Tonight, Mayor Esther Manheimer, who I dare say is doing an excellent job as mayor, had the stinkin’ honors of giving the public a lecture on economic development incentives. The RAD Lofts did get its money, but Manheimer wanted to lecture the public and say government is not giving the developer a check.

Frankly, I don’t know anybody who thought government was handing the developer a check. We understand that funds are to be repaid off the increase to the tax base. What I am saying is, and I repeat, “You’re telling on yourself!”

How shall I begin? Let’s say, since economics is the art of deciding which factors to ignore, we have a town of ten people with equal income and equal need, all other factors equal. They want graffiti removal and sidewalk, so they create a government and all pitch in 10% of their income. That should cover costs quite well. Then, #11 comes to town. He builds at the end of the street, requiring an extra strip of concrete with maintenance costs, and more chemicals will be needed to take the graffiti off his house. He, however, said he will hire a nanny, so he gets a tax exemption for creating a job and purchasing toys from local businesses. Since 10% of the other peoples’ money just covered costs, they now have to pay 11% to cover services for the economic engine that moved in down the road.

Admittedly, many government services increase as step functions. That is, #11 could bring in sixteen children making the school marm tackle a class size of 36 with no teacher’s assistants unless The Original Ten would like to pitch in a little more. #11 might not need an extra streetlight, and the police might have to spend more time out of the donut shop and on the patrol to safeguard #11’s home.

This is one of the things government does best. It applies an eensy-weensy bit of pressure to all to provide a cushy-wooshy advantage to some. At some point, the people may yelp, and then government will back off. Perhaps it is insane to cry for justice before the masses writhe with pain. When I say, “You’re tellin’ on yourself,” I mean government is saying it is raking in enough surplus to welcome free-riders, and I would prefer to see a lower tax rate to help taxpayers invest in ways that further their personal value systems.

P.S. I think we are all aware of straw man arguments.