “The market was down 50 points today because of a forest fire in Lower Albania that threatens to shut down furniture manufactures on three continents.”

Facetiousness aside, I think this is symptomatic of the mess we’re in.

There was some good news lately. The Ford truck plant will hire 350 new employees soon. Don’t tell me you haven’t been wondering what that huge new structure is going up adjacent to the plant, plainly visible from the Gene Snyder Freeway.

As you read further in the article, however (I bet you knew I’d find a however), it tells us the state put up $50 million to add to the $240 million we’ve been giving them since 2005.

Why don’t we do some of the things all industries want like right-to-work, tort reform, no income tax, etc?

Maybe we wouldn’t have to bribe them to stay here when they have billions already invested. I’m not saying that’s wrong. I’m saying we shouldn’t have to do it.

As I read that I had to think about former U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson. We’ve mentioned him before. Remember the movie Charlie’s War? Charlie’s private life didn’t make him a poster boy for clean living, but he managed to get an appropriation through Congress to arm the Afghans with handheld, ground-to-air rocket launchers, with which they blasted the Soviets out of the air so badly they packed up and went home.

Then Charlie tried to get a bill through to build some orphanages and hospitals. The bill didn’t move out of its tracks. Typical. No problem spending money on things with which to kill people, but nothing to actually help them.

Which brings me to the Department of Agriculture. First of all we must re-examine its mission. Originally its mission was to introduce new seeds to try. But somewhere along the way, bureaucrats managed to grow it on a geometric progression. I’d have to ask some of my farmer friends, but wouldn’t it be cheaper and more humane to send a bunch of farmers, not bureaucrats, to these starving nations and teach them how to grow food?

What’s an F16 cost? How much is a nuclear sub or aircraft carrier? What’s it cost to keep a highly trained battalion or regiment in the field 3,000 miles from their supply lines?

Is it worth a try?

Just remember one fact: Wars are between governments, not people. It all boils down to politics. It’s up to us to change that.


Bob Pearce is a retired business owner who lives in Shelbyville.