Wednesday, September 30, 2009
First, perhaps the recent beating that resulted in a young honor students death in Chicago may be the reason this has come up. I believe in the adage “An armed society is a polite society”, and perhaps it is becoming apparent to some (especially on the left) that banning handguns does nothing to stop violence. If that kid would have had a handgun, he could have picked off his attackers one by one and would still be alive today.
Second, because of the success that gun rights advocates have had recently, its looking like this might go in the same direction. “Last year, the justices struck down a prohibition on handguns in the District of Columbia, a city with unique federal status, as a violation of the Second Amendment.The court has previously said that most, but not all, rights laid out in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights serve as checks on state as well as federal restrictions. Separately, 44 state constitutionsalready enshrine gun rights.”(AP) It will be interesting to see if Chicago’s murder rate goes down if the Supreme Court rules the ban on handguns unconstitutional.
Lastly, I’m curious as to how much affect this will have on the Olympic committees decision whether or not to choose Chicago as the location for the Olympics. More “progressive” European countries might not like the idea, but who knows whether it will have an impact or not. Perhaps the committee will see this as a positive reaction to the beating death earlier this week. Everyone keep you eyes and ears open, this might become very interesting.
Cross posted at www.ktracy.com and linked at www.mattersofopinion.net
A Little Further Down the Rail…
By Travis Gearhart of http://www.mattersofopinion.net/
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
First the South Bend Tribune's Jack Colwell chronicled the potential candidacy.
Jackie Walorski vs. Joe Donnelly. That's the race for Congress the National Republican Congressional Committee wants in Indiana's 2nd District in 2010.And then Howey Indiana Politics picked it up as well
The NRCC, plotting campaign strategy for Republican control of the U.S. House, tried unsuccessfully to convince Walorski to run against Donnelly, the Democratic congressman from Granger, in 2008.
Will Walorski run this time?
Her Facebook page featues a few commenters mentioning the same. But nothing official in the least from Jackie. And she hasn't written on Capital Letters in a few weeks.
She is currently the House Republican from District 21 and frequent Social Conservative advocate. What are your thoughts on a possible race between Rep. Walorski and current Congressman Joe Donnelly?
From Building Indiana: NICTD is not taking a position on the establishment of a regional transit authority.
In my opinion the whole campaign for finding more money to match with federal dollars and build a commuter rail down to Lowell, and then maybe a longtime in the future to Valpo, was bungled. The RDA will be better served to focus on investing in job creation and economic development, on creating something at the Gary airport, and working with the Olympics to gain some benefits for our region. This RTA just feels like a bad idea, in the wrong year, pushed on voters in a costly referendum that could have been next year, by a Democrat from Lake County. (Rep. Chet Dobis)
Monday, September 28, 2009
A new Web site that blasts town officials in the wake of employee furloughs and budget cuts is hoping to rouse public discussion and outcry from disgruntled residents, but town officials dismiss the anonymous site as sour grapes and lacking credibility
The site Merrillville Politics features links mainly regarding use of federal funding that supposedly was to be directed to hiring more police officers, and the site suggests these officers were not hired.
Recent news about Merrillville and it the town council's desire to file for assistance from the State of Indiana's Distressed Unit Appeals Board, and some input from consultants suggesting they don't qualify and will have to cut budgets further. Can't say I understand how this new site suggests that Merrillville cut their budget even further while putting more money into police?
The Post article goes on to suggest that the author of the site may be a disgruntled employee or even police officer. Was particularly interested in a statement by one town council member:
Shudick said he would be very disappointed if the Web site's creator is a town employee, even more so if it is a town police officer.
"It would make one question their integrity," he said.
I have not yet received any information regarding my 2009 real estate taxes. Guessing what I will owe, I went to the treasurer's office with the intent to pay "something" so I won't be hit with a big bill due all at once -- whenever the tax bills do come out.
I was told they cannot accept any payments. They have boxes of checks they cannot process. They have no procedures to do this. But when they do get the bills out, I will be required to pay it all at one time, probably Christmas again! This debacle has gone on far too long! The performance of the county officials responsible for this should all resign -- including the county commissioners. Their performance is absurd and demands dismissal!
- Jack Crossett, Valparaiso
Friday, September 25, 2009
The Lake County sheriff is making public a private rebuke Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. hurled at him for arresting one of the mayor's allies.
The mayor accused Sheriff Rogelio "Roy" Dominguez, his second-in-command and Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter of "playing politics" following the Sept. 10 arrest by county sheriff's police of David Woerpel, 5th District Democratic precinct captain, and a close associate of the mayor, along with three other Woerpel family members on charges they were growing marijuana plants in their backyard.
