"Politics, n. Strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles." ~ Ambrose Bierce
Washington Comes to City Hall
A collective howling was heard across the United States last Thursday, but it wasn't wolves baying at a full moon that caused all the cacophony but rather local politicians and 'dependent' constituents. All the fuss centered around President Bush's proposal to cut Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), which is a federal program to fund projects and social service agencies in lower income areas, initiated by the Nixon administration. The disbursement of CDBG funds has become an important annual event in most cities. Agency directors, developers, lobbyist and aspiring leeches line up and present their case to local politicians so that they can receive the federal grants, which consist of forcefully confiscated taxpayer monies. Did I fail to mention most of the folks receiving these grants are politically connected or that these grants are used to curry political favors and for electoral gains? In Miami, over 100 senior citizens showed up at city hall worried about the fate of the money and their existence. The press could not pass up such an opportunity to include the gratuitous 'I'll go hungry' quote from one of the seniors in attendance. The local politicians put a committee together to lobby the national politicians to ensure that the funding for their communities (i.e. friends) did not fall under the budget ax. Miami Mayor Manny Diaz told Miami city commissioners that the programs under the CDBG umbrella were "morally and socially the responsibility of the federal government.'' Perhaps the Mayor has been too caught up in local issues to take a glance at the Constitution and/or Bill of Rights. If he did, he would find that the total opposite of his statement was true. The intention was to make state and local governments as autonomous as possible from the federal government, not dependent upon it. Some local politicians opposed to the 'cuts' said that they would be willing to forfeit their 'tax cuts' in order to fund the grants. At first glance, one would think that the politicians were being altruistic, but as always, a closer examination reveals a selfish motive. In the case of the City of Miami, it receives $10 million in CDBG monies from the federal government (which confiscates it from taxpayers). This money buys a lot of political capital these local politicians use to strengthen their political base. So of course they would trade a few hundred dollars in 'tax cuts' for the ability to maintain their positions of political and economic power. Seniors and other 'do gooders' throughout the country will chastise the federal government for these 'cuts.' Yet few (if any) of these same people will question the confiscation of their (and others) property or income by the government throughout their lifetime. They, like most people on the planet, are too concerned with what they will get for 'free' from their government, at someone else's expense, of course. Unfortunately, these are only cuts (in Washington speak) and not an elimination of this abominable federal program. The political shell game continues at the expense of individual rights and freedom. Also disturbing is the fact that these 'cuts' in funding are not being made in and of themselves but in order to help fund another big government socialist program initiated by government, war.