Friday, February 22, 2008

Money isn't everything....honest...

Libertarians enjoy the well deserved reputation as being the fiscally conservative party where taxation and government spending is concerned, and people who pay attention to such things realize we have little competition in that area. But it’s not just about taxes and spending. Libertarians are also working for a smaller, limited government, although not all Libertarians agree on the best way to accomplish that end.

This week I was elected president of the Hagerstown Plan Commission. I have served on the Plan Commission and on the Board of Zoning Appeals for five years. I understand that Libertarians are generally opposed to government planning and zoning. As I’ve stated before, I’m generally opposed to them myself. I’ve made some suggestions that I think would make zoning a little less obtrusive on property owners over at , understanding that we are still a couple of elections away from eliminating government planning and zoning completely.

I’ve caught some flack from fellow Libertarians that don’t believe Libertarians should be on plan commissions or zoning appeal boards, or other government entities that run afoul of libertarian thought. I suppose that is one way to look at things. But I choose to look at it differently.

Before I was on the BZA, I argued from the gallery for property owners rights when someone requested a variance from the rules, often to no avail. Since I have been a member of the board, I have argued for property owners rights, and to date, every request that has come before the board has been approved. As a Plan Commission member, I have been able to affect favorable rulings for property owners, and I am often the lone and lead voice against proposed forced annexations.

I do appreciate the purist point of view, and I look forward to the day we get enough Libertarian legislators elected to eliminate the current laws that give the government so much control over our lives and property. But until that time comes, I plan on doing what I can to lessen the effect of that control.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Oh Boy!!!!....

Just when you think things can't get any better, along comes another grandbaby!

Say hello to Dawson. 9 pounds, 21 1/2 inches.
Sometimes we forget how blessed we are. Every once in awhile we get a reminder. We got one Wednesday morning.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Throw me a rope....

Our preacher told a story a while back about a man who had climbed onto the roof of his house during a flood. When a boat approached to take him to safety, he sent it on it's way, explaining that he trusted the Lord to save him. He gave the same explanation to the next boat that approached as the water continued to rise. By the time a third boat arrived, the water had forced him to the top of his chimney, and again he told it's occupants of his faith that the Lord would save him. He watched the boat floating away as the water swept him to his death.

As he stood at the Pearly Gates, he complained to Saint Peter that the Lord had abandoned him in his hour of need, to which Saint Peter replied, "What do you want? He sent you three boats!"

There is currently a wave of discontent rising among American voters. Congress is struggling to keep it's approval rating in double digits. The President's rating only slightly higher. Our tax burden is increasing, we have troops in 140 countries around the world, and each person's share of the federal debt, including current and future obligations, amounts to $168,000.00.

So a lot of people are looking for a 'change'. Unfortunately, a lot of people also believe that change will come from electing the same type of people that got us into this mess. Meanwhile, the water keeps rising.

I certainly don't believe that Ron Paul was sent from above. I do believe he represented a chance for the American people to turn the tide of growing government. Not nearly enough people grabbed on.

There's going to be some other candidates on the ballot across the country, mostly Libertarians, that would like nothing better than to start reducing the size and lowering the cost of government before it drowns us all.

So what are we waiting for?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Running on empty, but still running...

Ron Paul's decision to forego a third party presidential bid this fall, along with any chance of being on the ballot, has left a lot of Libertarians and Constitutionalists, along with a lot of disgruntled Republicans, Democrats and Independents, with somewhat of an empty feeling. It's been a couple of hundred years since a candidate with Paul's passion for a Constitutionaly limited government has captured as much national attention. (Dr.Paul received more votes from Republican primaries on just Super Tuesday than any Libertarian Party candidate has in any general election since I've been affiliated with the party.) His decision not to run dashed a lot of hopes.

It would be easy to become discouraged that the vision for limited government didn't catch on this year. It would be easy to simply give in and give up. But I remember about 40 years ago when I was taking a karate class, and the instructor (I can't remember his correct title), would put us through some horrific exercises that required more endurance than most of us felt we had. When the last student gave up and dropped his arms, the instructor explained that someday we might be in a situation when the desire and ability to persevere would be the only thing that would keep us alive. There might come a time when can't count on someone else to save you.

