In response to a recent letter to the editor (Tuesday, July 20, The News-Review) I would like to say that once we pay our taxes to the government, it is no longer "our money," just as when I pay for my groceries, that also is no longer "my money." We pay taxes to our government that then pays for good roads, fire protection, public education, etc. If the government decides to use "its money" to help the less fortunate among us, I think it's money well spent.

Cindy Bologna


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Thanks for the letter, Cindy. Everyone is right! We contribute to one big pot (federal), a medium pot (state), and several smaller pots (county, city, and so on). Once we "contribute" our money to the pots, we have very weak and tenuous control over how it gets moved around and spent. At least we have a quantum of control. Because we have a representative government, our representatives reach consensus (or more likely a majority, supermajority, or plurality) on how to spend our collective money. If we want our money spent on other things, then we must make noise or elect different representatives. The closest we have to a la carte is the referendum, but even then the wretched representatives among us may bully us into getting "their" way.


The government, in addition to consensus, needs specific authorization from one or more laws in order to spend money. For example, if they decided to buy Oregon Lottery tickets with it, that would be unauthorized because no law gives them the authority to spend money on lottery tickets. Their discretion is actually very limited. Many controversies end up in court over the question of government's authorization and role. Some controversies end up in the Supreme Court over whether legislators have acted Constitutionally in giving authorization. And there's a tie-breaker: when in doubt, the American presumption in law is always that the government lacks authorization until proven otherwise!


Respectfully, Cindy, it remains our money. We the People. A government of, by, and for the people.

When the government does something, it's not some *other* entity "out there" that is acting; it's all of us, whether we approve, disapprove, or don't even know about it.

Let's not fall into the trap Steven Potter set, with the bait of "other people's money." OPM is not what our government spends; it spends--that is, we spend-- *our* money--money that still belongs to all of us.

And, investing in families is a great investment of *our* money.




You're correct, Joe -- but so is Cindy.

But I dare say that once we transfer funds to our government, be it local or federal, those funds are kissed goodbye. Argue semantics if you wish, but possession is 9/10ths of the law. Again, argue if you wish, but we have precious little to say about how it's spent. Our Democratic Republic system is clear: we elect good (hopefully) people to make all our decisions for us -- except on our voting ballots, our one and only place to make a lasting opinion. It's sad that too many can't be bothered with voting unless it's a presidential election -- we need to care more when it counts more.




And vigilant oversight with established law of violation consequences would be helpful too. It's not just our government though. In Alaska there are conferences of Native tribes, and chiefs in the villages. When Federal dollars are issued to the leaders of the Conference it's likely to never reach the the villages. And if it does, it's just as likely the chief will build him/herself a big new home on a hilltop. I suppose it was us who taught them to do that.



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