Dominguez released a voice message he said McDermott Jr., left the following Saturday morning on the sheriff's cell phone.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
For those of you that may not have been able to attend, last Tuesday, a meeting was held attracting approximately 300 Region residents, mostly from Porter County in the midst of ongoing litigation on the pros and cons of the RDA’s continued existence. (see index of Times articles here: RDA: at a Crossroads) Below is a summary of the arguments as presented by Dan Lowery, moderator, near the conclusion of the Symposium:
Proponents: (Morris, McDermott, Reshkin)
1. The RDA is the only way to obtain state and federal dollars for lakeshore restoration.
2. The RDA is the best way to leverage state and federal dollars, only regional projects qualify.
3. The RDA has the ability to handle regional projects no one government can accomplish alone.
4. The Region can’t wait for Indianapolis to help or accomplish our goals.
5. Transportation development will keep the best and brightest in Northwest Indiana.
6. The RDA has high caliber of leadership and stewardship of dollars.
7. The RDA will create jobs.
8. Public transit serves the need of the less fortunate which leads to higher employment throughout the Region.
9. Rising energy costs will lead to increased need for public transportation.
10. The RDA does not have taxing authority.
Opponents: (Harper, Rust)
1. There is no proof that jobs can be delivered.
2. The “rural character” of Porter County will be destroyed by development and regionalism.
3. By leveraging state and federal dollars we also indirectly increase taxes.
4. The RDA has not brought any benefit to southern Porter County.
5. The South Shore will never end up expanding in Porter County.
6. We can’t tax and spend our way to prosperity, no matter whose tax money we use.
7. There’s not enough money in the RDA to do what they promise.
8. RDA/RBA/RTA = RAISING TAXES.
9. Once you have a tax, it only goes up.
10. Taxes drive people and businesses away.
11. The RDA has not spent money wisely, e.g. marketing, and have not been forthcoming on requested reports.
12. Rural Porter County will not be able to take advantage of public transportation as proposed.
13. To improve the economy you must build the business sector. The only way this can be accomplished is through lower taxes.
14. The world would end without the RDA?
In my opinion, the argument was imbalanced. Opponents seem to rely primarily (or exclusively) on anti-tax arguments. What I find interesting is that there is nothing to suggest that Porter County will eliminate the 0.25% CEDIT if, by chance, it happens to win in litigation and is allowed to withdraw from the RDA. Harper says so himself.
As I have mentioned previously, I do not believe that a 0.25% Tax is the real underlying cause for the extremely emotional response that some in Porter County have against the RDA. I think it is more about maintaining the status quo (anti-development) and “protecting” (i.e. isolating) ourselves from the rest of the Region, in terms of economics as well as demographics.
I am hoping that this post gets people riled on both sides of the argument. I am once again looking forward to open, honest debate of the issues surrounding this controversial topic. Feel free to engage any of the above points, and as well list some of your own that the Symposium may have failed to raise.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
What if the assessments are wrong, what's to keep Porter or Lake County from suffering the severe repercussions that have embroiled LaPorte County for the last five years? If the Treasurer can bill even if assessments are wrong, there is no accountability.
What if the auditor will not certify, like has happened in Laporte County, does the county have the right to bill it's property owners even though it is widely known that the assessments are flawed or even under review for being thrown out by the state?
It would be nice to pay ourselves on the back in Porter County, but frankly the DLGF Commissioner points out clearly:
State Rep. Shelli VanDenburgh, a Democrat, plans to introduce legislation requiring county treasurers to send property owners a provisional tax bill every spring.
"I constantly hear from constituents in Lake and Porter counties who cannot plan their household budget due to late and unpredictable property tax bills," VanDenburgh said. "This proposal would make sure there is consistency and continuity in the system and eliminate much of the guesswork that homeowners face when managing their expenses."
Commissioner Tim Rushenberg of the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance, which ensures property tax assessment and local budgeting follow state law, told a panel of legislators Monday that restoring the "normal" property tax cycle is his top priority.
While he claims to have made progress in 70 of Indiana's 92 counties, Rushenberg said Porter County "frankly, has historically been behind."
We are historically behind, time to replace the Assessor and Auditor for sure, but take away the controls that check the government from billing when they can't do so legally ... No.
Update: In a related story, Porter County Auditor Kopp got approval for $30,000 more in overtime money for the auditor's office staff ... which is now approaching a full year behind on completing audits, certifications, and bills. The solution suggested above smacks of political double talk ... how about a complete job on time? Kudos to council members who complained publicly about being held hostage by this office.
Monday, September 21, 2009
I thought that since both sides of the aisle seem to have no trouble jousting the Bar for its role in healthcare inflation, I would at least boil the debate back down to the facts and allow for feedback from commentators here. As the recently proposed national healthcare bill hopefully rests in peace, Republicans will inevitably begin to talk about a plethora of counterproposals, all of which will inevitably include tort reform.
