vested interests

Agressive bankIn Glynn County, Georgia, I recently discovered, the county planning staff has been passing off amendments to the master plan, drawn up by developers, as their own. At least, we still have an elected County Commission involved. In East Texas, it turns out, developers set up new taxing districts that then sell bonds to finance their projects by holding elections in which a single vote is cast by someone who’s been moved onto the land just to satisfy a legal requirement. The Dallas Morning News has been covering the scam. No wonder voting has become a big issue in Texas.

Big as Texas is, this scam is part of a bigger issue.

The privatization of our public services is a direct consequence of public servants in our legislative bodies abdicating their obligations. It isn’t the various agencies that have been captured, it’s the legislative bodies. They’ve been taken over by the commercial class. If they can’t help themselves to the contents of the public purse directly, they do it by shifting functions wholesale to the private sector.

The lack of funds is a handy excuse which their cohorts in Congress facilitate by rationing the currency. Direct payments to individuals and service providers from the Treasury circumvents the rationing. Which is why the middlemen in Congress, sent there by the chambers of commerce, hate Social Security and all other cash distributions. Congress is using the currency as a power tool — i.e. To exercise power and impose deprivation.

Why deprive the electorate? It’s punishment for having the gall to claim their rightful authority. If the people govern, legislators are nothing but public servants. That’s not what the commercial class is after. The commercial class has become a reservoir for human predators and parasites, people who serve no useful function. We could also call them the chattering class. “All talk; no action.”

Because Hannah Blog has no commercial connections and is purely educational, I’ve posted a whole story retrieved from the Dallas News archives by its original author there.

Just a few excerpts to illustrate the practice referred to as the creation of MUDs. As Reese Dunklin recalls:

The power came through governmental taxing districts created in elections required by Texas law. Developers bought raw land for their projects, drew proposed district boundaries to exclude existing residents and then moved the only voters into rent-free mobile homes. The elections had as few as one voter and no more than 10. The voters were sometimes employees of the developer.

It’s standard operating procedure in Texas:

“There are thousands and thousands of these districts that have been created across the state of Texas that have been used to finance billions and billions of dollars of public infrastructure,” he said.

We just don’t have enough money

Why isn’t there enough money? You’ll remember that Lyndon Johnson, who was from Texas, proposed what he called “revenue sharing.”  Congress should give dollars directly to the states, instead of passing them through the hands of the banksters first. But then, how could they reward their friends? If state and local governments don’t have to issue revenue bonds, how will the financiers get their triple treats — interest payments that are guaranteed to be paid first, regardless of how thin the budget is stretched, at rates set by Wall Street and that are exempt from both local and federal income taxes.

Not only has the transfer of wealth to the one percent not been a happenstance, that the people of Texas are some of the poorest in the nation isn’t a matter of chance either. Because all those new residents are paying off those bonds subscribed to by the water districts and if they can’t afford the taxes, their investments will be lost.

Attorney Green … says there’s nothing wrong about the district’s one voter being the son of Stratford Senior Vice President Ocie Vest.
“We’ve created dozens upon dozens of districts, and they’ve had people who are friends of the developer, family members, the developer itself — any number of people who are willing to live in an undeveloped area for a period of time,” Green said.

It’s a family kind of enterprise, according to the Dallas News:

The votes can have enormous implications. One day last fall, for example, a family of three authorized $277 million in bond sales by two water districts covering the high-end Lantana subdivision north of Flower Mound. That rivals the biggest bond propositions ever proposed by the city of Dallas.
“It’s good to not pay rent,” said one of the voters, 20-year-old Chad Wilson. The other two were his father and sister, who live in a neighboring trailer and work at Lantana.
The water districts serve the same property as another type of special taxing district, which Tiffany Jo Benefield voted to create in 1999 after getting free housing for a few months. The 23-year-old said she participated in the election with this attitude: “I’m leaving. What do I care what they build?”

Now you see why it’s important to control who votes.

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Editor's note: This story also appeared at Daily Kos. Image: piggy banks illustration (© Rob Hyrons) was licensed by LikeTheDew.com at fotolia.com.

Monica Smith

Monica Smith writes Hannah's Blog. Born in Germany, she came to the United States as a child, living first in California, then after an interval in Chile, in New York. Married to a retired professor at the University of Florida, where she lived for 17 years, she moved to St. Simons Island, Georgia, in 1993 and now divides her time between Georgia and New Hampshire. (New Hampshire, she says, is always interesting during a presidential election.) She and her husband have three children and five grandchildren. Ms. Smith says she "learned long ago that I am not a good team player when I got hired at the Library of Congress, fresh out of college with a degree in political science and proficiency in four foreign languages, to 'edit' library cards and informed my supervisor that if she was going to insist I punch the clock exactly on time, my productivity was going to fall from being the highest to being the same as everyone else's. The supervisor opted to assign me to another building where there was no time-clock. After I had the first of our three children, I decided a paycheck wasn't worth the hassle."