Government agencies are given the green light to compete unfairly with private business
by John D’Aloia Jr.
November 5, 2002
"Mission creep" is a term often heard in discussions about the use of the U.S. military in implementing foreign policy. "Mission creep" is nothing more than going in with one goal and having achieved it, finding many other goals upon which to expend dollars, time, and resources. The military goes in to break up a fight and we end up trying to rebuild a nation.
Mission creep is not limited to the military and foreign policy. The expansion of our government, its intrusion into our lives, and the diminution of our freedoms is an example of mission creep.
Our Founders established a system of limited government and embodied a political philosophy that produced a freedom unknown up to that point in history - and not equaled since then. It did not take politicians long after July 4, 1776, to start gathering unto themselves powers which greatly exceed those established by the Founders.
Education? There is no basis in the Constitution, as understood and explained by the Founders, for the feds to be involved one iota in the education of children.
Other areas in which freedom has given way to government control will come to mind: start with the constraints put on people by laws that give critters rights over people and their property.
Why does it happen? Because we let it happen. We do not know our history or our heritage. We do not understand what freedom really means.
The Guardians, glorying in the power of government, have convinced people that they cannot exist without government watching over every step of their lives and protecting them from evil. Greed contributes to government mission creep. People are more than willing to let government get bigger if they think government is giving them something they would not otherwise have. The Pauls of the world have no problem with letting government get bigger if they think that their handout is coming from government turning Peter’s pockets inside out.
Education mission creep is not limited to the feds. It happens at the state and local level. Public schools have been transformed from entities with a narrow mission of educating children into the vehicle for delivering a wide range of politically-correct social services for the welfare state.
In March of this year, our local school board approved an anti-underage drinking resolution. It contained statistics guaranteed to create the impression that the world is ending. Were the statistics generated by the district? No, they were accepted as accurate as received from the Kansas Family Partnership, the non-profit group that drafted the resolution. (KFP lives off government grants. It received $314,292 in government grants in the year ending June 30, 2001, 82% of all its receipts. In the five preceding years, it obtained over $1.6 million in government grants.) From the KFP I learned that the data was for the year 2000 and was generated, not by KFP, but by the Southeast Kansas Education Service Center, a.k.a. Greenbush, from its Kansas Communities That Care Survey.
Let me digress. Greenbush is another mission creep story. What started out as a non-profit cooperative dedicated to providing extended staff services for school districts has turned into an entity that competes with private industry. Its non-profit status gives it a market-place edge. It is not burdened by every tax that a private business would be subject to (it does not pay property taxes, income taxes, or franchise taxes, it pays a reduced range of sales tax, and its employee’s pensions are tax free) and thus can offer its services and products at lower prices than can a for-profit business.
Your tax dollars are supporting and subsidizing Greenbush with the ultimate effect of eroding the state’s tax base and thus putting increased pressure on you to cough up more taxes to keep the state coffers filled for the spending pleasure of those who inhabit the dome.
And Greenbush may just be at the leading edge of a new phenomenon: government agencies in the state competing with private industry.
The Kansas Attorney General was asked to rule on the matter by a state senator. Surprise, surprise, the AG’s ruling has been read to give a green light to any government agency that wants to go into competition with the private sector.
Smells of communism, does it not? I guess the ruling really should be no surprise, given who made it. If you have the time, take a look at "www.kssmallbiz.com/articles/article_57.asp" for more information on the Greenbush - and state government’s - attack on the private sector.
Oh, yes, The Kansas Communities That Care Survey. To be continued.
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