It is not uncommon around the Christmas season to hear children giving out a long list of presents they hope Santa Claus will bring them. With children that is fun and acceptable. But when it comes to adults with that kind of perspective, it becomes problematic on various fronts.
It is unsettling that some view government at every level as that benevolent genie who can grant every wish just because one desires it to happen.
A want and demand attitude is similar to that same child later acting out because their Christmas wish did not come true.
Many times adults look to any government to provide them with a service or program that is simply impractical or not even within the realm or responsibility of governmental function. Simply a basic understanding of civics, economics and the free enterprise system would clear up any misconception or myth they are relying on to support their idea.
Children rarely consider the costs of what they plead for. Their simple assumption is that if they want it someone will pay for it just because.
Recent university related studies show that when government at any level plays Santa, trouble often follows.
The report indicates how local, county, school district debt has skyrocketed due to increasing massive expenditures for projects and programs whose return value and utility is questionable at best. Now localities are scrambling and scratching to find ways to just pay for basic public services and needs. The chains of debt have them prisoner practically now facing a lifetime sentence of struggle until the economy performance bounces back.
It's similar to the winners of a lottery who were awed by their new found wealth. Spending was the only action on their mind. Certainly not saving. Money no object until the reality of uncontrolled check writing set in. The ATM ran out of funds. Reserve money depleted.
Many cities, counties, school districts and states are now hit with the same circumstances.They must solve a dilemma, even crisis, of a way to pay for misjudgement and failure to properly plan. Listening to bad external or even internal voices brought unfavorable consequences.
One huge challenge communities and entities struggle with is the more recent emergence of factions that seek to force demands on the greater community. Self interest individuals within groups or an entity pushing for wants vs needs can be a recipe for disruptive community breakdown. Factions versus factions especially entering the political arena often result in broken relationships as each realize that without realistic and reasonable conversation all sides are going to collide and nothing positive will ever result. Factions that become consumed with self interest without concern for the best financial and civic interests of an entire community and facing monumental future choices and decisions to meet basic needs and services are detrimental and obstacles to progress, especially to any entity already at risk.
Uncontrolled political factions of self interest are not child's play. They come with a high price tag. They can be a danger to even survival. One first step towards bringing a legitimate policy direction is for singular interest groups to recognize their potential role as a divisive entity faction and to look at and prioritize the bigger picture.
That is the mature leadership we really need.