Friday, January 27, 2006

Mad Hannah

Here's a picture of Hannah when she heard about Mitch Daniel's plan for adding a bunch of new taxes without removing any existing taxes. And although she is not opposed to privatizing road building and maintenance, she's not overly impressed with his half-baked plan for leasing our current toll road, and she's really upset with the forced annexations that citizens across the state have to fight continuously.

Here's Hannah when her Grandpa told her about the Libertarian plan for limited government, lower taxes, and personel freedom and responsibility. She's feeling better already.

Ain't she a beaut?!?!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A most excellent day!

Did you ever have one of those really great days that nobody could screw up no matter how they tried? Well, let me tell you about the one I just had.

For starters, Dad made it through his heart catherization with flying colors. He hasn't always made it through these hospital trips so easily, but this one was a breeze.

Then, to make a great day perfect, our daughter presented us with our first grandchild, Hannah. I can't find the words to describe the feeling. The most beautiful baby I have ever seen just gave birth to the most beautiful baby I have ever seen.

Nothing can ruin my day. Mitch Daniels can sell the Wilbur Wright Road to Mongolia and George W. Bush can invade them to get it back. Today, I just don't care.

Did I mention my granddaughter?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Why and What

I announced today that I am seeking the Libertarian Party's nomination for the House of Representatives District 54 seat. A good friend of mine, who is not sympathetic of the libertarian philosophy, asked " why in the world would you want to do that, and what in the world do you think you can accomplish?" I know it was a rhetorical question, and he really didn't want an answer, but being a libertarian, I never pass up an opportunity to ramble on, so here's why, and what.

I'm running to give people who want a limited government a chance to vote for it. Not just the Libertarians that want limited government, but the Republicans and Independents and yes, even the Democrats out there that want limited government. I know there are a lot of those people out there. I've seen them and I've talked to them. They just haven't had a way to vote for it. I'm hope to change that.

I don't have a lot to offer to people that want an unlimited government. But that's okay. They don't really need me anyway. They already have a lot of options. They can vote for the Republican candidate. Or they can vote for the Democrat candidate. Or they can not vote at all. Any of these actions or inactions will move us closer to unlimited government, unlimited taxation, and unlimited regulation. That is how it has worked in the past, that is how it is working now, and nothing has convinced me it will be any different in the future.

So that is why I'm running.

As to what I hope to accomplish, well, I've narrowed that down to three things. Number one, of course, is that I hope to win. That is not as far fetched as it once would have been. The county Libertarians have been putting up some impressive numbers the last couple of elections. Races where we have garnered 25%, 30%, 38% and even 61% of the vote. Needless to say, we won that last one. As more and more people get fed up with the tax and spend policies of the two major parties, our chances keep getting better. And in the three way race that I hope to be in, 34% could send me to Indy.

Of course, there does exist the possibility that I could win the nomination and still lose the election. Not something I like to think about, but a possibility, none the less. But, if in the course of that loss, I am able to collect enough votes to affect the outcome of the race, perhaps the other parties would consider it in their best interests to adopt some libertarian ideas into their platform. Just as the Republicans and Democrats carried the socialist agenda when it was politically expedient for them, they can certainly help carry the libertarian banner now that the pendulum is swinging back in our direction. And I can live with that for a while.

Of course, as Arlo Guthie found out from Officer Obie, there is a third possibility I would rather not consider at all. There is the possibility that I win the nomination, lose the election, and have absolutely no effect on anything or anybody. I truly hope that doesn't happen, but if it does, I will at least be able to look my soon to arrive grandchildren in the eye and swear that I did my best to preserve for them a little bit of freedom.

That's what I hope to accomplish.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Hold the pickles, hold the taxes...

A few days ago, my wife and I finished our evening deliveries before dark. It was nearly 60 degrees in January, and our New Years resolutions were going pretty good, so we decided a celebration was in order.
We pulled into the local Whippy Dip and ordered a couple of chocolate shakes. When the young lady behind the counter inquired "What size?" I said that I would like a medium, and Susan said that she only wanted a small. To which the young lady replied, "We don’t have medium or small. We only have large, super-duper, and gargantuan."
A bit taken back, I said, "Okay, give us two of the smallest you have." She punched the cash register and shouted, "Two large chocolate shakes! That’ll be eight dollars, please."

I had the same frustrated feeling when I watched Governor Daniels give the State of the State Address Wednesday night. You see, I grew up believing that Republicans were the party fiscal responsibility and small government. For the second year in a row Governor Daniels has used this speech to call for tax increases. Last year he called for higher income taxes on just the wealthy. This year, under the guise of "home rule and local autonomy", he called for higher taxes on everybody. He wants to allow local governments to adopt revenue options including local sales tax, which is at least limited to 1%. Other proposed taxes, such as the Supplemental Income Tax, Food and Beverage Tax and the Innkeepers Tax, are without limits. And these new taxes aren’t replacing property taxes. That might make it a little easier to accept. Instead, they will be added to our existing taxes and, if at some time in the future your local government decides it has more money than it knows what to do with, they might choose to give certain citizens a property tax break. The legislation calls for "targeted tax relief to classes of taxpayers". Somehow I get the feeling you and I won’t be in that "targeted class".

