Thursday, May 27, 2010

Spend the stolen money wisely, please?

Real-estate has dropped in value, businesses have gone under, people aren't spending as much money... All these things add up to less tax revenue.

When tax revenue falls, unnecessary government services take it in the shorts.

It's important to understand what is meant by "unnecessary government services". For example the following services are vital, and cannot be cut:
  • School administrators' salaries.
  • Kickbacks and subsidies to professional sports teams.
  • The mayor's "business development" visits to Monaco and Cap d'Antibes.

"Unnecessary government services" would be things like:
  • Pothole repair.
  • School teachers and school bus drivers.
  • The po-po.

Now, as a good libertarian, I think there's hardly a thing the government does, short of nuking the Japanese 'til they glow, that couldn't be done better and more efficiently by a private concern. However, if you're bound and determined to steal money at gunpoint from me anyway, is it too much to ask that you spend it on something useful and from which I might derive a tangible benefit?

It's like being robbed: It would take at least some of the sting out of it if you knew the guy was going to spend the money on tuition and a haircut instead of rotgut and lottery tickets.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, like the guy said, "They don't solve crimes anymore. They just take a report and that's it."
As nearly as I can tell, they write tickets, take reports, and hassle people who open carry in coffee shops.
Oh, yeah, they also get very upset if any fifteen year old boys fail to show proper respect.
Just make it legal to put dead burglars out with the other trash and I'll be OK.

Anonymous said...

"It's like being robbed: It would take at least some of the sting out of it if you knew the guy was going to spend the money on tuition and a haircut instead of rotgut and lottery tickets."

Y'know, I was going to disagree with that on the premise that none of that benefits me...but on reflection I think that improving the physical and intellectual landscape as in the dear boy's hairdo and edification might actually have some redeeming qualities for me down the line (as in maybe he'll be cute enough to get a sugarmama or smart enough to make change at mickey d's and not feel the need to bust into my place to pick up a few bucks (or slugs; gratifying but problematic).

As for the budget cuts down at the Only's (enough budget cuts and that might start having some literal meaning in some burgs), just eliminate any and all activity and incarceration related to whacky weed and put that 50 f'n percent of the budget to work nailin' and assailin' the rest of the little pricks who diverted their haircut money into rotgut before they have a chance to bust into my place or I have to bust a cap into theirs.

AT

Hypnagogue said...

"That one officer could be the one who passes a robbery in progress"

I didn't know crime prevention was about stumbling upon crimes in progress by sheer dumb luck. I thought it had something to do with making sure that criminals will face justice, so that the law has a deterrent effect.

But yeah, now that I say that, it does seem pretty silly. That would require prosecutors to not make plea deals just to pad their conviction rate, judges to actually pass sentence, and parole boards to somehow keep dangerous felons off the street.

And all that stuff is 'spensive.

Tam said...

"As for the budget cuts down at the Only's..."

Yes, but their budget cuts will be just like the bigger government's, but in microcosm. The services from which I might get some concrete benefit will be the first to go.

Ed Foster said...

Hey 'nonymus, kid #1 is an inner city P.D. detective in the sphincter of southern New England.

Metro Hartford CT/Springfield MA, from Rocky Hill in the south to Holyoke in the north, Bloomfield/W. Springfield in the west to Manchester/Longmeadow in the east, is about 2.6 million people.

But they've managed to keep most of the sociopaths snugged up in a few square miles of urban sunshine.

The "quarantine" areas have about 5% of the local population, and about 90% of the whackjobs, leaving the rest of us to a comparatively safe and comfortable existence.

His professional life reads like a Clint Eastwood movie, with dead badguys and wounded cops scattered around like cordwood.

Out here in the 'burbs, the biggest problem we could find was how to spend the federal money given to us on a "use it or lose it" basis. The town government eventually spent $75,000 to put a hand soldered copper cupola over a side door at the town hall. A door only used by the town manager and his secretary.

Back in the urban jungle, son was doing a stakeout with New York cops, looking for a singularly revolting individual wanted in the Big Apple.

He discovered that, for nasty situatiuons, the NYPD would routinely use four times the manpower assigned in son's particular corner of hell for similar run-ins.

Seems to me there's an unusual dichotomy found in the distribution of funds here. Multiply that copper cupola by every town in every congressional district in the country, times every year.

Now think about the understaffed people out at the pointy end of the stick, in Afganistan or outside some crackhouse in a stinking alley.

Gotta' go with Tammy on the difference between necessary and unnecessary government services.

Ex wife worked as an office manager for State Welfare a while back. An entire office of 30 plus people, who did nothing but go out and take real welfare workers away from their jobs and teach them the one or two new forms generated each month.

Mostly, they sat around rewriting their resumes and drinking coffee. They would also have a monthly party where they gave away several thousand pounds of surplus government cheese and butter that piled up, unable to find a recipient. Each of them with a State car and an expense account.

Interestingly, the couple giving away the free dairy were both members of the Venceremos Brigade, who spent several weeks illegally in Cuba each year, learning how to do whatever Fidel wanted them to learn how to do. They were quite the darlings of the liberal "intelligencia" shey swam among.

State welfare didn't care, because their budget was covered by the University of CT School of Sociology, and it was politically expedient. The boss of the department ran the Democratic Party's "favors" book.

Every time the CT Democrats do someone a favor, they put a dollar value on it, and expect favors in return, of similar value. With interest.

Kofflick and Finkel, of Cross Country Concerts, can't play the Hartford Civic Center? No sweat, it's all arrainged, just 50 tickets to each conceret and the problem goes away.

The metal bands didn't sell well among the Dem pols, so my kids grew up seeing Ozzie and Def for free whenever they were in town.

Yeah, I definately think we should protect the "necessary" government services. With a pink slip.

