The Madison County Journal
September 27, 2000
Absurd federal bureaucracy
Another example of our absurd federal bureaucracy
The big headline this week is: "Georgia to lose millions
in federal funds."
Why is our state being penalized by the federal government? We
didn't spend the money fast enough! Here is an example of just
how absurd our federal and state bureaucracies are.
Several years ago, Congress voted another of their great giveaway
programs. The program promised to provide health insurance for
millions of children. To do this, they approved $4.2 billion
of our money to be distributed among the 50 states. Each state
had three years to spend their allotment.
Georgia is one of 40 states that failed to spend all the money
by the deadline. The unspent funds will be reclaimed by the Feds
and given to the 10 states that found a way to spend all their
Along with the money, each state received a list of bureaucratic
requirements that were nearly impossible to fulfill. Georgia
proceeded to establish a new state bureaucracy to administer
the program. They called it PeachCare. By the time they managed
to get the state offices established and figured out how to fill
out all the federal forms, time had run out.
Figures show that 139,000 Georgians under the age of 18 have
no private insurance. PeachCare managed to enroll 92,000 of them
by the deadline, leaving 47,000 without coverage. Now, the federal
bureaucrats say that Georgia must give up the remaining $69 million,
which will leave those children without coverage.
This program is typical of federal welfare programs. First in
importance is the expansion of federal and state bureaucracies.
Second is the requirement that all the money be spent. States
who are careful with the taxpayers money are punished, and those
who rush to spend every penny are rewarded. Finally, this is
another incident of the federal government dictating policy to
the states in total disregard of the 10th Amendment.
I hold the traditional Southern opinion that the right to govern
belongs to the states. Our U.S. Constitution gives no rights
for the federal government to direct actions by the states in
domestic issues. Police protection, public welfare, education
and other programs to directly assist individuals is a state
responsibility. All these programs should be removed totally
from the federal government.
The vast federal bureaucracy is a major drag on our nation's
economy. It greatly increases the cost of providing assistance
to individual citizens.
It claims responsibilities that are best met by local civic and
religious organizations. To finance the bureaucracy, they assess
massive taxes that make it difficult for such groups to find
the funding they need to do the job right.
This is another example of why we need to get government out
of the welfare business and let people take care of people.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal.
His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net.
The Madison County Journal
September 27, 2000
A Moment With Margie
Worthy of remembrance
There've been a lot of birthday parties
to go to recently.
There was my great-nephew Brody's first birthday party and his
dad, who is approaching that portal to middle age (sorry, Tony)
who celebrated his birthday the day before that.
On Sunday afternoon we celebrated both my kids' birthdays (one
has a birthday in late August, one in late September) with a
party with friends and family. For the first time, I had a birthday
cake for them together - and wonder of wonders - a photo of the
two of them together scanned onto the top of it (we could even
eat it). I hugged them both harder than ever. And when I found
myself annoyed at them, I had only to remember another birthday
party I attended earlier that week.
Last Thursday afternoon, the last bittersweet day of summer.
It was a celebration of a life, you might say. That life might
be over, but the memories, the joys and the heartaches are still
We met at the cemetery at 6:30 in the afternoon. The sky was
overcast, threatening rain. To those gathered around, it was
a surreal experience - a beautifully unique headstone, ablaze
with candles under a white canopy.
We were there, at the invitation of his mom, to remember the
birthday of Jamie Adams, who died of a heart condition just shortly
before he would have graduated from high school last spring.
His mother, Julie, had baked his favorite cookies and his dad
passed out white balloons. Everyone held a white candle, also
courtesy of Jamie's mom. He and sister Summer drove Jamie's beloved
red hummer to the cemetery.
With candles lit, everyone sang happy birthday, held hands and
Those who knew him best shared their memories. Each time, his
mother said "thank you" drinking in the memory of what
he was to that person, weaving it like a tapestry around her
His Boy Scout group stepped forward and quietly saluted his marker.
Jamie had recently attained the high rank of Eagle Scout.
His scoutmaster presented his family with a plaque for his distinguished
service as a Boy Scout.
On cue, the balloons were released. Catching the breeze, they
drifted in a group toward the cloud-covered sky. I found myself
watching them as long as I could, until they pierced the clouds
as one and were gone.
In that moment I felt as if everything were OK. Everything. I
don't know why, exactly, but I was overcome by a feeling of peace
- for Jamie's family, for Jamie, for all of us.
He was not perfect, his mother said, he was a regular guy. Well,
thank God for regular guys. Sometimes, she said, he was even
"a splinter in her backside."
From those at the ceremony we learned he could cook, what cookies
were his favorite (chocolate chip mint), that he loved sweet
potatoes, the family dog and of course, riding his bike. It seems
he always had an encouraging word, was a loyal friend to many
and made good choices for his life.
I think we could all wish to do as well. Maybe he never made
it to his 19th birthday, or walked down the aisle at his high
school graduation, but it seems from what he left behind that
he made some fine accomplishments.
His mother asked one thing of those who were gathered - that
as our lives go on, that we take a moment, sometimes, to remember
something about her son.
After all, she said, he is certainly worthy of remembering.
And perhaps we should all spend more time thinking about what
each of us will leave behind - and what will be said of us when
we are gone.
Margie Richards is office manager and a reporter for the Madison