2009 August 03 Monday
Poor Jefferson County In Alabama

Jefferson County Alabama Spent too much on a sewer system and then got suckered by investment bankers into auction rate securities whose interest rates are too high for the county to afford. Jefferson County's multi-billion dollar debt and high interest rates have the county in such a bind that it has drastically cut back staffing. The state of California is an example of financial soundness by comparison.

Alabama's debt-ridden Jefferson County laid off about two-thirds of its 3,600 employees on Monday because of plummeting revenues, a move that will sharply curtail services in areas ranging from roads to courthouses.

Nothing like a good crisis to get rid of the dead wood. I'm thinking county employee productivity will soar. But the lesson here is that when investment bankers come knocking don't open your door.

The coroners were not cut. Can't keep the dead waiting.

Some departments will not be affected by the cutbacks, at least not yet. Those include the sheriff's office, because a Circuit Court judge has blocked budget cuts until county commissioners and the sheriff can work out an agreement; Cooper Green Mercy Hospital, which gets most of its money from the indigent care fund; and the coroner's office, which was spared cuts.

The county would be in deep trouble with getting roads repaired if a tornado or hurricane swept thru.

The most avoidable consequence? Huge lines at county offices for things that cost money.

If you need to run into the Jefferson County Court House for tags, license, or pretty much anything else you better think ahead. It's not just the four hour wait you'll need to prepare for, it's the fight for parking!

Think about it. Would you prefer to pay a few dollars more to avoid waiting 4 hours to get a license for your dog, car, or some other activity or property? Why hasn't the county just hiked some fees and used the money to pay for salaries of people who collect the money for the fees? Raise fees until the lines are fairly short. Increase supply and cut demand. This is easy.

The government is missing an opportunity to make more money off of people's desire not to waste time in lines. Ditto for construction site inspectors. Make the fees high enough and these functions of government can be totally self-financing with very fast service.

Another idea: fine criminals. Take DUI drivers for example. Sock it to them.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2009 August 03 11:08 PM  Economics Government Costs

James Bowery said at August 4, 2009 8:29 AM:

Another idea is to do what California did: Start printing your own fiat currency redeemable in payment of taxes.

Don't give me any noise about the law. California is blatantly violating the Constitution of the United States, Art. I, Sec. X.

The added bonus is that county-level currencies create resilient communities.

Stopped Clock said at August 4, 2009 10:03 AM:

Yeah, we all remember the first lesson in accounting 101: it's never a good idea to cut coroners.

Also, to save the people reading this the trouble of looking it up on Wikipedia: Jefferson County is majority white, although it does contain Birmingham which is about 75% black.

Engineer-Poet said at August 4, 2009 11:47 AM:

If what I heard is correct, Jefferson County's problems stem mostly from a court decision which cancelled a tax which was one of its biggest sources of revenue.

averros said at August 4, 2009 1:58 PM:

> The most avoidable consequence? Huge lines at county offices for things that cost money.

Yep. Just remove all these moronic requirements to have licenses, tags, etc, and fire all these government droids who handle these.

When the government doesn't require driving licenses, the insurance companies will start requiring people to pass driving exams (just like they do now with checkrides for those who want aircraft insurance if they don't have enough flying experience - apparently the FAA license is not considered to be good enough). Maybe then Americans will be forced to learn to drive and the roads will become much safer.

Francis said at August 4, 2009 6:40 PM:

--When the government doesn't require driving licenses, the insurance companies will start requiring people to pass driving exams--

A great idea that makes sense. But doubtful. We all know who wouldn't pass and then there'd be lawsuits. If leftists/liberals and their NAM pets are going after firefighting exams, there is no way this would be untouched.

Sam said at August 6, 2009 9:24 AM:

The Jefferson County water board is not run by white people. They spent massive amounts of money on retreats and hiring their friends. To give an idea of how they run things they hired a tunnel boring company to bore a hole under the river. They had some kind of conflict with the company when the the tunnel boring machine was half way under the river. The county water board wanted the company back up the tunnel boring machine. Maybe they thought they wouldn't have to pay. Of course the company had a contract and told the county they were paid by the day no matter which way the machine went and it cost just as much to go forwards as backwards. I don't know the outcome of this story but it's the way they do business.

kurt9 said at August 6, 2009 3:28 PM:

Jefferson County reminds me of how Orange County in CA went bankrupt in 1994 because a Merrill Lynch FA convinced the county's controller to put all of their money on derivatives.

Sage said at August 6, 2009 5:53 PM:

Private bankers have been suckering government since before the revolutionary war. Sovereign countries have the right to issue and coin money. The Bank of North Dakota is a state bank that issues its own loans, backed up by the full faith and credit of North Dakota. It is one of three states that have a surplus of money. When the loans are repaid, North Dakota uses the interest money to keep taxes low. In 1938 Hitler was Times Man of the year. In 1933 Germany was flat on its back, and owed more money to France and England than Germany was worth. Always the banking class is looking to suck wealth out of people and countries. So, what Hitler did is issue Germany's own money in a form that couldn't be converted by international bankers. Germany had an economy that blasted off, and while the rest of the world was in depression, Germany had full employment. Is it no wonder that the German people followed Hitler into wars of conquest. The lesson is that with proper oversight, a state bank is better than a private bank. The modern day equivalent of a well run state bank, is China. I'll bet China's provincial governments are not getting robbed by the criminal banking class.

Essentially, the wealth of Jefferson County is being siphoned off to satisfy debt usury. People in debt usury are known as debt peons. The Bank of England called such people slaves. www.webofdebt.com

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