In my business and personal life I’ve found that making ‘To Do’ or ‘Priority’ lists really helps to keep me focused. True, many of my ‘lists’ wind up gathering dust under refrigerator magnets or hidden in dark corners of my desk but, I have also been known to be faithful to them. It gives me a lot of satisfaction whenever I check off an item as being ‘Done’! I actually feel as if I’m making progress in my life. I frequently point to them with pride whenever Carol gives me ‘that look’ which says, “When are you getting off your butt to do something around here?”! Sometimes I’ll do something that’s Not on The List. After I’ve done it, I’ll quickly add it to The List and then immediately check it off as being completed. I then show it to my wife as proof of my progress. Why not? It usually keeps the heat off for a few days. Fortunately she doesn’t read this column so I can be totally ‘transparent’!

Every 4 years with each new administration I draw up my priority ‘To Do’ list for them. I send it to either the DNC or RNC, whichever party won the White House. Other than an occasional form letter, I’ve never received a response! Since hope springs eternal, here’s my list for the Trump administration:

A. The Budget: Balance the dang thing! My parents lived through the depression and it

taught them to live within their means. They passed the lesson down to my sisters and

I through the way they lived. My wife’s family did the same and we live that way today. The problem with looking at government budgeting is there are so many ways the number crunchers measure performance. By most measurements, Arkansas is in the middle of the pack – not bad but, not good. Of interest is the fact that Indiana, where our VP Pence was governor, is one of the best of the bunch when it comes to balancing their budget. I want our representatives to Balance their budget just as we citizens have to balance ours. Add an amendment to the Constitution. It may hurt but, do it!

B. Border Control: Protect it! If our borders are so porous that normal people can walk

through then what protection is there against motivated, trained and financed terrorists infiltrating with ease? If it takes a wall – build it! A country that can’t control its own borders is no longer an independent state. There are a lot of people in the world that would like to harm us. The fed is charged with security – Do It!

C. Illegals: Arrest and deport them! Illegal IS Illegal! We can’t pick and choose the

laws we want to obey and our government shouldn’t cherry pick which laws to enforce! If you don’t like the law then work to change it. Put it before the electorate. Remove judges that try to ‘create’ law. Only our elected representatives at the federal and local level can do that. Ban ‘sanctuary’ cities, counties and states and punish them by with-holding federal revenue sharing while arresting those officials that don’t comply. Fine businesses and arrest owners/managers who employ illegals. The security and well being of our citizens must take priority. When law becomes Optional - Chaos Reigns!

D. Team Work: I want both sides of the aisle to work together and create a synergistic

outcome for us, the ones who elected them. How much wasted time and effort is being spent ‘playing politics’ and posturing for the media instead of producing results? I’m tired of the schoolyard childishness on Both sides! We All need to send mail to our representatives and tell them to get on the stick or we’ll take the stick to them in 2018!

E. Waste: The government is bloated, especially at the federal level! There are too

many pork issues and too much overlapping of bureaus and responsibilities. Contracts are artificially inflated wasting money and employees are paid well over the private sector especially when including perks and benefits. Government unions are unnecessary and add further to the waste of time and money. Add another amendment to the Constitution requiring elected officials to be governed by the same laws as the electorate. Include term limits not to exceed 8 years in service in both houses while drastically reducing their ‘golden parachute’ of a pension program! I voted for Trump to clean the swamp and I want results! I hold the Democrats accountable as well. They need to stop wasting our time with obstructions and start getting productive! This mess wasn’t created overnight but, I do want to see results in a reasonable time frame!

F. Education: Wind down the federal involvement and return full responsibility to

the states! After 38 years and billions of dollars per year we still haven’t seen much benefit. If anything belongs at the Local level this is it! Nuff said!

I have more concerns than just the ones I’ve outlined above. However, these are my standard long-term priorities. I’m sure you have yours as well. If you’d like to share you know how to reach me. End of rant. Have a blessed week!

(Mike Bertalot is a Quitman resident and contributes 'Dusty's Dad' biweekly to The Sun Times. He can be reached at dustysdad42@gmail.com)