Governor Daniels also seemed awfully proud of his efforts to save the Crane Naval Station. I guess that is doubly important because by retaining those taxpayer-supported jobs, the federal government remains the biggest employer in Indiana. If those jobs are lost, the state of Indiana would be the biggest employer in Indiana, and the federal government would drop to number two. But either way it goes, I would think it would be hard for him to talk about small government with a straight face.

We have a Republican Governor, a Republican controlled House and a Republican controlled Senate here in Indiana, just like we have a Republican President and a Republican controlled House and Senate in Washington. We also have this year, from both Washington and Indianapolis, increased budgets, an increase in the number of departments and agencies, and a decrease in the protection of our property rights. And the Democrats are complaining that the Republicans aren’t spending enough.

Hungry for a smaller government? Sorry, but if you don’t have a Libertarian on the ballot, it’s not even on the menu.

"The Blade" could use a little sharpening.

Did anyone watch the State of the State address last night? Regardless of the spin, we have a bigger state budget than we had when Daniels took office. We have more departments and agencies than we had when Daniels took office.
We are going to have higher taxes at the local level without realizing any tax reductions at the state level.
It could be that "The Blade" isn't as sharp as he let on.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Be careful of what you don't ask for.

A while back, one of our local newspapers printed an editorial concerning citizens' complaints about high taxes, titled "Lower taxes can bring less service", and warned taxpayers to be careful what you ask for, because you might get it. While that might be true, I would suggest that taxpayers be especially careful when asking for something from the government, because you never know what you are going to end up with.

You might reasonably ask your government to take the taxes you pay on gasoline and use them to build and repair our roads. What you end up with is nearly half of that money being spent on flower gardens, hiking trails, bicycle paths, studies on adolescent obesity and thousands of other pork-barrel projects.

You might ask your government to simply educate your children, and instead end up paying for a top-heavy bureaucracy that costs 3 to 4 times more per student than private schools.

You might ask your government for health insurance to protect your poorest senior citizens, and instead end up with a program that spends your tax money to furnish Viagra for the wealthiest segment of our population.

You might ask your government to raise an army to protect you from foreign invaders, and instead end up paying to have troops stationed in 140 countries around the world, providing security for nations quite capable of providing their own
Sometimes getting what you ask for isn’t nearly as bad as getting what you didn’t ask for.

I think I’m ready to ask for a little less government.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Lets make a Deal

I've got a friend who works for one my suppliers that is an unapologetic socialist. I normally try to avoid politically oriented discussions with him because they so seldom accomplish anything. But the other day, our conversation somehow meandered into that arena, and I nearly choked when he stated that government might be involved in a few more areas of our lives than is really necessary. He then quickly said that even though this might be the case, he was worried that if the Libertarians were in charge, we might trim things too much.

Well, we were able to strike a deal. I'm going to try to get the Libertarian nomination for the District 54 seat in the House of Representatives. If I win the nomination, Jim is going to vote for me. If I win the election, I'm going to use every opportunity to reduce the size, scope and cost of our government. If we get enough Libertarians elected, we might actually return it to it's Constitutionally mandated limits.

But if, during this transformation, the government gets too small to suit Jim's tastes, I promise there will a lot of Republicans and Democrats that he can vote for that would just love to make it big again. It's almost one of those "win-win" situations politicians like to talk about.

How's that for a deal?

Monday, January 02, 2006

You say you want a Resolution

It’s not that I have anything against New Years Resolutions. I know that sometimes people stick to them, and sometimes things work out. Twenty years ago a resolution and a couple of $100.00 side bets got me off of cigarettes. Then, after a couple of false starts, I gave up alcohol and chewing tobacco, and I’m getting along pretty well with a couple of last year’s promises. I’ve made peace with the neighbor’s cat, and I hardly ever bring up farm subsidies or politics with my in-laws. Unless they mention it first. Or unless somebody does something really stupid. All in all, I’m really doing pretty well, I think.

But some resolutions are tougher to keep than others. Some resolutions require almost super human determination. Sometimes we need a little help, sometimes we need another plan, and sometimes we just need a little creative score keeping. That’s what I’ve decided to do with my resolution this year. I’ve been watching Congress and it’s imaginative budgeting, and I think I can make their system work for me.

Congress has a developed a system by which they can spend more than they did last year, and still call it a spending cut. I don’t understand how it works for sure, but apparently, if they don’t spend as much as they could have spent, that qualifies as a spending cut, they get to brag about it, and the taxpayers are supposed to be grateful. I haven’t figured out how spending cuts could have allowed our federal budget to double and our national debt to quadruple in the last 15 years, but I guess our lawmakers thought it was working well enough to vote themselves a raise last month.

I don’t know if they saved enough with their spending cuts to send $200 billion, (that’s $400,000.00 for each of the 500,000 displaced families), to Louisiana after the recent hurricane, or $284 billion to help fund 14,000 pork barrel projects that our congressmen depend on to win re-election, but I guess they think they did. It really doesn’t matter because I don’t think they ever planned on balancing the budget or paying off the debt anyway.

But back to my New Years Resolution. I used to make a pledge to lose weight every year. This year I resolve to try not to gain as much weight as I did last year, unless I go over to Moms too many times for chicken and dumplings, or my wife makes one of those red velvet cakes with that fluffy white icing, or our friend and neighbor, Helen, brings over one of those strawberry rhubarb pies with that criss-crossed crust with sugar sprinkled on it.

So that’s my resolution for 2006, and I’m feeling pretty darned good about it. I think I’ll have a cookie.