Sunday, May 29, 2005

Close Bases, Not Towns

The Pentagon has produced its preliminary list of the next wave of military base closures. To this I say, WONDERFUL! I have long been a proponent of eliminating as much unnecessary duplication-- particularly when it comes to the military -- as possible. Not only will it save oodles and oodles of taxpayer dollars, but it should also make the military more efficient.

Yet, for all my joy, I'm worried about the financial health and well-being of the small communities that depend upon these bases. Today, I read about one such town: Hawthorne, Nevada.

This small desert community of 3,500 will be imperiled without the nearby Army Ammunition Depot. The Depot employs about one-half of the town's workforce. Consequently, if the base closes, so too will the town.

I'm sure that Hawthorne isn't an isolated case. I bet there are scores of small towns across the nation that now face a possible demise due to the closure list.

Now, I'm not suggesting we keep such bases open in order to save these communities from certain financial ruin. What is needed, instead, is to approach the situation from a more holistic perspective. If the government is going to take something out (i.e., a military base), then the government should put something back in.

Many of these base closures will necessitate Superfund clean-up. The people losing their jobs should be re-hired for this work. If they don't have the necessary skills, the federal government should train them at no cost to the workers themselves.

If Superfund clean-up is not warranted, the government should try to locate other government programs there (e.g., transportation, homeland security, etc.) OR they should provide these communities with a gradually phased out subsidy. The federal government should also provide funds to these towns for economic development activities.

You see, a person [like me] can be a steadfast dove and yet this doesn't mean we desire to see communities ruined or degraded by a military base closure. I realize that many small communities come to depend on such installations to fuel the area economy.

As outlined above, what is needed is to approach this issue in a comprehensive manner. It would be wrong for the feds merely to close a base and then say, "We're out of here. You local folks will need to deal with repercussions all on your own".

6 comments:

  1. Sorry - you are trying to have your cake and eat it too. Many of these people are not in the military and are just employees. As such, they have choosen their employer - the government did not choose them. While it is possible an employer might relocate some of the more valuable employees the basic compensation of that paycheck has already compensated for work done.

    Since this is not the only round of base closures any civilian must be aware there is a risk of being an employees - even with the government.

    The federal government should also provide funds to these towns for economic development activities. - Why? Why didn't the town people provide for their own economic development activities? I really get tired of some people that think it's the federal government's responsibility to babysit people. I'd prefer a government that stayed out of peoples lives and let people think on their own!

    It would be wrong for the feds merely to close a base and then say, "We're out of here. You local folks will need to deal with repercussions all on your own" - The bases have not closed yet, and we will see if prudent people have already started to look for other options or will they just lay around and do nothing? It actually takes along time to close a base so it's not a crule surprise like you make it sound.

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  2. Dog,
    Many of these towns were created BY the military. Before the military came along, they were specks on a map. The base or depot brought people to the speck and made it into a community.

    Our difference of opinion here goes back to our basic difference of opinion. I'm concerned about not only my welfare but everyone else's too. As you've shown repeatedly, your main concern is YOU!

    If you're not adversely affected by something, then you don't give a damn about it.

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  3. You make assumptions that are both untrue and adversarial. I do not care about lazy people, I do not care about people that think others owe them something that is not owned, I do not care for people that make the conscious choice to think the Federal Government is their momma and dada to take care of them. I care not for violent criminals, pedophiles, and I’d rather see an evil person killed than a helpless animal.

    I do care for people that make an effort, that try to stand on their own two feet – even if that means moving to somewhere other than where they are currently. I care for those that don’t blindly hate just for the reason of hate (aka, Michele Moore, any Bush-hater that just hates without reason) – (and BTW, I’m not a Bush-lover but there was no logical alternative choice in the past election). I could go on for a long list of those that I support – way bigger than those I have no respect for.

    To my knowledge the only town the military built from scratch in the USA was Los Alamos – yet you claim there are many. Which did I miss – please inform me!

    From Tao Te Chink: The ordinary man seeks honor, not dishonor, cherishing success and abominating failure, loving life, whilst fearing death. The sage does not recognize these things, so lives his life quite simply. So the Tao religion professes that honor, success, disliking failure, loving life are all something that a true Taoist should not even recognize. There-in explains your blindness.

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  4. Mongrel One,
    It is YOU who is making assumptions. For some strange reason, you seem to believe that you can look into the hearts and souls of others and know who is lazy or stupid or whatever.

    You look at actions and pretend that you know the true motivations behind those actions.

    Sometimes people do strange things for strange reasons. What looks and quacks like a duck may not have been the intention.

    My point about the military "creating" communities you took too literally. I didn't say that the military created a town out of dust. Yet, you take a look at a town like Hawthorne, NV and the military turned a one-pony town into something much more.

    If most people leave Hawthorne, it will make things difficult for the few who can't leave. Besides, SOME people grow attached to their chosen community. They don't want to move with the wind.

    Now speaking of being insulting, the name of the book is the Tao Te Ching, not the Tao Te Chink. In trying to be cute, you've exposed yourself as a bigot!

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  5. you took too literally - this is not the first time. You have a pattern when someone calls you on what you say and you can't back it up then you fall back on this line. Please try harder to speak facts, not emotion. It is just a suggestion - it's your blog and you can feed your readers whatever you want.

    You judge too quickly - the quote and the source were simply copy/pasted from a web page. You caught me - I didn't do a spell check on it first. But you wasted no time to try too label me - and oops - you're wrong again.

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  6. I agree. You're right. I do need to be more careful with what I write because many conservatives like you will read my words and they will see black-and-white issues, even when they issues are hues of gray.

    And your "excuse" re the racial slur is a common defense of the right. How many times have we heard the refrain, "Oops! I didn't mean it!" (Think Trent Lott here.)

    People will judge you on blogs based on what you write. If you write a bigoted statement (who cares if it's a cut and paste), people will judge you to be a bigot.

    The alternative would be not to judge anything, any time, anywhere. What's the point of reading other's comments if you can't judge what they say?

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