Why is it so hard to be fiscally responsible?

That’s the question that runs through my mind whenever I hear an elected official propose a new tax increase or a new tax simply because they haven’t fully grasped the notion of not spending more money than you have.

The latest elected official to suggest that the government needs to take even more of the people’s money is Atlanta City Councilman Jim Maddox:

Councilman Jim Maddox wants to tack on a $1 surcharge to tickets for professional sports events and major concerts held in the city.

The idea is to charge the fee on events held at large venues that seat thousands, such as the Georgia Dome, Turner Field, Philips Arena and Lakewood Amphitheater.

The city is facing a $140 million budget shortfall, and Mayor Shirley Franklin has proposed a property tax increase to help fill the gap.

Source: 5/23/2008 AJC article “Councilman pushes $1 surcharge on sports, concert tickets”

Whenever I hear about the lastest tax raising proposal from the government, I just roll my eyes and groan because I realize that if you or I ran our homes the way our elected officials run the government, we’d all be broke.

But with the government, it’s different. They can spend more money than they have and then go to the taxpayers and say, “We need some more of your money, so we’re going to take it.” The government can say your property is worth more than you could sell it for, so we’re going to charge you more taxes. And here’s the kicker for me…

…If you don’t pay your taxes, the government can access your bank accounts and take your money; the government can place a lien on your property and take your house; the government can even throw you in jail for not paying your taxes.

You know, I don’t think it’s too much to ask for the government, that forcibly takes our money, to be good fiscal stewards of it instead of spending every dime and then coming back to the taxpayers and forcibly taking a little more.

Folks, I can officially say without a shadow of a doubt that government is not the solution to the problem. Government is the problem.


  1. IndyInjun says:

    “if you or I ran our homes the way our elected officials run the government, we’d all be broke.”

    More likely tearing out the copper piping to the pay the Saudi’s at the expense of our Chinese landlords.

    Lucky for us that they can’t bring back slavery or there would be 60 year old’s from Alpharetta being shipped to Beijing to work as toilet attendants.

  2. AubieTurtle says:

    Why is it so hard to be fiscally responsible? Because personal finances aren’t a democracy. Your neighbor doesn’t get a vote on how much you spend on groceries and his decision to build a new deck doesn’t come out of your pocket.

    The public, even the majority of those who describe themselves as “conservative” (and even a whole lot who fancy themselves “libertarian”), loves for the government to spend money on them. Because most tax money goes into a general fund instead of being tied to particular use, people are able to rationalize their particular government goodie program as being ok because they ***know for sure*** they pay enough taxes to cover it and it’s all those other programs that are waste.

    Everytime I hear some Joe Sixpack complain aobut property taxes on his $120,000 house while at the same time he sends his three kids to government funded schools at a cost of several hundred percent of his school taxes, I want to smack him upside the head. The populous has no idea of the cost of government services are provided to them. If these functions were privatized to where the public had to pay the true cost of those services directly, they’d howl like mad and vote everyone responsible out of office.

    It has been said that democracy will fail as soon as the public realizes that they can make the government write bad checks and engage in unlimited borrowing. That exactly what is happening.

    Anyone who is really concerned about government spending needs to look at the spending on their own brand of political ideeology as start attacking spending there. You can’t have much of an effect on the opposite side of the politican spectrum but you can clean up your own house first.

    I’m waiting for the day that tolls and gas taxes cover 100% of the cost of road building, upkeep, and policing of those roads. Until that day comes, I can’t get too worked up about other government spending on programs that one side or the other doesn’t like when our socialist road system continues to be everyone favorite spending project.

    Goofy ideas like “starve the beast” won’t work because the beast is, well, a beast and it will find a way to get its food from somewhere else. We tried reducing taxes and the beast went and borrowed from China and the rest of the world. Transforming the beast into something else is what is required but that’ll never happen. Quite frankly, economic collapse is prbably the only thing that will teach us the required lesson. Just like all of the SUV owners who ignored the warnings about increasing fuel prices being shocked that there is no longer a resale market for their vehicles, the American public believes that if we ever get into real trouble, we can then look into changing out ways. By then, it will be too late.

  3. Doug Deal says:

    Because you can’t buy votes with fiscal responsibility.

    As is said every election year, you can only starve children, abandon the elderly, and use the social security trust fund to invest in risky schemes with fiscal responsibility.

  4. IndyInjun says:

    The education leviathan rules in Georgia. This will be born out as state and local tax revenues plunge followed by sales tax and millage rate increases on everyone else to feed the beast that cannot be denied.

  5. Decaturguy says:

    Slightly pandering tone.

    Did you know that Andre’s full name was Andre Ronald Reagan Walker?

  6. IndyInjun says:

    No, but on this topic, he reeks of common sense.

    I think a considerable number of legislators have common sense, but it is overwhelmed by a lack of courage. Hopefully, Andre will have the courage he evidences here.

    Georgians – all Americans for that matter – are about to receive a most brutal lesson for rewardering panderers instead of leaders.

    Face it, if saying NO! were rewarded we would have a responsible adult, Ron Paul, in the race for POTUS instead of three pathetic, cretinous characters who will only accelerate the day of reckoning – IF it doesn’t beat them to the punch.

    Government and the trillions in debt created by it are about to come crashing down.

    We will need more Andres, Demints, Coburns and Ron Pauls.

    We don’t need any more Kingstons, Linders, Isaksons, or Chamblisses. When the financial collapse comes, it will be they who took us there.

  7. Doug Mac says:

    It’s a lot easier to say yes than no, especially when you are worried about getting reelected or elected to the next office. The calculation is pretty easy. I’m about to make 10/100/1000 people mad with my vote and they are going to vote against me next time.

    Meanwhile, the benefit of fiscal discipline is spread out over the entire taxpayer base and those people tend not to be as vocal as the group who wants a specific project done.

    There isn’t much use crying about it – it just means I have to spend time explaining the benefit of fiscal discipline over the long term. And if I can’t do that, then I shouldn’t be elected.

  8. FinanceBuzz says:

    This is a symptom of a populace that cares more about who is going to win American Idol than what is going on with boring politics. It also comes from a populace where love of freedom and liberty is more now about safety and security. It also comes from a populace who are envious of those with more than them and love the idea of the government being some sort of Robin Hood. The politicians know that if they can keep enough the populace more occupied with their pastimes and entertainment, convince them that freedom includes having hte government hold your hand from cradle to grave, then these officials know that enough of that populace will not hold them accountable on election day and they can maintain their power.

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