Defund the government

Local governments want to defund the police, shut down the schools and raise taxes.

A demonstrator at a George Floyd protest holds up a "Defund the Police" sign on June 5, 2020. Photo: Taymaz Valley via Wikimedia Commons.
A demonstrator at a George Floyd protest holds up a "Defund the Police" sign on June 5, 2020. Photo: Taymaz Valley via Wikimedia Commons.
Daniel Greenfield
Daniel Greenfield is an Israeli-born journalist who writes for conservative publications.

The police aren’t policing and the teachers aren’t teaching. While many vital services aren’t functioning, the useless machinery of the bureaucracy grinds on with no one to pay for it. Locked-down businesses don’t generate revenues and the unemployed aren’t a tax base.

Tax revenues in New York City fell 46 percent in June. A third of small businesses in the city are likely to shut down for good and sales tax collections are down by a quarter, amounting to $1.2 billion.

Statewide, there’s a 37 percent drop, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other lefties are calling for higher taxes on the rich, staging protests outside the homes of billionaires. But the wealthy have the resources to pick up and leave while leaving failing states like New York with nothing.

Nothing except a $14 billion deficit and an 8.2 percent GDP drop.

“You have 100 billionaires. You will have to tax every billionaire half a billion dollars to make it up. You know what that means? That means you have no billionaires,” Governor Cuomo noted.

But the news is bad everywhere.

State revenue shortfalls are heading toward $200 billion and over $500 billion by 2022 as the wealthy flee urban areas, tourists are banned from even thinking about visiting and businesses keep going out of business.

California tax revenues are down 42 percent and the state is being throttled by a $54 billion deficit.

California Democrats responded by raising tax breaks on businesses, even as film production credits rolled on for Hollywood, and providing tax credits for illegal aliens.

That willful mismanagement isn’t unique to California. It’s the state of play.

New Jersey’s state government reacted to a 37 percent fall with up to a $10 billion borrowing spree. Illinois is down 23 percent and looking to borrow $5 billion even as its pension bomb ticks away.

Hawaii tax revenues fell 34 percent and the state, which lives off tourism, is looking at a $2 billion hole. There was talk of pay cuts for public workers, which was shrugged off for a borrowing spree.

Oregon tax revenues fell 53 percent, leaving a $2.7 billion hole. Minnesota is eyeing a 29 percent decline. Colorado is down 28 percent and is cutting a quarter of its budget. Tax revenues are down 29 percent in Massachusetts, Connecticut is down 33 percent, Pennsylvania 25 percent and Wisconsin 22 percent.

Taxpayers have already plugged billions into these endless state and municipal tax holes. And House Dems want to add another trillion to throw into the black hole of bankrupt governments.

Some cities are raising taxes on residents and businesses hard hit by riots and lockdowns.

After Seattle faced a $378 million tax revenue shortfall, the city whose business community had already been devastated by the lockdowns and the Black Lives Matter riots, including the CHAZ/CHOP occupied zone, decided that the solution was to raise taxes on businesses.

4,500 Seattle businesses had already shut down because of the lockdown which helped drive a 86.92 percent increase in unemployment. The businesses that fell victim to the lockdown included a 104-year-old cut glass artisan company and countless eateries. While Seattle’s elected officials have been defunding the police, commercial burglaries have broken local businesses.

Downtown, burglaries shot up 87 percent, while the overall Seattle burglary rate was up 44 percent.

What are businesses getting in exchange for battling lockdowns and paying higher taxes?

The Seattle PD’s guidelines are that “non-violent” offenders should be “interviewed and released.” Businesses are being hit with higher taxes without being protected from crime.

CHAZ/CHOP may have been dismantled, but its ethos permeates Seattle’s government.

Chicago, where crime has also skyrocketed, is moving toward a property tax increase.

Taxpayers are on the hook for funding governments that no longer provide basic services, like security and education, but expect even more money to fund a bureaucracy and welfare state. The unpleasant, worthless and destructive elements of municipal, county and state governments used to be a sidebar to the core services that taxpayers actually wanted.

Every tax increase was justified as being necessary for the schools and the cops. Now there are no functioning schools and the cops are keeping their heads down and making few arrests.

Taxpayers are paying more taxes, but getting next to nothing for the money they pay.

Meanwhile when local and state governments have been faced with the prospect of furloughing or getting rid of government employees to cope with billion dollar budget holes and revenue gaps, they instead chose to irresponsibly borrow more money or raise taxes.

Every government employee is essential, but the survival of the taxpayers they feed off isn’t.

Governments that think this way have a parasitic relationship to the people they’re bankrupting.

If local governments insist on defunding the police, tearing millions and billions out of vital first-responder services, then the taxpayers might as well finish the job and defund the whole thing.

Municipalities that can’t provide basic services lose any justification for their existence.

Local governments now want to be lavishly funded so that they can shut down businesses, open up prisons, keep schools closed, keep crime high and defund first responders.

What exactly is the appeal of this arrangement?

Taxpayers were told that they needed local governments because people couldn’t just run their own police and fire departments. And, for some esoteric reason, they couldn’t just privatize the school system. After both schools and police departments have been shut down, how could taxpayers get a worse deal by privatizing emergency services and schools?

Defunding government and outsourcing its local functions to private contractors does mean that taxpayers would miss out on the golden opportunity to pay politicians to steal all that money.

People would have no choice but to steal their own money out of their own pockets.

The cousins and sleazy in-laws of local politicians would no longer be guaranteed government contracts. Municipal unions would no longer have their knees on the necks of taxpayers. Budgets would no longer consist of long money trails vanishing into jargon and buzzwords.

All of this would leave local governments poorer and homeowners able to afford to live there.

Taxpayers across America are confronted with state and local governments that insist on doing less and allowing businesses and workers to do less, while demanding more money than ever.

Their unsustainable social and economic policies have brought the areas under their control to the brink of ruin. And their only plan for getting out of it is to screw the taxpayers even harder.

Businesses that do less and workers that work less get paid less. But governments that do less and government workers that work less have the chutzpah to demand even more money.

If governments insist on doing less, they should receive less money. And if they fail to provide the core services, like policing and education, they should get nothing.

Any government that wants to defund the police should be defunded.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.

This article was first published by FrontPage Magazine.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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