Capriciousness of Government


By: Warner Todd Huston

What should be isn’t always what is, we all know. For instance, government is supposed to serve its people. However, more often than not government becomes a burden, an iron boot heel on the neck, and if not so egregiously oppressive at the very least it is often capricious. Today I have two examples of the capriciousness of government. One case in Chicago, a place where if government isn’t capricious it’s big news, and Ohio, a land where capricious is government’s middle name.

Let’s start with Chicago. The city of big shoulders, the city that works, the Windy City, the city that Al Capone Built, the city of the 1968 Chicago riot… er Democratic Convention, the city where a serial killer murdered dozens of visiting World’s Fair goers in 1893. Yeah, that city.

Well, flash forward from 1893 and the 27 murdered World’s Fair visitors to 2009 where we find that King Daley, the mobbed up mayor of Chicago, has lighted on a rather interesting way to raise some much needed revenue to put a dent in the $400 million or so dollars that the city is in arrears for.

You see, back in 2003 season-ticket holders for Soldier Filed, the stadium owned by the city and where the Chicago Bears play, were told that they would have to fork over between $900 and $10,000 — depending on the seat location — for a “personal seat license” in order to be permitted to buy a season ticket. This fee was assessed to help the city raise funds to renovate the stadium back in 2003.

Now remember, this is a license to buy a season-ticket, not an actual season-ticket. The tickets themselves, once purchased, are assessed a city amusement tax clocking in at 9 percent.

Now comes King Daley who has kindly informed these “PSL” buyers that he “forgot” to charge an additional city amusement tax of 9 percent on those purchases of the PSL made back in 2003. So, the King has decreed that he will retroactively charge this new tax, cuz, he forgot and all. Sheyeah. He just forgot. Really.

So, now, retroactively, there is a 9 percent amusement tax on the right to buy a season-ticket as well as another 9 percent amusement tax on the actual purchase of the ticket. It’s not too amusing… but it is capricious.

And now we meander over eastward a few states to the Buckeye State, the gateway to the west, the state with the Queen City home of the Cincinnati Reds. Yeah, over by dere as they say in Chi-Town.

You see, the Buckeyes have their own little problem with budget shortfalls. Specifically in the toddlin’ town of Toledo, Ohio. This is the town where Carty Finkbeiner holds court as Mayor. Not to be outdone by King Daley, the Big Fink has himself alighted on an inventive way to raise some much needed cash.

His administration has decided to whip out the parking ticket book and go a huntin.’ And what did they find? Not surprisingly, they found all sorts of illegally parked vehicles, that’s what. Why these scofflaws have been parking on gravel or other unpaved surfaces, don’t you know. That’s a big no-no, you see.

So, the Finkster’s Division of Streets, Bridges and Harbor has started ticketing these evil law breakers for parking… in their own driveways. That’s right, Finkelweener is here to tell you monstrous homeowners (and renters) that if you don’t spend thousands of dollars to pave your driveway, YOU will be ticketed for illegal parking… in your own driveway… on your own property.

That’ll learn ya.

Would it surprise you to learn that Finkbeiner is facing a recall vote this coming November? Nah, I didn’t think it would.

Capricious? You bet.

But capricious seems to be the name of the game anymore, doesn’t it? And “service” to the people? Why that’s the word that need not be mentioned.

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