Sunday, October 26, 2008

You can take this to the bank...

Unless you have a very sophisticated filter on your internet connection, you're probably getting a ton of e-mails questioning the integrity, wisdom, religious convictions, motives and past associations of the major party Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates. I usually delete the ones I receive, after I peruse them for possible blog material. There normally isn't much to harvest from them, so I don't pay a lot of attention to them.

Of course, I don't pay a lot of attention to the candidates ads, either. If I ever heard one of them honestly say that they were going to leave us alone, and simply attend to their Constitutional duties, I might be a little more interested. But so far, that hasn't happened.

I did hear something yesterday that sounded pretty serious, though. I checked it out, and it appears to be very likely to happen. A friend told me that if Barack Obama is elected on November 4th, most banks will be closed in 7 days.

I believe the same thing will happen if John McCain is elected.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Say What?!...

Sometimes it's not as much what is said, as it is who says it. The things our fathers told us when we were teenagers didn't carry nearly as much weight as the same proclamation when made by one of our buddies, or a coach. One time I was working for a restaurant owner here in Hagerstown, and I gave him my suggestion for insulating a cold table. He rejected my idea, until a specialist from Indianapolis suggested the same idea. Then it was accepted as gospel. I wasn't offended or upset. I know that is how things work.

At a candidate forum today, a county council candidate called the idea put forth by Libertarian candidates of eliminating property taxes "unrealistic". Again, I am neither offended or upset. I know it has been considered a radical departure from the time honored procedures for funding local government, and I know how much local governments enjoy a constant and predictable flow of tax dollars. I also know that most of the support for eliminating property taxes will come from outside of political circles. Our stand on the issue hasn't endeared us to most editorial boards around the state, either.

But, on a more positive note, I was reading the Indianapolis Star this morning and came across the paper's endorsement for Michael Young, a Republican running for District 35 Senate seat. Young has proposed a plan that would eliminate residential property taxes, and the Star states that the plan "deserves serious study". Young's plan does have some flaws, in my opinion, in that it doesn't include farms and businesses, and it provides mechanisms to replace lost revenue instead of reducing spending.

Even with its shortcomings, it is a plan that proposes eliminating, at least partially, a grossly unfair tax. And it has a major newspaper's editorial board looking favorably at it. If it takes a major party candidate to get the attention and help keep the ball rolling, thats alright too.

I know that is how things work.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Take that....

There is a trial going on in Richmond right now, where a young man has been accused of hitting another young man in the head and then taking his laptop computer. I won't speculate on the outcome of the trial, but I imagine if the accused is found guilty, he will probably spend some time in jail. Most civilized societies take a dim view of assault and theft.

Most civilized societies take a dim view of theft even without the assault. When the afore mentioned incident took place, apparently there were 2 people that wanted the computer the victim was carrying. I think most people would agree that just because 2 people wanted what one person had, they still didn't have the right to just take it. And if there had been a group of 3 people, or 100 people, or 1000 people that wanted that computer, they still wouldn't have the right to just take it, no matter how much they wanted it.

I suppose there could be an instance where that same group of people could have hired another group of people to go and just take the computer, but I don't think a civilized society would have stood for that either. As a nation, we have even sometimes went to war to stop someone from just taking something that didn't belong to them, even if they wanted it really bad. (Of course, as a nation, sometimes we've went to war to take something that didn't belong to us, either, but that's for another story.)

I wasn't surprised or disappointed that I didn't get the Palladium-Item's endorsement for the District 54 seat. I was disappointed in their reason. I have been a strong advocate of eliminating property taxes. I understand that property taxes are a stable source of income for governments. I also understand that a lot of people want parks and museums and football fields and gymnasiums and exercise rooms and fishing ponds in their lobbies. I understand that some people want these things really bad. Some people want them so bad that they elect people to go out and threaten to take other peoples property in order to get the money to pay for them.

I don't think they have the right to do that.

Apparently some of the people at the Palladium-Item don't agree with me.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Say it ain't so Joe, and Randall......

