Government Spending

They Should Call the Town "Public Choice, West Virginia"

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If you've ever asked a lefty friend why, if he's so fond of higher taxes and bigger government, he doesn't pay the government above and beyond what he owes in taxes, Reuters tracks down the place where you can tell your friend to send a check. Parkersburg, West Virginia is home to the Bureau of Public Debt, where a "couple thousand" workers' jobs exist thanks to the federal government continuing to spend more than it collects.

Surprisingly, the office collected more than $3 million in voluntary contributions last year. Not so surprising is how it came to be located in West Virginia:

Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell said having the public debt office there meant a couple thousand good-paying jobs, helping to insulate the city from the heavy manufacturing job losses suffered in nearby Ohio and surrounding areas.

He credits Senator Robert Byrd, who was elected to an unprecedented ninth term in 2006, with bringing the debt office to Parkersburg more than 30 years ago.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Parkersburg will be facing a rash of unemployment anytime soon.

Katherine Mangu-Ward wrote about the Bureau of Public Debt last year in a piece about the "patriotism" of paying taxes.

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  1. Anyone can send a check to the US Treasury and they will cash it.

    But we all know it’s not about them wanting to pay more taxes; it’s about forcing other people to pay more taxes.

    Typical Leftist hypocrisy.

    1. I only had a running conversation about this once and it cured me.

      She kept saying that we all need to pay more and I would say “you lead the way.” She said “that wouldn’t be fair” and more crap about being equal.

      She wasn’t a fan of guns either.

      1. Fair? Equal? I’m guessing this person doesn’t have a problem with progressive taxation.

        1. She had no problem at all with that. Sounded lik she wanted enough public housing available for anybody who wanted to live in it too, but not in her house.

      2. Exhibit A of faux compassion.

        Her compassion is equal to the total sum of what everyone else can pay. Oh, and do the actual work for her too. Sadly, this is a common species on this planet, out-breeding most all other species.

        The righteous indignation and patronizing assumptions of others’ motivations are also typical characteristics of this epistemology.

  2. Yeah, well, they still don’t have their own airport.

  3. Workers there are responsible for … managing the large and growing national debt

    What does that mean?

    1. The workers are not unresponsible.

  4. Only $3 million? Why do you hate TEH CHILDREN, leftists? Seriously though, JB nailed it in the first comment.

  5. He credits Senator Robert Byrd, who was elected to an unprecedented ninth term in 2006, with bringing the debt office to Parkersburg more than 30 years ago.

    Coincidence.

  6. Paying more than I owe in taxes would be a violation of the social contract in that it would create an environment favorable to free-riders, which would have a disparate impact on women, children, minorities, those with disabilities, and all the other protected classes. And we just can’t have that…

  7. All federal offices should be located in rust-belt shitholes. The cost of labor would (one hopes) go down.

  8. Given that W. Virginia leads the nation with 1 in 7 families on some sort of public support this should come as no surprise.

  9. I usually ask higher tax advocates whether they claim any deductions or exemptions on their state/federal tax forms.

    Not once have I ever heard “no”. It’s always some variation of “of course” or “well, yeah” in a tone of voice that suggests they never considered doing anything else.

  10. As a descendant of David Morgan, one of the first white settlers in what is now West Virginia, I would like to say I hate you Byrd. It’s because of your efforts and those of others like you that this state is nearly dead last in the country in every measure of quality of life. No businesses want to come here, so there are no jobs. Anyone with an education tries to get out as soon as they can, or they end up working for the government or a government contractor.

  11. Eh, expecting people who agitate for higher taxes to pay more voluntarily is much like expecting people who are against the stimulus to refuse the federal spending in their area, even though they’ll pay the same amount of taxes to redirect the spending to other areas.

  12. On a somewhat related subjected:

    In the mid-90s there was a kid, maybe around 12 years old, who gave a substantial sum (mid 5 figures or so) to the Feds in order to help pay down the debt. It made national news and a few days later Bill Cosby put the same amount of cash into a fund that the kid could use for his education when he turned 18.

    Does anyone else remember this? Did I dream it? I was searching for some of record of this recently and came up with nothing.

  13. Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as
    possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the
    treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes.
    Over and over again the Courts have said that there is nothing sinister
    in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone
    does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes any
    public duty to pay more than the law demands.

  14. So, they have “a couple thousand good-paying jobs” to collect $3M worth of contributions? Wouldn’t the payroll alone be about 30x what they are taking in? What am I missing? Surely even the federal government can’t be that stupid.

    1. “Workers there are responsible for a number of tasks beyond just managing the large and growing national debt, including tracking savings bonds and doing some accounting work for other government agencies such as the U.S. Mint.”

      Heckuva job on the debt management end, Parkersburg.

      1. Soon quantitative easing will completely replace the actual coining of money, and then the U.S. Mint will be useless. This will naturally require doubling the staff.

    2. $3million/2000 workers = $1500/worker

      The government can’t even collect donations profitably. Dig on that.

  15. Mr. Spartacus, if you think you could collect $3M worth of contributions more efficiently you are certainly welcome to try.

    1. Give me the combined payroll of 1,000 professional employees and I will collect double that.

  16. I think Mr. Balko should stick to the justice-system stuff, where he really shines. This petty partisan BS is beneath him.

  17. The bottom line for me is that I find it highly frustrating that I am required to contribute to a whole slew of things that I find to be constitutionally illegal, morally reprehensible, and things that reduce my freedoms. Honestly, I try not to dwell on it too much because outside of voting regularly, there is little I can do about it, and walking around pissed all the time doesn’t help me much either.

  18. All federal offices should be located in rust-belt shitholes. The cost of labor would (one hopes) go down.

    Heh, my company had the same idea when it opened an office in Buffalo and moved a ton of operations there from NYC. No way will you ever get me to live there again, though (did it for 8 years).

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  20. For the perfect customer service jobs il go to http://www.taxvacancies.com Find the best new perfect career for you when you look and fill out applications online. Dont go door to door looking for a new job. Look for one in the comfort of your own home and apply! Find the best customer service jobs in il when you sign up and search today!

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