WUOMFM

Auchter's Art: Slashing budgets

Jun 2, 2017

My wife and I have a Japanese maple we planted several years ago in our yard. It's been a nice little tree — generally healthy, somewhat sturdy (our cats like to climb to the top and pretend they're vultures), but it's never really grown. 

It's in good soil, it gets plenty of water, we even treat it to some Miracle-Gro on a semi-regular basis. We considered transplanting it, but from what we knew, its current location was well suited for the variety.

So last fall, my wife decided to prune it back some and hope for the best. This spring, holy cow!, the tree is thriving. New shoots, new leaves, new branches. We plan to continue the care and feeding and hopefully it will grow taller and stronger to help it withstand our cat vultures.

All that to say, I do understand that sometimes pruning is the best solution. I just don't think it is the only solution. (Indeed, we have killed other plants by cutting them back too much.)

But pruning seems to be Plans A, B, C, D, and so on for the GOP these days. Brian Calley announced a "high-tech" ballot initiative to cut the Michigan legislature back to part-time status. Michigan's Betsy DeVos defended before Congress her plan to slash funding for public education. Arlan Meekhof continued with his crusade to eliminate benefits for the working class of Michigan. And then there is President Trump's proposed budget, which seems not so much to trim as to exterminate (the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, for example).

Somewhere under a thick layer of ideology I imagine there to be the more sensible solutions: a mixture of caring, feeding, watering, and pruning.

John Auchter is an editorial cartoonist. Views expressed in his cartoons are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management or the station licensee, The University of Michigan.