Law is the world’s second oldest profession, next to prostitution, but shares in at least as much infamy as the first. Lawyers are hated by members of every trade and every walk of life. While it is no secret my affiliation in the Profession, I feel a duty to debunk some of the recent blame national healthcare proponents and opponents alike have leveled against lawyers.
Myth #1: Lawyers are to blame for rising healthcare costs. By most experts’ determination, malpractice insurance makes up a total of two percent (2%) of national healthcare costs. Of that two percent (2%), experts argue about what the exact role of lawsuits factors into this cost. Certainly, you wouldn’t expect the insurance industry to provide medical malpractice policies as sheer charity. So I think it is safe to assume that the lawsuits themselves make up for much less than this entire sliver of the pie. The actual number is less important. Let’s assume the total number is well under 2%. Is that really worth getting all worked up about? As well, in states that have passed significant tort reform legislation to limit or even prohibit lawsuits, there has been no significant decrease in the cost of medical malpractice insurance. Whether or not insurance companies are actually paying out these costs, they continue to charge the same amounts.
Myth #2: The Trial Bar is corrupt in giving money to politicians. Think about your favorite national charity; perhaps even a charity that builds orphanages by recycling used materials and employs the children to plant Christmas trees for the poor. It is extremely likely that this organization has a counterpart in Washington that gives money to politicians to support its cause. It’s just a fact of political life. And while the Bar doesn’t have the acclaim of such a philanthropic cause, of course it has a lobby, and of course it gives to politicians who are sympathetic to its cause. No organization is any different, and for every force in Washington, there is an equal and opposite force. In this case, it is no secret that the direct opponent to the Trial Bar is the insurance lobby. Although it appears as such, this is not a partisan issue. It is only partisan insofar as each side of the coin gives to a particular party sympathetic to its cause.
Myth #3: “Jackpot Justice.” First of all, these cases never see the light of day unless the defendant-physician committed an act of medical negligence. I won’t go into too much detail about what medical negligence is, but the general concept is that 1) there was some duty that physicians would normally perform under identical circumstances, 2) the physician in question failed to perform this duty, and 3) the patient was harmed as the direct and proximate result of the failure to perform it. Without meeting those elements, no competent lawyer would take the case, and if he or she would, it would get quickly bounced out of court on a procedural rule we call Trial Rule 12(b)(6), failure to state a claim for which relief can be granted. In addition, there are a variety of sanctions a lawyer faces for filing a “frivolous” claim, that in some cases can result in the lawyer’s own malpractice claim, and these can be equally career-ending for lawyers. Lawyers have a strong incentive not to take these claims, and for this reason, very rarely do.
Myth #4: Lawsuits decrease the quality of care. Some proponents of tort reform argue that doctors practice defensive medicine to avoid lawsuits and thereby incur unnecessary medicines and procedures. While this proposition has some merit, I believe it is largely overstated. First, doctors have their own incentives to run excessive tests, to over-prescribe medicine, and to over-diagnose conditions. After all, doctors run for-profit businesses (similar to your auto mechanic, who calls you when you bring your car in to repair every minor defect your car may or may not have). While I hold doctors in the highest esteem as a whole, many also fall prey to incentives given by major drug companies to prescribe their drugs to their patients. Healthcare sales still remains to be the most profitable industry that exists, in the midst of one of the world's worst economic recessions. While I am sure that defensive medicine has a role to play in overall healthcare costs, no one is exactly sure what this role is.
Indiana has a medical tort system that equally pleases both sides. Before an Indiana trial court can hear a medical malpractice claim, it must pass through a Medical Review Panel (“MRP”). This system of three (3) member boards of experts determines whether, by a majority of expert-peers, whether a physician has been medically negligent, and has its own internal appeals process. A full report is available here: Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund 2007 Annual Report.
The medical field, like any other, has in it members who don’t belong. Whether they are members who should have never went into the profession in the first place, or whether individual doctors are well past their prime, these doctors need to be held accountable for the risks they pose to the general public. Our tort system accomplishes this goal by making it economically infeasible to practice medicine beyond a certain number of successful claims. Indiana’s system is a compromise of the two extremes. Perhaps other states could benefit from putting into practice what we have had here for several years.
Friday, September 18, 2009
In a recent interview President Obama was asked whether or not he thought that race was a contributing factor in the health care debate. His response: NO.
‘”Are there people out there who don’t like me because of race? I’m sure there are,” Obama told CNN. “That’s not the overriding issue here.”
Time and again, Obama was asked about whether the tenor of the health care turned nasty because of undercurrents in racism. Former President Jimmy Carter raised the point prominently this week when he said the vitriol was racially motivated.
Not so, Obama said.
“There’s been a long-standing debate in this country that is usually that much more fierce during times of transition, or when presidents are trying to bring about big changes,” Obama told CNN.
