Monday, August 08, 2005

Republicans Do What They Are Good At

They're good at raising taxes. Well, that's how you balance a budget, right? Well, you can also hire a consultant. Don't follow? Keep reading.

Because Republicans aren't fiscal conservatives, they are only dimly aware that the other way to balance a budget is by cutting spending.

As professional politicians, they completely understand one thing about cutting spending- it leaves interested parties howling. Interested parties often contribute funds to campaigns, which means they could contribute to campaigns of other candidates. Never mind the taxpayers. The taxpayers don't howl quite so loud, or so close to the ear of the professional politician, so they can be easily enough ignored.

Fortunately, the Libertarians in Hamilton County have been tenacious in their criticism of these GOP flaws. It will be hard for Republicans to raise another tax in order to balance the budget. They already raised one this year.

All of this leads to why the all-Republican Hamilton County Council hired a consultant to examine the budget and to find cuts. They could do as I did- look over the budget, and in about an hour, they could come up with the necessary cuts in the area of about $1 million. However, that would leave them open to the howling. Better for the Councilors to have a consultant point to cuts to make so that they can hide behind him. I can just see the conversation between a Councilor and a Department Head now...

Department Head: "How could you cut my budget by 5%? I helped you get elected! We've been through the wars together. How could you do this to me?"
County Councilor: "You know I wanted to save your budget. Heck- I wanted to give you a 5% increase. But that lousy consultant told us we have to cut your budget. You know how bad it would look if we failed to act on the consultant's advice. We paid him close to $50,000."

The Department Head goes away steamed, but knows she can't make too great a fuss. It would be foolish. She goes back to her office looking for a way to create an 'emergency' by which she can be given an appropriation of funds at a later date. The County Councilor knows that he will vote for the appropriation at that time.

The Republican Party will crow to the media that the Libertarians are all wet, that they know how to balance a budget without too many tax increases, and that besides, the consultant was a real value, turning up $1 million in cuts for the low price of about $50,000. Over time, the budget will be overspent by 'emergency' appropriations, so that there is no real-life savings at all. A consultant will get fat. The County Council will be spared an angry mob of insiders. The taxpayers will get rooked.

Business as usual, brought to you by the Republican Party.

My letter to the Noblesville Daily Times on the subject was printed today.
The Daily Times article on the hiring of the consultant.

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