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Every day brings more reports of bailouts, loans, tax credits, tax breaks, all in the name of economic stimulus. Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, I don’t see anything in the government sack that is going to help the economy. The pundits can nick each other in solemn tones, but recovery won’t start until we start helping ourselves.

The latest outrage (sorry, policy proposal) is to help businesses that haven’t made money on which to pay income taxes. Pardon me? It is bad enough that we are propping up mis-managed banks, securities firms and auto manufacturers, but now unsuccessful businesses as well?

Why not provide opportunities for the widest possible range of innovators and people who want to help themselves?

Andrew Carnegie once said: "I choose free libraries as the best agencies for improving the masses of the people, because they give nothing for nothing. They only help those who help themselves. They never pauperize. They reach the aspiring and open to these chief treasures of the world — those stored up in books."

Increasing funding to public libraries is the best way to develop a ground swell of innovation and economic development. The unemployed can learn new skills and look for jobs, the employed can become even more valuable to their employers and employers can learn of new opportunities and employ more people. Who knows what book or resource will spark a child’s imagination or the next big thing in some technical field? Hard to say but it won’t happen in a financial bread line.

Our local officials and businesses can become paupers in the federal dole line or they can help themselves and the citizens of our community by increasing support for the local library.


Patrick Durusau is a local resident of Covington and married to an employee of the Newton County Library. His column regularly appears on Fridays.