There is a lot of talk this election season about the Kernan-Shepard report. Every forum and debate I have attended this fall, and every candidate questionnaire I have received (except for the single issue types) have included some reference to some portion of the report.

Most of the voters I have heard from have rejected the part of the report that calls for eliminating elected positions and replacing them with appointed positions. Neither do I find much support for a state mandate calling for the consolidation of school districts to insure at least 2000 students per district. It seems most people in the area believe, correctly I think, that consolidation of schools should remain a local matter. The call for eliminating township government and transferring the duties to the counties receives mixed reviews, with the most vocal opposition coming from township officials.

There is a lot of language in the report about transferring duties from the county to the state, shuffling election cycles, and lifting restrictions on the purchasing ability of local governments and schools that should never have been imposed in the first place.

My opponent in the District 54 House of Representatives race recently added his thoughts on reforming state government, including combining the House and Senate, eliminating state legislative districts, and giving the governor more control over spending.

I’m sure a lot of our legislators have genuine concerns about the proposed consolidation of library services, and maybe some are truly concerned about the number of campaign signs that will no longer be needed if some of the new plans are adopted. But as I read through most of the proposals, the term “red herring” comes to mind. At one time a red herring was used to confuse hunting dogs by masking the scent they were tracking. Today it is often used to divert peoples’ attention from the real issues.

The real issue is that government spends too much money, and it borrows and mortgages our children’s and grandchildren’s futures to pay for programs and promises that they have no say in. Hiring assessors instead of electing them won’t solve the problem, anymore than sending our tax dollars to Indianapolis so they can take their cut and send it back to us will.

The real issue is that government loves property taxes. It is a tax that the government can collect in the worst of times. And if you can’t come up with the funds to pay them in the worst of times, the government gets to take your home. Most officials claim they need that constant, reliable funding source to make their jobs easier.

Governments in the past have laid claim to peoples children. We wouldn’t stand still for that today. We shouldn’t stand still when they lay claim to our property.

We can do away with property taxes. We can do it by eliminating non-essential spending, distributing our sales taxes to legitimate government services, and making sure the user fees we pay, (such as gas and road use taxes) are truly spent on their intended purpose.

There are a lot of things that need to be fixed in state and local government. Finding a fairer and more equitable way to fund a smaller version of that government is a good place to start.

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Barr Necessities.....

I see they're having another Presidential debate between the Republican and Democratic candidates this Wednesday. I doubt if I watch it. I heard enough in the first two debates to convince me that I had made the right decision when I decided that I couldn't support either one of them.

They certainly have a difference in style, and they claim to have a difference in agendas, but I have also heard enough and seen enough to realize that whether John McCain or Barack Obama is elected, upon leaving office, either one will leave the government more costly and more intrusive than when they took office.

Apparently that doesn't bother a lot of people. But it bothers me. And it bothers Bob Barr, the Libertarian candidate for President of the United States of America. Bob Barr favors a Constitutionally limited government. Those Constitutional limits will provide all of the necessary government that we need, while ending most of the outrageous spending and meddlesome interference in our private lives.

Some people contend that voting for Bob Barr amounts to a wasted vote. I'm a firm believer that voting for something you don't want is really a wasted vote.

I don't want higher taxes, or a higher federal debt, or more government in my life.

So I'm not going to vote for them.

If you would like to vote for less government in your life, check out Bob Barr at

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Friday, October 03, 2008

How much is a Senator?...

I'm reminded today of the story of the man who asked a woman if she would sleep with him for a million dollars. After she said yes, he asked her if she would sleep with him for a dollar. When the offended lady said "What do you think I am?!", the man replied, "We've already decided that. Now we're just haggling on the price.

58 representatives that voted against the taxpayer funded bailout changed their minds for $130 billion worth of pork. I guess that means that representatives cost $2,241,379,310.34 each.

I guess that means we also know what they are.

P.J. O'Roarke called them "A Parliment of Whores".

I guess he was right.

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