Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Spending an allowance wisely

I was one of the fortunate kids on my block to receive an allowance as an adolescent. It wasn’t big bucks, but I could almost always ask my parents for a dollar as long as I gave a reason. “Save some for a rainy day” was a common bit of advice, but I likely just ran off and bought junk food or something frivolous like a typical young person might. The human temptation of having cash in hand is too great sometimes. The more cash one has, the more junk one can find to buy, and responsibility diminishes. Federal and state governments do similar things with the allowance we give them for transportation, known as taxes. All we’ve ever hoped for is that our road dollars go for repairs and upgrades. Instead, elected officials run off and buy pork-barrel projects or divert the funds – and then have the audacity to ask taxpayers for more. If taxpayers like us really do own the highways as public policy suggests, we should have more say about our investment. Too bad we can’t ground the politicians for breaking the spending rules.