Last updated: December 13. 2013 10:43AM - 787 Views
Scott Ballard DistrictAttorney



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Samuel Patton works for Sheila Studdard in the Fayette County Clerk’s Office. He’s a likeable fellow and one of the many reasons it is a pleasure to work at the courthouses in our circuit.


Samuel knows I like Ronald Reagan. So, this week he sent me an email and attached an autographed photo of President Reagan and his wife, Nancy. He had bought it on Ebay.


So, when I went out of town to meet with the other DAs in the state, Reagan was on my mind. As we talked about new laws and heard from appointees to various state boards, I got a bellyful of government. And I began to recall some of President Reagan’s quips about government.


Some would be appropriate today.


Like this quote: “Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.”


And this one: “I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the US Congress.”


Regarding the government spending spree of his day—rather tame by today’s standards—he said: “I’m not worried about the deficit. It’s big enough to look out for itself.”


President Reagan would have cackled at the inept effort of the federal government to develop a healthcare website. Then he would have told one of his favorite Soviet Union jokes.


“It’s hard to get an automobile in the Soviet Union. They are owned mainly by elite bureaucrats. It takes an average of ten years to get a car. Only one out of seven families has one. You have to go through a major process and pay for it in advance. So, this man went to a dealership and paid for his car. The dealer told him to come back in ten years to pick it up.


“Morning or afternoon?” the man asked the dealer.


“What difference does it make?” the dealer asked.


The man replied, “Well, the plumber is coming that morning.”


So, what was it about the meeting I attended that got my dander up?


Well, a guy from the Department of Juvenile Justice was praising his department’s effort to keep juvenile delinquents out of jail. Grants are being offered to courts for NOT locking up juvenile delinquents. He said it costs $94,000 per year for each juvenile in detention. That’s four times what it costs to lock up an adult. Federal regulations require that we educate the delinquents. It was never clear just what the other extra costs are.


Here’s my problem. I know what these kids have done. I’ve seen the pictures of their victims after they are finished with them. I’ve seen them flashing gang signals. I know how dangerous they are. In my experience, the only kids in detention are the ones that need to be there.


Wouldn’t it make more sense to find a cheaper way to keep them away from the folks that they endanger? As a matter of fact, why shouldn’t we lock up the people who are ripping off taxpayers to charge that much in the first place?


Does it cost you $94,000 per year to raise your child?


Ronald Reagan was right. Government is like a baby.


Samuel Patton works for Sheila Studdard in the Fayette County Clerk’s Office. He’s a likeable fellow and one of the many reasons it is a pleasure to work at the courthouses in our circuit.


Samuel knows I like Ronald Reagan. So, this week he sent me an email and attached an autographed photo of President Reagan and his wife, Nancy. He had bought it on Ebay.


So, when I went out of town to meet with the other DAs in the state, Reagan was on my mind. As we talked about new laws and heard from appointees to various state boards, I got a bellyful of government. And I began to recall some of President Reagan’s quips about government.


Some would be appropriate today.


Like this quote: “Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.”


And this one: “I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the US Congress.”


Regarding the government spending spree of his day—rather tame by today’s standards—he said: “I’m not worried about the deficit. It’s big enough to look out for itself.”


President Reagan would have cackled at the inept effort of the federal government to develop a healthcare website. Then he would have told one of his favorite Soviet Union jokes.


“It’s hard to get an automobile in the Soviet Union. They are owned mainly by elite bureaucrats. It takes an average of ten years to get a car. Only one out of seven families has one. You have to go through a major process and pay for it in advance. So, this man went to a dealership and paid for his car. The dealer told him to come back in ten years to pick it up.


“Morning or afternoon?” the man asked the dealer.


“What difference does it make?” the dealer asked.


The man replied, “Well, the plumber is coming that morning.”


So, what was it about the meeting I attended that got my dander up?


Well, a guy from the Department of Juvenile Justice was praising his department’s effort to keep juvenile delinquents out of jail. Grants are being offered to courts for NOT locking up juvenile delinquents. He said it costs $94,000 per year for each juvenile in detention. That’s four times what it costs to lock up an adult. Federal regulations require that we educate the delinquents. It was never clear just what the other extra costs are.


Here’s my problem. I know what these kids have done. I’ve seen the pictures of their victims after they are finished with them. I’ve seen them flashing gang signals. I know how dangerous they are. In my experience, the only kids in detention are the ones that need to be there.


Wouldn’t it make more sense to find a cheaper way to keep them away from the folks that they endanger? As a matter of fact, why shouldn’t we lock up the people who are ripping off taxpayers to charge that much in the first place?


Does it cost you $94,000 per year to raise your child?


Ronald Reagan was right. Government is like a baby.


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