Monday, June 24, 2013

A Cautionary Tale About Big Government

     Once upon a time, there was a sleepy little hamlet called Sun City. And by sleepy little hamlet I mean a town you would probably miss if you blinked while driving through it. Sun City had very little problem with crime. Oh, there was the occasional domestic argument or bar fight in the town's only tavern, but nothing that the town's part-time, volunteer police officer, Hank, could not manage. Hank had a full-time job and used his own truck for his volunteer police duties and life was generally good in Sun City.
      One day, the state in which Sun City was located, implemented a multi-year road construction project on the main road that ran past Sun City. The road closure caused traffic to be diverted through Sun City, adding many times the normal amount of vehicle traffic through this sleepy little hamlet's downtown district, such as it was. Of course with more traffic came more crime, in the form of speeders. This made life more dangerous and annoying for the residents of Sun City, so they complained to the city fathers.
     The city fathers decided that it would be a good idea if they bought Hank a police cruiser and allowed him the authority to write traffic citations. They instructed Hank to spend most of his free time patrolling the downtown area where the speeders were making life miserable for residents. Hank did as instructed and began to write tickets to out-of-town vehicles whose owners were breaking the law, the local residents were allowed much more leeway with regards to compliance with the traffic laws.
     As time proceeded, Hank wrote so many tickets, that the revenue generated from them, was enough for him to be hired on as a full-time police officer. Working full-time enabled Hank to write even more tickets which resulted in more officers being hired and a building was built to house their police paraphernalia. Hank and his deputies were firing on all cylinders, and wrote so many tickets to out-of-town speeders that the Sun City coffers overflowed with revenue.
     Then one day the state's project was finished and traffic resumed its normal pattern, which meant it no longer drove through Sun City. Of course this caused an almost hundred percent reduction in revenue from police activity into the city coffers. It was at this point that Hank and his deputies began to write tickets to the local citizenry. This did not sit well with the folks of Sun City and they eventually voted to disband the police department.  This is a true story and is illustrative of what happens when government grows only to feed itself. The people of Sun City had no need for a police force, its existence was purely to feed its own bureaucracy without much benefit to the citizens of Sun City. In other words, "Government that governs best, governs least."


  1. I think the greater story is what a small government can do to right a wrong! It was okay to make the money (should have used it for something more permanent), but when the money ran out, they had the ability to QUICKLY make things better. This would have taken years and millions of dollars in the federal government!

    1. You are right, I missed the point that I should have made which is that small government, like this town, can adjust more quickly and less expensively that larger ones.