Another Sunday and another Essay on Words and their meaning in Storey County Governance. Today’s word is Priority. Please comment if you have any thoughts to share…
Thanksgiving came and went a couple of days ago and I couldn’t resist tossing the political theory grenade into the after dinner conversation. My kid sister posed the question that Bernie made popular during the fixed 2016 Democratic Presidential campaign; Are there things that the government is obligated to provide all people for free? She offered water, electricity, food, education and even a basic income as things that might be provided by the benevolent overseer.
I kept my tongue in check as the conversation made its way around the living room. Then I offered my tangental question; “If a robber came in right now, flashed his pistol and demanded we hand over our money and then gave all of it to a starving homeless child, would we still think we’d been robbed?”
OMG. Not Taxation is Theft Again.
Within three or four nanoseconds, 5 skulls exploded simultaneously. “Here we go again. Will you give the whole “Taxation is theft” thing a rest?”, “The Government doesn’t take all our money, only what they need to provide us what we need.” and my favorite, “I don’t mind paying my fair share. Taxation is the price of Freedom.” Marveling at the effectiveness of the Public Education System’s thought-washing my beloved family, I let the skull shrapnel scatter and fall about the room.
Back in the day, my Econ Professor started his first lecture with the following statement: “All of Economics Theory and study pretty well may be summed up with the following statement: There’s no such thing as a Free Lunch.” This pretty much on dead on point. I keep it in mind when I read about Economics. Bastiat, Smith, Keynes, Hayek, Krugman, Mises and others in all economic camps pretty much confirm this in their work.
Most people conclude that the notion of paying taxes to benefit society with good roads and bridges, schools and safety nets is an obvious duh. In the vast ocean of taxation, all boats rise. Yet when it comes to their time to contribute, they pay real money to avoid and evade as much of their “fair share” as possible. Businesses job the system to not show a profit. Decisions to sell stocks or property with capital gains are painfully scrutinized to dodge as much as possible.
Politicians think the job of government is to protect and perpetuate itself, not care for the governed. The way they accomplishes that job is by taking your money and making you feel good about where they spend it (after they take their “fair share” for they own selves). Left unchecked, they will take the entire content of your wallet to benefit the ones they think deserve it more than you do.
Where do we spend all that money?
That brings us to our word of the day: Priority.
The Republican Tax Bill represents a great start, but without cuts in government spending at least double the tax cuts, it’s a loser. Cutting taxes serves everyone, rich and poor alike. But spending is where the plasma cutter needs to be focused. And it needs to stay there until all the globs of fat are jiggling on the floor leaving nothing but bone.
Axing the Department of Education and emasculating the Department of Homeland Security is a place where I get serious skull shrapnel from my progressive liberal and NeoCon friends. How heartless I must be to steal an education from the future of America. How naive I must be to want our country left naked and undefended.
I counter this skull shrapnel with a phrase my former employees loved to hate:
Don’t confuse hard work with results.
The Department of Education and the Department of Homeland Security are two of the most inept and bloated agencies in American Government. They excel at one thing; spending money. Demanding more and delivering less.
Meanwhile, back at the Storey County Ranch, Jack “Mr. Irrelevent” McGuffey and Lance “The Magnificent” Gillman continue to demand a tax refund or rebate or rollback or check in the mail or whatever. But County Salary Bloat has gone unchecked for years with friends and family being added to the County Dole.
Mr. Gillman’s delusional fantasy below sounds great, facts dictate otherwise.
Commissioner Gilman promises our streets will be awash with cash sometime next week. Today, Mr. Magnificent and his Band of Merry TRICsters world-class tenants get our tax dollars abated back to them to the tune of hundreds of millions. These abatements represent one time non-recurring tax revenues. They are only going to build one MegaFactory. Once the purchases of the materials they pay taxes on are made, there ain’t gonna be no more. And because the batteries produced at the MegaFactory will be incorporated into a finished good, the sales tax on those batteries will be collected at the point of sale of the vehicle. Last time I checked, Tesla isn’t selling cars in Storey County.
All this suggests we will get punked with ever-increasing support costs with little to no revenue to pay for them. Contrary to Mr. Irrelevent’s demands, taxes will need to go up, not down, just to pay for the service demands of TRIC. Before we can begin to talk about roads and schools.
So what are the priorities in Storey County? A Fire Station in Mark Twain? A washed out bridge in Lockwood? A Community Center in the Highlands?
The county uses our tax revenues to hire more employees and spends our reserves on Real Estate in Virginia City.
We will have to wait to see the 2017 employment data to be posted, but Transparent Nevada posted the body count for 2016. The friends and family on county payroll are up once again.
This year they used our reserves to pave the Million Dollar Parking Lot, purchased of Pipers Opera House and the historic property between Pipers and the Courthouse. If they had their way we would have already spent untold millions to buy and upgrade The V&T Depot. Thankfully, the owner won’t sell (read about the V&T Depot here).
Nice Work If You Can Get It.
Storey County Leadership places a high priority on taking care of themselves. Gary Hames and Dean Haymore received upwards of $70k each in retirement “bonuses” from their good buddy Pat Whitten (we have public record requests unanswered at PERS and Voya to nail down the exact value of this parachute and are investigating this thread to see who else enjoyed retirement payola love).
Mike Nevin is getting $4500 a month via a no-bid contract to oversee the installation of the Virginia City sewer project. Several amazingly qualified candidates applied for the job of Public Works Director upon Nevin’s retirement, including folks who had direct experience overseeing projects exactly like the sewer project. Rather than hiring people who had already been where we were going, they promoted Jason Van Havel and awarded Nevin his payola. The results of this genius decision pretty much speak for themselves.
Gary Hames enjoys his PERS retirement of nearly $20k a month (padded by an extra $70k retirement parachute hand folded by Pat Whitten) and got an $11,354 monthly no-bid contract to do a job he is as qualified as a blind dog catcher to perform. In addition, the county sent him to Colorado take a course to figure out how to take a certification test months before he retired. And they installed a killer computer system in his house (stay tuned for the deets on this self-serving BS, waiting on public record requests).
At $31k a month and $70k retirement bonus, you would think he could pay for his own damn computer.
As you can see, It pays well to be a crony in Storey County.
What’s Your Priority?
In less than a year, Storey County Voters will turn to the voting booth to voice their opinion on the matter.
I expect our priorities to include electing people who put our interests over special or selfish ones.