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Ray Haynes

Mr. Haynes is an Assembly member representing Riverside and Temecula. He serves on the Appropriations and Budget Committees. [go to Assembly Member Haynes website at California Assembly][go to Haynes index]

Follow the Money
Government for the government

[Ray Haynes] 11/2/04

Politics have always been about distributing the "booty" of the private sector.  Politicians, in their pirate mode, take from taxpayers, claiming they're taking from the rich, and then distribute that take with their political supporters.  This is as it always has been.

Even James Madison wrote, in 1787, in the Federalist No. 10, that much of political activity is an attempt by "factions" (we call them special interests today) to take control of the levers of government, and use the power they get with that control to benefit themselves (mostly to get more money for themselves).  What he never expected that government would be taken over by those who work for the government to benefit themselves.  We are no longer of government "of the people, by the people, for the people," as Abraham Lincoln described.  We are a government of the government, by the government, for the government, paid for by the people.

If the recent Secretary of State scandals have taught us anything, it is how the money that government takes in can be diverted to the benefit of the politicians.  It appears that Secretary Shelley, when he was in the Legislature, put some pork in the state budget for his supporters, and that pork was then diverted to his campaigns in the form of campaign contributions.  He won his job with your tax dollars.  Unfortunately, that happens a lot more than we would like to admit, and in a lot more legal fashion.

The most blatant form of using your tax dollars to elect pro-government politicians is the government employee union.  These unions are ostensibly private organizations.  However, their members work for the government, all of their money comes, indirectly at least, from your tax dollars, and the only way they get more money is by making government bigger and increasing their salaries.

This is how a government union works in California.  State law requires every government agency to recognize, and negotiate with, a union made up of its employees.  These unions first demand is a contract to require every government employee to pay the union "dues."  As the number of government employees increases, the revenue to the union generated by these employees' dues increases.

That revenue is used to pay for the salaries of the union bosses, who then make the decisions about which politicians get campaign contributions from the union, which are also paid for by these union dues.

So-if a politician supports bigger government, the union bosses make a bigger salary, and have more money to make sure that politician gets more campaign contributions.  These "private" organizations get their money from government workers forced to pay them money, money which comes from your taxes, and then use that money to elect politicians who will raise your taxes. 

Interestingly enough, in addition to this incestuous relationship, the government bureaucrats who actually draft the budgets also make more money if their agency grows.  Their personal interest is advanced by increasing spending, not by saving you money.

Your tax dollars are, therefore, administered by politicians who get power by currying favor with union bosses who get money and power by increasing your tax burden and by administrators who make more money by increasing your tax burden.  The only people who make less money by increasing the size of government in this system are the folks who pay the bill, taxpayers like you.

Madison predicted that if government allows any interest to take control of the levers of government, that interest would use the power of government to make more money.  He just never thought it would be those who work for the government who would take over the government for their own benefit.  Welcome to the new millennium, President Madison. CRO


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