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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 20, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas Page 4 — Herald Zeitung — Thursday, lanuary 20, 2011 FORUM Herald-Zeitung %rrwq£ Sew ftmunfeii «mi ( ormtl ('¿runty finer I M2, New Braunfels 2eitung was founded 1852. New Braunfels Herald was founded J890 The two papers merged m 1957 and printed tn both German and English until 1958 Editor and Publisher Managing Editor Circulation Director Business Manager Advertising Director Doug Tonay Autumn Phillips Jeff Fowler Rosie Willingham Timothy Tergooglou immutimi United States Government gwpeieue» >ew*j-,iswetu > *t w n we POVERTY ... EARTHQUAKES.. HURRICANES... CHOLERA... CAN IT fij GET ANY WORSE ? ' The many blunders of hubris It takes a worried man to sing a worried song, and in a recent speech that seemed like larry Summers' swan song, the president’s departed economic adviser warned that America is "at risk of a profound demoralization with respect to government." He fears a future in which "an inadequately resourced government performs badly, leading to further demands that it be cut hack, exacerbating performance problems, deepening the backlash, and creating a vicious cycle." The idea that America's problem of governance is one of inadequate resources misses this lesson of the last half-century: No amount of resources can prevent gov ernment from performing poorly when it tries to perform too many tasks, or particular tasks for which it is inherently unsuited. Actually, government is not sufficiently demoralized. The hubris that is the occupational hazard and defining trait of the political class continues to cause government to overpromise and underperform. This class blithely considers itself exempt from the tyranny of the bell-shaped curve — the fact that in most occu pations a few people are excellent, a few are awful, and most are average. In fact, the bell curve is particularly pertinent to government. Surgeons achieve eminence by what they do in office — in operating rooms, performing surgery. Politicians achieve eminence simply bv securing office — by winning elections, a skill often related loosely, if at all. to their performance in office. lames Q. Wilson. America's pre-eminent social scientist, has noted that until relativ ely recently, politics was about only a few things: today, it is about nearly everything. Until the 1930s, or perhaps the 1960s, there was a legitimacy'barrier to federal gov ernment activism: When new policies were proposed, the first debate was about whether the federal government could properly act at all on the subject. Today, there is no barrier to the promiscuous multiplication of programs, because no program is really new. Rather, it is an extension, modification or enlargement of something government is already doing. I he vicious cycle that should worry Summers is die reverse of the one he imagines. It is not government being cut back because of disappointments that reinforce themselves. Rather, it is government squandering its limited resources, including the resource of competence, in reckless expansions of its scope. GEORGEWILL George Will's e-mail address is georgeu iil&unsh There has been," Wilson writes, "a transformation of public expectations about the scope of federal action, one that has put virtually everything on Washington s agenda and left nothing off." Try, Wilson suggests, to think "of a human want or difficulty that is not now defined as a public policy' problem." Summers leaves a federal government funded by a continuing resolution. Congress has been so busy passing gargantuan legislation to expand government's responsibilities that it has not had enough time, energy or sense of responsibility to pass a budget. And the pathologies of expanding government are becoming worse because of two concepts Summers mentioned in his valedictory— Baumol's Disease, and Moynihan’s Corollary to it. William J. Baumol, Princeton economics professor emeritus, said that in certain economic sectors — e.g., labor-intensive service industries — productivity'will increase, if at all. more slowly than in the rest of the economy. The late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan's corollary was that such services — e.g., teaching, nursing. the performing arts — tend to migrate to the public sector. Moynihan noted that if you want a string quartet you must hire four musicians with four instruments, just as in Chopin s day. Productivity' said Moynihan, "just hasn t changed much. .And when it does — e.g.. playing the Minute Waltz in 50 seconds — it doesn't seem to work right. Actually, lopping 10 seconds off the waltz subtracts from musicians' productivity'. Moynihan noted a danger to his party' in the tendency for the "stagnant services" to become government services: The Democratic Party' is identified with this very public sector in wiiich relative costs are rising. By' contrast, the Republican Party' is identified with the private sector where relative costs are