To NBC News, Obama put it this way: “It’s an argument that’s gone on for the history of this republic, and that is, What’s the right role of government? How do we balance freedom with our need to look out for one another? … This is not a new argument, and it always evokes passions.”‘ (above excerts found in AP article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_obama)
Now, I know what some conservatives reading this that won’t look past ideology will say: OH HE DOESN’T MEAN THAT!! Hes lying through his teeth!!!
That very well may be the case, however as any person who will think for themselves and will only respond to hard facts would say: prove it. He could have very easily pulled a Jimmy Carter and agreed and called us all racists and biggots (like some Republicans did when amnesty was the issue) but he didn’t. He knows that the argument isn’t about whether a black man will enact policy. Its about whether ANY man should be enacting policies as big as this.
So, kudos to the President today for doing the right. He probably pissed off a lot of liberals with the comment, but he obviously recognizes that he isn’t the President of the liberals of America, he is the UNITED States President, and that includes ALL ideologues, moderates, and nut jobs.
There has been a terrific amount of traffic here over the last two weeks, with a couple posts (namely this one) turning into heated conversations about the role of the Republican Liberty Caucus. I thought rather than taking a hard position, I would open back up the conversation here and offer a few links to those wondering what all the emotion comes from.
Does the Republican party need a new fresh approach?
National Republican Liberty Caucus
Indiana Republican Liberty Caucus
"The Republican Liberty Caucus exists to promote individual liberty, limited government, and free enterprise within the Republican Party by promoting these ideals among Party officials and its various organizations, identifying and supporting candidates sympathetic with these ideals, and promoting Caucus membership among Republican Party registrants, officials, and officeholders.Many of our members serve actively in their local Republican Party organizations and several of our members have been elected and re-elected to political office."
A few comments prior to releasing the elephants, it would be nice if the debate revolved around what's best going forward and not necessarily what was rumored to have happened in the past. Secondly, I know we have many Democrat readers who may be dismayed to see so much single party chatter here lately. Let me challenge our Democrat friends to engage and offer suggestions and thoughts as well. I continue to wait for even one region Democrat activist to take my invitation to write here regularly with us ...
The continuing saga of the LaPorte County assessor, with the county commissioners voting 2-1 to continue the legal process of removing her from office. This process now moves to the LaPorte County Prosecutor to decide if it goes the last step to the courts. My biggest concern is a question as to intent: Did this process get rolling merely because the assessor is a Democrat, or are there legitimate problems in this office similar to Porter County and an elected official should be removed?
Merrillville may be rethinking their decision to seek assistance from the Indiana Distressed Unit Assistance Board. We all watched the process as it unfolded in Gary, and now they have been further saddled with a $350,000 out of state consultant to help them totally reorganize the city, does Merrillville have that kind of money? Or perhaps more local cuts and keeping their powder dry?
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
The cash for clunkers program did nothing to help out the car industry as a whole. In fact, GM and Chrysler (you know, the ones that got our tax money?) actually reported LOSSES for that month. And now, those of us that have semi crappy cars are seeing our cars go up in value.
For example. My wife’s car for putting around town is a big ol’ Dodge Ram V8 (the perfect example of a clunker). It leaks every fluid imaginable, but turns over EVERY time (those old better made cars will do that). Anyways, I’ve been checking up on the Blue book price, and its jumped about 800 dollars. If anyone out there has a similar car/truck, see for yourself.
This comes down to simple supply and demand. There aren’t as many older cars out on the market for low prices, and so that low price goes up a little. This is important for people like me that have a ”clunker” but couldn’t afford a new car payment. So now, instead of having all those extra payments to deal with(i.e. car payment, full coverage insurance, maintenance, etc.), I have a car that is worth more when I sell it to Carmax and buy another beat up car that has a bunch of miles. BUT I won’t have those extra payments, and that is what I touched on when I wrote my last post on cash for clunkers. The after affects of the cash for clunkers program will more than likely confirm my grade, but right now I give the program a D.
Why a D? For many reasons. First, the program did help SOME people, but mainly all it did was deter car sales for the following month because everyone who was thinking about purchasing a new car jumped on such a great deal. Also, the car companies that REALLY needed the help didn’t report positive numbers for that period, so all it helped out were the car manufacturers that were already doing good. The only reason it didn’t receive a failing grade is that because of the cars that were sold, there was SOME stimulation in related fields such as steel. I work in the steel industry, and we received a lot of orders in that time, and I imagine the same goes for similar car related industries. This has helped the economy on a small scale, and perhaps is a reason that things aren’t quite as dire as they were. If my predictions come true, however, the small blip on the chart in a positive direction won’t be positive for long and will more than likely fall back to where it was pre-cash for clunkers. However, I’m not going to give the program an F until my prediction comes true.
