Letters to the Editor

Shutdown can show us what we can do without

Here we go again -- another government shutdown looming. Is it just me who wishes it might happen so we can get an idea of how necessary the feds really are?

At least everyone now seems to acknowledge the perils of our national debt. Yet when it comes to cutting defense or education or disaster funds, we flinch. Should we? As Air Force pilots, we were needlessly scheduled to fly our tails off toward the end of each fiscal year to prove we needed all the jet fuel dollars in the budget. As a new school superintendent in suburban Philadelphia, I found us besieged by angry taxpayers because our per-pupil expenditure was the highest in the state.

We quickly slipped back into the normal range by slashing administrative overhead -- at no cost to our academic standing. And we've all been reading about recent corruption and waste in managing our disaster funds. Waste is huge even in "sacrosanct" departments. And the larger the department, the greater the waste.

How did our federal Department of Education get so large when public education is a state function? (Answer: By doling out federal dollars, each one coming with strings attached.)

So slash away, Congress. The department secretaries, if they're worth their weight, will make sure the most critical spending remains intact.

Joe Lapchick

Hilton Head Island

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