Spending Others Money

In government talk, we have dozens of acronyms, letters that stand for words. CTAS, MTAS, BEP, TEA, NEA and so on and so on. I would like to add a new acronym to the list. SOM, Spending Others Money.

Essentially, that's what all government is about, federal, state and local. You have to remember that no government has any money. The only money government has is what they take from others. The hope is then that government officials spend your money wisely. Unfortunately, that's not always the case.

For instance, we are all aware of how wasteful federal government is and our state government isn't far behind. But of most interest to myself and I'm sure many others is how our local officials spend others money.

For the most part local officials do a pretty good job spending others money but every now and then you'll see decisions that just kind of make you scratch your head. For instance, a few weeks ago, the majority of the county commission voted to spend about $8,000 to do a little drainage repair work in a church parking lot. The repair wasn't on the county right-of-way, there was no evidence that the county had any responsibility to make the repairs but for some reason 9 out of 10 commissioners voted to spend the money to make the repairs.

Earlier this month, a majority of the county school board voted to give retiring teachers $165 per month to help pay for their insurance till they turned 65.

Just a couple weeks ago, the Loudon City council and the Loudon County commission voted to give a group of folks $10,000, $4,000 form Loudon and $6,000 from Loudon County, to do a feasibility study on the value of building a multiuse agriculture facility in Loudon.

These are just a few of the more recent SOM events that came to mind for this article. When you look at each of these decisions, I guess one could argue that they were good decisions but what always comes to my mind is, would these same officials spend their own money for these projects?

Like the church parking lot repairs for instance. Nine commissioners voted to spend some $8,000. Do you suppose those same commissioners would have agreed to pay $888 each out of their own pockets to pay for those repairs. I bet not.

Or maybe on the agriculture facility couldn't each Loudon council person and each commissioners have chipped in a few hundred bucks apiece of their own money to pay for the feasibility study? I didn't hear that mentioned in the meetings. And how many school board members would have agreed to pay $165 per month, for ten years out of their own pocket to help offset the cost of a retired teachers health insurance? I haven't heard a single one of them bring up that idea.  

It's so much easier to be generous, helpful and benevolent with others money. 

Remember, as elected officials our main job is to spend your money. The question for you is, are we spending it wisely.