Candidates should be challenged on government entitlements
Sounding Board Editorial #11 (April 13, 2008)
|The topic of government support for this project, or that project, seems to mostly center around two questions: Is it a good idea? Does it cost much? This kind of thinking drives me crazy and I took the opportunity of this editorial to lay out the bigger questions: Who is entitled? Who isn't? Why? The questions are not rhetorical. I really do want to know the answers to these questions and I wish politicians were held accountable to answer them. Far too often you get some kind of mushy response that some proposal "helps the community" which just avoids spelling out the specifics. This comment ran on April 13.|
elections right around the corner, I want to support
candidates that will promise change I can believe in -
especially changing the way that government is used to promote
special interests, which concentrate benefits into few hands
while spreading costs around to many pockets.
private market, this isn’t a problem, since these special
interests must convince people to voluntarily give up money to
support their causes – like the United Way, Habitat for
Humanity, the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, the Sunshine
Rescue Mission, the National Rifle Association, and the Nature
Conservancy to name but a few.
the public sector, the pursuit of special interests degrades
our freedoms and liberty by mandating that we pay for these
interests, be it a bridge to nowhere in Alaska, the inclusion
of “affordable housing” in residential developments, or
that taxpayers subsidize a small group of people who ride the
bus or an even smaller group that want to fly to Los Angeles.
appalling is how often recipients of these special benefits
feel entitled to what they have received rather than thankful
and humble! If you’re not sure on this score, re-read
commentaries, published in this paper last week, on
finding housing in Flagstaff.
So, in the
upcoming election for mayor and city council, I would ask
candidates to answer these simple questions, and to do so
What housing, jobs, and transportation are residents of
Flagstaff entitled to?
The attitude that I see exhibited in the public arena really is one of entitlement. One letter writer, critical of my opposition to the bus, referred to how he had decided to retire to Flagstaff from St. Louis. And, he feels entitled to a bus system, subsidized by taxpayers. In the housing stories was a recurring theme - people moving to Flagstaff, finding it difficult to make ends meet, and being "forced" to move elsewhere.
If the city is to promote "affordable housing" who is going to be helped? Will it be long time residents? Or, residents in some favored job category (police, nurse or teacher)? And, why is that? This is the problem with government welfare - all taxpayers must pay to help those deemed suitable. I am much more comfortable with discrimination practiced by charitable groups that raise their money through voluntary contributions. For more on this topic, read the story profiling two families and their housing woes, as well as the web comments posted below the story.
In my bio I mention Al White, who is a current city council member and often champions the "need" for higher wages and affordable housing. The point being that even I had jobs that are bottom of the barrel.