Ms. Smiths blog is important to keep up on for a couple of reasons. First, it shows that not all of us conservatives will blindly follow the talking head. Second, if there are inaccuracies that are put out by a conservative pundit it is important that fellow conservatives catch them before they can be used against us (i.e. calling us liars, although I’ll bet that those calling the CONSERVATIVES liars won’t be labeled racists).
I’m sure shes going to catch some flack for running this site, and the flack will come from both sides. The liberals won’t feel that shes doing a good enough job and will want the site to be a “I hate Glenn Beck” fan club, although she gives no indication that she hates him. Maybe she does, however the facts aren’t there to say either/or. The conservatives will call her a liberal in disguise, and those that write on this site sympathize with that treatment from like minded ideologues and although I won’t speak for the other contributors (I’m pretty sure they agree with me, but still) I give Ms. Smith my support and my daily hit and encourage her to keep up the good fight.
This site hits home with me a little personally since I found my own backlash by criticizing the conservative pundit, and I still hold by my feelings and thoughts of that post, which are basically: he shouldn’t say the President is a racist unless there is HARD evidence, and I do like the guys show and like his personal story. He’s a pretty good author, a recovering alcoholic, and pretty smart guy. He just needs a little Ritalin and an ice cold beer to calm down…wait…I mean…
This article is in response to Briefs’ Article below, and after the past couple of weeks, I hope it is finally something all of us conservatives can agree upon. Particularly, I am curious what the true fiscals who read this site regularly think about this issue, because I am not sure I understand their position, and I am not sure whether it even falls along any clearly delineated line. On one hand, conservative purists share a populist or grassroots perspective when it comes to elected offices, while efficiency and accountability are their highest priorities. I would like to get a constructive discussion going on how we should work together to address the below problem.
The issue below, I believe, has a very systemic, tripartite cause. The “three-legged stool” of county government, the auditor, assessor, and treasurer, are directly elected by the residents of the county under current law. While voters’ political will should not be questioned, we must first look at the duties of these offices, and whether it is appropriate to continue to elect officials to do the job, or whether some other model would be more appropriate to achieve the desired purpose.
The first aspect of the cause is a lack of qualifications of county officeholders. Under any other government model, be it state, federal, or city government, these offices would be considered executive in nature. They have concrete objectives to accomplish, and require a fairly specialized skill. With some exception, executive offices are generally appointed by the chief executive, e.g. the President, Governor, etc. This makes sense, because a single executive can evaluate the skills and experiences of potential officeholders. These appointing executives also have a strong interest to appoint qualified persons, because poor performance reflects directly on the executive himself. The local electorate, on the other hand, while worth consideration, has a completely different set of priorities in choosing these officeholders. As political scientists, we can argue about what those priorities are and whether they include qualifications and to what degree. I think, however, that we can all agree that by direct election the qualifications of each officeholder are at least placed on the back burner, so to speak, when deciding who these officials are going to be.
The second cause is an overlap of duties and responsibilities between the three offices. Many of the employees within each office perform similar, if not identical, duties. This is especially true between the assessor’s and auditor’s offices. Not only are they interdependent, many of the tasks assigned to each are also assigned to the other. An example of this redundancy is in the monthly reports required by the State Constitution. Each office has to spend valuable time issuing a detailed report, delivered monthly, to each other office in county government. I have read many of them, and I will say that creating these reports is an exercise in futility. They contain almost identical information, and are repetitive from one month to the next. I believe this is just one indicator that we need a single executive office in county government.
The third, and related, problem is a lack of accountability. It flows from my second critique, in that having several offices allows the blurring of accountability when things go awry. We have seen this demonstrated in the local papers. When the auditor is accused of failing to do his job, he then first blames the other county offices, and then blames state government. Throw partisan politics into the mess, and this swift shell game makes following the flow chart of county government accountability nearly impossible. This is compounded further by a similar accountability problem in the level of government charged with the supervision of these offices, namely the “three-headed dragon”, or the board of county commissioners, and no common person has a prayer of knowing who’s on first.
The answer, in my opinion, begins with Indiana House Resolution 0003 (2008-09) and its Senate counterpart, SJR 0005 (2008-09). By referendum, these resolutions allow for the consolidation of these county offices into a single office, and replace election with appointment by a single county executive. This dramatically cuts the number of “chiefs” as well as “Indians” at the county level, and I believe it would lead to a dramatic overhaul in the way things are done. The problem, as I see it, however, is that the possibilities are extremely open-ended and ambiguous. Referendums work best when they are simple, yes or no questions. What the legislature is proposing is much more complicated, and I believe too great a burden for the individual voter to comprehend and properly decide upon. It also leaves too much ambiguity for partisan politics to enter in and distort the facts. That being said, what do you think NWI?
