Saturday, March 31, 2007

I'm not sure we can get there from here...

I saw an interesting analogy over on KNAPPSTER the other day. It touched on the thoughts I’ve had for a long time, that incrementalism isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as things are at least moving in the right direction.

I have a couple of granddaughters that live just north of Noblesville. I know that when I drive out to see them, I’m going to go through New Castle. Now, I don’t mind going through New Castle, because I know I’m getting closer to seeing the girls, and I know if I have to stop there for a little while, at least I’m closer to my goal than I was when I left home. And if something or someone tries to keep me there too long, or turn me in another direction, they’re going to have a fight on their hands.

That’s how I feel about the progress the Libertarian Party is trying to make towards a limited government. I realize the ideal solution would be to do away with property taxes. I also realize that this is a difficult and daunting task that will need to be coupled with decreased government spending, and less reliance of the citizenry on government hand-outs and wealth redistribution. The plan that some Libertarians came up with a few years ago for an equal square footage assessment formula goes a long way towards making the tax at least a little more fair as we continue to work on abolishing it.

I take some flack from some libertarians and Libertarians because I sit on the Hagerstown Plan Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals. I can certainly see their point that government controlled land use and zoning regulations are not in keeping with libertarian thought. But planning and zoning do exist, and until it can be eliminated or modified to fall more in line with property rights protections, we need to fight them where we can. I have consistently voted in favor of property rights and reduced government interference while on these boards. And I know I’ve had more effect on the outcome of events than I did when I simply argued from the gallery.

I’m getting pretty old, but I’m not totally set in my ways. And if someone can convince me there is a quicker way to get to Noblesville than going through New Castle, then hey, I’m all ears. Likewise, if someone can convince me that there is a better way to advance libertarianism than fighting and clawing through one small victory at a time, I’m up for that too.

Meanwhile, I’ve got some work to do.

As soon as I get back from Noblesville.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

To coin a phrase...

Remember the Susan B. Anthony dollar and the Sacagawea dollar? Neither do I.

I'm wondering if we may not have to remember the new Presidential dollar either.

Six weeks after its release, I haven't received one back in change, my wife's store hasn't received one in payment.

The mint even left the printing off of the edge of some of the coins trying to generate some interest. Still nothing.

Has anybody seen any of them floating around?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

When you're right, you're right...

I don't always do the right thing. My wife Susan will be the first to admit that. And it's not that I don't know what's right. It's just that sometimes it's easier to grab a quick burger than to put forth the effort it takes to sit down to a healthy bowl of broccoli, and sometimes it's easier to sit in my favorite chair than it is to put forth the effort to clean up the nasty mess I made out in the shop. Not right, just easier.

That being said, the other day I was talking to a supporter of the Wayne County EDC. That's the group that decides which businesses or projects are worthy of receiving a portion of Economic Development Income Tax that the county started taking from it's citizens a few years back.

I have always maintained that business capitol should come from the business owners and willing investors, the people that stand to win or lose on the venture. Certainly people who have no stake in the business, and no chance of financial gain from it, shouldn't be forced to give up a portion of their income to support it.

The real kicker is, this supporter of the EDC agreed. And I've heard it many times from EDC members, Wayne County Commissioners, and members of the Wayne County Council. They've all said the same thing. They agree that privately owned businesses should be privately supported, but claim that since other states and counties are using public funds to lure business, Wayne County is bound to do the same, right or wrong.

So that's where we are. And we have to realize that if something is right when it's easy to accomplish, it's also right even if it's difficult to accomplish. And even if it's easier to do the wrong thing, we still need to at least try to do the right thing.

Like I said, I don't always do the right thing, but most of the time I give it my best shot.

I'd sure like to see our elected officials do the same, or at least try.

Un-Conventional thoughts....

Richmond and Wayne County generated a great deal of discussion a couple of weeks ago, from both supporters and detractors when the EDC proposed making a bid for a 2008 presidential debate. I'll have to admit that I was more than a little skeptical about the chances, and more than a little upset about EDIT funds being used to pursue this quest.

But, stranger things have happened, and if they can pull it off without further burdening the taxpayers, and if they will include all presidential candidates that are on the ballot that year, they will certainly deserve our congratulations.

What I really suspect, though, is that they will not land the debates, the taxpayers will be out another $2500.00, and that the County Commissioners will use the failure of not getting the debates as a reason to lobby for a tax-payer funded convention center again.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Girls, Girls Girls!!!!

Audry, Rebekah and Hannah!

Our pride and joy. I don't have the heart to tell them that their share of the national debt is $468,000.00. And growing.

How about we all work together to do something about that.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

It just keeps growing, and growing...

The New Castle Courier-Times recently reported that Henry County needs more parking spaces for its county employees. While that news may be troubling, it is not surprising. On the previous day, the paper had listed the top 10 employers in the county. It turns out that 4 of those top 10 are actually the government.

