“Little Shop of Horrors” Comes to Life in Government Spending

As I was reflecting upon our current fiscal situation here in Midland County, an analogy came to my mind. That analogy is the movie “Little Shop of Horrors.” For those who have not seen the movie (which ends differently than the Broadway play), here is a link to a synopsis that I have written.

If you think about the movie long enough, you will probably come up with more analogies than I did. But, here are a few of my observations:

  1. In the beginning, the purpose of the plant starts off innocent enough, but as it grows, it becomes uncontrollable. Here in Midland, Texas, the debt and interest from all of the taxing authorities has ballooned to almost $1 Billion. This debt did not happen over one or two votes but over several years of several votes. Some of the school debt goes back more than 15 years. Some of the city debt is older than that. That is a staggering amount of debt for a community of roughly 114,000 people. That debt equates to almost $8,800 per man, woman and child living in Midland County.
  2. Like the plant in the movie, the amount of money required to feed the government’s hunger for more capital is insatiable and never will be fulfilled. There always seems to be some crisis that demands immediate action. As a reminder, in one version of the story, the plant consumed the very one who tended it. Neither the plant nor the government has any loyalties. Both consume whatever resources are necessary to feed them. However, once the rich are fully devoured, where will the government get the nourishment to feed this hungry plant?
  3. The young man in the movie became addicted to the fame that he got from the growing plant. In government, we have individuals whose sole notoriety comes from the fact that they got certain funding for a new bridge. The point of the movie was clear, desire for power and notoriety is addictive. Addiction to governmental fame seems to be the worst because those seeking that fame achieved it at the expense of the taxpayers.

I have just pointed out a few comparisons. But my point is this: We have to get control of our spending and pay down these debts. We also have to resist the urge to find new ways to spend the taxpayer’s money. We are ignoring these monstrous debts not only to our peril but to our children’s grandchildren’s peril. Which is interesting since these assets which we are going into debt for won’t even be available for them to enjoy.

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