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Tag Archives: taxes
Today: Thomas Sowell trumps the tripe on tax cuts, perspective on WikiLeaks
It has been a busy week so these are a couple of days old, but worth the read if you haven’t seen them.
First of all, nobody’s taxes – whether rich or poor – are going to be cut in this lame-duck session of Congress. The only real issue is whether our current tax rates will go up in January, whether for everybody or nobody or somewhere in between.
I haven’t read any of these documents myself. I’ve only read opinion from others who alternately love or loathe WikiLeaks. Both sides present reasonable arguments assuming their facts are straight. Assuming for the sake of argument that no irreparable damage to our national security has been done, this analysis makes a lot of sense to me.
Assange’s act is not an attack on the peoples of the world. Quite to the contrary, it is an attack on a very narrow group of people. It is an attack on the world’s governing elites, because it shows them for what they truly are: liars, hypocrites, schemers, incompetents, egomaniacs, thieves and murderers.
Today: thoughts on the right to vote, the hot air about wind energy
If someone takes a Federal job should they retain the right to elect their own benefactors while suckling at the public teat? Should someone who is on welfare be allowed to vote on benefit increases or extensions? Should those that are consistently voting themselves largess be allowed to continue unimpeded? Should the takers have the tools to force the givers to fork over ever more staggering amounts of treasure or should that be a decision made by the givers? Those addicted to government largess have become infantilized. Would any sane parent give their children the unqualified right to set their own allowance? That’s in effect, what we have done.
Wind power has long been promoted as a viable form of clean energy in the U.S. and among world leaders. For unlike fossil fuels wind does not emit CO2, classified as a global warming gas by the Obama administration EPA, even though CO2 is essential for plant life and life itself.
As I am becoming more involved in politics at a local level, I am faced with questions I have never thought about before. I’ve been following national government for years and have very definite ideas about that. The federal government should be strictly limited by the Constitution. It should do no more and no less. As stated by the Tenth Amendment, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
That grants considerable liberty to state and local government. In fact many would be horrified by the strictly religious nature of many a jurisdiction of the time. This leads to a more philosophical question. What are the reasonable responsibilities of a local government? It has considerable latitude within the framework of state and federal law and would have a lot more if the Constitution were properly observed and its principles carried forward by the states.
A local government must of necessity be concerned with the mechanics of day to day life in a way that higher entities need not be, but I remain convinced that sound principles of government will work at all levels. It should provide protection and keep the peace. It probably must to some extent be involved in the management of local infrastructure, but should stay out of the way as much as possible.
However, I also recognize that this kind of government only works when the people as a whole are of good character. If they refuse to function within the law and with proper respect for those around them, then it becomes necessary to have more authority in the hands of the government. John Adams said of the US Constitution, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” This is why there are some truths we cannot ignore, no matter how offensive they may be to a small segment of the population.
What does this mean in practical terms? I am still left with questions about what the local government should and should not do. I suppose one answer would be whatever the citizens decide that it should do. This is reasonable, but can we reach a point just as we have at the federal level when government has grown beyond the control of its citizens? When this happens, it is our right and responsibility to regain that control. Local municipalities regularly commit acts of tyranny every bit as egregious as those perpetrated at the federal level, less frightening only because they lack the overwhelming power of the Big Brother state. When they act in concert as in the case of New London, Connecticut one begins to lose hope. In this case the High Court ought to have done its job and protected the rights of the individual.
Citizens also may abuse their power. I wish I could find the article I recently read by Thomas Sowell I think explaining how zoning gets misused to assert the rights of one group over the rights of another. I understand the desire to keep some sort of order. Honestly I’m glad the city can keep my neighbor from tearing down his house and replacing it with a porn shop, but the question needs to be asked whether I should have the right to tell him what to do with his property. How is it that my rights are more important than his? Let’s consider something a little less controversial. I recently attended a birthday party at a restaurant featuring a large outdoor deck with a mariachi band and Aztec dancers. The restaurant backed right up to a residential neighborhood. From our seats on the deck we could look right into someone’s pool in their back yard. I suppose if the owner of that house were the partying type he was in a prime location. He got free entertainment every night. I just kept thinking it must be a terrible annoyance to the people who live in that neighborhood to have that kind of noise going on all the time.
