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Lloyd Waters: Grandpa wouldn't understand sequestration

March 10, 2013|By LLOYD WATERS

As a kid, I lived with my Grandpa Reno (“O” for short) and Grandmother Gen.  We lived in an old two-story house with a tin roof surrounded by mahogany trees.

We raised chickens and always had a garden. My grandpa worked at the old Victor Products plant in Hagers-town and never owned a car. He would walk to the outskirts of Dargan and catch a ride to work with Skunk Knight.

All this talk about “sequestration” would be mind-boggling to my granddad.

I never heard him talk about hundreds or thousands of anything, let alone millions and billions and trillions. He would conclude that merely counting to a trillion would take a very long time.

Grandpa Reno was a pretty down-to-earth fellow, and he liked those simple things of life. We didn’t have running water or indoor plumbing in the house, or a telephone or a very big TV, but everyone always seemed content.

I’m sure Grandpa probably had a little tab at Jim Grim’s store and always bought his appliances on credit to the extent he could afford them.

The old Home Comfort stove we had in the kitchen represented our source for cooking and our heating system for the house. 

The money our country spends today and the debt it has accumulated would not be very much understood or endorsed by my grandfather. The average Joe didn’t live beyond his means, so why doesn’t our government play by the same rules, he would think.

My grandfather’s generation, maybe because of the Depression, seemed to be very mindful about not wasting anything.

If alive today, he would have trouble understanding how our country could be in such dire fiscal straits at home, and then read the headlines where our new Secretary of State is seen smiling and delivering $250 million in the blink of an eye to our adversaries in Egypt.

They don’t even like us, he would caution.

My grandpa would not understand how government agencies could spend some $340 million on conferences with exuberant entertainment and meals while the common taxpayer was at home dining on hot dogs and relish.

He didn’t have a lot of education and wouldn’t understand what all the talk about “sequestration” meant to the average citizen. However, he knew the importance of paying his bills.

My granddad would have trouble with the leniency of rules that permit people to obtain disability payments for miniscule ailments and a bad back, when he often went to work with a backache and many ailments of his own.

He might ask the question: Why would you consider eliminating jobs when there exists so much waste and more efficient ways of doing business in government?

Grandpa would scratch his head to read about the IRS paying out about $112 million to incarcerated individuals who have filed fraudulent tax returns.

He would have serious problems with the following government expenditures:

 The Veterans Administration spending some $175 million a year to maintain unused buildings.

 A federal study suggesting that government agencies could save some $440 million in printing fees if unnecessary printing was eliminated. And the Department of Defense could save another $490 million in printing costs if some basic guidelines were established.

 A government study that told how criminal gangs had created some 118 illegal clinics and received $35 million in fraudulent Medicare payments.

 The Department of Energy’s annual electric bill is $190 million. Auditors suggest that significant savings in the millions could be achieved by using more efficient lighting.

M.W. Harrison once commented, “The waste of money cures itself, for soon there is no more to waste.” My grandpa would agree.

Andy Rooney is credited with saying, “Elephants and grandchildren never forget.” I’ll always have fond memories of my Grandpa “O” and his common-sense lessons.

Lloyd “Pete” Waters is a Sharpsburg resident who writes for The Herald-Mail.





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