declining." The public sector’s involuntary' tendency to become, regarding productivity, a concentration of stagnation is a reason for government to become more circumspect than it has been about the voluntary acquisition of vast new responsibilities, such as micromanagement of health care s 17 percent of the economy. As Summers returns to Harvard, he is hopeful because markets climb walls of worry." That is, American history is replete with self-refuting prophesies of peril — predictions of national decline that prompt renewals. Today in History Today is Thursday’, Jan. 20,2011. Today's Highlight in History: On Jan. 20,1961, John F Kennedy was inaugurated as the 35th President of the United States; in his inaugural address, Kennedy declared, "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill. that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty." In 1801, Secretary of State John Marshall was nominated by President John Adams to be chief justice of the United States (he was sworn in on Feb. 4,1801). In 1841, the island of Hong Kong was ceded by China to Great Britain. (It returned to Chinese control in July 1997.) In 1936, Britain’s King George V died; he was succeeded by Edward VIII. In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first chief executive to be inaugurated on Jan. 20 instead of March 4. In 1942, Nazi officials held the notorious Wannsee conference, during which they arrived at their "final solution" that called for exterminating Jews. In 1949, President Harry' S. Truman was sworn in for a second term of office. In 1969, Richard M. Nixon was sworn in as the 37th president of the United States; Spiro Agnew took the oath of vice president. In 1981, Iran released 52 Americans it had held hostage for 444 days, minutes after the presidency had passed from linmy Carter to Ronald Reagan. In 1986. the United States observed the first federal holiday in honor of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. In 2009. Barack Obama was sworn in as the nation's 44th, as well as first African-American, president. Ten years ago: George Walker Bush became .America's 43rd president after one of the most turbulent elections in U.S. history. Hundreds of thousands of protesting Filipinos forced President Joseph Estrada to step down; Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was sworn in as the new president Michelle Kwan won her fourth straight U.S. Figure Skating Championship title while Timothy Goebel won his first men's title. Five years ago: Michael Fortier, the government's star witness in the Oklahoma City' bombing trials, was released from federal prison after serving more than 10 years for failing to warn authorities about the plot. Japan halted all imports of U.S. beef because of mad cow fears. (Shipments resumed six months later.) One year ago: National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair conceded missteps in the government's handling of the Christmas Day 2009 airline bombing anempt in testimony before the Senate Homeland Security Committee. Today's Birthdays: Country singer Slim Whitman is 87. Comedian Arte Johnson is 82. Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin is 81. Olympic gold medal figure skater Carol Heiss is 71. Singer Eric Stewart is 66. Movie director David Lynch is 65. Country-rock musician George Grantham (Poco) is 64. Actor Daniel Benzali is 61. Rock musician Paul Stanley (KISS) is 59. Rock musician Ian Hill (Judas Priest) is 59. Comedian Bill Maher is 55. PRESIDENT ■ Barack Obama 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, D C. 20500 SENATE ■ Kay Baiuey Hutchison Russell Senate Office Building Room 284 Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-5922 Feu: (202) 224 0776 Web: (Send e-mails through Web site.) SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 145 Duncan Drive, Suite 120 San Antonio 78226 Telephone: (210) 340 2885 Fax: (210) 349 6753 ■ John Cornyn Russell Senate-Hart Room 517 Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-2934 Fax: (202) 228 2856 Web: (Send e-mails through Web site.) AUSTIN OFFICE: 221 West Sixth St., Suite 1530 Austin 78701 Telephone: (512) 469-6034 Fax: (512) 469-6020 SAN ANTONIO OFFICE 600 Navarro, Suite 210 San Antonio 78205 Telephone: (210) 224-7485 Fax: (210) 224-8569 CONGRESSMAN ■ Lamar Smith Rayburn House Office Building Room 2409 Washington, D.C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225 4236 Fax: (202) 225-8628 Web address: (Send e-mails through Web site.) SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 1100 NE Loop 410, Suite 640 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 821-5024 Fax:(210) 821-5947 ■ Henry Cuellar 1404 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225-1640 Fax: (202) 225-1641 Web address: SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 615 E. Houston St. San Antonio 78205 Telephone: (210) 271-2851 Fax: (210) 277-6671 GOVERNOR NOW TO COPfTACT Texas Government Letters to the Editor How do officers decide if I get a warning or a ticket? Let me be the first to say