I think that is where we are today. If you were one of those people that supported Ron Paul's push for limited government, personal freedom and personal responsibility, it didn't take too many primaries to figure out that the bulk of the Republican Party is no longer interested in promoting those concepts. Neither are they considered options by the Democrats.

So then what? We could give up, but I'm pretty sure we wouldn't like the results of that. Or, we could continue to fight. The Libertarian Party will nominate it's Presidential candidate this May. Although I don't know who that candidate will be, they will be the only candidate on most ballots that endorse limited government. I'm fairly certain it will be someone that holds most of the same libertarian values of Dr. Paul. I'm also fairly certain that the candidate won't have the name recognition of Dr. Paul, or the fundraising capabilities of the Paul campaign. I pretty sure the candidate won't garner as many votes as Ron Paul would if he was on the ballot.

But the Libertarian candidate will give limited government supporters a chance to vote for limited government. And a chance to hang on and keep fighting.

There are a lot of ways to give up. I'm afraid all of them end badly.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Somebody needs to call a "do over"...

Back before the days of electronic games, the kids at Millville Grade School had to come up with different ways to entertain ourselves at recess. Usually softball or kickball or Red Rover, or variations thereof. The rules of most games were negotiable, and the bigger kids usually won the negotiations. I remember that my old pal, Stinky Wilmont, one of the bigger kids, would always call for a "do over" whenever he swung and missed, or kicked and missed, or didn't break through the line.

I'd pretty well forgotten about the tactic, until the other day when I was having lunch with a couple of friends, and we were discussing the current crop of leading presidential candidates. We all agreed that it didn't offer much of a selection. One of them suggested that the nation should thank all of them for their time, and then start the selection process all over again, only this time we should really be serious about it.

What a great idea! So today, at 7:34 P.M., I'm officially calling for a "do over". Surely out of 304 million people in this country we can find at least 3 or 4 that actually respect the Constitution. Some one who understands that change isn't really desirable if that change only leads to bigger government. Someone who doesn't grin like a possum when they talk about keeping our troops in Iraq for another 100 years, and someone who realizes that people who work for a living have the right to decide how to dispose of their earnings.

So let's get started. And Stinky, if you're out there, I may need some help on this one.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Oh, baloney!!!....

There weren’t a lot of extra-curricular activities when I attended Millville Grade School. Occasionally we would load onto Howard Tucker’s bus and ride over to Ashland or Dalton for a softball game. Once in a while we would head over to Memorial Park for a picnic, and to gather specimens for our leaf collections. I suppose students are still allowed to have picnics, but I imagine by now collecting leaves in the park without a permit of some sort would lead to a violation of some law or statute.

Our picnics consisted of bag lunches that we brought from home, mostly sandwiches and potato chips. This was back before peanut butter cost $8.00 a jar, when jelly was homemade, and before we knew how to spell baloney or what it was made from. It was a pretty safe bet what your bag was going to contain when it was time to eat.

But my old pal, Stinky Wilmont, drew a great deal of pleasure from convincing other students to swap lunches with him. He always found someone willing to make a trade, but I never saw the attraction. Regardless of what Stinky and the others were hoping for, they were still going to end up with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or a bologna sandwich. And no matter how many times you made the switch, the outcome was always the same.

Governor Daniels and our state legislators are involved in the same sort of swap fest over in Indianapolis right now. After a great amount of public outcry and voter unrest over the property tax debacle, our lawmakers have decided to make some changes. They have decided to collect a little less property tax and a little more sales tax. Most likely they are going to swap some elected officials for some appointed officials, and some elected assessors for some hired assessors. Some of them want to trade small government schools for large government schools.

Maybe their original plan might have been to make the unfair property tax a little less unfair, and to make the arbitrary assessment system a little less arbitrary, but their new plan still allows people living in identical homes and with identical incomes to pay different amounts of property taxes based on a person’s age. And it allows identical homes in the same neighborhood to be taxed at different rates depending on who lives in the home.

The Governor and our legislators want us to believe that they can reduce our total tax bill without reducing their spending. That somehow a temporary decrease in property taxes coupled with a permanent increase in sales taxes, or that replacing elected bureaucrats with appointed bureaucrats can somehow make the bottom line that citizens pay to the government more affordable.

Sorry Mitch, but like I used to tell Stinky, that’s a bunch of baloney.