The holidays are here and it soon will be New Years. Good intentions will be flowing like good punch at holiday parties; New Years Resolutions will be made. Most involving losing a few pounds, I’m sure.
When I graduated from high school, I weighed considerably less than I do today, nearly 50 years later. Now my bathroom scales shrink back in horror if I should stroll in their direction, but they should know by now I have no intention of inflicting that kind of pain on them. My waist and inseam measurements have traded places since those high school and football days.
I don’t know when I put on the pounds. But, like so many things in life they crept up on me an ounce or two at a time, gradually, so as not to startle me too badly. I compensated by letting my belt out one or two holes at a time, then buying new pants in larger sizes all the while convincing myself I was merely “maturing” as I got older.
It’s astounding that over the last decade or so we’ve experienced that same creep from our governments. While we were all concerned with mowing the lawn, raising our families, and working at our jobs they’ve continued to grow. It’s all just a little at a time, you know, only a hamburger and French fries a month and who can’t afford that?
Property taxes are insidious things. They always seem to increase, never decrease. Even if the government blesses us by keeping our rates unchanged the wonderful Appraisal District makes up for that by increasing the appraised value on our property, so taxes go up anyway. Oh, we’ll pitch a fit for a while, but like most sheep being led to the slaughter, we’ll soon throw up our hands and accept it like the good sheep we are.
When we were gathering signatures for the county tax rollback several years ago I was struck by the number of elderly folks wanting to sign up. They said they were concerned about whether or not they could continue to pay the taxes on their homes in the future. Everyone blasts the pharmaceutical companies for the cost of drugs and grandma having to make a decision about whether to buy food or her medications. But, no one seems to jump on government about how much grandma is having to pay in property taxes just to keep a roof over her head so she can take her meds out of the elements. We all know that if she doesn’t pay the tax man, the tax man will take away her property and she’ll be homeless, all of which begs the question: Who really owns the property anyway? What a heck of a way to run a country.
When I graduated from high school, the national debt was less than $300 billion. That wouldn’t even touch the interest on the national debt today. It didn’t get that way overnight, just like the pounds didn’t hit me overnight. But, the fact remains that every year our national debt increases because the government borrows and spends more and more. Saddling our children and grandchildren with more debt. When are we going to raise a stink about that? Probably not as long as a bunch of us are slopping at the government trough.
Bureaucracy is growing along with every other facet of government. We now have to ask permission to remodel our house, put in a new hot water heater or air conditioner, build a building on our property and we can get in trouble for not mowing often enough to satisfy all the local Nazis. Government even mandates what type of septic system we must have if we are unable to hook up to a sanitary sewer. We are soon expected to replace the old incandescent bulb with those new, eco-friendly but poisonous fluorescent ones that cost six times as much and require hazmat suits to dispose of should they break. I don’t even think they can go in the local landfill because they’re so toxic. It’s just nuts, isn’t it?
Someone recently asked me if I could name six things the government didn’t tax or regulate. Quite frankly, I couldn’t. Hell, even our toilets are regulated by how much water they can flush. It’s crazy. But it really drives some folks nuts when they discover one thing or another isn’t regulated or doesn’t require a license. More likely than not, the license is just a way to keep competition down as much as to insure public safety. The free market usually takes care of companies that do a lousy job of something. Who would want to fly on an airline that was always crashing?
Thomas Jefferson said that it is the natural tendency of government to grow and individual liberty to give way. He sure seems to have hit the nail on the head. It didn’t take any effort at all for me to pack on all those pounds, but it sure will take a lot of effort – and probably more than one set of New Years Resolutions – to get them off. Likewise, it will take a lot of effort on our parts to reduce the size of our governments and shrink them back to intended size and purpose. It will take even more effort to keep it that way, and a lot more than wishful thinking.
... written by Paul Perry , December 22, 2008
Good column Duff. It is amazing that there is rarely a sunset provision that government keeps, it just expands, and it loves a crisis.......