Marc Monroe Dion articulates a truth of government, particularly municipal government:
“Oops!” Government says. “That money you gave us before? We spent that. Now, we need more money.”
“More money?” you say, talking around a mouthful of that macaroni and cheese that comes in the blue box. “I don’t have any more money.”
“Oh yeah?” Government says. “Well, we’re going to lay off all the cops AND all the firefighters, so when your house catches fire, there won’t be anyone to shoot the looters.”
Well, that scares the hell out of you, so you say maybe a little tax or fee increase would be fine, and the next thing you know you’re paying $1 for every rain drop that falls on your property, and you’re buying the macaroni and cheese knock-off that doesn’t even come in a blue box.
My one quibble is that, to my experience in Tiverton, the threats start with the schools. Dion’s writing from Fall River, so that might be a Massachusetts vs. Rhode Island thing given differences in school funding. Or maybe it’s a city vs. suburb thing. Safety is less of a day-to-day issue for suburbanites, and suburban parents might be more conscious of comparisons between school districts and between public schools and private schools.
Quibbles and speculation aside, though, it is discouraging how quickly government can push people past questions about where all the money went and on to fears about what services might be eliminated.