By Tony Farkas
I occasionally tell a joke that my wife thinks that what’s hers is hers and what’s mine is hers, mostly to tease her that I believe that whatever we have we share together. That joke can be made to fit broader subjects, but one it most definitely doesn’t cover is government, and that is at any level. Instead, our representatives feel that the money in the coffers is for their own better-informed uses. Our leaders seem to have forgotten several things, but most importantly that it’s not their money, because government produces nothing. Take, for instance, the federal folks. Their profligate spending on everything from bizarre research about drunk fish to bridges to nowhere and wars in Eastern Europe is the stuff of legend. The salaries for the bureaucracy, including the legislators themselves, are out of control. Even when a federal judge denies an executive order allowing the forgiveness of student loans, our president has decided to extend a moratorium on payments. This government decided to dole out funds without any legal mandate, then has decided to change the rules in midstream, and all with money that doesn’t belong to them. Even at the state level, when lawsuits have to be filed against the feds, all use tax money that doesn’t belong to them. This exists at the local level, as counties, in receipt of tax funds in the form of ARPA (America Rescue Plan Act) funds and Texas Capital Credits. Eligible organizations come to County Commissioners Court with request, and the county decides. Unless it doesn’t. An organization was denied ARPA fund because one court decided that the money was better used by the county itself. This organization had applied for funds in June, but the court, after months of delay, decided only to ignore the request and state it had already decided what to do with the funds.
Another organization, looking for funds to help serve underprivileged children with bicycles and food was outright denied funds, while other organizations, one of which did not even request funds, were granted the use of money. The court initially wanted to deny all requests, saying there were so many that all requests should be presented and then the county would decide which ones to fund — as if it were their money. This stance only came after the first two were doled out, with the explanation that if one entity should get it, so should the other. In each case, the organizations fit the requirements attached to the funds, but the county leaders felt differently, wanting the money to fund other things after the matter was studied and debated and a new definition of fair could be cobbled together. This is similar to one of the impetuses of the American Revolution; taxation without representation. While the commissioners are elected to make such decisions, those decisions seem to benefit the county, not the residents. That’s the kind of thinking that led to the Stamp Act. Seems the monarchy in the 18th century was levying taxes willy-nilly, with the excuse of helping to defray the expenses of whatever (housing military and “protection”), and that the colonists should just shut it and pay. Because, of course, they knew better. Especially in these times, taxpayers know better what they need, and what they expect from government, and that should be the deciding factor, not some arbitrary definition of fairness that excludes people.