The article “Progress 2007: Erie County has grown to become major local employer” made me think of Bill Bennett’s “America, the Last Best Hope.” In September 1765, Deborah Franklin had to defend her house with guns — at that time all Americans owned guns — from angry Americans upset with Franklin’s support for the Stamp Act. (I guess at that time Franklin was not yet the brilliant man he became.) The Stamp Act was created to pay for the British debt during the French and Indian War. They sought to involve Americans, so Franklin nominated John Hughes a tax monger. America was up in arms — literally.
Today Americans love taxes. We brag about Erie County being our “fourth-biggest” employer. Delphi and Automotive Holdings, Nos. 2 and 3, may soon close, which will move Erie County to No. 2 by default. (If we add up all the municipalities, villages, townships, federal and state employees in Erie County, I bet government is No. 1.) Does anyone see a relationship between the growth of government and the decline of private sector business and employment?
The article states “The County’s annual budget is around $145 million a year, but only about $30 million comes from the general fund.” Yet the general fund is from local taxes. When non-producers outnumber producers, we’re in trouble!
I suggest our county motto be changed to “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” That is Marx, by the way. And he also said: “For the bureaucrat, the world is a mere object to be manipulated by him.” So, the last business to leave Erie County, please, turn off the lights!