11.23.2010 0

When Government Doesn’t Work, They Seek Charity

By Adam Bitely –

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.

And what is Mount Clemens doing to get its house in order besides shaking down charitable groups? They are merely asking retired city employees to increase their health insurance deductibles. Hardly a sign of fiscal responsibility. According to Dempsey, only 8 or 10 did so.

If Mount Clemens is looking for some suggestions on where to start cutting government excess, they should just take a look at their website. After looking through the Mount Clemens government website for just a few moments, a few possible areas to cut presented themselves: Mount Clemens Cable TV, Dial-a-ride (a free courtesy shuttle bus service), and they should discontinue unsustainable public-sector labor contracts.

Bill Wilson, President of Americans for Limited Government, said, “As scary as the situation in Mount Clemens is, this is only a preview of coming attractions. There is no tinkering around the edges to make this work.”

Charitable organizations are designed to help people when they desperately need it. They are not supposed to be a revolving fund for a failed government that misuses the funds provided by the taxpayer. When government cannot afford to sustain itself, it should cut itself and not seek charity.

Adam Bitely is the Editor-in-chief of NetRightDaily.com.

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