How Wedding Attendees Size up Washington: 'They Should Have to Balance Budgets Like We Do'

July 24, 2012 03:47 AM

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

Growing discontent with Washington players on both sides of the political aisle

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

There is nothing like a wedding laced with both rural and city folk to get a good feel on what people feel about key issues of the day – backed up by "spirited" comments and, well, spirits flowing from the tap and bar.

I have often said that weddings and Washington policy are a lot alike – that you get a major difference when there is a cash bar (controls) versus an open bar (deficit spending in Washington)...

A comment I heard by far the most among both city and farm folk attending the wedding in southern Illinois: "Why can't Washington balance a budget like we all have to? It should not be that hard. Make decisions and stick with them. This is no way to run a country."

While not all of the attendees were from Illinois, the majority who were, were also of one voice on the tax increases they have experienced in their state: they are hurting and hurting big time. Several people told me they are actively considering leaving the state. One person told me he is tearing down some buildings on his rural town property to save money because of a recent spike in taxes. Business owners in the state got very vocal in their disgust at the way "those Chicago-type people regretfully are running this state."

A frequent comment that surprised me came from more than a few attendees, and something that could be trouble ahead for either presidential candidate – they may stay home and not vote. "I'm not happy with either candidate," was a frequent refrain. Told that by not voting they are still taking a stand and helping one of the candidates, they usually went quiet. "I'm probably just too upset now, but will decide to vote when the day comes," said a few.

My mostly Illinois-based family is laced with lots of farmers. And they, and the other farmers at the wedding, told me about how bad the corn crop was, not would be, and how just a 1.5-inch or so rain could still help soybeans.

When I gathered some farmers with some city/town folk, I asked a corn/soybean farmer how he would fare this year despite the major drought and furnace-like temperatures. He said, "My father taught me early on but especially after 1988 to get crop insurance. And I have a lot of revenue assurance. I will be okay." When I asked some non-farm attendees if they knew taxpayers (including them) helped subsidize farmers by paying up to 62 percent of the insurance subsidies, they shrugged and said, "I know they have a lot of uncertainty in their farming operations, but that seems like a lot of money."

The disgust with Washington-style politics was driven home by a former businessman, now retired, who sat next to me at the sit-down dinner: "Frankly, we could take a normal person off the street and send them to Washington and they would do a better job. It's simple but Washington is simple-minded to focus on themselves and not us."

No one is predicting a wave election. But the feelings among people I talked with were universal as many asked me the same question: "How can you deal working with those people in Washington? I feel sorry for you."

Is there insurance for dealing with Washington "players"?


NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.






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