Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

Opinion and Commentary by Samuel Strait

I spent much of this past Saturday afternoon in the company of a group
of local individuals that clearly feel local government in its current
form is a larger problem than the issues that Del Norte County currently
face.  Could that be even remotely possible one might ask?  How could
local government possibly be a greater burden for local citizens than
the benefits that they pronounce loudly to the world in this County are
“vital” to its population’s general welfare?  One regularly offered
response to that question from the group was a simple notion that when
the cost of that government reaches a certain level, it begins to push
those on the margins of society even here in this County over the edge
of what is considered the base line of normal living.  Poverty,
homelessness and subsistence welfare is quite often the result in
swelling numbers of that growing and costly government.

Wealth and general security will protect many from an expanding
government most of the time, but even wealth can be an illusion unable
to completely protect individuals from the rapid increase in the cost of
government on an individual’s livelyhood.  As the cost accelerates for
“vital services”  more and more citizens will be unable to keep up with
the individual cost for those services that do not directly benefit
them.  It is at that point where what is “vital” may take on a new and
unexpected meaning for those that have fallen over the edge of
normalcy.  Money to pay for increased property tax, increased sales tax
on goods and services, or greater levels of personal income tax may seem
relatively insignificant to most in a normal society, yet even a few
dollars can change a person’s lot in life to one of what is considered
not normal.  As government cost increases, so do the numbers of
“regular” people tip over the edge of what is normal to that of
unhoused, welfare, and dependence.  Most in the halls of governance do
not recognize the simple fact that government can produce this
debilitating effect on the populations its meant to serve for their
benefit, feeling that more has to equate to being “better”.

Historically this is rarely the case.  Issues such as poverty,
homelessness, crime, and the whole list of human conditions that
governments have attempted to “solve” remain throughout the centuries
of human existence as “problems” yet to be solved. Governments have
strived vainly in the course of human history for solutions, often
creating a growing number of those meant to be “helped” joining the
ranks of the needy.   Until those that seek office recognize their part
in this tragedy and reduce the expanse of “vital” services to those that
are absolutely necessary, the “necessary evil” will continue to be a
negative burden on the lives of the governed.   Even the most cursory
examination of local government reveals a level of excess far beyond
what most would believe to be a necessity in a properly functioning
government, “vital” to the best interests of those that it is meant to

Local government was always meant to best serve those closest to those
it is meant to serve.  The State and Federal governments are not that
and should be treated as “less than” important for those at the local
level.  This has clearly not become the case for those that currently
serve our County’s citizens.  Grants, State and Federal dollars often do
not help us here locally coming with a plethora of “conditions” that
provide only temporary fixes in the immediacy and create further
problems of cost down the road. It is precisely this kind of governance
that has gotten us to the point that government has become “too” costly
and “too” big. Because that has become the case, the continued need for
an ever growing expense of government will become a burden that results
in greater expansion of those no longer able to afford such cost.
Homelessness, poverty, and growing ranks of unemployed and dependence is
the result.  Unsustainable in the future without the recognition that
government cannot be the answer to all people for solutions to their
problems.   Local governments should be free to address only those
necessary issues that benefit local citizens and not try to take on the
“problems” of society in general.  That should remain solely in the
domain of an individual’s responsibility in a properly functioning
society.   Local government needs to stop “tilting at windmills” and
become a much reduced yet effective tool for local benefit which will
remove many of the financial burdens that constrain individuals from
returning to “normal” and responsible citizens.

3 thoughts on “Is Local Government Our Biggest Problem?”
  1. Yes absolutely! I second the motion that government should only do and perform what the individual cannot. It’s not their job to try and fix everything !

  2. That is exactly why it is necessary to vote in people like Joe Hank Akin, Joey Borge’s, and Dean Wilson. All 3 understand governance. All 3 understand what it means to be frugal and live within our means by not wasting tax dollars on administrative raises. All 3 understand the need to develop incentives for businesses in order to bring businesses to Del Norte County instead of living off the backs of the taxpayers inducing more inflationary taxes.

  3. Superb article. Absolutely correct observations. The Public needs to wake up and vote these selfish politicians out of Office.
    Stop complaining and move these people out, now!

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