Certainly President Fearmonger-in-Chief has made it vogue to peddle disaster statism by scaring everyone into thinking that the apocalypse is nigh and only massive Democrat government can save us all.
As if it is not disgusting enough that federal taxpayers (of some distant future) should be forced to bail out the fiscal irresponsibility of state and local governments that operate on "spend it all now" razor-thin revenue margins, no one should harbor any illusions that we will not also be bled even more at the bottom of the government food chain. These piggies just can't resist.
Today's News-Journal (article by Adam Taylor) points out how the first casualty of Wilmington government's $9,000,000.00 projected deficit will be a new class of police officers. (I know, it seems like small potatoes in today's trillion here/trillion there insanity).
The article quotes some of my thoughts on the matter :
Local activist and lawyer Tyler Nixon said the proposed cuts "are the worst kind of fear-mongering."
"I mean, why cut money to a sputtering, ineffectual, speculative program like the Hope Commission or bloated staffs when you can scare people by using one of the oldest and most cynical tricks in the book -- scaring people by saying essential services won't be brought up to acceptable levels?"
Nixon said he expects Baker to propose a property tax hike when he gives his budget address next month.
In truth, I said I expected such fearmongering with public safety to be a prelude to tax increases generally (I tend to say a lot and say it fast, when interviewed, so it is no fault of Adam Taylor's).
Specifically I was thinking of Wilmington's wage tax, which taxes any earned income whatsoever, even subsistence wages. But the point still stands.
Amazingly, Mayor Jimmy Baker's chief handler/brain/moustache William "Monty" Montgomery pooh-poohs the notion out of one side of his mouth, just as the other side of it admits Wilmington citizens will, of course, be fleeced by other means.
Montgomery said that's not likely.
"My boss doesn't like tax increases, so we're trying to avoid one," he said. "Instead, we're trying to make spending cuts, and generate revenue by increasing fees in many of our departments."
"Trying" to avoid higher taxes?
(Hey Bill, in the immortal words of Yoda : "Try not.....do!")
You have to love the ethos here. It doesn't matter whether tax and fee hikes will hurt the citizens. It only matters that Monty's "boss doesn't like [them]".
I suppose if Boss Baker suddenly starts liking them, then Monty will march for them. "Yes, sir! No, Sir! Three bags full!", as we used to say in the Army.
Call me a stickler, but does any Wilmington citizen give a rat's derriere whether their money is sucked out of their pockets in the form of taxes or so-called "fees" or aggressive gotcha fines or any other revenue scheme? Whatever way, the end result is the same.
If anything, fees are more ubiquitous and they are absolutely way too high as it is. As an example, my state business license costs $75/year. For the "privilege" of permission to practice law within city limits my yearly city license fee is $181. For this I get absolutely NO ADDED VALUE WHATSOEVER.
The City has no lawful power to regulate the practice of law, so the very idea of requiring a City license for lawyers, as an example, is purely a revenue-sucking scheme.
I challenged city government mouthpiece John Rago about this in late 2006 on WDEL. Rago had vaguely suggested that my business somehow receives city services, over and above what I get as a city homeowner, so therefore the license is not merely a superfluous way of double-taxing me.
When I pointed out that I practice from a home office on which I already pay property taxes Rago simply stuttered around the issue and moved on without answering.
The Wilmington government is busting at the seams with overpaid bureaucrats and wasteful frivolous spending. Jim Baker makes over $100,000 a year....for a city with barely 74,000 residents, many living on the edge of, if not in, poverty.
Baker has an immediate staff of at least 10 people, including former State Representative Arthur ("Scotty") Scott. "Scotty" seems to think his public paycheck as a "Community Affairs Advisor" means almost daily calling into WILM's John Watson Show to attack Republicans, defend all things Democrat, and otherwise foam at the mouth.
("Scotty" (the name he uses on-air) has attacked me personally, by name, on several shows. I have audio recordings of two instances. That we pay taxes for this fool to sit in a city government office and phone in partisan political attacks on local public airwaves is, needless to say, a bit troubling. But it's obviously business-as-usual for Wilmington's partisan Democrat autocracy, since "Scotty" has been doing it for years.)
There is an absolute plethora of areas in which Wilmington's champagne government could be slashed to live within its means, much less live frugally like the rest of us. But these folks like life high-on-the-hog, so don't expect any of them to come off the comfy racket they have going.
The government patronage class are quite occupied celebrating themselves in style as they do things like try to kill property rights legislation in Dover so they can dispossess small business pioneers like Ed Osborne of Osborne's Auto on A Street. All this in service to their special interest masters like the Buccini-Pollin Group or the (gigantic failed Carper-created waste) Riverfront Development Corporation.
Sad as it is, given that I am a native and nearly-lifelong resident, I really have to move the heck out of this city, ASAFP.
When public safety is the first thing on the budget chopping block, after a year that set the record for murders, it is seems futile to try to make a difference here in the face of such monumental official stupidity.
The Wilmington government shot-callers are literally 99.9% Democrat. This total absense of political, much less ideological, diversity makes nil the odds of seeing the slightest checks, balances or plain old responsibility and accountability.
Barring radical change, real change...the huns have won.