Sunday, August 15

Cities cope with budget woes by cutting services

Politicians often spout lofty, gassy rhetoric about giving freebies to everyone, but eventually somebody has to either pay the bill or admit the speaker didn't have a clue how to do what he or she promised.

This is now happening as cities around the U.S.--beset by rising pension costs and stagnant or declining tax revenue--struggle to keep providing basic services.

In Colorado Springs more than a third of street lights have been switched off to cut the municipal electricity bill. The city has also sold off its police helicopters.

In many cities there are waiting lists to get a bed in a homeless shelter.

Pittsburgh and Toledo are among many cities that are laying off police, and/or threatening to lay off firemen if their residents don't pony up extra taxes.

What to do? What to do?

Oh, how about having the federal gubmint give $26 billion to cities to keep teachers on the job? Yeh, dat's da ticket!

But ignoring things like corruption and favoritism--always in play when gubmint is handing out big checks--this merely postpones the reckoning; doesn't solve the problem.

So what would solve the problem? Unleash folks who want to start a small business. Yes, 90-some percent will fail, but a few will succeed, and grow--and hire people.

Unfortunately, our current governments (all levels) have such contempt for small businesses, and economic conditions today are so uncertain, that most rational people wouldn't consider trying to start a new business now. How do you tempt the one percent of the population with the drive and smarts to start a business to actually do so?

Here's a clue: Reject liberal-socialist candidates and elect folks who appreciate the free market. Folks who believe government's main job is to *serve* the people, not rule them. Eventually if we can manage to elect enough folks like that, the climate will change.

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