Dependence Day?

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form more perfect Unions, establish social Justice, insure domestic Prosperity, provide for common Healthcare, promote Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Government Subsidy to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Of course, that’s not what the preamble to the United States Constitution says but you’d be hard pressed to know it these days. “We the People” have become more and more dependent upon a government that is simultaneously more powerful and distant – two conditions the founding fathers sought to avoid.

Last week I spent some time corresponding with a person who was very critical of my vote against the two 5% water rate increases set for 2016 and 2018. After a few not very kind words impugning my integrity and courage, we settled into a rather nice discussion about disagreement, the founding fathers (specifically Adams and Jefferson), and why in the world would I be a part of an organization whose very existence I disagree with.

The Water Authority is one of many quasi-governmental agencies that perform governmental functions. It has its own taxation authority and can directly determine how much you’re going to pay for water. The utility is arguably much better run now than it was under the City of Albuquerque. My concern is that despite a more efficient and effective operation, the Water Authority has an awful lot of power that generally receives little scrutiny unlike its former life under the city – making the potential for abuse that much greater.
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One of the things that I’ve noticed about people is that when they get a new job or join a group, they often take on the identity of the group and their objectives become those objectives that are good for the group itself. It’s a very human thing to do and it’s a very dangerous thing to do if you’re membership in the group is predicated upon representing people who are not in the group.

It can be very difficult for those who are elected and who represent and work for other people to resist the temptation to join “the group.” But as elected officials, that is exactly what we’re expected to do.
There are really two reasons that we have and are becoming more dependent on government. The first is that “We the People” are demanding more and more from government who then takes more from “We the People” to pay for it. The second is that dependence is good for government – but not so good for liberty.