Government Blackmail

June/07/2009 7:35AM
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It’s been happening for my entire lifetime. You see it most clearly at the local level of government. The local school board needs money to build a new school. Or, just money to keep operating in this economy. Does the school board meet with the superintendent and his management team and find ways to cut costs? Well, they meet, but not to reduce the superintendent’s staff or expenses, but to develop a strategy to get tax payers to pay more taxes. Here’s the strategy. How many times do we have to hear the same song?

First, we will reduce teachers and increase class size. Then, we eliminate all extracurricular activities. Sports, band, and all the things the community comes to see. Last, we will cut back on transportation. You will have to get your kids to school, no buses.

If the taxpayer had the opportunity to go line by line over the budget, they would find a multitude of other options. Example, if a community has three school districts, the taxpayer might say, let’s cut that to one. We can eliminate two school boards, two superintendents, two assistant superintendents, and all the other expenses that come with that. Would two school boards eliminate themselves? No.

Governor Arnold, when trying to get taxpayers to approve the propositions to raise taxes, used this blackmail technique. He said the would have to turn convicts out and cut police departments. Isn’t that cleaver? I read a list of pork projects that were being funded by the state and it seemed to me there were a few thousand of these that would be in line before prison budgets and police budgets. But, cutting those would impact some member of the state legislature and break a promise and cost some votes. So, Arnold knew he can’t get it done. So, the alternative is fear. Threaten the public with self-imposed crime increases and maybe, just maybe they will pay for protection. It was the Tony Soprano approach to compliance.

That brings me to the Federal level. Too big to fail. Does that ring a bell. GM is too big to fail. But, fail it will. But, not before a much as $100 billion of your tax dollars go into appeasing the UAW. Motive is the thing you must examine in every one of these blackmail cases. In the school issue, it’s the superintendent keeping staff, budget and power, In California, it’s the state politician getting re elected. And, in Washington, with GM, it’s appeasing the UAW.

These guys are good. They really know how to turn the screws on us. They find the hot buttons and get support from people who normally have pretty good common sense. The school board gets Moms and Dads with kids in sports and other activities involved and they go door to door to fight for the tax increase. If they knew they had a choice to use plan B, they might not do that. But, plan B is never introduced.

There is a glimmer of hope. The blackmail didn’t work in California. The public said no. They did not believe the governor would carry out this threat. They are right. The governor will have to force the state legislature to cut the pork. It won’t go easy. It’s always cut the other guy’s pork, not mine. But, with no other option but to have Texas bail them out through Washington and then have Texas secede from the Union, it will have to be done.

Sometimes even the best blackmail plans go awry.

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