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
The Times article today: Tax Payments Go Uncashed
Let's review briefly:
- The Assessor was unable to assess correctly, following the laws of the State of Indiana, and instead cherry picked a few areas to assign trending. This means that next year when residents of Shorewood actually get trended for the first time, there will be riots on US 30.
- The Auditor has been unable to certify, perhaps due to the assessors inabilities, or as we're often told "the software made me do it" and therefore our local communities are borrowing money while the county sits on a quarter billion dollars in cash in its accounts.
- When we were finally billed last year we became aware that our assessors were not good at commercial assessments, and after public flogging they had to ask the state to come in to explain and help, and eventually do the trending themselves.
- Oh, by the way, we still haven't been billed this year and when we do get billed it will be one tax bill for the whole year ... a solution that may seem easier to those in the white building but will actually cause roughly 1/3 of our homeowners to get increases in their escrows because mortgage companies will think it is a half year bill.
- Now we find that checks written to the county for taxes, some written in blood due to the massive size of tax increase, weren't cashed "the software made me do it" again.
Calling Nancy Adams, at least she seems to have an uncanny ability to see the problems.
Monday, September 14, 2009
If we were to fully accept the theory presented in this video, we would all agree that any form of taxation would be considered stealing (unless each individual were to give consent first). Since all of us were born after the taxation system was created, it looks like we have little say in the matter. Could a society function without taxation? Not unless you want to go back to pre-industrial days where each individual produced a good/service then directly exchanged it with another individual. This sounds a lot like the 1800s to me. Returning back to such a time would be a regression in society, dangerous.
Public Sector v. Private Sector
When it comes to taxation, libertarians fail to realize that there are certain times when the public sector can do things that the private cannot.
Social Issues & Economic Theory
Now that I have expanded into the realm of economics, it is important to note that believers in the liberty theory above are also blind to elementary economic theory which reinforces their anti-government views (in regards to taxation). Libertarians tightly grasp onto free market capitalism without understanding the impacts of such a system. The ‘every man for himself’ ideology doesn’t work well unless you come from a family of “have” or “have a little”. Economic theory assumes that we all start with the same resources, be that money and/or education. Clearly, the ‘Mathew Effect’ begins to take place: To those who have, more will be given and to those who don’t, more will be taken away. Capitalism has proven to cause massive (financial) inequalities in society, especially
Capitalism and Government’s Role - Planning
Government and business are inseparable. Both communism and free market capitalism are ideologies based on theory which assume specific behavior of humans. The reality is that both the public and private sector have specific roles in society and we must keep those in balance. Obviously, as of late, the federal government is making a power move to force ‘one size fits all’ polices on Americans. Their power should be extremely limited because the needs of each community are not the same. Having a bigger local government is more beneficial because those individuals are able to see problems at the ground level. With that, they are able to implement policies that have a much greater impact on the day to day lives.
My question to liberty minded folks in
Thursday, September 10, 2009
However, as I stated above, I didn’t write about it because I really didn’t care. I didn’t even bother looking up what he had said (because you couldn’t tell when you were watching the address) and I didn’t bother looking up WHO said it. And I can guarantee there were a hell of a lot of Americans who felt the same as me: that this whole thing was completely blown out of proportion. Whats worse, is Wilson APOLOGIZED. Now, let me put myself in that situation:
Of course Arlen Spector suggested a law against such outbursts, but that’s par for the course when it comes to a lobotomized walking corpse with no spine who switches parties so that he can win reelection. But I digress.
Another thing that I found AWFULLY funny was how the Democrats and the media have went after Wilson for doing nothing more than what Democrats did to Bush. Here are but a few examples:
Bush being heckled at 2004 State of the Union address when he mentioned reforming Social Security.
Bush being Booed at 2005 State of the Union address when he talked of cutting spending.
Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) called Bush a liar during Congressional hearings in 2007
In 2006 Harry Reid, while speaking to a group of high school students, said this: “The man’s father is a wonderful human being,” Reid, D-Nev., told students at Del Sol High School when asked about the president’s policies. “I think this guy is a loser.” Granted, it isn’t quite the same as yelling out during a speech, but is still inappropriate.
Both Vermont and New Mexico Democrats passed motions asking Congress to begin impeachment throughout Bush’s presidency. For what? WHY, the Iraq war, or course!
These are but a few examples that took me all of about 8 minutes to find. Yet ONE Republican speaks out and calls Obama a liar and suddenly every progressive blog online is SCREAMING at the top of its collective lung that this is proof that Republicans will lose the fight. If THIS is the reason that the health care battle loses, then quite frankly this nation has become too dumb to operate independently and should be retaken by the British.
If you're at all like me you have a hard time scrolling down every day to check out all the posts here, with 20 writers we tend to get some really active and busy days. Political news changes every day, so a quick "card catalog" if you will of the posts you may find interesting this week:
Northwest Indiana Patriots group rallying here over the last week.
multiple court cases over the Regional Development Authority in Northwest Indiana. The attorney general released an opinion, the county auditor and treasurer first agreed to put the RDA payments in escrow and then yesterday began to back away from that agreement. There are Republicans and Democrats on both sides of this, and the only winners are going to be the attorneys frankly.
