(And the blog whining continues...)
No, I'm not just talking about the whole concept of Segways generally. I'm talking about our failure as a society to buckle down and drag ourselves out of this economic mess that we all helped to create.
Today The Salt Lake Tribune reported that UTA had wisely spent federal stimulus money on scooters for UTA security officers. (http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_12704589, Brandon Loomis, UTA's New Segways: Tool or Toy?)
Now, granted, some of that money was specifically designated for "security," so it's not like they could have done something really sensible (like putting the money toward the general budget and reducing fare costs for riders this summer, when gasoline will probably increase in price like it always does). But, I don't know ... how about hiring MORE OFFICERS?
(Important caveat - I am not particularly opposed to the federal stimulus package. I think that, employed efficiently, it has a decent chance of working. That being said ...)
I'm no economist, but I was under the impression that the federal stimulus package was supposed to stimulate the economy. I'm pretty sure the best way to do that is job creation, not useless stuff production. How on earth does it help UTA, much less the greater economic climate in Utah, for these "cops" to have scooters? Shouldn't they have put that money toward a year salary and benefits for another PERSON, who would then A) Not be unemployed and B) Have money to pay rent, buy groceries, open a savings account in troubled banks - you know, stuff that would actually as opposed to artificially stimulate the economy.
And I'm not just blaming UTA, though they are my favorite punching bag of inefficiency. (Can someone tell me why the head of UTA makes more money than the heads of transportation in Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago - all places with larger populations and public transportation THAT IS ACTUALLY CONSISTENT? But I digress.) Davis County Sheriff's office bought a Harley-Davidson (retails $24,000) with their money. I think that might have paid a part-time deputy for a year, but maybe that's just me.
This is a problem that transcends government and hits every one of us individually. We don't need to shop more to stimulate the economy--we need to pay off debts, save more and create more. (Rocket science, I know.) The "create more" is the one that really kills me. I think we all have the friend who is planning to become a millionaire by selling real estate or juice or creating a business exactly the same as a business that has already been created. The guy who feels the need to say, "Oh yeah, I was going to go to law school/business school, but then I realized how much more money I could make doing construction." (For realsies. I've heard that twice on dates, only sub in "working on my business" - still don't know what that is - for "construction" on the second one.)
I just don't understand how we could have all this pride in our "pioneer heritage" (it is almost July, after all) and retain none of our forebears' ability to buckle down and get a job done. C'mon, Utah, how many more multi-level-marketing schemes do we really need? Did our grandparents really fight WWII and end the Great Depression just so we could be satisfied with jobs as bank tellers and obstructionist DMV employees? So we could drive brand new cars we don't need and buy a Blackberry even though we work at Sherwin-Williams? (Paging Bethany - we're out of semi-gloss eggshell, repeat, out of semi-gloss eggshell!)
And I know I'm no better. As a fetus lawyer (soon to be full fledged baby lawyer) I know that I create jack shit - I just help clean up problems once they've already arisen.
But at least I'll never ask my government to buy me a Segway.