I live in a small city adjacent to a big city...close to Charlotte, North Carolina. There is a primary coming up on May 4th. I've picked a state senate candidate to support. Her name is Kathy Harrington. Reason? She supports freedom from "big government" mandates and more local control over our tax dollars. She supports issues against corruption in local, state, and federal government. She is not an over-blown egotistical control freak who wants to micro-manage everyone's life. That alone is enough to attract my attention.
The other day I happened to meet one of our county commissioners. I've met him before and he is a decent, regular, every-day kind of guy who stepped up to try to help our county. In the course of our conversation he related this to me: "Only 17 cents of every tax dollar generated from our county is in our discretionary control. The rest of that dollar is mandated by either the State or the Federal Government." Those mandates are wealth re-distribution in the manner of services for the "poor." Like everywhere else across the south, we have our share of illegal immigrants receiving all kinds of services, i.e. education, housing, medical care, etc. I mention that because that is just another burden laid on the tax payers here, but it isn't the whole picture. Our area, fortunately not as devastated as Detroit, is depressed. Nafta and Cafta have long ago eroded the business model that succeeded here. Businesses have left for greener pastures. Our tax rates are high. Our property taxes are as high or higher than Charlotte. Multiply this picture across the entire country and ask yourself why do you suppose the TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY movement has taken root and is growing.
The outcry here is usually something like this: "We want more goodies and we want them now. We want more parks and recreation. We want excellent schools. We want downtown renovations. We want more commerce. We want high value properties. We want road widening projects. We want to be the new, green, superior destination to attract more high paying jobs. We want amenities."
You get the picture. Like a three year old yelling for more more more goodies, our city and county leaders want more more more. They want it now! So what do they do? After chasing away any semblance of free enterprise, replacing it with collectivism, they capitulate principles to get State and Federal money.....with strings attached. What do we get? 17 cents on the dollar in discretionary spending. What do you get for the rest of that dollar? Subsidized housing. Subsidized parks. Subsidized education. Subsidized medical care. 17 cents is not enough to pay for those downtown renovations or newly paved and widened roads. What does the three year old do? Borrow money. With interest. Force someone else to face a higher debt load, smile with smug satisfaction having won the temper tantrum trick, and kick the can down the road for future persons to pay.
America is suffering from a terrible disease. Borrowing to the point of insolvency has become a national sickness. While there is a valid place for capital loans in the private sector, borrowing from taxpayers is a completely different and insidious form of indentured servitude. This is what unconstitutional social justice (socialism) does to a nation. Using Social Security and Medicare as the model and the excuse, our government officials, at all levels, decided over the last decades to borrow money with interest, making working people pay for services to the poor and the elderly and then...on top of that...all of the other goodies on the wish list, such as greenways, downtown renovations, light rail, parks and sidewalks, on and on. In our case, our local government is asking to borrow more money for roads and parks, putting a burden of interest on the taxpayers here. The insanity is that if our local government didn't bow down to the mandates, the money collected here would stay here and we would have the money to do all of these things without paying interest. 83 cents of every dollar is mandated money....being laundered in the maze of big government bureaucracies and only 17 cents is left for us to use at our own discretion. This is the failure of our country. Look at Detroit. Look at Greece. Look at Europe. Look around you. Are your poorer for borrowing money for goodies? Would you be better off to save up and keep the money close to home?
When, in your life, did you think it was a good idea to hand over 83 cents of every dollar to someone else so you could keep only 17 cents to use as you see fit? Common sense would tell you that's a bad idea. Locally we have an opportunity to stop another case of government borrowing. I hope we succeed. It starts here and now.