While the Opinion pages of this newspaper devoted many column inches to supporting a “yes” vote for the Sept. 18 amendment, I was often tempted to call it what it really is.
An accurate name would be the Alabama State GOP Bailout and Re-election Stimulus Plan.
I realize my Republican friends no longer believe in providing stimulus and bailouts in the post-Bush era. Many of the GOP’s previous ideas have fallen out of favor since they have been embraced by a socialist president hell-bent on destroying the country by implementing former Republican proposals.
But a rose is a rose and a stimulus is a stimulus and a bailout is a bailout by any other name.
Voters like me bailed out state legislators from having to make tough long-term decisions on how to keep the guards a-guarding, troopers a-trooping and doctors a-doctoring.
We provided $437 million in borrowed stimulus funds to get legislators through their next re-election campaigns without doing anything. In the words of vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan, we created a welfare “hammock” that will let legislators do nothing for their government checks.
The Anniston Star accurately called the Sept. 18 amendment vote a Hobson’s Choice. Hobson was a 17th-century English livery stable owner who told his customers they could hire any horse they wanted as long as it was the one in the first stall.
That is what the governor and Alabama legislators did when they asked voters to let them borrow money from a state savings account.
The other choice was to risk legislators cutting where nothing is left to cut.
That could have meant shuttered hospitals, homeless nursing home patients, freed prisoners and even more uninsured residents.
So Alabamians followed the Legislature’s advice and chose the horse in the first stall.
If, many years down the trail, someone questions why the Legislature still hasn’t repaid the borrowed money from the Alabama Trust Fund, who will answer?
Most of the current batch of Hobsons will be long gone. Those who remain will point fingers in more directions than hairs on a hedgehog.
A few might even blame voters for voting “yes” on the amendment.
And Alabama will mosey along on the same old sickly horse, fed by an overburdened class of poor folks and groomed by politicians who will tell us what a fine steed we have.
Executive Editor Scott Morris can be reached at 256-740-5721 or scott.morris@TimesDaily.com.