Potomac News Online | Local government out of line when giving handouts

What would you say if you had an employee who came to you every year asking for a raise that exceeded the growth of the company? His argument to you for needing the additional money is that he can’t afford to pay for his transportation maintenance or for a halfway decent education.

You might concede that those are relatively important needs. Then he continues to explain that things are so bad that in order to finance these necessities he has occasionally taken long term loans that his children will eventually be required to pay off.

At this point you may start questioning the rationality of agreeing to such loans, especially since his children had no say in the decision. Then he explains that part of the reason for these annual requests was that his previous employer didn’t pay him enough.

Now you can’t help but wonder why this is your problem. But wanting to be a fair boss you decide to see if you can’t help find ways that he could be a better steward of his money. After all, the company just can’t afford to continue providing him increases when it isn’t making similar increases in earnings.

As you start looking through his purchases you find that he is using the money he already gets to go out to the theater, museums, golfing and make various donations to charitable organizations. And to top it all off, you find out that he is investing in real estate development.

At this point most employers would tell the employee that he needs to better manage his money and focus on critical needs. That’s where the analogy I am making diverges from reality. The employee in this story is our county government, and the company is composed of all taxpaying citizens.

We should be telling our supervisors to become more fiscally conservative and stop trying to serve everyone’s desires and interests.

Those that favor a socialist form of government will tell you that projects like Innovation @ Prince William are great revenue generators for the county. They will complain about the burden that would fall to Prince William if the Coalition for Human Services were not funded or how we would lose a great cultural resource if the Arts Council were not offered grants.

But the fact is, this is not the role our government should be taking on, especially in light of the fact that many citizens are upset that the schools and roads are not sufficiently funded. Does this seem like sound financial planning to you? Prince William would still have cultural resources and charitable organizations if the government didn’t force us to pay for them.

The old saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions is absolutely true. The fact that our county executive and supervisors don’t have a problem with funding programs, which should honestly be in the private sector and funded through user fees, ought to cause concern for every freedom loving American.

Countries like Cuba, China and Russia fund similar programs, and they don’t have near the quality of life or economic stability that we do. If our elected officials continue to compete with the private sector we are doomed to suffer the same consequences.

They talk about needing to get high bond ratings so they can keep taxing, borrowing and spending while simultaneously using ridiculous reasons to explain why they can’t limit the growth of government. It flabbergasts me that elected officials are so concerned about bond ratings yet refuse to adhere to responsible budgeting. If they did, borrowing would likely not be necessary.

Even if, as Chairman Sean Connaughton speculated in Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, the county probably spends more on toilet paper than arts funding… it still should not fund these programs. The amount is irrelevant. Principles are not based on degrees. While the punishment is different for stealing $50 versus $5,000, both are equally immoral.

This is probably the same thing that was said when the county decided to get into the golf course business or water park business or museum business. These are not legitimate roles for our government. Federal, state AND local government should exist solely to protect the rights and lives of citizens.

Of course they could simply stop spending on things like golf courses, the Red Cross and the symphony. If they did, these businesses would still find ways to exist. And if they couldn’t make it in the free market, then they have no right existing in the first place.

Unfortunately most taxpayers must get pleasure from being swindled. If they didn’t, then politicians would not enjoy such a high rate of re-election ? but therein lays the crux of their scheme. It is the kowtowing to special interests that gets them reelected. The parent whose child attends 4H won’t rock the boat or their funding would be lost and they would have to pay for such extracurricular activities themselves.

I can’t help but presume that the attitude of most citizens is? “To hell if the country goes into the toilet as long as we get funding for (insert special interest here).”

James Simpson doesn’t mind giving to charity as long as the checks are in his own name rather than the county government’s.

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