The Buncombe County Commission has drawn quite a bit of attention lately regarding Project X. This project, for those that don’t know, consists of county taxpayers fronting the money for an existing local business to expand. However, they won’t tell what company it is, and they purchased property for this company the day before the public hearing. It kind of appears that the public’s opinion on this is unimportant to the ruling class.
There is a new theme in government, and that is, your elected officials know best. Don’t ask questions peasant, just trust us. Project X is the best thing since sliced bread it seems, yet they are buying the bread on behalf of the taxpayers, and that bread is in a sealed brown paper bag. No matter the contents of that bag, we are better off because they bought it.
It seems that even those that claim to be free marketeers inevitably dabble at playing economic god once they reach office. In the private sector, spending money to acquire property for a business, and working out deals with no repercussions, under the complete cloak of darkness is something rarely seen. Rewards require risks, but calculated ones. The private sector can, and does, fail at things. That risk of failure makes capitalists prudent.
Government doesn’t fail though. It will spend every dime possible, and borrow and tax more if necessary. If Project X leaves the county on the hook for the millions of dollars it fronts, government will still survive. It will take the loss and turn around and make the same deal again, and again. Government is immune to market factors because it does not have to make a viable product to survive. Go to the DMV, wait in line, and ask yourself if a private business would succeed working the same way. That is very doubtful.
So truthfully, for these commissioners, this isn’t Project X, it’s Project Y not? Why not spend money that isn’t yours in order to gamble on a potential business. Why not play economic god? Why not spend tax dollars on something that will potentially help your reelection? Why not use Peter’s money to try and give Paul a job (when Paul may already be employed)? Why not just do whatever you feel like?
This behavior is not surprising considering how the Democratic majority has run this county for a century. Picking winners and losers in the private sector is in the Democratic platform. Government is the answer they say.
What is surprising though is that the Republicans are on board. The philosophy that government knows best was not on their platform. They tout business experience, yet seem to want to interfere with other businesses. How would these businessmen feel if the commission were using their taxes to support their competitor with tax breaks available to only certain companies? How would they feel if they lost their employees to another company that could afford to pay more because of tax breaks and incentives?
Perhaps there’s no such thing as Republicans or Democrats anymore. Just a bunch of statists using government in the manner they see fit. It has been said that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. It must also be said then that the road to tyranny is paved with politicians who know best.