In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Obama told the story of a 102-year-old North Miami, Florida woman who was told she would have to stand in line for six hours to vote, and stayed in line to vote anyhow.
"We should follow the example of a North Miami woman named Desiline Victor. When Desiline arrived at her polling place, she was told the wait to vote might be six hours. And as time ticked by, her concern was not with her tired body or aching feet, but whether folks like her would get to have their say. And hour after hour, a throng of people stayed in line to support her -- because Desiline is 102 years old."
He added, "And they erupted in cheers when she finally put on a sticker that read, 'I voted.'"
A central tenet of government finance is that money borrowed over the long term should be spent on projects that will outlast the debt – things like buildings, bridges or other essential infrastructure. That's not what upstate New York's Niagara County did with much of its money from tobacco bonds. Golf carts. Computers. Defibrillators. Portable radios. The money did not go toward the health care costs of smoking – as hoped by framers of the 1998 legal settlement with tobacco companies that has paid billions to states, counties and other governments.