OPINION: Vote “No” on both ballot questions. Not to save money, but to save democracy.

Tuesday’s two state ballot questions are as important as any candidate.   The first question would let state government to borrow another $125 million.   After paying Wall Street “transaction fees” and other overhead,  the money would fix up libraries in certain towns.

I love libraries.  However, Amazon, digital books, and the internet make brick and mortar libraries less important than ever.

Meanwhile, “project labor agreements” and pay-to-play politics make government construction unaffordable, and unsustainable.  We should be cutting costs, not borrowing money.

The second question would change our state constitution again.  It would put all money from environmental lawsuits into a special fund “to preserve the State’s natural resources”.

It sounds like a good idea. However, in the past state government money borrowed for “Green Acres” and “Open Space” to bulldoze trees, pave parking lots, and raise budgets and salaries at the Department of Environmental Protection.   It also paid top dollar for worthless real estate owned by politically connected people.    Nothing would require any of this money to clean up properties involved in the lawsuits!

New Jersey taxes are unsustainable.   Both Republicans and Democrats refuse to set priorities and cut costs.  They borrow money and pay it back with years of tax hikes.   Special interests change the constitution to earmark money that would be better spent elsewhere.

The first step to change this is to vote “No” on both ballot questions.  Unfortunately, most voters will probably vote “Yes”.   In the past, New Jersey voters approved 90% of all state ballot questions.

Back in 1896, Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian-French economist, explained why with this parable:

“Suppose that in a country of thirty million citizens, it is proposed under some pretext or other, to get each citizen to pay out one dollar a year, and to distribute the total amount among a group of  thirty persons. Every one of the donors will give up one dollar a year; every one of the thirty beneficiaries will receive one million dollars a year.

“The two groups will differ very greatly in their response to this situation. Those who hope to gain a million a year will know no rest day and night. They will win newspapers over to their interest by financial inducements and drum up support from all quarters. A discreet hand will warm the palms of needy legislators. . .

“On the other hand, the despoiled are much less active. A great deal of money is needed to launch an election campaign. . . . The individual who is threatened with losing one dollar a year—even if he is fully aware of what is afoot—will not for so small a thing forego a picnic in the country, or fall out with useful or congenial friends, or get on the wrong side of the mayor.  In these circumstances the outcome is not in doubt: the spoliators will win hands down.”

According to Pareto, democracy was not sustainable.   People who took from the government would get richer and stronger politically.   People who paid the taxes would go broke, and become weaker politically.  Pareto predicted in the early 1900’s that the democracies of Europe collapse and be replaced by Communist or fascist dictatorships.

For years, America did not have that problem.   Our federal and state constitutions (and our political culture of individual rights and limited government) restrained government officials here.   But not anymore.

Here in New Jersey, those people who will financially benefit from the $125 million loan package on the ballot are actively campaigning for a “yes” vote on Ballot Question #1.   The bureaucrats in the Department of Environmental Protection, the lawyers, contractors who build artificial sand dunes and  others who would be paid from an earmarked “natural resources” fund are persuading you to vote “yes” on Ballot Question #2.

Hardly anyone is campaigning for a “no” vote.   As in Pareto’s parable, few individuals threatened with losing a few dollars a year will spend money, exert energy, or make enemies for “so small a thing”.   Unfortunately, what we are really losing is our democracy.   New Jersey cannot survive many more of these “yes” votes.

Seth Grossman is a Somers Point attorney and executive director of LibertyAndProsperity.org.   The organization maintains a Liberty and Prosperity Facebook page.   It meets for breakfast 9:30 am every Saturday at the Shore Diner in Egg Harbor Township by Parkway Exit 36.  Seth Grossman can be reached at info@libertyandprosperity.org.

Seth Grossman, Esq.

Seth Grossman is the executive director of Liberty & Prosperity, a former Atlantic City councilman and Atlantic County Freeholder. After his political career, the Somers Point-based attorney had shows on some of South Jersey's leading talk radio networks. Grossman most recently ran against Governor Christie in the 2013 Republican gubernatorial primary race.

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5 Responses

  1. USAFWX says:

    Agreed! The first question ends up costing us. The second skirts the responsibilities of the State Legislature to allocate funds.

    • Tommy p says:

      People don’t realize that NJ owns land (Non Tax paying Land than the size of delaware.
      So property taxes aren’t collected on this land , we get the bill!

      • Mercy Otis Warren says:

        That is a good point. The state; the feds and all local governments should look to offset their horribly pathetic balance sheets by selling non productive public land to productive private people.

  2. Mercy Otis Warren says:

    That was a good article Mr. Grossman. In order for the people to change their perspective on government and government spending, they must first understand what the heck government is.

    It is one group of people claiming the exclusive right to use violent force against another group of people to bring about the ends which the first group of people deem best. When its true nature is laid bare, it is much easier to see that government —if it is justifiable at all — must be small and it must be ordered toward the right things. Our government is anything but small and it is ordered toward perverse ends.

    May the cleansing rains of nature begin to fall so that we may all enjoy the sunshine once again.

    • #TrumpUFraud says:

      What hallucinogenic drugs are you on?
      Atlantic County Freeloader? have you seen AC? Have you seen the economy? Wages for Jobs in Atlantic County? Home values?
      Its a shit hole
      But here in Lacey lets placate The “Professional Friends N Family Plan by building a not needed road voters be damned
      I have a better idea lets vote RepubliCon and join a union or better yet work for the Govt and claim we need less Govt lol
      Socialism at its fines Hypocrisy you betcha
      Better yet lets vote for Vicari an admitted sexual harasser and yes when you pay 550 k you have admitted it
      Trump U baby

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