Ed Foster said...

And yes, I'm writing from work and my spelling/diction bites when I'm pissed and watching for the boss. Sorry.

staghounds said...

"The services from which I might get some concrete benefit will be the first to go."

Or at least the first to be threatened. Because if the politicians said "If we have to get cut, we'll lose the deputy coordinator of coordination training!", the voters would cheer and cut some more.

In approaching 20 years of Government service, I have only seen three people fired.

I have never- not one single time- seen the number of positions cut, even by a single chair.

Someone is missing a GREAT Governor's election platform:

"I'm cutting ten per cent of net expenditures. Here's the list:"

Joanna said...

Or they could at least be honest about the rotgut and lottery tickets, like the bum with the sign that says "Need money for beer and a hooker -- at least I'm not lying to you!" Honest profligacy, I can deal with.

mdrewrankin said...

Now, as a good libertarian...

I knew it! Your wookie suit is in the mail. Email me and I'll send you the diagram of how to do the secret handshake.

Moriarty said...

I got into it with a census taker (sorry, "Enumerator") last Sunday when she made an unscheduled appearance on the farmstead. I was seated on a tractor, pushing around dirt and rubble repairing a levee, and in no mood to answer her questions.

After going rounds for a little while with the usual arguments (and getting nowhere) she appealed to my sense of Fiscal Responsibility by telling me, "The State receives $10,000 per person in Federal money. We can't get that money back unless we have an accurate count."

"Then why the hell don't they just stop stealing the money in the first place and leave it in the hands of the people who produced it?"

"I'm really not here to answer those questions, but I think you're being rather short-sighted."

"Know what 'short-sighted' is? It's when someone comes onto my land, uninvited, past two 'No Trespassing' signs and a closed gate. Time for you to leave."

After she left, I realized that I've become my father.

Mheh.

Tam said...

wdrewrankin,

"I knew it! Your wookie suit is in the mail. Email me and I'll send you the diagram of how to do the secret handshake."

You're new here, aren't you? ;)

Anonymous said...

Tam how does it feel to have a closet full of wookie suits?

Tam said...

About the same as it does to have a gun safe full of bowcasters. ;)

Michael said...

I think the problem is that we are all getting half of what we want. While it's nice to see the Govmint actually stop Doing Things, it would be nice if they had the decency of not spending so much money to get nothing done.

Joanna said...

"Know what 'short-sighted' is? It's when someone comes onto my land, uninvited, past two 'No Trespassing' signs and a closed gate. Time for you to leave."

When I own land, the signs will say, "If you can read this, you're in range."

Anonymous said...

AT: "As for the budget cuts down at the Only's..."

Tam: "Yes, but their budget cuts will be just like the bigger government's..."

Guess you missed the rest of that para, or else you're thinking way ahead of me. My point was the huge savings in the popo budget to be realized by pot legalization; the direct and indirect cost of enforcement of that particular bit of legislative idiocy would alternatively provide for untold curtailing of other *actual* threats to the well-being of Joe and Josephine Schmo. And that's not even getting into the revenue generation from taxing legal sales.

So unless you somehow benefit from the pissing away of about half the entire law enforcement budget on something entirely victimless and benign, that could only help free up funding for some real cop stuff.

But as I said, maybe you're alluding to the nature of gov itself and how the filtering down from fed to mayberry level of the ability to absorb any and all revenue into something -anything- other than what might actually benefit the revenue source itself would negate the humongous savings of leaving Joe and Jo S. the fuck alone as they learn the ins and outs of indoor farming...then yeah.

AT

mdrewrankin said...

Tam,

Yup. I kinda have a thick skull, but I will try to behave myself.

Tam said...

AT,

I wasn't disagreeing with the desirability of your premise, just its likelihood.

It's my contention that, like any organism, a police department has survival as its first priority.

The most important components of survival are the central nervous system and the circulatory system that provides it with oxygen (money.) Hence, long after the last burglary detective has been fired, the chief's salary will still be paid by the tickets of the last radar gun and the asset forfeitures generated by the last narc.

aczarnowski said...

Joanna, I have that phrase as a JPG with the silhouette of a Barrett M82 (50 BMG semi) centered on it. When I get land, it's being turned into signage as well.

Anonymous said...

Ah, then I was right: you were thinking anticipatory and I was stuck in the wishful thinking present...and as usual we quite agree:

"(gov's) ability to absorb any and all revenue into something -anything- other than what might actually benefit the revenue source itself..."

Joanna said...

pot legalization ... something entirely victimless and benign

Dave's not here, man!

Anonymous said...

Joanna:

What's pathetic is that C&C references and comic caricature are the sum total of awareness of one of the most egregious usurpations of simple, basic freedom and wastes of money, manpower...and lives...that our world has ever known.

Dave's dead, young lady...he died of old age, waiting for America to come to its senses. Don't let the same thing happen to you and your generation, regardless of whether you ever have or ever will take a toke or have any idea who the hell Cheech and Chong even are.

(yeah, yeah, I know...pretty melodramatic. But the most important causes -think defense of 2A- often are)

AT

Divemedic said...

Tam- let me tell you how budget cuts work. The fire department I work for had 81 firefighters and 9 administrators (one was a clerk who billed people for rides to the hospital) when I was hired 15 years ago.

Years later, we were answering more than twice as many calls for assistance with 90 firefighters and 13 administrators. A billing company was contracted to do our billing.

Then the budget cuts came. When the Department was told that the budget would be cut the following year, they hired two more administrators.

That way when the cuts hit, they eliminated 6 firefighter positions, and two administrative positions: leaving us with 84 firefighters, 13 administrators (six with take-home cars), and a billing company doing the billing. One of those positions is the secretary who answers the phone for the fire chief's secretary.