Image: Montgomery County, Texas, known as “the most corrupt county in Texas.”
The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Washington, D.C., Austin, and Conroe, June 4 – It’s easy to complain about the growth in federal government spending during the past 20 years. Every dollar the federal government spends represents an additional loss of freedom for two important reasons:
- #1 Every tax dollar government takes represents a loss of freedom, because government takes taxes by force.
- #2 Tax dollars represent expenditures to grow the size of government, which regulates more and more. In his book The General Idea of the Revolution, French political philosopher Pierre-Joseph Proudhon wrote in a chapter entitled “What is Government?” an answer to his own question:
- “To be GOVERNED is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be place[d] under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality.”
It’s particularly easy to complain about what U.S. government officials do, because they tend to be the farthest away from our local communities. Most federal spending decisions occur in Washington, D.C., a land far away with people with whom we rarely interact (other than to pay them our taxes and other than when they watch, inspect, spy upon, direct, drive, number, regulate, enroll, indoctrinate, preach, control, check, and the like, as Proudhon explained so eloquently).
The United States government is 369% of its Fiscal Year 2001, which began on October 1, 2000. In that year, total federal government spending was $1.788 trillion with tax revenue of $2.025 trillion. President Biden’s proposed Fiscal Year 2022 Budget is $6.6 trillion with tax revenue of $3.4 trillion.
The primary driving force behind federal government growth is salaries and employee benefits.
It’s important to note that, as the government sinks into greater and greater debt, the value of the American dollar will decline, because the credit of the United States Government will rapidly sink. Eventually, foreign nations will look to other countries, especially China, as the holder of the world’s reserve currency. The yuan will replace the dollar as the world’s reserve currency at which time America’s national debt will likely sink the federal government and pull the entire United States economy into the crevasse with it.
It’s somewhat easy to complain about the State of Texas government as well. We all “know” how our legislators go to Austin with the promise that they’ll control government spending.
Instead, our elected representatives usually return after each legislative session with their heads drooping and their tails between their legs. Never in the last two decades has the Texas Legislature taken any action to reduce government spending.
The Texas Budget of the biennium of 2022 to 2023 is $246 billion, which the Texas Legislature recently adopted as Senate Bill 1, and which Governor Greg Abbott has indicated he will sign into law, with the exception that he’ll chop out the Legislative Budget to punish the Legislative Branch for failing to accomplish his priorities of election integrity reform and bail reform.
The State of Texas government is 215% of what it was in 2001 when the biennial budget was $114 billion.
The most corrupt county government in Texas: Montgomery County
For many reasons, which are beyond the scope of this article, Montgomery County, Texas, just 27 miles north of downtown Houston, has worked hard to achieve its reputation as “the most corrupt county in Texas.” Government spending in Montgomery County is far more out of control than the federal government. Montgomery County’s Judges, who serve as the leaders of the county government and in recent years have been Alan B. Sadler (until 2015), Craig Doyal (until 2019), and Mark Keough (present), shoulder much of the responsibility for their failures in leadership in controlling County government costs.
In 2018, Montgomery County’s Commissioners Court created a Budget Office and appointed Amanda Carter as the County government’s first Budget Director. Carter has done little more than become an apologist for increased government spending. Carter and the Commissioners Court have literally done nothing to control costs, to adopt “zero-based budgeting,” or to reduce unnecessary expenditures.
Two weeks ago, on May 19, 2021, The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, asked Carter what were the County government’s budget expenditures for Fiscal Year 2001, because the County government has removed that information from its website. Carter ignored the request for information. Instead, this newspaper consulted our own archive and found the answer to the question within The Golden Hammer itself from previous research.
The Fiscal Year 2001 Budget for Montgomery County was $89 million of expenditures. The current Fiscal Year 2021 Budget for Montgomery County is $350,555,386. This newspaper presents that information, no thanks to Carter the Budget Office Director, who has adopted the Keough-Doyal secretiveness methodology.
The Montgomery County’s government’s spending growth has been 393% since 2001! In other words, Montgomery County’s government spending growth is even more out of control than the federal government’s!!!
Now, to be fair to the wretched spenders of the Montgomery County government, who have enriched themselves at the cost to the local taxpayers, the sum of population growth and inflation since 2001 in Montgomery County has been 256.3%, according to the United States Census Bureau and the United State Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That statistic reveals how truly out of control Montgomery County government spending truly is. County government spending under Keough, Doyal, and Sadler has grown substantially more than the growth and population plus the inflation rate over that time period.
It’s no wonder that freedom has palpably declined in Montgomery County during the past two decades.