Tag Archives: Detroit

Provo’s Municipal Overreach

Provo’s city government recently produced a fun informative video overviewing what it does for us.  Hopefully, this video wasn’t very costly, and will do some good.

But, in any case, it presents a good occasion to consider not only what our municipal government is doing for us, but also what it SHOULD be doing for us.  As our nation’s relatively wise-and-virtuous founders understood so well, we each have equal God-given rights, and we can (and generally should) charter political systems to expertly serve us by helping us to defend those rights from others’ aggression so that we may remain free, which is their only proper role—and not to reign over us like kings.  Ideally, politicians should be less essential to our society than others like (for example) farmers—and if this is not true, then it suggests that there’s a major problem with our political system.

Such problems are sadly commonplace throughout history because politics (more than many professions) seems to naturally attract the virtuous less readily than the corrupt, and because corrupt public officers tend to corrupt political systems away from their proper role of defending rights toward a perverted role of usurping rights.  As political systems degenerate, their taxes rise, their debts deepen, their budgets skyrockets, their laws proliferate (not to help defend rights but to arbitrarily command us in all things), their agencies and officers multiply, and their influence becomes felt not only when one person is violating another person’s rights, but pervasively in all that we do.

We see such political degeneracy today in our federal government, which has far exceeded its Constitution to assume overwhelming responsibility for a vast unwieldy business conglomerate that either controls or (at the very least) manipulates all sectors of our nation’s economy to varying degrees, from health care to education to energy to communication to transportation to banking to finance to construction to artistry to recreation to welfare, et cetera.  Sadly, Provo appears to be suffering from similar long-term trends, as it currently oversees a redevelopment agency, a power company, an airport, a television channel, a library, a performing arts center, a recreation center, a fitness center, a golf course, an ice rink, a water park, a beach, a park service, a gun range, a garbage-collection service, a recycling service, and a cemetery.  Each of these functions should be fully privatized without any lingering “strings” attached—but, sadly, our municipal offers in recent years have persistently sought more businesses to run, rather than fewer, with some rare-but-welcome exceptions like the shoddily-built money-losing iProvo network for which Provoans are still paying.

As political systems grow cancerously, they tend to increasingly impede both prosperity and progress to the point that society eventually begins to retrogress, whether on the national level like in Venezuela or on the municipal level like in Detroit.  And we should care enough about Provo to avoid letting it degenerate likewise.  If Provo is to “remain a great place to call home,” as Mayor Kaufusi acknowledges as her duty, then we need our rights protected, but otherwise to enjoy our freedom.

So, it’s nice having a mayor who works hard without taking herself too seriously.  But she shouldn’t have so much to oversee.  And, although we have no issues with Mayor Kaufusi personally, and we believe that she seems like a fine person in many aspects of her life, we feel concerned that she (like too many of her recent predecessors) has demonstrated more commitment to central economic planning than to free markets.  As such, we invite those Provoans who still value their freedom to please educate yourselves about these issues, to please engage your neighbors about them, and to please organize yourselves to start consistently electing better public officers here in Provo in coming years—including during our next municipal elections this coming November.  If our website helps, then you’re welcome to use it.


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Staying Among America’s Best Cities

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.


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