Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Be Careful What You Ask For

The rallying cry of the GOP, Tea Party and most Libertarians is "We want small government and lower taxes". When pressed for an explanation of what they mean by that statement, it becomes apparent they're thinking only about all those "welfare bums" their taxes support. You ought to see what happens here when the local School Board tries to close a school and transfer it's students elsewhere.

You should have seen what happened in 1994 when a stroke of President Clinton's pen closed an air base and put 5000 LOCAL residents out of jobs, plus moved military families out of the area. In a city consisting of 35,000 residents, putting 5000 of them out of work tends to create more problems.

Businesses which relied on the income generated by the civilian and military residents, closed their doors putting more out of work. Homeowners unable to pay their mortgages or their taxes simply abandoned their properties. Houses owned by the relocating military families were placed under HUD and an attempt was made to sell those at an attractive rate of interest to qualified buyers. You couldn't walk down any street in the city and not see empty rotting homes. They were eventually taken off the tax rolls and torn down. Shrunk the tax base quite a bit and meant a change in services the city could offer.

When I drive into the city for work, the road I must travel on to enter from my side of the county is home to 5 empty commercial buildings. Buildings that once were home to 2 car dealers, a printing operation, a mill, and a Mom and Pop grocer have stood empty since 1997. Can you imagine what the near economic crash of 2008 did to this area?

If residents want to shop someplace other than Walmart, Staples, JC Penney, Marshalls and Lowes, they have to travel to New Hartford to find what they're looking for. There are no small boutiques or gift shops anymore. It's not that bad a drive, but that money spent elsewhere means the little city isn't earning sales tax revenue.  Crafters were even affected since without shoppers, none of the vendors made money and weren't willing to sign up for the local PTO Craft Fairs held for years at the schools. Even the volunteer fire departments in the area along with the churches had to give them up. That's the trickle down effect that the GOP keeps trying to tell us will work so well to fix what's broken.

The GOP has spent years trying and succeeding in convincing this nation that the problems will all go away if only the government which spends so much money becomes smaller. There's a great deal that they aren't telling you when they make that sound so attractive.

Smaller government means less money for firefighting equipment and the manpower to operate it. It means longer response times for medical emergencies in places where firefighters are first responders. In some areas it has meant that fire departments must charge to save your home, if you won't pay it goes up in flames. It means fewer street lights and police patrols in high crime areas. It means larger classrooms and longer bus rides for children transported to schools farther away due to closings of those closest to the neighborhoods.

It effects municipal trash collection, the condition of sewer and water mains. It effects the ability of cities to keep roads open in the winter and safe to drive on because of timely snow plowing and salting or sanding. It affects the ability of municipalities to keep the streets and bridges in a manner safe to walk or drive on.

Since 1994 all of the elementary parochial schools have closed and the children have been consolidated into the one building that used to be the parochial high school. Military residents who no longer are here helped keep those schools open by paying for private schooling. The public school system has closed 2 elementary schools and is using a third empty school building to temporarily house middle school students while their school buildings are being renovated for safety.

Trash collection has been outsourced to a private company who saves the city money by selling it's "approved" collection bins to the homeowners along with the quarterly bill for collection which is paid by all city homeowners. You are allowed to set out the contents of 1 trash can a week without paying more for pick up. You are allowed unlimited recycling in the smaller bins they sell. However, you have to buy enough bins to hold the amount you recycle. The cost for trash collection must be quite high, there seems to be a rash of people dumping trash along the sides of the road in more rural areas. It's becoming quite a problem where I live. My little town is having to dispose of trash from the city to the west of me since we don't want to leave it lying there. It creates a problem with and for our 4 legged residents.

I can't count the number of times I've heard "If I don't use a service I shouldn't have to pay for it". Tell me, what service don't you use? If you've never drawn a glass of water from any source other than a well on your own property. If you've never flushed a toilet, nor taken a shower and allowed water to run down a drain. If you've never put out a single bag of trash. If you've never sent a child of yours to school. If you've never driven to your place of employment on a road maintained by the city, county or state. If you promise to never call an emergency service for your property or for a loved one in distress, or take it upon yourself to never report a crime committed against you then I'll allow you not to have to pay taxes. In the meantime, shut up and think about what it is your asking for because you might just get it and good luck with that.


  1. Great post! The Republicans don't see things as
    "We The People" - they look at America as "Us" and "Them" and we are the "them".


    1. I may be one of Ann Romney's "You People", but we all put our pants on one leg at a time. Hers just cost more than mine does.

  2. You got it right, your vision is perfect on this. So those that don't want to pay for service they don't use, lets see then if there is a shooting, the victim is dead so he can't use the cops services, and they can't find who called it in, then the police don't get paid for it so I guess they should not try to solve it, certainly I shouldn't have to help pay for it. But if someone breaks in and I call the cops, they would bill me for it? Maybe I know it was the kid down the street, instead of calling cops I just shoot him, that way I don't have to pay for the police service. Then if they arrest me for shooting the kid his parents have to pay the cops not me, I'm not the one who ask for their services. Wow, that could really be a hosed up system huh? Or fire department, maybe they check your credit while driving to your burning house, bad credit and you either meet them with cash or they drive off, in fact it happened like that somewhere already. No, I think the GOP system would destroy communities for the purpose of saving the rich thousands every year.

    1. Their refusal to raise taxes and do nothing more than cut expenses is going to blow up in OUR faces at some point. With the GOP choking off income to the states the way they are, sooner or later someone's going to get hurt by the lack of manpower required to respond to emergencies.

  3. Replies
    1. People need to see the reality of what it is that government provides. Unfortunately, I don't have enough visitors to accomplish that, but it won't stop me from saying something.

  4. Sherry: But you should remember that you didn't build that.

    1. I didn't build it but as a resident of NYS and this area, although not in the city, I do pay to support it. It's getting more expensive by the year, but I'm not complaining, just working harder than I care to in order to keep up.