WalletHub recently ranked Provo as America’s second “best-run” city, based upon its performance across a wide range of categories, as compared with the size of its city budget.
And Mayor Kaufusi, to her great credit, acknowledged that this was not an achievement of Provo’s city government alone, but something that we Provoans all achieved together. I would add that free people tend to accomplish amazing things whenever they freely choose to work together toward noble goals—and that I believe that Provo has become such a great place to live because it remains a relatively virtuous-and-free place to live, and because its virtuous free residents voluntarily choose to do so much good on their own, rather than relying on relatively inefficient/ineffective taxpayer-funded programs to accomplish the same ends. For the moment.
Sadly, such achievements are not innately self-sustaining. And Detroit arguably provides an excellent example of this point. Detroit during the 1950s was also a thriving city with a high standard-of-living. Sadly, though, its municipal government began transforming during the 1960s, as its focus shifted away from defending people’s rights toward trying to run their lives—including their municipal economy. Over time, both its industry and its residents slowly fled to freer places, leaving a cityscape full of crumbling ruins, costly public-works boondoggles, and denizens who were unemployed or even criminal—and this shrinking tax base was required to support a growing (and terribly expensive) army of city bureaucrats. These trends inevitably led to bankruptcy during the 2010s, as this once-thriving city finally (by a thousand figurative cuts) governed itself to death. And its demise should serve as a tragic lesson to all cities nationwide.
We Provoans should beware of similar trends here. Recent city officers have been selling us into financial bondage in order to finance risky business ventures like iProvo and the new Recreation Center—tasks that should be left to private entrepreneurs. They’ve also been seeking to raise taxes, multiply ordinances, disrespect our equal God-given rights, and increase their control over our municipal economy. They’ve even approved a Vision 2030/2050 central-planning guide that includes tasks like controlling both development and demographics, forcibly restricting the availability of rental housing, mandating city-regulated landscaping, censoring the local Internet, running a city-level Obamacare, and supervising our diet-and-exercise. We would do well to nip such trends in the figurative bud before they ultimately bear the same sort of fruit that they did in Detroit.
Such political repentance won’t happen unless/until we sufficiently overcome apathy, ignorance, and uninvolvement in order to uphold better city officers, and to effectively help our neighbors to do likewise. So, please choose to include these among your goals for the near future. And, if your find our Free Provo website helpful in this regard, then please make the most of it.
- WalletHub: “2018’s Best- & Worst-Run Cities in America” (2018 Jul 09)
- Provo Daily Herald: “Provo ranked as second-best run city in the U.S.” (2018 Jul 10)
- Free Provo: Following Detroit’s Example
- Free Provo: Problems
- Facebook: Free Provo