It's election year. That means that we're hearing about how to cut the deficit, how the tax code should be fixed, waste in government spending, and all those other political hot topics. I'm not going to get into a discussion of what I think would solve the USA's budget woes. I'm just looking at something that made me go "hrms".
I mentioned yesterday that we had gone to the Chickasaw Nation annual tribal gathering. Sunshine went to the State of The Nation address, where all the Nation's citizens were given the financial statements for the 2011 fiscal year.
Along with the financial statements, the Nation's financial reporting director spoke about specifics of some of the expenditures listed in these statements. When I combine this information with the information we have gleaned from the meetings held for Citizens at Large (tribal members who live outside tribal lands), I am truly impressed--and I am quite sure that there is a lot available that I don't know about.
The Chickasaw Nation has educational grants and scholarships for all of its citizens, be they youth going to college for the first time or adults returning to school for more education. This means that Sunshine could receive financial aid for multiple degrees, since he has never received financial aid from the Nation before. An adult who has received financial aid from the Nation can receive MORE financial aid from the Nation for additional degrees; i.e. if they paid for someone's bachelor's degree, they will not pay for another bachelor's but will pay for a master's and a doctorate for that person. If a citizen has a doctorate in one field but wants to return to school and begin anew in another career field, and has never received financial aid from the Nation before, they are eligible for the same financial aid as a tribal member who has no degrees. The Nation believes in education, apparently; and that's not a bad thing at all.
The Chickasaw Nation has built 1200+ storm shelters for its citizens over the last year.
The Nation has healthcare for its citizens, including prescription benefits. They have multiple clinics and are building another; a hospital; dental care; diabetes care; heart healthcare; vision care; vocational rehabilitation services; women's health programs and more. They have cradle to grave healthcare for their citizens, which is a good thing.
The Chickasaw Nation has language and cultural programs to help preserve its traditions. The Nation has repurchased it's Capital Building from the county government it sold it to, and opened it to tours so that people can learn about the Chickasaw. The Nation has the Chickasaw Cultural Center with exhibits, an amphitheater, and gathering hall; the campus is a marvel of multimedia exhibits, serene landscaping, and stunning architecture. Within that cultural Center is the Holisso Research Facility where any and all can go to learn about the Nation and it's history.
The Nation has its own newspaper, tv station, radio station, and app for smartphones.
The Chickasaw Nation offers small business loans to its citizens.
The Nation has a banking system. That banking system offers home mortgages. The Nation's banking system had no defaults on its mortgages throughout the financial crisis brought on by the housing crash. In other words, their home ownership program is working.
The Nation offers genealogy services to its people.
Long story short, The Chickasaw Nation takes care of its citizens. It takes care of the citizens regardless of where they live; meaning that even though Sunshine is a Citizen at Large, he is eligible for many of the programs that benefit its citizens, and should he move to tribal lands he would be eligible for those few services that aren't available outside of tribal lands.
The Nation does all that it does without touching its BIA trust funds. Those funds have been untouched for quite some time. The Chickasaw Nation doesn't distribute its revenues from mineral rights, casinos, and other business ventures. The Nation invests those moneys in programs for its citizens. Most of the items we bought (and we bought a bunch of stuff) had no sales tax attached.
The Nation has over 1.7 billion dollars in assets and only 230 million in liabilities. That leaves the Nation's balance sheets looking pretty healthy, with Net Assets of just over 1.5 billion dollars. That's pretty efficient, if you ask me.
Governor Anoatubby (the elected leader of the Chickasaw Nation) has often stated that the great sources of revenue (minerals and casinos) for the Nation are not guaranteed to continue to bring in money indefinitely, and therefore he pours those revenues into programs while constantly exploring new avenues to ensure the future of the people. Smart man.
Here comes the "hrms" part.
I am sharing this with you because I want to know why the hell the government of the United States of America can't do this. It's simple math: don't spend more money than you make, when you do spend money spend it wisely.
I want to know why the good old USA can't provide such excellent healthcare, educational opportunities, avenues to home ownership, and a call for unity like I saw among the people of the Chickasaw Nation.
Sunshine says that I should end this post by crying for Governor Anoatubby's election as president of the United States. I wish that sort of thing would fly; however, some conspiracy-theory-nut-job-faction would certainly start screaming about citizenship much as they do to President Obama.
So while Governor Anoatubby seems to be a great leader of his people, I doubt we'll ever see him become president. I do, however, believe that those ding-dongs in Washington DC could learn a thing or three from him. And that is something to think about when those who are eligible to vote go to the voting booths to decide who will be the next to lead the good old USA.