Bob Haase’s Another Can Of Worms

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

The saying “Rob Peter to pay Paul” dates back to John Wyclif’s Selected English Works dating back to around 1500.  The meaning of the saying is to take from one and give to another or to discharge one debt by incurring another.


This saying has been around so long that it has given our government a chance to perfect the process of taking from one and giving to another.  They are finding more and more creative ways of taking from one fund and putting it in another.  It is almost like a game of “smoke and mirrors” in that we never know where the money we give is going to end up.


One of the most abused cases of this is with our Social Security program.  When the Social Security program was first started it was suppose to be a program to help people supplement their retirement savings by kind of a forced savings program.  The money we paid into the system was suppose to supplement, not replace the money we saved for retirement.  Since its inception more and more services were added and it now provides for many more services than retirement savings.  Our government saw the pot of money in the system and has over time borrowed from it for other government services.  We now wonder if there will be enough money in the system to keep in running in the future.


The United State Patent Office must have been run somewhat efficiently because it also ended up with a large pot of money that our government eventually borrowed from.  Rather than lower costs of obtaining a Patent, they borrowed from the fund and when the pot ran out, they laid off workers to the point that it affected the efficient operation of the system.  It now takes a lot more time and a lot more money to obtain a patent.  This has a negative effect on our economy because new patents can mean new products and increased manufacturing.


Wisconsin has learned over the years to become more efficient at robbing Peter to pay Paul and they use it very effectively now.  They take from the Transportation Fund and use the money for other purposes.  Then they have to increase vehicle registration fees and gas taxes to make up for it. 


On a local basis we now charge a boat ramp fee to launch your boat.  This money is suppose to be used to maintain the boat landings.  Our local officials seen this as raising money for other things so they take from the boat launch fees and put it in the general fund for other uses.


Isn’t it about time that the money and taxes we pay be used for their intended purpose.  Isn’t it about time that our government on a national, state, and local level stop their game of smoke and mirrors and use the money they collect from us for the purpose it was collected. Maybe it is time that we enact legislation that would prohibit the use of this practice and limit spending to the cost of the services provided.  If we pay a launch fee to launch our boats, maybe the money should be used on that rather than other things we know nothing about.  If we need to pay a fee to launch our boats, maybe we should pay a fee to enter Lakeside Park so we can use that money for more roundabouts?  You may think that this would be ridiculous, but how is that different than paying a boat launch fee and using the money for something else? 


Bob Haase is the host of “Outdoors Thursday” heard Thursday mornings at 9:10 a.m. on News-Talk 1450 KFIZ.