that 1 believe in giving ticket" warnings under certain circumstance. However the big question remains — when is it appropriate? How does an individual qualify for this particular luxury ? Is there a written manual that is distributed to the officers in the field that outlines when one is deserving of a warning or not? If yes, I would like to see it. Is it gender. or race, or age specific? What about your religion or political preference? Does that come into play? What if the person is driving a new vehicle and dressed nice? Does this mean the officer should "assume" they can afford it so no warning should be issued? Or maybe they ’re in an older vehicle and they "look” like they can't really afford a ticket so they get a "warning”? I think it’s safe to say that the officer can use his or her own discretion when making this decision. That’s where I have a problem. 1 am a tax-paving citizen. Law enforcement officers report directly to their supervisor but their salaries are paid by the taxpayers. Should 1 be able to tell the officer that I deserve a warning this time? Recently, 1 received a ticket for crossing a double white line. In all honesty. 1 never saw it. Still no excuse and I deserved the ticket. No complaints. But when I asked the officer if warnings were still given out, he said "yes'. What is the warning qualification? Phillip Porter New Braunfels Author misinterprets "separation of church and state* Guest commentator Eric Lane has a point; Christian beliefs such as not killing, not stealing, and loving your neighbor as yourself have no place in government. Asking Jesus for guidance will lead to the brainwashing of the community'. It s blatantly obvious that the Bulverde Citv Council wants to turn its jurisdiction into a Christian commune. Mr. Lane and many others misinterpret Jefferson’s "wall of separation” statement to mean he believed religion should be kept out of all government activities. The phrase comes from a political thank-you note written to Connecticut Baptists in 1802 clarifying Jefferson’s belief that Congress and the President had no authority to dictate religious beliefs; it was up to the states to make their own determinations on religious issues. In effect, the "wall" was between the federal government, not State or local governments. As governor of Virginia, Jefferson himself proclaimed a “day of thanksgiving and prayer to Almighty God” and as president endorsed the use of federal funds to educate Indians about Christian ideas. These are hardly the actions of a man who believed religion had no place in public affairs. Mr. Lane s assertion that praying before city council meetings will lead to religious intolerance is ludicrous. He and his group are subverting the Constitution by fighting to prohibit the duly elected representatives of the citizens of Bulverde from the free exercise of their religious beliefs. Ms. Root should try to get elected to the city council on the "no prayer” platform and see how far she gets. Steve Mis New Braunfels LETTERS POLICY ■ Letters must be 250 words or less. ■The Herald-Zeitung reserves the right to edit all submissions. ■ Guest columns should be 500 words or less and must be accompanied by a photo. ■ Address and telephone number must be included so authorship can be confirmed. Mail letters to: Letters to Editor c/o Herald-Zeitung RO. Drawer 311328 New Braunfels, TX 78131-1328 Rue them to: (830) 606-3413 »mall them to: news@herald- minimum ■ Rick Perry State Capitol, Room 2S.1 RO. Box 12428 Austin 78711 Telephone: (800) 843-5789 Fax: (512) 463-1849 STATE HOUSE ■ Doug Miller EXT El.216 RO. Box 2910 AustinTX 78768-2910 Telephone: (512) 463-0325 Fax: (512) 463-5896 ■ Edmund Kuempel Rm. CAP 3N.06 AustinTX 78701 Telephone: (512) 463-0602 E-mail address: [email protected] STATE SENATE ■ Jeff Wentworth 1250 NE Loop 410, Suite 925 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 826-7800 WHILE IN AUSTIN: Telephone: 888-824-6984 E-mail address: jeff. wentworth NEW BRAUNFELS CITY COUNCIL 424 S. Castell Ave. P.O. Box 311747, New Braunfels, TX 78131-1747 (830) 221-4000 ■ Mayor Bruce Boyer [email protected] Telephone: Extension 4507 B Dist. 1 Councilor Richard Zapata rzapata @ Telephone: Extension 4501 B Dist. 2 Councilor Mark Goodner [email protected] Telephone: Extension 4502 ■ Dist. 3 Councilor Mike Ybarra mybarra @ Telephone: Extension 4503 B Dist. 4 Councilor Sandy Nolte snolte @ Telephone: Extension 4504 B Dist. 5 Councilor Kathleen Krueger kkrueger @ Telephone: Extension 4505 B Dist. 6 Councilor Steven Digges [email protected] Telephone: Extens io n 4506 Comai County Commissioners Court 199 Main Plaza New Braunfels, Tx 78130 (830) 221-1100 ■ COUNTY JUDGE DANNY SCHEEl [email protected] Telephone: (830) 221-1105 ■ PCT. 1 COMMISSIONER DONNA ECCLESON [email protected] Telephone: (830) 221-1101 ■ PCT. 2 COMMISSIONER JAY MILLIKIN [email protected]! Telephone: (830) 221-1102 ■ PCT. 3 COMMISSIONER GREG PARKER [email protected] Telephone: (830) 221-1103 ■ PCT. 4 COMMISSIONER JAN KENNADY [email protected] Telephone: (830) 221-1104 ;