By Tim Leeds
I was going to write a serious column about political issues.
Then I realized that people might be getting tired of serious commentary about political issues, especially since political issues in Montana seem to be very serious right now.
People in government can be kind of funny sometimes. It reminds me of a Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, where members of the U.S. Senate were saying "Let's get the government out of government," "Let's put a high tax on goods made in foreign countries, especially Hawaii and Alaska" a 70-year-old saying "let's raise the taxes on anyone under age 69." Rocky and Bullwinkle just isn't as funny as real life, though.
People in government can be funnier than you might think. As our esteemed president said, "I think they have severely misunderestimated me."
They do try to focus on extremely important issues most of the time, not funny ones, though. For example, why try to focus on something like balancing the budget, funding education or trying to deal with skyrocketing utilities prices when more important issues like mandating that children should wear school uniforms. Obviously, having the government tell children they have to wear something they don't want to wear, or even that their parents might not want them to wear, is more important than figuring out a way to pay for teachers and classes.
Trying to find the humor in situations is important. I can only assume that Gov. Judy Martz' statement that her administration's comments about how they have raised spending on schools has "fallen on deaf ears" was meant to be funny. Only because I don't remember her ever responding to the state's public education personnels' comments on how state increases in funding has lagged behind inflation, about 12.7 percent to 34 percent.
Of course, this comes with the humor of her touting her spending increase, zero percent the first year and 3 percent the second. The humor in that is that she forgets the complex nature of school funding in Montana causes her increase to be a $15 million to $20 million decrease to the schools.
I don't know if passing the buck is funny or not, but there seems to be some humor to it. I always thought that it was funny how it's never the administration's fault that bad things happen it's always the fault of the previous administration. For example, it wasn't the fault of Ronald Reagan's administration that inflation skyrocketed after his slashing upper-income taxes and increasing deficit spending to record levels. No, it was the fault of Jimmy Carter.
Currently, the Democrats are saying the electricity price jump is due to the Republican deregulation of electricity. I believe that even the Democrats who stumped for the idea and voted for it are saying that. (I don't mean the politicians who actually did stand before the Legislature that session and said "This is a bad idea.")
The Republicans are saying it's not their fault, that it would have happened anyway. They're saying the problem is in regulations about power transmission and difficulties building new plants caused by of course liberal environmental groups.
Perhaps the funniest thing about it is that there seems to be more time being spent on pointing fingers at who is to blame than spending time finding a solution.
There's nothing as funny as real life. While it might be kind of funny to hear Bullwinkle say "Hey, Rocky, watch me pull a budget out of my hat" down at the state capitol, can it really be as funny as watching the Legislature trying to pull one out of theirs?
OK, maybe it can be funnier than real life.