Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Why I am voting Libertarian

None of the Above

If the Republicans win, it will probably be by a whisker. They will spend money in a manner that will make the last six years look like a model of fiscal restraint in an effort to maintain control of the House, the Senate and the Presidency in 2008. The Democrats will go along for two reasons. One is that they like nothing better than spending money. Secondly they will be able to blame the wildly excessive spending on the Republican president.

If the Democrats win, it will probably be by a whisker. They will spend money in a way that will make a drunken sailor on shore leave seem like the epitome budgetary parsimony. They will blame George Bush for the resulting rise in the deficit.

Some are worried that if the Democrats win, there will be two vacancies on the Supreme Court that will be filled by activist, liberal judges because current sitting liberals are waiting for Democrat control. Probably true.

If the Republicans win, however, the current liberals will just wait until 2008 (actually 2009) to resign because, if the Republicans win in 2006, Hillary will win in 2008 as a backlash for the massive Republican spending between 2006 and 2008. In any event, we are doomed to having a more liberal court.

As an aside, this supposedly conservative court has made two rulings that defy any logic. Obviously one is the Kelo decision. Even though some states have passed some laws to try to ameliorate this whacko decision, there should have been a message from the Court that eminent domain is not for private use.

The other decision was Raich (sp?) which gave the Court the perfect opportunity to overturn Wickerd. Wickerd vs. Filburn (early 1943), passed in the heat of the second world war, gave Congress the power to declare virtually any action by anybody as interstate commerce and to regulate it accordingly. That particular decision certainly ranks in the top 5 as one that institutionalized the loss of freedom in America.

So the only real alternative is to vote Libertarian to send a message to whoever wins that they do not have a mandate to go hog wild on spending. Voting Libertarian is a way of voting for "none of the above." A pox on both your houses.

I am voting for one Republican, Katherine Harris, because she is a very capable lady and she is in favor of the Fair Tax.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Apologies for no show

Missed Last Saturday
Sorry guys. Last Saturday was a bust, so now show was recorded. Jimmy is finally going to have to figure out how to run his own studio.

As a consolation prize I will post here the letter I wrote this evening to the local County Commission.

Dear Commissioners,

First of all let me thank you for listening to me when I spoke the other evening, during citizen comment time, on the very general subject of County spending. I won't call what you do a thankless job, but it is certainly one that you could not pay me some $5,000 each month to do. In the alloted three minutes I had to skip some points, so I would like to take this opportunity to "revise and expand" my remarks. Most of you know me, and you know not to take anything here personally.

Recently Ron Cunningham over at the Sun asked readers to respond to the question, "Is spending by Alachua County government out of control?" I invite (dare?) the commissioners to go online and read the responses. Furthermore, while there, you might give us your views on why government spending is not out of control. You can even do this anonymously without any sign-up, although I don't know why you would want to.

So, is Alachua County government spending out of control? This is a rhetorical question, right?

Oh, there is the perfunctory genuflecting in front of the cross of fiscal restraint every election year, but otherwise it's the same old, same old. Even windfall revenues such as we had this year are not enough. Plans are afoot to garner yet more revenue.

Spending is out of control because there is no control. Asking the County Commission to control its spending is a little like asking a college kid to control his spending when he has his parents' credit card. The difference here is that the college kid doesn't have a gun. He can't force his parents to give him money.

You, on the other hand do have a gun. You are the only ones legally empowered to collect money at the point of a gun, and with that comes an awesome responsibility.

There are two questions that I never hear asked by commissioners during budget or new laws and regulations hearings.

One is, "What happens if this plan doesn't work? What if our assumptions turn out to be wrong? What is my fallback position? What is my plan 'B'?"

The second is, "Am I prepared to send the sheriff with full authorization to use any force necessary to collect the monies for this program?"

The answer to the first question is all too often to do more of the same. Make the program more inclusive and intrusive. "Tighten it up" is a phrase we often hear.

The answer to the second question must be "Yes" or else the program would not pass muster.

The reasons for overspending by the county are systemic and endemic to all governments at all levels. The commissars want to be liked and to do good things for the people. There are always unmet needs and wants. There is nothing so permanent as a temporary government program. Once started, programs not only become entitlements, but their "needs" increase every year. Job security requires the invention of a never-ending stream of crises that only the government can cure by extracting yet more revenue from the populace.

The beauty of our system is that the government can identify a new "crisis", say healthcare, put it on an out-of-the-way election day, convince 10% of the electorate into voting for it, and, voila!, a new program that requires everybody to pony up millions. This is known in government parlance as a mandate.

Our leaders sometimes forget that government is the overhead of society and they themselves are responsible for reigning in spending. There is no automatic check as there is in the private sector. Bill Gates may have an operating system monopoly, but he will never send one of his goons to my front door to force me to buy his product. One the other hand, government failure is rarely punished. Heck, half the time it's rewarded with a new plaque for services well done.

Private companies react rapidly to deteriorating market conditions by cutting back. When governments screw up, we don't get so much as an "oops" out them. Governments often react not by cutting back, but by instituting larger, more comprehensive programs.

Look, we citizens have given you the exclusive right to legally collect our money, by force if necessary, for purposes you deem essential. Nobody else, however rich or powerful, has that privilege. All we ask in return is that you don't abuse that very special franchise by spending our money on questionable items.

Think of it this way. We have a bank where we keep our money, and we have said to you, come on in with your loaded guns and take what you need. We know you need the guns because there are always some recalcitrant folks who object to your taking any money. But we trust you to take from us only what is absolutely essential.

Can you honestly say that every dollar you take is absolutely essential to the benefit of the entire community?


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Gainesville Sun - flack

Socialist Sun flacks for the county
The Gainesville Sun is a willing accomplice to local Socialist tendancies with the notable exception of Jake Fuller. I know that the Sun must feel they are doing a bang-up job, because they do receive some flack from the commissions. It's that old story in the media, "If both sides complain, then I must be right in the middle."

Nope, sorry, you don't get off that easy. Recently headlines have touted the reduction in the millage rate as a reduction in taxes. This in the face of an increase in the budget of virtually every governmental agency with more on the way. So where is all this extra money coming from? (That is a rhetorical question).

A recent example of the Sun flacking for the County. Headline: Buildings to Benefit County's Economy. And then there is the sidebar with a picture of Randall Reid, the county manager saying, "There is a good economic benefit to government spending."

Now Cindy (Swirko) is a long time reporter for the Sun, so I don't understand why she didn't ask the question(s) that immediately spring to my mind.

"Say there, Mr. Reid, isn't the $108 million taxpayer money that would have been spent anyway? I mean if you take a dollar from the private sector and spend it in the government sector, isn't the economic "benefit" just a wash? In fact isn't it a bit of a loss since we have to pay the staff to collect and disperse these monies?"

"And, Mr. Reid, where are the workers going to come from? It's not like we have any unemployment here in Alachua County, so are you not going to have to bid away the local workers from private construction by offering them more money? Won't that increase the cost of private construction thus raising the price of housing?"

"And, Mr. Reid, won't this ripple throughout the local economy by leaving less money for the citizenry to buy cars, flat screen TV's and Christmas presents?"

"And, Mr. Reid, will there not be more folks who simply not be able to afford the higher price of housing, and then will not the county step in and "solve" this problem by taking yet more taxpayer dollars and subsidizing housing for the newly poor?"