What is terrifying about government appointed ‘Task Forces’ – like the one just appointed by the Wake County Commissioners – is they’re like legislators. Almost. They can only propose to spend money. They can’t actually spend it.
This new ‘Task Force’ is supposed to come up with solutions to all – or almost all – the problems facing our area in the next thirty years. And there are a lot of very fine people on the Task Force. And no doubt they’ll try. And no doubt they deserve our sympathy.
Because they face two hurdles.
First, a lot of the people who get on these Task Forces get themselves appointed because they want something. Something specific. Something tangible. Something for themselves. Something that boosts their financial interest. Or their political agenda.
The other problem is why politicians appoint Task Forces. It’s because tough decisions are going to have to be made and the politicians want someone to blame. To point the finger at and say, “Well, that darn Task Force proposed that. Not me.”
For instance, the Board of Education wants 4.3 billion dollars for schools. Other officials say we need to spend $460 million for a new criminal courthouse complex. And then there’s I-540 to build and the water shortage and a hundred other things that cost money.
Not everything is not going to get funded and the politicians feel a lot safer sitting back and watching the Task Force make the first round of cuts and seeing how much political heat that generates – rather than making those decisions themselves.
Historically, what tends to happen with Task Forces is the good people get disgusted, the people with a personal interest hang on like wildcats and in the end the politicians do pretty much what they think it takes to get reelected.
Let’s hope this turns out to be an exception.