I don’t know who came first, but whose rights should the city protect? Whose rights are actually in question? We have defined a lot of things as rights that are not rights at all. There may be a question of what is right in this situation, but not of rights. Should not government be a defender of what is right?
Is it right for a city to force a resident to modify his property because his neighbors don’t like the way it looks? I suppose one may argue that the home owner has a responsibility to maintain the standards of the neighborhood in which he has chosen to live as a courtesy to his neighbors. He may in fact do financial harm to them by lowering the value of their properties. Is it right for them to force him to do so, even if it will cause him harm?
These are some of the questions I ponder as I watch my own city government in action and contemplate my level of participation in it. I have not even touched on the monetary issues. I suspect that if its functions were reduced to those essential to the maintenance of the city and the rest were left to private enterprise, there would be no monetary questions and we would enjoy even better service.
I would like to know what others think about these things. Your comments are welcome on the blog or on my Facebook notes, but if you live in the city of Richardson, Texas, I urge you to respond to this post on the Facebook group page I created to advance the cause of responsible government in our city.
This is the text of a flier I received from Bonnie Wells explaining why Richardson residents should vote against the 2010 bond package. Early voting begins April 26. The link below will take you to the original MS Word 2003 document, which looks much cleaner than the mess below that results from pasting the text into wordPress. Note this is revised from the original post.
The easy thing to do regarding Richardson’s May 8th, $66 million bond is to vote yes. After all, who doesn’t like new things? The responsible thing is to vote No.
JOIN OTHER RICHARDSON RESIDENTS DESIRING A STRONGER COMMUNITY AND LET OUR CITY LEADERS KNOW THAT WHILE WE LOVE RICHARDSON AND WANT THE ABSOLUTE BEST FOR IT, NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO ASK US TO RAISE OUR PROPERTY TAXES AND PUT OUR FINANCIAL FUTURE IN JEOPARDY WITH THIS UNSTABLE & RISKY ECONOMY.
LET’S COME UP WITH COMMON SENSE SOLUTIONS TO KEEP OUR COMMUNITY STRONG AND VIABLE!
Opposition to the current bond election has surfaced for the following reasons:
1. Affording this bond is based on a stable economy. Unfortunately, recent Dallas County Appraisal District (DCAD) data shows 60% of the homes will have lower appraised values. Last year, 55% of the homes had reduced values. The trend is not improving!
Lower appraisals mean lower tax revenues for local taxing entities (City of Richardson, Dallas County, RISD, DCCCD, and Parkland Hospital).
Dallas County is expecting a $56 million shortfall this year. They are considering a $.02 property tax increase which would result in additional new taxes to you!
As a result of lower appraised values, RISD will have to do one or more of the following: cut services and/or reduce or eliminate the homestead exemption.
2. Voting for this bond means putting a 10.4% city property tax rate increase on you! What about the elderly on fixed incomes? The City of Richardson is made up of 24% retired on fixed income. What about the unemployed and the under-employed who are currently suffering in this risky economy?
3. Protect our AAA Bond Rating. Over the last 15 years, Richardson’s debt has grown considerably. Currently, it takes $.37 out of every property tax dollar to pay our bond obligations. This debt will grow to $.43 if this bond passes and will be one of the highest rates in the Metroplex. Richardson used to be able to boast of having one of the lowest tax rates in the State of Texas– not anymore! At what rate will Richardson lose its AAA bond rating? This would have a disastrous affect on the cost of money for the City.
4. SAFETY OF OUR CHILDREN – Moving a fire station from a major road to a secondary road located between Apollo Junior High and crowded ball fields is a disaster waiting to happen. It’s been said that moving the station south reduces response times to the south. It does so at the expense of increased response times to the north! Let’s look for common sense solutions!
5. LOW TAX RATES MAKE OUR CITY A STRONGER AND MORE DESIRABLE COMMUNITY IN WHICH WE LIVE, WORK & PLAY! Let’s be responsible in Richardson and avoid problems like the massive, out-of-control spending at the Federal level, which will have to be addressed by our children and grandchildren.
For more information, visit http://www.jsn2010.com
Distributed by/for E. A. McDowell