Message Lamented

In the past week I have received emails from two organizations that strike me as truly lamentable. Maybe you’ve gotten some of your own.

I’m referring to the reaction of governmentally funded entities amid the rising dispute over federal spending. As far as I’m concerned, this is almost a nonpartisan issue–the hard math suggests that governmental spending, especially on the federal or national level, just cannot be sustained without dangerous increases in taxation. The math is the math.

Regardless of the numbers, however, entities that depend solely, largely, or somewhat(ly?) on government funds are now howling to the moon that life as we know will cease to exist unless immediate action is taken to protect their budgets. I find that truly lamentable.

In my long-ago days as a government/political science minor I recall the phrase “iron triangle.” The iron triangle was the three-pointed/three-sided relationship between the government agency, the recipient-entity of government spending, and the governmental representatives. This iron triangle was so strong that it often functioned to protect itself and defeat any threats to their respective budgets. The example I often heard about usually pertained to military spending, the defense industry, and related senators and congressional representatives.

Now, everything is an iron triangle. The two messages I received are from groups about as far removed from the military as you can possibly imagine. Out of respect for them and for the people who work there (some of whom I know personally), I won’t state the organizations by name. It’s enough to say that surely we can all learn not to “just get along” (to invoke Rodney King’s famous lament) but to “get along without sucking at the government teat” (to use my father the farmer’s more vivid remarks).