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The Price Of Progress — By John Reed

The Price Of Progress
Looking around town, there are signs of progress everywhere. New businesses opening, new sidewalks, a new overpass. The word “progress” implies Good Things. Improvements. A Better Future For All. And so when we hear about people calling themselves “progressives” we tend to associate them with those qualities.
But progress comes at a price. For example, we will all benefit once the long-awaited overpass is completed. No more waiting on trains as they block traffic on the bypass. Meanwhile, traffic on Tallahassee and Cromartie streets has greatly increased, including heavy 18-wheelers that normally would avoid going through downtown. Did we get enough money in the overpass grant to pay for repairs downtown due to the extra wear on those streets? Probably not.
Another example locally would be the planned and completed various additions and improvements to sports facilities around town and at school: more tennis courts, more stadium parking, another gym, a million-dollar field house, new soccer fields, even a proposal for artificial turf at the football field…all greatly appreciated and doubtless used by athletes and their spectators. Meanwhile, when did the high school science labs or math classrooms last get an update?
So “progress” is often merely a choice of how to use existing resources. New sidewalks out by the schools will definitely help. But so would sidewalks on south Cromartie/Bell Telephone Road, where people walk into town daily for groceries and more. There’s a finite amount of money for such things, so choices were made.
On the national level, politicians who call themselves “progressives” are basically trying to make choices about how and when to spend public and personal wealth. Rarely do they ask our permission before deciding where they think our tax dollars should go. While some of their ideas might make sense if implemented in targeted, thoughtful, and careful ways, what bothers me is their arrogance in thinking they know better than we do what choices to make.
Margaret Thatcher is often quoted to have said, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples’ money.” Since these are the issues being debated between now and November 2020, watch this space.

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