At what point will folks realize that they truly cannot have their cake and eat it, too?

I’ve had a lot of opportunity to wait in lines recently and it seems the main topic of conversation, or at least the main topic of conversation I notice, is the economy. Folks want more of their tax money at home, want government to create jobs, want more money for education, want a program for this or for that…

At what point do they realize that wanting all those things means they can’t have more of their own money in their own pockets?

We participate in a nearby city’s youth athletics program. We own properties in the city and therefore pay taxes that support the programs in addition to the fees charged for the programs. However, when the newspaper published a series of stories about the city’s budget concerns and woes, I wrote to each City Council Member, including the mayor, and asked that recreation programming be cut. It is non-essential. It is fun, and the community has deemed it valuable, but it is non-essential when there is not enough money to pay the bills that are needs. And more importantly, it is not the role of government to create an opportunity for fun, recreation, and exercise.

When a community, such as a municipality, decides that such a program has value, it’s reasonable to pursue such a program using excess funds collected from reasonable tax rates. If the excess of funds is so grand that many non-essential projects can be developed then tax rates are too high. If tax rates must be raised to continue to support non-essential projects, such as youth and adult recreational athletics, then the programs must be cut. They are non-essential.

Similarly, our children participate in the county 4-H program. Our family volunteers our home and resources hosting a club monthly. No dues or fees are charged. Our local agent, for whom I care a lot and consider a friend, has her office, supplies, and salary all at least partially paid with the use of state and county taxes. Our county and state face real budget constraints this year and in the future.

While I recognize and appreciate the value of 4-H for our family and for our community, it is non-essential. I wrote my legislators asking them to delete 4-H funding from the upcoming budget because it was non-essential. I don’t like the idea that my friend may lose her job. Nor do I like that some 4-H clubs would cease to exist because they do rely on the government financial structure to collect dues and fees from members. But when there’s only $10 to pay $25 of bills, well, 4-H doesn’t matter… And most importantly, it is not the role of government to create opportunities for fellowship nor to create jobs.

I never heard back from a single elected official at the city, county, nor state level. And to my knowledge, all funding for the city’s youth athletics program and the county’s 4-H program remain in place. But what if they’d been cut? Would my kids and their teammates and fellow club members simply have gone without baseball, football, or 4-H? No.

The private sector would thrive. There’d be new opportunities for new ventures. Ventures that *would* create jobs. Jobs as club Recreation Program directors, more eager officials, tournament programs, etc. Where there is a need, private enterprise will fill it. And there’d be competition driving the bus. As it shoal be. There’d be club ball for Christians, club ball for secularists, club ball for the kids that just want to try and might otherwise get hurt. There’d be more, too!

And our little 4-H club? Well, nothing would happen. We just wouldn’t have “4-H Club” at the end of our name. We’d still meet and roam or paint or dig. Likely other clubs would fold. And likely the many 4-H centers where activities and summer camps are held would close or be sold to private ownership. But that’s good, too.

Because even though we have one child attending 4-H camp this year for the first time, the thought of her spending a week at a government institution is really turning my gut…she’ll be safe. She’ll have fun. But it is very non-essential.