Tuesday, November 23, 2010

When Government Doesn't Work, They Seek Charity

Mount Clemens, Michigan was once a thriving community in the suburbs of Detroit. Known as “Bath City” for its mineral baths, the community has been in decline since the Great Depression.

Mount Clemens is also home to my family. My mother was born and raised there. My grandparents called Mount Clemens home for many years. And I spent a considerable amount of time there working for my family’s landscaping business throughout my childhood.

The latest chapter in the history of Mount Clemens is dark. The city has been poorly run with budget deficits that continue to climb. Currently, Mount Clemens faces a projected $1.5 million deficit next year. For a town of only 17,000 residents, this is a considerable amount.

But when the screws are turned tight, the Mayor, Barbara Dempsey, looks to charity to bail the city out.

The liberal left in America has long derided charitable organizations as being ill equipped to handle the tasks that government cannot. When conservatives have argued against expansions of government power on the grounds of charity fulfilling its role, the left has attacked such suggestions. One recent case of this was during the ObamaCare debate when leading thinkers on the right suggested that charity would provide for those that are unable to provide for themselves. As they usually do, the liberal elite dismissed the notion of a charitable organization assisting those that it has set out to help as absurd, wishful thinking.

Now, when the government is in trouble, they are running to charity for their bailout. Mayor Dempsey has asked local tax-exempt organizations to voluntarily contribute to Mount Clemens’ general fund. In usual fashion, the argument is made that this goes to pay for the police, fire department and roads, but the mention of nonsense programs offered by the bloated Mount Clemens government were left off of Dempsey’s donation request.

How ironic. When government is in dire straits, it runs to tax-exempt organizations that have long provided for their communities while the government has flushed the non-voluntarily given money of the taxpayer down the toilet.

The recent budget crunch time here in beautiful Alachua, Florida, was an exercise in the macabre. ALL governmental agencies were TOLD to cut their budgets to the bone, and all did, save for the Sheriff's department which not only refused to trim the fat but asked for MORE money.

Here I was stuck in a certifiable quandary. No one outside of law enforcement and its toadies believed the Sheriff's clarion call for please sirs, I want some more, but when faced with the irrefutable factoid that Alachua, like many other liberal entities, spends more money on bike lanes than some towns allocate for emergency services, one must at the very least pause to ruminate.

What's a voter to do. Side with the Sheriff whose valiant crew actually found themselves with LESS work than the year ago due to a redistricting that shifted some of the heavy lifting to the town of Gainesville, or agree that perhaps, just perhaps, the summons-issuers are more important than those unisex rest rooms. 

I've yet to step into a unisex toilet but HAVE seen deputies lolling about when traffic jams really-really needed someone to step in and sort out the mess, so onwards and upwards with shifting the cop payscale downwards.

But at least no one here believes that the homeless could be fed, the oldsters helped, and children saved from starvation WITHOUT charity carrying a good bit of the burden.

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