How much government can we afford?

With all of the discussion of public sector pay vs private sector pay and the retirement benefits of government workers vs private citizens, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that government employees are a cost which is supported by taxpayers.

Govenment is supposed to produce services which provide security for an area. It is also supposed to provides services to educate citizens so that they can become more productive and contribute to the economy. Governments provide services which regulate trade and traffic so that a business economy can operate and flourish. Governments have grown to embrace the idea of being a safety net for those citizens who have difficulty fending for themselves.

There are a lot of dedicated and conscientious people serving in governmental positions, but that does not alter the fact that every one of these public employee is paid through the taxes imposed on his neighbors or more distant countrymen.

Therefore, every public employee should be cognizant of the fact that their jobs must enable their neighbors to get on with life and make money. I feel that many public employees see that as their main mission and do their best to operate as economically as possible.

In Floyd County, Sheriff Zeman is an example of someone who communicates a real sense of understanding the need to make every dollar count while maintaining county security in the face of increasing crime. On the other hand, the Floyd County school system has been operating with no real oversight for years and has only recently been persuaded to open their budgets to scrutiny.

We need law enforcement and we need schools and a host of other services, but these have to operate within a budget that can be supported by taxpayers. We do not need a nanny state to look after us. We just need government that we can afford.

In today's economy, we private citizens are making do in many areas. Is it too much to ask that every one of our government entities at the local, state and federal level do the same?

The Floyd Tea Party is working toward more responsive government at all levels. If you believe that government should be more responsive, the next Floyd Tea Party meeting will be on Tuesday May 17th at 7:30 pm at the Jessie Peterman Memorial Library.

This entry was posted in Dealing with hard times, The Tea Party Movement, Things that concern me and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to How much government can we afford?

  1. Cathy Whitten says:

    I have to comment, David, after being called a parasite — twice — by a Tea Party officer. I am a government worker. The library is a government building. We work our rear ends off all day, every day, to provide many services to people who can no longer afford them on an individual basis. We have been cut past the bone into the marrow. I’ve let go one employee. Our book budget is to the point where we might as well join the Book of the Month Club and share our 1 copy countywide. Our hours have been cut. And yet we do more, every day, because that’s our job and we are glad to do it. We all understand where our embarrassingly meager pay comes from and we work on anyway, giving 150% to our patrons because they deserve it. We know what we owe the taxpayers of this county and I think we provide the best possible service given the severe limitations that have been placed upon us. The name calling needs to stop. I appreciate very much that you acknowledge that there are some good government workers and I would be the first to acknowledge that there are some bad ones but they don’t work for me. We are terribly hurt by the “parasite” comment and by the fact that not one single Tea Party member has disavowed it.

  2. Cathy, thank you for bringing that to my attention. Calling hardworking public employees parasites is entirely uncalled for.

    I am sorry that you were subjected to such ill-considered rhetoric and will work to see that it does not occur again.

    I cannot speak for the Tea Party, but it is my understanding that this comment in no way represents the attitude of other Tea Party members or the Executive Committee.

    Floyd Tea Party members have a close working relationship with as many public officials as possible and work with them to provide better communication between local government and the public.

    Intemperate comments by an individual member does not help that working relationship, even when the comments are expressed as their own opinion.

  3. Will Norton says:

    I work for the government AND I pay taxes. I pay the same taxes on my real and personal property as you. All government employees living in Floyd County do the same. This “us-vs-them” mentality is unnecessary. If you and the Tea Party want to cut government how about some specifics?

  4. Will, thanks for your comment.

    The money government employees use to pay taxes comes from other taxpayers, not from the sales of goods or services.

    Government is a necessary function that should maintain security and should make it possible for commerce to continue. We need a certain amount of government to handle issues that would otherwise burden every citizen. Government is a cost center with hopefully specific duties which justify the costs involved.

    When the general economy is flat or depressed, increasing government expenses is counter productive. Increasing government efficiency is highly desirable. Reducing government expense is becoming absolutely necessary.

    We have cut our family food budget this year by 25% because of the state of the economy. That is as much of a necessity as government. Why should we not trim government expenses when the economy dips?

    Why should tax rates keep climbing when the economy is depressed and unemployment is higher than ever?

    Why should governments at many levels be allowed to spend more money than they take in in taxes?

    I feel that no one is entitled to a job. They have to earn their pay by producing goods or services that are NEEDED and WANTED and people are willing to pay for.

    That is the reality out here in the real world and should apply to government services also.

    The main reason an “us-vs-them” attitude arises is when public employees forget that they work for taxpayers.

    Every public servant or private citizen works for someone and their success depends on delivering what is wanted. Failure to deliver what is needed and wanted at an affordable price leads to unhappiness on all sides.

    Competition keeps prices down in the private sector. Voter pressure alone can keep costs down in the public sector. Members of the Floyd Tea Party work with members of local government to get a better understanding of where money is being spent and why.

    Full disclosure brings understanding and resolution of issues.

  5. Will Norton says:

    David, while you don’t come right out and say it, your remarks seem to imply that government workers don’t provide a service to earn their pay. They also seem to imply that government employees are lesser citizens than those employed in the private sector (government employees aren’t true taxpayers because our pay comes from taxes—Really?!)

    You are certainly welcome to believe what you want, but writing that this line of thinking doesn’t create an “us-vs-them” mentality in the tea party movement is delusional.

  6. Will, I see that you are associated with the school system and understand that you may be inclined to find insult where none exists and are doing your best to maintain the “us vs them” attitude you claim to despise.

    Government workers have to provide services to earn their pay or they eventually get voted out of office or dismissed. In unionized areas, the newer employees get dismissed in hard times while the older and not necessarily more competent ones get retained.

    We all need to earn our pay or eventually someone wakes up and gets rid of those who do not keep their exchange in. Working hard is not a defense against layoffs. Producing what is needed and wanted is a much better defense against being discarded.

    Most government activities like schools were created so that people could be hired to perform tasks like teaching students to be useful citizens thus relieving households of the necessity for home schooling. Government employees serve a purpose and are worth every penny when the services are performed well. That money comes from taxpayer pockets as an exchange for the services delivered by the government.

    If you feel that being paid by taxpayers makes you a second class citizen, you are making a serious attempt to create a straw man argument.

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