Not mine to give.... - Granite Grok

Not mine to give….

Limited Government means exactly that – limited.

And that means government does a few things and not all things for all people just because "it is a good idea" or solves someone’s specific need.   Why do we have Big Government?  Many reasons:

  • One general reason is the socialistic nature of Progressives (think mostly Democrats, but can be Republicans too – those that believe that only Big Government can make the right decisions for us all).
  • One more is that our education system is failing to teach the basics of our founding – not only the history but the WHY of that history (and given Reason #1, this reason isn’t too difficult to grasp). 
  • Yet another reason is that faced by Project Managers all over: "scope creep", or the tendency of all projects to get bigger so as to do more "good stuff" and thus get too complicated, misses milestones, and costs too much.
  • Lastly, another is that too many folks are too lazy or unwilling to live up to their own responsibilities – easier to outsource the fulfillment of a need to others (both the service and the cost). 

Thus, we end up with Bigger Government either through ideology, lack of knowledge of our historical roots, bureaucratic sprawl, or unwillingness to step up to the plate.

Town budget season is wrapping up all over NH; my hamlet is no exception. Last part of our job was to Recommend / NOT Recommend four Petition Warrant articles to fund charities with taxpayer monies (if that sounds like gobbledy-gook, see after the jump). Of COURSE, there are those that have no compunction about donating their fellow citizens tax money for charitable purposes – regardless of whether those citizens would normally support that charity.  One of my fellow Budgeteers tried to equate donating to these social services organizations with funding the Town’s Fire Dept; after all, we pay for the latter’s service and thus, fails to see any difference: 

"Back in the day, our families used to provide this service but that doesn’t exist anymore for most of us. So many of us will rely on these services at some point in our lifetime.  So I don’t think it is like giving to  other charitable organizations which are kind of nice but you don’t need them in your life."

The dirty secret why it doesn’t exist is because we let it – it has become far easier let to of that responsibility and outsource the care of our families to society at large than do it ourselves. Before I get into the argument of why this is a straw-man argument (as well as being irrelevant), watch this shortened clip (the full length of the BudComm meeting is the second video found here at my local blog, GilfordGrok):

What she fails to mention is significant:

First: The Fire Dept IS a town dept – we appropriate monies, and we control their expenditures.  The employees of the dept are under Town control – the Town Administrator and the Selectboard.  Not running right?  Correction applied – and there is accountability.

Two: These charitable groups / social services / non-governmental organizations do not report to the Town Administration OR to the voters – we have NO idea where the money can really go OR apply corrections if badly spent.  In fact, there is NO accountability and therefore, not the "same" as the Fire Dept.

Third: she implicitly argues for Bigger Government via "scope creep" (e.g., "our families used to provide this service") – it is easier to just let Govt do just one more thing – it’s a great idea!

Before going further, take a look at a part of a speech that Davy Crockett gave to his fellow Congressmen when presented with the chance to use taxpayer monies to pay for charity (emphasis mine):

Mr. Speaker – I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the suffering of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this house, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living.  I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity.

Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as  members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money. …

…"We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as a charity. Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much money of our own as  we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week’s pay to the object, and, if every member of  Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks.

"He took his seat. Nobody replied. The bill was put upon its passage, and, instead of passing unanimously, as was generally supposed, and as, no  doubt, it would, but for that speech, it received but few votes, and of course, was lost.

How FAR we have strayed from that!  Go read the rest; it truly explains the context of the above.  It is what brought forth my response. I make no bones about it – I am a Conservative.  In fact, when the Democrats call me a far-right Conservative, I just smile broadly.  Fiscally, politically, and socially; I am that person.  I believe in the Founders vision of a limited government whose job was NOT to provide for the needs of its citizens; instead, they sought a form of government that would to protect a citizen’s Rights as enumerated in the Constitution.  This is in direct opposition to what Statists and Progressives would have you believe; their world view is all but indistinguishable from a purely Socialist agenda where Government is responsible for everything you need (with the current twist of "why own the cow when you order the owner what he can do with it?") – and you will pay for their dream of Utopia with your taxes with the commiserate loss of individual liberty (both financially and the resulting regulatory environment).

So what’s my beef?  That we, as a society, have so easily passed on our responsibilities and have shucked them off to others in our communities (Socialism via laziness?) – and in doing so, raising taxes for everyone.  I keep getting told "times have changed" as if that is a good thing – I think not.  Progress is not always forward; the only "progress" being made is in freedom of responsibility while forcing others to pay for it.  Why don’t politicians consider the cost of making it "free from necessity" for some and a bigger burden on others?

For me, it is the height of hubris that a politician should force fellow taxpayers to pay for charities that they might not otherwise support.  Charity by Government is simply taxes collected by force and given to others – a redistribution of wealth by politicians.

Sidenote: Tip O’Neil (D-MA) famously said that all politics is local.  While the names may change, and perhaps some of the details as well, pretty much that happens in my community happens in yours too.  So if you are a Conservative, go make a difference; run this election season.  Sure, you may lose, but you might win too.  But if you do – stand on your convictions and fight for what you think is right.   Yes, you will lose on issues dear to you once you get on that board, a commission, or council.  So?  Make the effort, make the attempt.


Explaination of Petition Warrants – here in NH, the citizens in each Town (as opposed to a City) get to vote on the budget for that Town – EVERY voter has that opportunity!  In our Town (being what is called an SB2 Town, we use paper ballots – non-SB2 towns all vote in an actual meeting.

Petition Warrants are those "things" that get at least 25 people in town to sign their names and attest to the fact that they support this "thing".  If this "thing" (or "Warrant Article") has to spend money (e.g., buy a fire engine or, in this case, give money to social services organizations), the Budget Committee has to, by law, give either a positive or negative recommendation.  In our town, this recommendation often sways the ordinary voter – most often if the BudComm does NOT recommend a budget or Warrant, the voters vote it down. Thus, the reason for fighting for this NO Recommendation on my part.

I disagree with my fellow BudComm members in funding these Warrants.  While it may be the case that "So many of us will rely on these services at some point in our lifetime", why is that such a sufficient reason for me to involuntarily "donate" pay for your family (or your’s to mine).

Our society was built on self-responsibility – this is but another incentive to not be responsible for ourselves and our families and instead, become yet another step more dependent on Government.

Obama (and Marx, Ely, Dewey, FDR, and Alinsky) are smiling.