Roger’s Rules

The age of the IOU, or chickens/roost, and “anarchy literally”

Via Instapundit, I read that Governor Paterson  has suggested that the great state of New York may have to follow the great state of California an issue IOUs instead of checks to taxpayers to whom it owes money.

Like California, which last year issued $2.6 billion of IOUS during a lengthy budget battle, New York might have to pay its bills this way for the first time since the 1980s because the Legislature has not enacted a $135 billion budget more than two months after the deadline.

So far, New York state has dodged a shutdown — the equivalent of a mass strike by public workers — because the Legislature has enacted Paterson’s emergency spending bills.

But now two Democratic senators have suggested they might reject next week’s temporary spending bill, forcing Paterson to seek the votes of Republican senators.

“You could have anarchy literally in the streets if the government shut down,” Paterson told WBEN radio.

Is that so, Gov? Do you really think the people of New York (or anywhere else in the United States, come to that) would put up with “anarchy literally in the streets” for more than about half and hour before they made sure that you, and politicians like you, were pursuing another line of work.

Besides, when you talk about the government “shutting down” the reason tat most people sprout a smile is that they know that most firefighters and police will stay on the job no matter what. They know that “government shutting down” means primarily that you stop paying the tens of thousands of professional leaches who drawn a government — i.e., a taxpayer-funded — paycheck without  (let us be candid) doing much of anything.  Savor the phrase “government shutting down” the next time you visit the DMV  or the next time you have some interaction with some other government official — the next time, e.g., you catch sight of your state senator or congressman. Doesn’t sound so bad does it?

And here’s a policy suggestion that I offer free and for nothing.  If New York offers its citizens IOUs instead cash, citizens should do the same come April.  After wading through the pages of gibberish that our legislators have thoughtfully provided under the rubric of your tax returns, they should enter the amount owed, sign on the dotted line, and enclose an IOU instead of a check. If an irresponsible and fiscally incontinent state can hold on to your money (and you should never forget that it is your money), then you are justified in practicing a little self-defense and treating the state with a little of the contempt with which it treats you.  If five or ten or a hundred people did it, it wouldn’t make much difference.  What if five or ten thousand people did?