July 20, 2019

Gardening 101

What a precarious, paradoxical economy.

One of our primary sources of tax money delicately and precariously balances between the forefinger and second finger of a smoker’s hand. Financially, we’re fairly healthy, as long as the forefinger keeps tapping the butt in between. Meanwhile, puffers choke on both smoke and tax, while the state burns thousands trying to stop them.

Drastic cuts will be made.

Close the salmon hatchery and lay off three people. The front page boasts yet another daring economic breakthrough by the state. Close the rest areas on I-95. Lay off the janitors who keep the toilets clean.

No fish. No breaks. Economics 101: Get rid of the janitors first.

Just like pruning a tree, you start at the base. After a few weeks, maybe people will have forgotten. Then you can step back and admire a tree with no branches to cover its bottom.

The anti-tax people brandished a referendum to cut property taxes. The state’s response was to threaten to slash the police, firefighters and even the trash collectors. The people bought it. Municipal governments were ecstatic. Their big salaries were safe.

It’s no different than Wall Street. The CEOs yelled “bail out” as their yachts sank. They were terrified that the millions in their back pocket might shrink.

Gardening 101: To prune a tree, start at the top. A snip here, a snip there. Or, 5,000 here, 1,000 there. Proper trimming means keeping the tree’s shape. The same for the company.

It’s elementary, but worth a try.

Ken Buckley


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