Saturday, October 16, 2010
The Unfunded Mandate
This has been a story that I have seen in more news outlet sources that I ever thought I would have. I heard it in the first place and thought that would be it. But there it was again. And again. And again. It came back over and over like it was The Highwayman or something. See, as it turns out, it is a little expensive to erect (HAHAHAHA! I just said "erect"!) new street signs - somewhere on the order of $40 apiece - and that has all the people in charge of the suddenly very broke town and cities across America a little bit mad. And they have gotten the attention of the media.
This, in return, has gotten me a little mad. See, all these folks - the city managers, the Street Department heads, the aldermen, etc. - all work in government, and the bulk of them have for some time. So they should know what I already know after working for the government for a short time. This is what is called an "unfunded mandate" and they happen ALL THE TIME.
That's right folks, unfunded mandate. It is really a neat little trick to play, provided of course that you are not at the bottom level of the food chain, which unfortunately most of these poor municipalities are. It works like this: Some government makes a rule that everyone under its jurisdiction - which for the Feds is everyone, for a state would be everyone in the state, county everyone in the county, and so on - must follow, but then gives them no money with which to implement and enforce the new rule. For instance, the Federal government decries that everyone must have new street signs by 2018 or whenever, then gives no money to anyone to help get it done. Wow, I didn't even have to make that example up.
I know, it sucks balls. It sucks royal, smell, shit covered monkey balls. But it happens all the time, all around the nation. In all sorts of shapes and sizes. The bottom line is that that is just how the cookie crumbles sometimes. And in this case one of those times is right the fuck now. A lot of the larger cities aren't worried, because they have it in their budgets over the, oh EIGHT YEARS that they have to make this happen, to replace all those signs anyway. So no big deal, just check a different box on the order form. And for all you tiny little towns, I can't say that I am feeling too bad for you. You have had the same metal signs that you can't see at 25 mph in the dark since 1928, I think you've gotten your money's worth. Just suck it up and get something pretty that has a little picture of a waterfall or something on it for added prettiness and effect. Yeah, that would be nice.
So just suck it up and do it. There's an unfunded mandate for ya.