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“ Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you”
Steely Dan circa 1974
Rodeo clowns came to mind, but being a big fan of Steely Dan naturally led to the musical depiction of what I watched again last night at King William High School as the Oligarchs, School Bureaucrats , local pols and a few others promoting the Broadband push in King William county came to town. How befitting in the year that Barnum & Bailey shut down their circus………we had one last night to fill the void. Candy Cotton and peanuts, maybe a few elephants was all that was missing.
I paid particular attention to what happened in Greece, not just because it was a textbook case of how the growth of government destroys a economy from the inside out, but also because I have friends and former colleagues who are natives of Greece. They had grown up there and then came to the U.S . They have shared with me over the years what had happened from an insiders perspective, how over time it seemed like everyone had a “ government job.” In time the remaining productive private sector simply collapsed under the relentless weight that comes with a system like this. Those making any money began to hide it, tax avoidance in Greece reached epidemic proportions because taxes reached such confiscatory levels that the only escape was simply avoid paying them. Sadly this situation turns a lot of otherwise honest people into law breakers. Here we just do it a little bit differently. When tax rates become confiscatory you get your friends in the General Assembly and Congress to write tax exemptions into the code so the avoidance is legal.
We listened last night to how beneficial this ( public expansion of Broadband ) would be to the county. Of course there is a benefit to contractors who will dig the lines, providers who will sell the equipment, a handful of land owners who will get a perpetual stream of income with any towers needed, and some more folks will get government jobs to operate a discussed call center.………. But here is what is being left out, here is the pulling the wool over the eyes of the misinformed masses that don’t grasp what is happening right in front of them. Many of those folks sitting in that gym last night either think this will be a free service, or are ignoring how much estimated costs everywhere this has been done have been off the mark.
Provo ,Utah recently sold their network to Google for $1 just to get out from underneath the costs that were killing them, and Provo citizens are on the hook for $40,000,000.00 in debt they are stuck with for their local government run broadband expansion. Let that sink in for a moment………$40,000,000.00 It will be the middle class who will get stuck paying this off since I am sure Provo has their own tax exemptions for the pols crony pals.
Any local economy has essential government services it must provide, and theirs a cost to do that. We all know what use to define basic services local taxes went to support. That is changing and not for the better. Recent data contained in the C.A.F.R ( Comprehensive Annual Financial Report ) clearly lays out the trend for government employment overtaking private employment in King William. The schools and county government have already passed the former # 2 employer and no doubt in just a few more years will employ more personnel than the paper mill in West Point. At some point the public sector will drain so much of our incomes in the form of ever increasing taxes we will become a “ little Greece” It should concern anyone in King William County that owns any property for all of the obvious reasons.
Some in that room last night will be beneficiaries of the expansion of broadband, but just as troubling should be the reality that many others in the room have insulated themselves very cleverly in the myriad of tax exemptions that shield their incomes from the coming tidal wave of even higher taxes that will be required to pay for this government largesse.
If you work in county schools or county government and say earn $60,000 a year, and get 2% pay raises ( or salary scale adjustments—step increases—compression adjustments) your annual salary increases to $ 61,200. So maybe those folks who see an increase of say $100 in their real estate taxes don’t mind so much. After all those salary increases are as regular and certain as rain, so they are still netting $ 1100.00 , even after the higher taxes. Naturally then this lends to both school and county employees being supportive of this bad idea.
Further compounding the problem is King Williams population has actually shrunk, household incomes for the rest of us have been stagnant for 15 years now, while county government grows and grows and grows some more.
Broadband expansion funded and operated by government is a bad idea. Read the 2 articles that will soon be posted on the King William TEA Party website and decide for yourself.
Otherwise may I suggest we all learn to speak Greek.