Where the happy people reside

During times of war, pestilence and TV reruns, it’s inspiring to find a genuinely happy group of people who are glad to be alive, enthusiastic in their work, and inspired to help others whether they want it or not.

One need not journey to the darkest reaches of New Guinea to find this happy tribe. They’re just down I-5 in a little berg called Olympia, the one place on Earth where it can truly be said that money does buy happiness, money is everything, there’s no more to life than money, and they do need a barrel of money in order to go strollin’ along, singin’ a song.

Our bright-eyed governor is singing “it’s a zippety-doo-dah day, I’m the happiest governor in the whole USA,” and our Legislature is the backup chorus. Thanks to their policies of encouraging rampant growth and wholesale destruction of our environment they’re rolling in dough and biting at the bit to spend it. The session got off to a roaring start Monday, when the governor declared, “Gentlemen, start your spending!”

Press reports say they’ve got an extra $1.6 billion lying around. If those dollars were laid end-to-end, they’d be only a fraction of what our government would really like to spend, but still, they’re thrilled to have it. With six million residents in the state, that works out to approximately $250 to spend on every person, if the estimate of someone who couldn’t pass the 10th grade math WASL is correct.

The Olympians could make a short session of it by simply mailing each of us a check for $250, but that would violate the cardinal rule of government spending in this state: “First, make sure it does no good.”

How they can spend so much money with nothing to show for it is one of the miracles of modern government. Consider how much they’ve spent on transportation, schools and medical care in the last two decades, and then realize that everything’s worse than it was when they started, and each has critical needs that absolutely must to be addressed this session! Nothing is ever adequately funded, totally finished or scratched from the budget, it’s always awaiting more money to make it better.

One top priority is to spend billions to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with something that will no doubt make traffic even worse. Another is to build a new floating bridge that will also make traffic even worse. Another is to spend more on education so less than half the students can continue to flunk the math WASL, and another is to pay more for soaring health insurance premiums for worse medical care.

Scholars estimate that if the present ratio of spending to deceased benefits continues, by 2020 Washingtonians won’t be able to go anywhere, won’t know anything, will be universally in poor health, and will be paying 100 percent of their income in taxes.

When that occurs, our Olympians will experience Legislative Nirvana, the perfect state of bliss where the government has it all and the people are penniless. At least then, we won’t be expected to make any campaign contributions.