Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn says he has no choice but to raise state taxes in order to meet the "demand" for public services -- with government schooling and free (socialist) health care among his costliest and most untouchable sacred cows.
"If they've got a solution, I'm asking everybody," he said last week.
Meantime, in a letter-to-the-editor published in Wednesday's Review-Journal, a state employee hysterically bleats: "What would it be like if hundreds or thousands of us were laid off? Who would register your cars, protect your families, educate your children, put out your fires, preserve our wildlife, make sure your government checks were mailed, or any of the thousands of other things we government employees do?"
Along with Alice, have we passed unnoticed through some looking glass into Wonderland?
Is there any sane person who sees "preserving our wildlife" as a necessity of life or a major reason that "governments are established among men"? Funny the Founding Fathers neglected to mention it. As a side benefit of a real 10th Amendment lawsuit against Yucca Mountain, the state could demand that the federal government give up its claim to ownership or any jurisdiction over 87 percent of the lands in the Silver State. The state could then open them to claim or auction by private (taxpaying) bidders, who would assume the responsibility of predator control and wildlife preservation on their own private property -- while bringing Carson City a vast windfall of new development and tax receipts in the bargain.
It's worked to protect private-land elephant herds in Southern Africa, while those of socialist Kenya, protected in the name of the "state collective," continue to be eradicated. (See Ike Sugg's "Elephants and Ivory: Lessons from the Trade Ban," or www.lclark.edu/~kcarlson/sympos98/abtsugg.html.)
How about "registering our cars"? Is that a necessity of life? If the state Department of Motor Vehicles were permanently closed tomorrow, who would be harmed? All these licenses and registration plates are nothing but police numbering systems.
(If the high school diploma you earned 20 years ago is still "good" and didn't have to be replaced when you moved to Nevada, why isn't the first driver's license you were ever issued still "good"? Does your latest one prove you can drive any better than that first one? This is all about state revenue and making sure the police can track us. Isn't there a "right to travel" -- not convertible into a privilege, mind you -- guaranteed by the Ninth Amendment? Did George Washington have to hang a numbered plate over his horse's rump to travel from state to state? Did Americans die for freedom so we could all be numbered?)
Protect our families? The courts have held again and again that government police have no responsibility to protect individual Americans or their families -- and we can't sue them for failing to do so (see http://dial911.itgo.com.).
Government schooling? Couldn't the governor empty hundreds of classrooms and save millions by launching an innovative voucher or tax credit program for those who agree to shift their kids to superior private schools, which would spring up like mushrooms to meet the new demand? (Yes, this profits government, since parents never receive their full per-pupil allocation.)
For that matter, why doesn't he demand that high school diplomas be instantly awarded to anyone who can pass the exit exam, whether they're aged 18 or 17 or 16 or 15? The exam does test whether they've learned enough to graduate from high school ... doesn't it? Yet we spend millions keeping bored overachievers in class for extra years just so they can complete four years of gym class?
Oh, that's been "cut to the bone," all right.
The centurions of the kleptocracy will doubtless ridicule every one of these proposals as "fantastic, extreme and ridiculous." Which tells us how hard they're really looking for ways to reduce the size, cost and intrusiveness of government in our lives, doesn't it?
But let's go back for just a moment to that notion that Nevada's bums, welfare clients and other nonproductive leeches "demand" all the government services Gov. Guinn insists on funding.
Just turn the clock back to June 7, 2000 -- halfway into Gov. Guinn's supposed search for "anywhere we can cut state government -- anywhere, please help me," and we find Ed Vogel of the Review-Journal's capital bureau reporting:
"CARSON CITY -- The state wants to come up with a new strategy to enroll more children from poor families in a free health care program.
"Human Resources Director Charlotte Crawford said Tuesday about 13,890 children now receive care through the Nevada Checkup program. (But) her agency estimates about 21,000 children could qualify for free health care. ...
" 'We don't know why we don't reach them all,' Crawford said. 'We are trying to answer that question. We obviously want 100 percent. ... '
"She has assigned staff members to investigate new methods, including advertising, to locate more recipients."
Why? At the same time Gov. Guinn claims to have been asking anyone -- anyone -- to help him find ways to cut state spending, why on earth have state bureaucrats been out beating the bushes looking for more people to drag in, kicking and screaming, to be converted into welfare dependents? If Gov. Guinn is really "asking everybody" for a solution, why doesn't he at least start by instructing Charlotte Crawford to hand out our hard-earned money only to those who actually show up to ask for it?
Are these people nuts?
Vin Suprynowicz is the assistant editorial page editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.