By BILL GRAY
Mt. Pleasant News
One thing we?re certain about is, uh, uh, uh ?
That topped one list of concerns this week at a brainstorming group of Mt. Pleasant leaders who were puzzling out legislative priorities to put before the Iowa Legislature and the fine folks who represent us in Washington, D.C. The event was organized by the Mt. Pleasant Area Development Commission and facilitated by its chairperson, David File.
So these are people engaged in issues designed to move our community forward, right? So what can these leaders be uncertain about? Well, in a word:
That is, what is going to be the impact of changes in government programs, regulations and services in the coming months and years? How are business and industry owners, operators and entrepreneurs to know whether any changes they undertake, be it an expansion or a venture into a new product or service, will introduce them into unanticipated government regulation, or additional fees and taxation?
Kiley Miller, chief executive of the Mt. Pleasant Chamber Alliance, reports a similar refrain he heard last weekend at a special event at Cedar Rapids featuring U.S. Secretary of Agriculture (better known here as former Mt. Pleasant Mayor) Tom Vilsack. The Secretary, a loyal Obama Cabinet member, has been stumping for the latest Administration Jobs Stimulus package. But Miller indicates the response of many business and industry executives at this event was, at best, indifferent.
Why? Miller says many say incentives to add jobs don?t balance out the uncertainties that hang over the heads of employers who don?t know what will happen with government mandated benefits, or health care costs, if they add employees.
Without a doubt, less uncertainty would be welcome by all concerned. And at this point I?m going to stick out my neck and state that I?m fairly certain that unless those of us in Mt. Pleasant, in Henry County, in Iowa and in the United States can?t reach a consensus on a direction for our society ? uncertainty will rule.
You might ask: Hasn?t in the last 10 years, or in many instances the last 235 years of this country?s existence, uncertainty been the rule rather than the exception? Why is uncertainty a bigger problem now (you might add)?
My take is because there?s so much more of it, and there are very, very few offering tangible solutions. That might have something to do with why someone barely on the political radar early on, Herman Cain, has bolted into contention with a ?9-9-9? economic plan. Even if no one seems to be able to get the math in it to work, at least we?ve got a guy who is giving us something to chew on here.
Barack Obama, he of the reassuring tones, hasn?t taken the uncertainty away with his Jobs Stimulus package because his Administration has a track record of trucking in uncertainty. Congress has a certain record of an uncertain record of accomplishing anything because of the obvious lack of willingness to put aside personal political ambition to work on solutions to problems our representatives were elected to address.
If ever there was a time to find a common direction and unite to help each other out, this is it. For certain.