“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The possibilities for applying that tidbit of wisdom are endless, so we’ll just briefly look at three more examples then move on. A lot of today’s problematic issues would have benefited from better preventive measures.
First, however, I admit to being living proof of another old maxim – “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” The most dangerous aspect of these columns is they document how little I know. Some people were already suspicious.
In 1736 Ben Franklin succinctly encouraged the people of Philadelphia to be diligent in preventing house fires. If he saw the annual scorchings of thousands of acres in California, he’d no doubt ask why it keeps happening.
My understanding is that fires in such dry conditions are hard to contain because of the Santa Ana winds. It seems like clearing large spaces of timber and brush might be a good start. If the winds are as strong as reported, perhaps turbines could convert them to electricity. Maybe enough revenue could be generated to pay for ongoing fire prevention measures.
There seems to be a lack of innovative discussions on what is obviously a hot topic. Someone said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Perhaps the root of California’s problems is insanity.
COVID-19 has changed the world. It also caused me to recall a conversation with a friend that took place a decade or so ago. Al Willis, a native of Thomasville, has spent most of his adult life in Dooly County. He was serving on our local Board of Health when he mentioned what struck me as a rather mundane topic.
Al offered to speak at our monthly men’s breakfast at First Baptist Church about preparing for pandemics. Swine flu was a concern at the time and preparations to deal with potential devastation were being addressed. I had no idea what a pandemic was until Al explained it. I invited him to the meeting, but figured the possibility of such a catastrophe was remote. Thank goodness I politely kept my opinion to myself.
A sobering wake-up call was provided by COVID. We tend to prepare for obvious threats, but preparation for theoretical problems lacks a sense of urgency. I don’t know if or when there will be another pandemic, but wisdom dictates planning for the unexpected is essential. COVID shows it would be rather insane not to.
Government spending is the final area I’ll touch on. Most of my career was at a small bank in rural Georgia, so I’m not qualified to address national economic issues with mind-boggling complications. There is, however, one simple tenant of finance I know to be true: It’s prudent to spend less than we make.
That’s almost impossible for some people, many through no fault of their own. “Too much month at the end of the money” is a common struggle. Living on credit, however, is not a solution. It’s a postponement of addressing the problem.
Rev. R. G. Lee preached a notable sermon titled “Payday Someday.” He was referring to spiritual matters but the same is true of finances. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about a few dollars or trillions. A man making $100 a week and spending $101 will wind up in trouble. So will a government spending megabucks more than it’s taking in.
President Ronald Reagan appointed a committee from the private sector in 1982 to address government waste and inefficiency. The Grace Commission, named for its chairman, J.Peter Grace, was comprised of highly-qualified business leaders. In 1984, after months of putting together a commonsense approach toward fiscal responsibility, their report was submitted to our elected officials in Washington, D.C. Most of it was ignored.
It’s easier to get elected by telling people what we’re going to give them rather than what needs to be taken away. So, here we are 40 years later, too deep in debt to see a way out with politicians blaming others instead of fixing what’s broken. California may not be the only place with an insanity problem.
If a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, I’m living smack dab in the middle of the danger zone. These opinions touch on matters in which I have no expertise.
Maybe today’s musings indicate that insanity has taken a toll on me. Thankfully, that won’t have much effect beyond my driveway, but there is something I find quite troubling. I believe insanity is spreading across our country. I hope I’m wrong, but it may be a pandemic.