Oh, and Mayor Costas is in China with Governor Daniels ... returning next week just in time for the Annual Mayor's Ball Charity Benefit downtown.
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
First of all, the positive. Obama made it a point several times to point out good ideas that were proposed by Crongessional Republicans. Most notably was reigning in “junk” malpractice suites against doctors, and saying that although he supports a government option, all options are on the table and should be considered. Is this just rhetoric? There have been several Republican proposed bills floating around for some time now, and it does seem a little funny to me that although he spoke of reaching across the aisle he didn’t really seem to start doing so until support for HIS health care reform began to wain. As always, I will give him the benefit of the doubt, and hope that this is a true change of heart and future change of how he works with Republicans, but I have to say that I’m not going to hold my breathe. Although I will give him credit on two things that they have changed in the bill: the wording has been changed to exclude illegal aliens and also the mandatory end of life counseling has been taken out (see the paragraph at the bottom for my opinion on the “death panel” thing).
Now, the negative. First of all, somebody tell Nancy Pelosi to sit her ass down for more than 30 seconds at a time. This is the second time shes been like a friggin’ jack in the box. Second: as far the costs, either Obama is incredibly naive or is just flat out lying. I’ll be keeping an eye on whether or not he holds true to his statement that he will not sign a bill that adds one cent to the deficit. Also, he seems to completely ignore the CBO reports that suggest this reform will cost A LOT more money than he and the other Democrats say. And of course there is the government option that is still on the table, and is the reason that many Americans are nervous in the first place. In my opinion? Work across the aisle on reform, but if there is still a government option vote no and make the Dems OWN this bill (although it won’t hurt Obamas chance of reelection, since many of the reforms aren’t enacted until 2013).
Now, the neither positive nor negative. Obama, of course, felt the need to criticize the Republican Congress spending, and to a degree that doesn’t bother me, since its true. There was A LOT of spending (some needed, some unneeded) during that time, and so I hope its a lesson to Republicans to reign in the spending next time their in power or it’ll bite em’ in the butt. Also, his lambasting of Republicans about “death panels”. No, there won’t be “death panels”. However where I do think there is legitimate concern with this kind of thing is the fact that if there IS a single payer system, rationing would be inevitable, leaving the government to decide who gets treatment. HOWEVER there is no panel of men who decide who lives and who dies. Not anywhere in the near future. IF a government option is passed, and 30 years later it evolves into a single payer system, and then 30 years after that rationing is required because SURPRISE we can’t afford it, then yes. “Death panels” could come around in 60 or so years. However I think that before that would happen Republicans would have majority again and turn it around.
Regardless, tonight was the night that was Obamas “all in”. He had all of his chips on this one subject, and he needed to deliver a miraculous speech to bluff his hand. Did it work? Well, I wasn’t impressed and learned little new, so I don’t think so. He still sounds like hes campaigning to me. He doesn’t make me think: heres Mr. President, like all of the other Presidents in my lifetime did (Democrats or Republicans). But, you never know. We’ll just have to keep watching.
Bricklayer Jeremy Rivas is making his first foray into Porter County politics in next year's election. Rivas, of Portage, will challenge two-term council member Rita Stevenson for the 2nd District seat. It is curious that a union bricklayer finds Ms Stevenson's votes on the RDA and other potential job creation opportunities frustrating enough to announce a run against her in the primary. This may not bode well for Democrats attempting to hold their fragile coalition against growth in Porter County.
The City of Gary received a negative report from the State Board of Accounts, questioning some spending. Remember that Gary petitioned the State of Indiana to allow additional time to get under the tax caps, due to the need to cut substantial amounts from the budgets. They have been ordered by the State to hire a financial monitor to produce a plan to cut the budget and reorganize the cities finances.
The Porter County RDA mess continues, with County Auditor and County Treasurers now pulling back from an agreement struck last week to send the payments to an escrow account for future disbursement or refund. Kudos to County attorney Rinkenberger for the attempt to build some agreement, but frankly a court will need to rule quickly so we can move forward.
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Richard Behney, local entrepreneur and Indianapolis Tea Party Organizer, has decided to enter the U.S. Senate Race to challenge the entrenched Evan Bayh. Tea Party Leader Behney Enters U.S. Senate Race.
Someone needs an elementary lesson in political theory.
While the TEA and RLC movements are both in their infancy, they must somehow feel they are ready for the big leagues. If potential Republican primary heavyweights Dan Dumezich, Don Bates, Jr., and State Senator Marlin Stutzman weren’t enough to deter him from frivolously blowing supporters’ money, the threat of a popular Evan Bayh should be. Even in a year when the investigation of a micro-scandal is underway, Senator Evan Bayh's is no soft seat.
