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Palm Coast Thursday, Mar. 17, 2011 9 years ago

Budget cuts and the American way

by: Brian McMillan Executive Editor

There’s a story about a couple of men who were between flights at a busy airport.

Disaster struck.

Announcements declared that all flights were delayed.

Amid the frenzy of families camping out in the seats and wild-eyed stories of weary travelers on the evening news, these two men slipped out, rented a car and drove several hours to their hometown.

While they were enjoying the holidays with families, the rest of the travelers persisted at the airport, wailing about having to go 48 hours without a shower or a decent meal and cursing the airport administration for mishandling the disaster.

In the face of the budget-cut mandates coming down from Gov. Rick Scott, I think this story is instructive.

Like most people, I get nervous when I hear about cuts to education or mental-health services. It always seems like there could be a better way, less painful way to cut budgets. I’m sure it’s not a perfect plan.

But with the budget shortfalls we’re facing, everyone has to make sacrifices. The question is, what is our response?

We can blame someone else for the problems — and we might be right — or we can rent our own car and drive home.

Two recent business stories in the Palm Coast Observer have stuck with me. One is about the Baxter brothers, who were struggling with a high-end technology business. The economy put them in the red. But, rather than blame everyone and everything for the problem, they invented a dirt-bike stand that fills a niche in the market. They found investors. They took a risk.

Now, they’re hiring a dozen people to produce a few hundred of these stands per month. In the interview, it was clear they were full of energy and hope, and you could feel that success was imminent.

Another story is about the Matuszczak brothers. They are graduates of Flagler Palm Coast High School and Stetson University. They had the misfortunate to enter the job market during a recession. What did they do?

Rather than rely on unemployment checks, they used their love of running and athletics to start a new company that puts on events called running obstacle challenges.

Time will tell whether the Baxters and Matuszczaks will succeed. But they’re making their own way.

Is not this the way out of the recession?

We can look to and blame the government all day. We can wait around for companies to rehire. Or, we can create our own destinies.

That’s not simplistic or naïve. It’s the American way.


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