Clark Commissioners Find
New Rathole for Your Taxes

The Clark County Commission voted unanimously March 25 to spend $140,000 establishing a new, two-worker "Neighborhood Services" office.
The $140,000 annual budget is for starters: the commissioners point out that this two-person office compares to a 60-member "neighborhood services department" already established by the city of Las Vegas, which sits like a donut-hole inside the boundaries of the far larger Clark County. They assert that the county prefers to "start small," but that expansion is likely in future.
Oh boy.
The new county office will begin by launching an eight-session "neighborhood college" -- a program to teach residents "to better use existing county services" and to become "more active in the community."
Then, the two busy bureaucrats are expected to "establish an online handbook" and televised public service announcements "encouraging residents to become more involved in neighborhood groups" and "helping those groups to communicate."
Fellow government employees from the University of Nevada, Las

Vegas will even be invited to help design these "programs," and to prepare methodology to "evaluate their effectiveness."
What are the odds, I wonder, that said evaluation will conclude: "These expenditures have completely wasted funds which -- if left in the pockets of taxpayers -- would likely have subsidized the growth of businesses which provide such real 'needs of the community' as groceries, automobiles, and furniture"?
Let's backtrack a moment:
Governments are established to perform certain limited functions which individuals either can't handle alone, or simply prefer to delegate. A sheriff is hired to arrest violent offenders; firemen are retained to keep the equipment in repair and race it to the scene of a conflagration; eventually municipal sewer and water departments are established.
Because those who staff these offices naturally believe they are doing good works, because their only measure of "success" is the ever-expanding size of their empires, and because we authorize them (in a tragic moral lapse) to seize money from the citizenry on threat of jail to fund their endeavors, the Founders sternly warned us that we must be careful to always specifically limit the tasks which government is authorized to perform.

Yet nowadays, on the rare occasion when a "public servant's" laziness, incompetence, or just plan knavery are accidentally exposed to public view, the tradition is not to tar and feather the reprobate and escort him to the county line. No, such miscreants are quietly transferred to "some other department."
Where do they come from, these "other departments" where incompetents or worse can be quietly shuffled away to draw pay, processing triplicate forms labeled "Paperwork Reduction Act Compliance Affidavit"?
They come from votes like the one authorizing the new "Clark County Neighborhood Services Program."
Not to put too fine a point on it, if the citizens of Clark County want to "become more active in the community," "form neighborhood groups," and "communicate" with one another, they are perfectly capable of doing so in taverns, in church halls, in the workplace, without the aid of any tax-salaried hand-holders.
In fact, since the groups most in need of forming are those that might want to fully inform fellow citizens of their rights under the Second, Sixth and Ninth Amendments -- the very rights which government bureaucrats are usually at pains to convince us we no longer possess or need -- it's not too far-fetched to suggest that a government hand-holder would be an active obstacle to any truly useful "community activism," whining in

near-panic that organizing to exercise our right to keep and bear arms, informing fellow-citizens of their traditional jury powers, or breaking up the government schooling monopoly ... just isn't what they had in mind, at all.
Our imperial rulers are always squawking that they don't have enough money to give us the schools, parks, water lines, and roads we want or need, that we can darned well vote to impose another tax on ourselves if we want that kind of stuff.
But when it comes time to create whole new offices never authorized, to generate on-line catalogs and TV ads designed to attract more "customers" to "utilize the services" of still other useless and illegal boondoggles, well, suddenly there's cash aplenty, just lying around.
What despicable twaddle. What loathesome hubris. What transparent empire-building. And some still wonder why the legendary, naive, good-spirited willingness of the American people to pay their taxes and cheerfully trust that their leaders are "doing what's best" is finally ... but ever more rapidly ... crumbling away.

Vin Suprynowicz is the assistant editorial page editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Readers may contact him via e-mail at The web site for the Suprynowicz column is at

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