I personally think that it is both premature and naive that an inexperienced minority faction “leader” within our party can succeed in the mainstream. In my political opinion, this naïveté both compromises the RLC’s mission as well as Republicans at large. For RLC’ers, this diverts attention away from where they should be focusing and possibly winning: in local politics. Liberty Caucus candidates have a number of strengths, purportedly arising from the grassroots. With this mentality, if they wish to succeed at all, they should begin by slating candidates for local races, such as township offices, city and town councils and boards, and perhaps make county-wide runs where their support is the most concentrated. Attempting a statewide run at a federal office is ludicrous at this point. I guess these folks feel as though the well-established principles of party formation do not apply to them. I wonder if they believe they can defy gravity as well?
Well, as someone who is unmoved by the RLC’s empty rally and rhetoric, I find this recent effort somewhat promising. With a couple of high profile defeats early on in the Movement’s infancy, perhaps worrying about the potential influence of this faction on our Party as a whole will be a thing of the past sooner than we think.
I need to do some digging, to really get at the meat of Todd's proposal, but in the interest of getting all our readers thinking, here's the website and a anti-Sec of State article first.
Rokita's rather ridiculous redistricting
by Scott Fluhr, a GOP Chair in Southern Indiana and regular writer on Hoosier Access and Hoosier Pundit.
My article on Hoosier Access this morning:
I just know this post will cause some ulcers, but I was struck with a though when catching up on Indianapolis news this morning. Here are the posts that started me off: Rokita’s Rather Ridiculous Redistricting Proposal and Rethinking Redistricting the website produced by Secretary of State Rokita.
After a cursory overview, I have to say in general I agree with Todd’s suggestions. I might have favored private money being used in the research and marketing, as the Kernan Shephard folks did. I would find the “illegalality” of thinking about politics to be too strong, since last I checked we are all still granted the right to think.
But all in all, each Indiana Senate seat should feature two House seats in the same geographic bounds. All in all, population should be the guide and not voter vault. All in all, the existing county lines are a much better boundary than gerrymandered messes to give one side or the other a couple extra votes.
Sorry Scott, I felt your article didn’t give the proposal its fair shake. Perhaps a problem with Todd, or his possible run for Governor? This effort on the surface looks surprisingly like a Daniels move, bringing the best of common sense and transparency and putting it on the table. To be frank, I’m still for Becky as Governor, if she wants it … but this kind of forward thinking on Todd’s part shows he’s just the man for Lugar’s Senate seat we need, if only that resignation were forthcoming.
Mayor Costas China Trip Blog
Can't say I love the format offered on NWI Times, but it's a start. You can sign up on NWI and comment on the blog, offer questions, and suggestions too.
Friday, September 04, 2009
Head to Northwest Indiana Patriots for the full story. I had reports from patriots and from advocates of health care reform that the protests overwhelmingly favored those opposed to more government intervention in health care. Frequent reader to this site know that we favor open dialogue from a multitude of political positions. Although this is a national issue, it came home to Porter County this week, where do you stand?
"Valparaiso rocked to chants of “USA! USA!” and “No Obamacare!” as over 300 people people marched down Washington Street in Valparaiso, IN, Wednesday evening to participate in the health care reform debate. Concerned citizens were there to get their views out."
Thursday, September 03, 2009
Alright, let's talk Lake County politics, someone give all our readers the rundown. Who controls the council? What are the issues facing the council in Lake County? Open thread for some prognostication ...
I don't know at this point what I can say that hasn't been said about the illegality of Porter County's April withdrawal from the RDA, but the Post Tribune reported today that the AG has now entered the fight, with an official Opinion declaring the County's action to violate the RDA enabling statute. AG: Porter must remain in RDA, NWI Times here: Porter Co. RDA exit is illegal.
You can read the full text of the opinion here: 9/3/09 Attorney General's Advisory Opinion.
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
A couple salient points and then some interaction here on our intentions going forward for local government in Indiana.
- Some Lake County property tax payers were paying an unbelievably high rate, close to 10% of the value of the property. This means that homeowners with 30 year mortgages would have been paying the value of their home in taxes every ten years. Somewhere no matter your political persuasion that has to ring as a wrong.
- The legislature did indeed pass tax caps to 1% for residential, 2% for rental, and 3% for commercial properties, and this did create a "gap" between what government would normally have levied and what it will get. This gap has created much consternation for local government officials, but the legislature also allowed a few years to transition to these lower revenues.
- Many local government entities have been raising fee income to make up some of those lost potential revenues. These fees are much easier to understand and frankly much easier for the voters to disagree with than were opaque property taxes, mainly difficult for the average citizen to figure out.