A local octogenarian spelled it out, plain and simple – He used to be proud of our country, but he’s lost that lovin’ feeling in the face of terrible economic conditions. This man, an accomplished U.S. veteran of WWII, and his wife live on a fixed income. What’s happening now with prices hurts them bad, along with hundreds of thousands of other citizens.

This same vet, a real patriot, also said we should not be in Iraq. We should have gained other countries’ support or stayed at home. Now, look at the mess we’re in.

So, when you hear politicians wax eloquent about the great shape of the economy and the wonderful policies and activities of our nation, you do have a right to say, “Phooey!” to the TV screen. Anyone who says it’s all hunky dory has fallen seriously out of touch with the people.

Surveys repeatedly prove this point. Here’s one more. The Survey Research Center of the University of Michigan has tracked American economic perceptions since the 1950s. The center recently released its latest estimate of the consumer sentiment index. According to one news report, Americans are more pessimistic about their situation than they have been for more than a quarter century.

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman calls it a crisis of confidence. He speculates that “our bleakness partly reflects the fact that most Americans are doing considerably worse than the usual economic measures let on.” Fact is, politicos, we, the people sense what’s going on. Mr. Krugman calls it the “public’s sense of the larger pattern.” How does officialdom think people will feel when they hear about failed CEO’s and their hundreds of millions in severance packages, about financial institutions that, frankly, have caused a great deal of suffering over home loans.

In recent years, corporate profits and the incomes of a tiny elite surged, said columnist Krugman, “sucking up so much of the economy’s growth that only crumbs were left for everyone else.” How true. Resources are limited. If one sector has way too much, another part will have way too little.

Big businesses get large government bail-outs. The rest of us get a paltry few hundred dollars as a “stimulus” check.

And, if you are not irked enough, how about this? Seems the Military pays for golf courses all over the world. 234 golf courses, to be exact with an annual price tag around $14 million.

And, the news from Washington about the Home Foreclosure Prevention act that includes humungous tax breaks for big business. More evidence of what our country has become – representatives hired by lobbyists who represent big corporations. They run the country.

To those who think administrations that amass information serve a purpose – only if someone uses the information to act on behalf of the public good. The Energy Information Administration maintains untold computer files of data about energy. It’s only worthwhile if someone develops energy policies that protect us and give us a safe future.

End of news rant.

Still unrest over the move of the Inyo County Water Department from Bishop to Independence. The Inyo Water Commission wanted to know how the Board of Supervisors made the decision. So far, they’re not giving that up.

Public process really does count. The vagueries of the Board leave the public with raised eyebrows.

There are still some arched brows over the Mammoth Town Council’s okay for Ritz Carlton to build off-site affordable housing with a dedicated $5.5 million. Two Mammoth Planning Commissioners felt they did not have enough time and discussion to make a good decision. Some members of the public still agree. Will the housing go into the Ghetto…er…uh…we meant Sierra Valley Sites?

Careful deliberation in the open really does mean a lot to the people.

With that, this is Benett Kessler signing off for Bureaucrat Beat where we await your word on our lives in the Eastern Sierra and beyond.

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