Friday, April 24, 2009

Whose Money Is It Anyway?

“I’ll let Warren County go broke before I take any of Obama’s filthy money.”

What? Who said that? That statement sounds like one of the rants you see on an internet comment page after an article from a reader probably named something like: “KiLlaLltHedEmOcrAtBasTarDleFtwingnUtcASeS. In other words, it sounds like a real nutcase. Some of those posts can be quite scary. They can also make you feel like true political discourse and non-partisanship at any level is unattainable. It leaves one thinking, “Hope you don’t own an AK47 . . . . “

Unfortunately, that statement was not made by some internet ranter; it was made by a top official in the Warren County, Ohio government, Commissioner C. Mike Kilburn. This is in regards to a $343,000 stimulus package that the federal government is giving to the states, via the Department of Transportation. According to Scott Vaner from ODOT, this money is targeted for rural areas to improve transportation services for the elderly and handicapped, in the form of buses and vans.

Apparently, Warren County does not have any need for additional services for their elderly and handicapped. Either that, or Commissioner Kilburn is just plain ignorant. First of all, Obama’s “filthy money” is actually taxpayer money that belongs to our government, not to Obama. Some, if not all, of that money, we presume, came from taxpayers in Warren County. It is about time that they got some back, instead of pouring it all into the infrastructure of Iraq.

As Kilburn explained, “. . . . government is not the answer, it is the problem.” I certainly have to agree with that, as Mr. Kilburn is part of the government. Like a king presiding over the peasants -- or have nots, he says, “I am tired of paying for people who don’t have.” This is a serious statement coming from an elected official in charge of the lives of both people who have and “people who don’t have.”

Unfortunately, both the haves and some of the have- nots in Warren County are paying his salary, through their tax dollars. What about the locals who work for minimum wage? There isn’t much left in those paychecks after payroll taxes. What about the elderly and handicapped of Warren County, who live on Social Security and scant retirement benefits, yet have to pay his salary through ever increasing property taxes?

Not everyone is fortunate enough to bring home close to $80,000 a year, plus benefits, courtesy of the taxpayers. I wonder . . . . Is he giving any of that filthy money back? Has he turned down any of those benefits? After all, Mr. Kilburn already owns a funeral home. He could afford to give back his salary to the good citizens of Warren County. For me, I am tired of paying for those who have. I am sure that some unfortunate citizen who has recently been laid off in Warren County could do a better job as Commissioner.

This attitude in a government official is not only distasteful, it is downright sickening. Obviously, Mr. Kilburn’s attitude either springs from the fact that he is a Republican (since Obama is a Democrat) or it is a very racist remark (as he is white and Obama is half black). Either one of those scenarios is quite disturbing in one of our elected officials. Once in office, that elected official is supposed to look to the common good of all the people he governs. I am sure that there are plenty of Democrats and minorities in his jurisdiction.

After all, where is the dividing line between the haves and the have nots? Is it workers and welfare recipients? Is it workers who make over $70,000 as opposed to those who make $30,000 or $20,000? Is it the workers with excellent benefits as opposed to those who toil daily with none? Is it the hale and hearty against the elderly and infirm? Is it current workers against those who have recently lost their jobs due to no fault of their own? The people of Warren County, Ohio deserve to know this answer, Mr. Commissioner.

Since I don’t live in Warren County, I looked back through the archives of the Dayton Daily News. This isn’t the first time he’s shown this nasty attitude. Back in 2000, he led a profanity laced public meeting with the other two commissioners and the head of the local drug task force present. In that meeting, he said that drugs should be legalized or the drug dealers put to death, when asked for additional funds for the task force. According to Chris Celek, the author of the piece, Mr. Kilburn said that he could talk like that because no reporters or voters were at that meeting.

“We’ve got a state that’s broke and we keep doing fatherhood programs and I could just puke,” Mr. Kilburn ranted at another meeting in January of 2003. This was in response to being asked to sign a funding request that was already agreed upon previously. This program called Help Me Grow provided medical and other help to families who have children with disabilities. According to the article, he said that social services are “ridiculous” and that he’s “been against this stuff forever.” The money for the funding was provided by the state and federal government.

If we don’t live in Warren County, Ohio, why does this matter to us? This is the very attitude that we need to correct, America. This type of elitist view is present in government officials all over this country, at all levels. How can we expect our country to get back on track with this type of government official running our very lives? Mr. Kilburn is a poster boy for term limits. He has been a commissioner for approximately 27 years in Warren County. After all that time, is it no wonder that he thinks the money is his personally to do with what he wants?