That's right in line with neighboring Wayne County, where 4 of the top 10 employers are also government entities, but not quite in keeping with the State of Indiana, where 4 of the top 5 employers are the government. Federal agencies are number one, with 33,511 employees, while state agencies follow closely with 33,040.

Throw in all of the city, town, county and township employees in Indiana, and the total number of government employees reaches 325,000, and growing. Now compare that to the number of Hoosiers employed in direct manufacturing. 570,000, and shrinking.

That's not to say that we don't need public servants to carry out the necessary duties of a good and limited government. But we also need to remember the burden that excessive government places on the citizens that work to support that government, not just in wages, but also in benefits and retirement plans that will burden our children and grandchildren.

One solution to this problem might be to start electing people that actually believe in smaller, limited government. People like Libertarians, perhaps.

Or, we could hire county employees based on the number of available parking spaces.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

I guess it depends on whose ox is getting subsidized...

Here's an interesting kettle of fish. Apparently subsidies are good when pork producers and corn growers receive them,and tarriffs are good when they protect corn growers and pork producers, except when those subsidies artificially affect the market and inflate prices. Huh? When don't subsidies artificially affect the market.

If it weren't for corn subsidies and government support of ethanol production, corn would remain a foodstuff and and these alternative crops, many of which can be grown on marginal ground would take its place.

There's a limit to how much government help we can stand.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Spring forward, Fall back in it.....

They say every cloud has a silver lining. I may have discovered one for daylight savings time.

Now, I'm not one of those people who believed the sky was going to fall if we had to change our clocks twice a year. Neither am I one of those people who believed that DST was the saving grace for Indiana that would bring an influx of new business and good paying jobs. I guess I was right. The sky hasn't fallen yet, and we're still losing more jobs than we are gaining.

I am an early riser that appreciates the cool morning daylight, and I'm convinced the change had more to do with golf than jobs, but it didn't take me long to adapt to the change.

But back to the silver lining part. My wife Susan's delivery van has a digital clock that has been an hour fast since last fall. Neither of us can figure out how to change it. Come Sunday morning that will be one less thing to worry about.

Oh happy day!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Libertarian Party of Wayne County Convention

Mark your calendars. The Libertarian Party of Wayne County will hold its 2007 nominating convention on April 21st at 6:00 P.M. The event will be held in the Jefferson Townhip Office, 47 East Main Street, Hagerstown.

In addition to electing county party officials, we will also be nominating candidates for the fall elections. These are the town and city elections, areas where Libertarians stand an excellent chance of breaking through. Wayne County elected Susan Bell in 2003, and Conley Tillson in 2006. Just across the line, Henry County elected Steve Coffman in 2006. The possibilities of continuing the movement towards limited government are very real this year.

I will be posting a list of offices that will be on the ballot in November, along with more details soon. Please consider stepping up and running for an office. We have made some amazing progress with our wins in Wayne and Henry County, and we need to keep the momentum going.

Contact me at if you would like to help out.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Knock 'im out, John...

A few years back, comedian Jerry Clower told a story about going hunting one night with his friend, John. To make a long story short, John climbed a tree to roust a raccoon, only to discover the animal in the tree was actually a bobcat. In the middle of the ensuing fracas, John called out for his friend on the ground to shoot the animal. When his friend replied that he couldn't shoot, for fear of hitting him, John replied, "Well just shoot up here amongst us. One of us has got to have some relief!"

For several years and sessions, the Indiana Legislature has been talking about providing some relief to the property tax-payers of the state. It hasn't happened in the past, and all indications are that it isn't going to happen this year, either.

Hoosier voters have taken their shots, electing Republicans and Democrats as Governors and Legislators, sometimes letting one party control both branches, sometimes in different combinations, but always with the same results. While our elected officials might get together long enough to vote themselves a pay raise, or pass a few questionably beneficial programs at our expense, neither party seems overly interested in putting party politics aside and getting down to the business of eliminating property taxes and the unfair and arbitrary assessment system that is driving many Hoosiers from their homes.

Perhaps its time for Hoosier voters to consider adding a few members to the legislature that aren't bound to follow either the Democrat or Republican lines. Someone who could examine a bill on its merits, regardless of its author or party of origin. Maybe a few Libertarians, or a few independents, or a combination of your choosing.

Take your pick, and take your shot. We all need some relief.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

That bites

This is a really sad story, and in more than one way. It's sad because a little boy died from what started as a toothache. That is the personal tragedy side of the story.

On a broader scale, it's a tragedy that we have created a society where a mother would avoid an $80.00 trip to the dentist because she was looking for a government program that would provide a taxpayer paid visit. We saw the same attitude in Louisianna after Hurricane Katrina. A year later, some people were still sitting around fire barrels amid the rubbish, wondering when the government was going to put their lives back together.

There's plenty of blame to go around. For the mother that wouldn't make four $20.00 payments to get help for her son, and for a welfare system that promotes so much dependency among it's recipients, and for the citizens and taxpayers of this country that allowed such a welfare system to evolve.