Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Bookmobiles and taxes

The Bookmobile is a joint effort between the Utah State Library and the county. It costs Iron County approximately $127,000 per year. My guess is that the cost of merely lending a book out of the Bookmobile is much higher than the cost of of the book itself. It'd probably be cheaper to simply give Bookmobile users vouchers to buy their own books from

Could you afford to buy your own books if you weren't taxed on nearly everything you do, own, buy, or sell? Almost nobody paid taxes 100 years ago. Instead, everyone paid their own bills instead of expecting government to force their neighbors to pay their bills. Those who needed help got it from family and charity -- not wasteful government. One hundred years ago we had all of the necessary government services we have today. They were provided mostly by volunteers -- just like we have today in Iron County. Volunteers are the backbone of our community -- not the paid government employees like those in the Bookmobile.

The Bookmobile seems like a nice service. But, economically, I suspect that it's a very wasteful and expensive service that serves a small but vocal special interest group -- kinda like those who demand the government provide dog parks, golf courses, skateboard parks, ice-skating rinks, and aquatics centers.

If each of those recreational opportunities were established and run by private business, neighborhood groups, or charity in a free market, they'd be much more efficient and better serve the needs of the People. They'd have to pay for themselves.

But, when run by the government at the demand of a vocal minority of the voters, they are expensive burdens on the majority that doesn't use them. (The cost of running Cedar City's parks and other recreational properties costs the average family of 5, most of whom never or rarely use them, about $600 per year.)

When run by the government at a taxpayer-subsidized loss, they force the entrepreneur and charity out of the market. No businessman or charity can compete with the deep pockets of the unwitting taxpayer.

I think it's interesting that those who get their desired government services always thank the government (above, the County Commissioners got the thanks). Nobody ever thanks the taxpayers who are forced to pay the bill.

We need smarter voters.

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