5. a reduction or lessening of expenditure or outlay: a saving of 10 percent.
6. something that is saved.
7. savings, sums of money saved by economy and laid away.
Pretty simply, isn't it? Common sense? Definitely. If you have cost 'savings,' it means money not spent.
Except when it comes to politicians - especially in our area.
The most recent example is Lucas County Commissioner and mayoral candidate Ben Konop's idea for garbage.
You see, he doesn't think that anyone over 62 or disabled is capable of putting out their trash on a weekly basis - so government needs to do it for them.
Let's start with the condescending attitude that age equates to infirmity. My parents are both over the age of 62 and are perfectly capable of taking out their garbage, even in bad weather. Now, I recognize that not everyone over 62 is in good health, but to set an age limit doesn't make sense.
It does make sense to address those with disabilities. But if a person has a disability, how are they taking care of their garbage right now? The new cans will have wheels which make them easier to maneuver - and residents have the option of smaller sizes to fit their needs. So the new cans aren't any more difficult than whatever is being used right now by people with disabilities.
The suggestion that people with disabilities need help might also be offensive to those with disabilities who prefer to think of themselves as 'differently abled' and who have made accommodations for such routine tasks as taking out their garbage.
Konop also suggests that it's not 'morally right' to 'force' someone to take care of their garbage:
"It's not morally right to force a 95-year-old grandmother in the city of Toledo living alone to take one of these to the curb by herself," Mr. Konop said, pointing out the increased difficulty of doing it in winter.
This is the same Konop who thinks he has 'no moral obligation' to appear on WSPD radio, so I'm not sure about his judgment when it comes to 'moral' issues. But even if you think he's right about the grandmother, does that mean that you and I need to pay taxes in order to meet what Konop believes is a 'moral obligation'? (And just how many of these grandmothers do we actually have in Toledo????) Aye, there's the rub...and the point of this post.
He didn't have a cost estimate. "If there are additional costs, I think we can generate it from savings," he said.
I do not understand why it is that politicians, and Konop in particular, think that finding savings in government operations means that the money can be spent in another way that they think is equally, or more, important.
Konop has suggested savings in county government operations in the past - some of which I believe deserve further examination and discussion. But he didn't want to have savings in order to reduce the overall cost of government. No, he wanted those savings so he could spend the money on his pet projects (can you say government funded scholarships). And his suggestion for his latest 'bold, fresh, new' proposal is to again use taxpayer funds for what he thinks is a better use.
Konop isn't the only one - politicians do this all the time. They decide they want X so they take money from Y or generate 'savings' from cutting Z and then put the money toward what they want (or what they've told their constituents they can get them) and they think all is well. Obviously, if government has the money it needs to spend it. Heaven forbid that they actually return any of it to the taxpayer who provided it. And they only look for 'savings' when they have another need for the funds - they rarely, if ever, decide to reduce the cost and size of government 'just because' it's the right thing to do.
What they all fail to realize (or maybe they do realize and just don't care) is that savings created should not be spent in the first place - they should be used for either the long-term needs of the mandated - and limited - functions of government, to cover down times like we're having now so we jurisdictions don't end up laying off police officers, or returned to the public from whence it came.
That's what we all do with savings. Think government will ever learn that lesson?