In business the customer is king. If you don't take care of the customer, you don't stay in business. That's why a businessman will work to provide more of what his customers want to buy instead of less. And if his customers will only pay so much, he'll figure out how to be more productive or he'll cut costs. What the businessman probably won't do in a crunch (for the simple reason that he wants to stay in business) is increase his costs by paying himself and his employees more and then telling his customers to stuff it.
Of course, government doesn't work that way, because government can fail miserably and not go out of business. So the bureaucrats do not need to respond to the public they are supposed to serve. Indeed, they most surely will not do so if responsive service means putting fewer of the taxpayers' dollars in their own wallets every week. An excellent example of this is the petulant reaction of Grand Rapids Community College to Tuesday's election result when the voters rejected for a second time in three months a millage hike for the school. GRCC President Juan Olivarez made this clear on Wednesday when he explained how the community college's students and not the faculty would be made to suffer for cuts that Tuesday's vote allegedly necessitated.
Of course, the big noise that Olivarez made was that he would not ask the GRCC Board of Trustees to raise tuition on students in the wake of Tuesday's election. But then Olivarez already got the board to jack up tuition by a record 8.9% after the voters denied the first millage request back in May. So the students were spared nothing. GRCC already stuck it to them. Even though students are going to pay more for their classes, Olivarez announced that GRCC is planning to cut back on those very classes in highest demand -- i.e., basic English, math, and science instruction. Now you would think that the classes to cut, assuming these cuts are in fact necessary, would be those least demanded by students. But no, doing that would fail to punish the students in particular and the taxpayers in general for GRCC's failure to get its millage hike. Thus, students must pay more for less, period.
This gambit by Olivarez is no different than the petty retaliations of public school districts against voters by canceling bus transportation or varsity athletics after losing millage elections. By the lights of government bureaucrats like Olivarez, the taxpayers exist to feed the system and the first priority of that system is to turn taxpayers dollars into compensation for its employees. So when the taxpayers say no to coughing up more of their dough, then they must be taught a lesson. The system must cut those services which the taxpayers find most inconvenient (at least, noticeably so in the short term) to lose. In the case of GRCC, this would be the basic courses students need for their vocational training.
Do you doubt that the faculty, and not the students, comes first at GRCC? The faculty's contract with GRCC expires on August 31st. School officials made it clear to the Grand Rapids Press on Wednesday that the failure of the millage request would have no affect on the negotiation of salary and benefits. The faculty association's president, Fred van Hartesveldt got the message when he told the Press that the millage request was not about the taxpayers' compensation to the faculty but about providing students with the services and capital improvements they need, and so the voters have decided that it is the students and not the faculty who must suffer. Thus, van Hartesveldt has crystallized the entitlement mentality of the bureaucrats, which Olivarez is loathe to disturb.
And this is the upside-down world of the government bureaucrat. If the public won't pay more, deny them the services they want while increasing the size of your paycheck. After all, the one thing the bureaucrat knows for sure is that no matter how poorly he serves the public, the government is not going out of business.