by Robert John Stevens, December 12, 2017
I embrace Ezra Taft Benson’s rule of thumb for government spending—that if I ask my neighbors to pay for something and they deny my request then I am not justified in using government to force them to pay via taxation, forfeiture, penalty and/or by gunpoint. So when I talk about government theft, that’s what I am talking about.
I always thought county property taxes were used to build and maintain roads, bridges, water treatment systems, pay the sheriffs and to meet the necessary expenses of limited government.
The government of Utah County, Utah spends $78 million annually.
Utah County has approximately 600,000 residents.
This morning at the Utah County Commissioners’ Meeting, we watched them discuss five alternative plans for compensating county employees. A 5% across-the-board increase was proposed for non-elected officials. I had to leave early so I don’t know how it turned out but I spoke out again.
Today we learned they spend $55.5 million on county employee salaries and benefits or $91.66 per citizen. If only 20% of county citizens actually own land then on average they each pay $458.33.
Ask landowners if they want to pay $458.33 annually for county salaries and the majority will probably say no. Ask if they are willing to increase salaries and benefits by 5% annually and more will deny your request, so if the citizens aren’t willing to voluntarily pay and they don’t get to vote on such increases, then by Ezra Taft Benson’s rule of thumb isn’t that theft?
I understand the proper role of government is to provide limited services via the consent of the governed according to founding principles and to be wise stewards of those funds.
Since government by nature is inefficient, has no product or service to sell and isn’t governed by free market principles, then should county budgets be based upon foundational principles, the consent of the governed, limited government and reduced costs even if that requires layoffs?
Who benefits when governments diverge from foundational principles? Not the people.
It’s going to be the U.S. government that people are worried about and the solvency of the U.S. government and the Treasury bonds. If it’s a dollar crisis and people are worried about the dollar, the only thing worse than owning a dollar today is owning the promise of being paid in dollars in the future.
We once had a president who motivated an entire nation:
I hope that we will not find a day in the United States when all of us are spectators except for a few who are out on the field. I hope all Americans will be on the field.—John F. Kennedy