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Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016

Keeping it under control isn't easy

Sunday, July 2, 2006

Control is an important aspect of our lives. We want to be in control as much as possible without being controlling - if that makes sense. We're told we control our own destinies, though I sometimes question that statement. But sometimes, there are just simply some aspects of life that seem beyond our control.

Look for a minute at the issue of illegal immigration. As of Friday, our nation committed thousands of National Guard volunteers to help control our southern border with Mexico to diminish the daily flood of illegal immigrants into this country. But even the most optimistic among us recognizes that under this plan we still will have little "control" over the flow of human traffic. We can monitor and send a strong message to the Mexican government, but in true terms of control, this latest effort will have limited impact.

In Missouri this week, Gov. Matt Blunt signed into law the new state budget for the coming year. In that massive $21 billion spending bill, a full $6 billion is allocated to the Medicaid program in our state. Now all economists will tell you that the amount spent on Medicaid is far too great in terms of our budget total but, in many ways, we have little control over the health issues of the low income. When you consider that Medicaid spending in Missouri is greater than spending on education, you sense that something is out of line.

I suspect we all want to control as many aspects of our lives as possible. We hope to control our children within certain boundaries. That desire for control is strong yet it's a delicate balance as well.

How many times have you heard someone remark that their life is "out of control?" It's not an uncommon refrain. And at the same time, many aspects of our government at all levels is also "out of control."

I watch with some amusement as politicians try to "control" our lives in a manner they feel is best for us. For starters, I am not willing for someone else to make the decisions for me that might somehow control my life. I want the freedom to make those choices myself - right or wrong. Yet we all know, at the same time, some level of control is needed in all of our lives and - like it or not - it's the government that more often than not issues those controls.

Back on the issue of Medicaid spending in Missouri, Gov. Blunt is sincere when he says that government needs to control the rate of spending on this single government program. Few could possibly take issue with him on that point. But in the end, many others before Matt Blunt have tried to "control" the same issue with little or no impact. The late Gov. Mel Carnahan took a different approach and invited more and more people into the Medicaid tent. We are now paying for that misguided notion.

Control is talked about and discussed and argued. In the end, control that which you can, accept that which you cannot control and find the wisdom to know the difference. OK, I stole that from someone much wiser than yours truly.

But in terms of control, it most certainly applies now doesn't it?

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen