« Dems v. Repubs II | Main | But where is it from? »

My kids are hot! Please raise my taxes!

James Lileks writes a column about a column he didn't write:

The premise concerned the closing of the wading pools in the middle of August. That's right - budget cuts, you see. They couldn't find $13K in a $60 million budget for wading pools, so they shut them on the hottest day of the year. I think, but cannot prove, that this is their way of making us scream to our legislators, to show up outside their offices carrying our limp tots, begging for tax hikes so the wee bairns can be moistened with chlorinated, pee-infused H20 through Labor Day. God forbid they'd ever let some staffers go - no, every Park Department employee is vital and crucial, right down to the guy whose job consists of visiting all the wading pools and putting up CLOSED signs.

If I didn't like Lileks so much, I'd say screw the kids - let parents go to his beloved Target and spend a few bucks on wading pools of their own. But I won't. Instead, I'll point out that he's right on the money about politicians' motivations. A friend of mine who worked for a U.S. Senator confirms that this is *exactly* how budgeting works: fully fund the invisible, unpopular, and/or silly programs, so there is less money left than there should be for the visible, popular, and/or necessary programs; then make grand pronouncements about how this latter group of programs will need to be cut unless something is done.

Politicians don't close public swimming pools in August because they hate children. Politicians close public swimming pools in August so constituents won't complain as much when their taxes go up by a few hundred dollars in January.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Comments (2)


It's the perfect ploy. How can anyone not support additional taxes when it is "for the children™"?


Kids are hot, big deal. In my town it's a much more serious problem. There's a MA law that requires a townwide vote before the town can raise property taxes more than 2.5%. So every time the town wants to raise taxes, they announce that if it's voted down, they'll close one of the two fire stations in the town. This year, it didn't pass, they closed the fire station, and fire response times in half of the town are way up.

But the town isn't exactly broke. They spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to remodel a tiny grassy square in town, and bucketloads more to re-do the sports fields at the public schools and buy new sports equipment, and god knows how much more in other stupid projects far less important than a fire station.

But next time they want to raise taxes, they can point to everyone whose house burned down unnecessarily -- and odds are the tax hike will pass.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 28, 2003 12:12 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Dems v. Repubs II.

The next post in this blog is But where is it from?.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.31