Saturday, September 24, 2005

Libertarians Oppose Estate Taxes

I check the Noblesville Daily Times every day, even when I am out of town, as I am now. I found an article in the op-eds that just infuriated me. It made the assertion that planning and saving for the purpose of providing for your children and grandchildren somehow made the poor poorer.

The Daily Times ran the thing, and it deserved a response. This topic deserves a Republican response, but typically, they are absent on all things economic anymore. I submitted a Libertarian response, and NDT printed it, with a nice headline of their own:

Estate tax is unjustified government intrusion into

The headline announcing Marian Wright Edelman's column on the estate tax, "Permanent repeal would hurt poorest", (Viewpoint, Noblesville Daily Times, Sept. 20) helps one understand the misguided economic thinking of the Left and the threat such "thought" poses to individual liberty and financial security.

Should the descendents of the person who has worked, planned, and saved for the purpose of providing for them be punished only because the offspring of the poor were not so cared for by their own? What message does the Left send in opposing estate transfers? It can only be that planning and thrift are to be discouraged at the penalty of theft, and that a lack of planning is to be encouraged and rewarded.

Your money was earned by you. It should be directed at your passing by you and you alone. The state should have no claim on the money you earned, merely because you pass away. Nor should the poor and their apologists, who would use the state as the means to steal what you earned. The well-to-do have not merely hit life's lottery. They have made the life choices that result in the creation of wealth. These choices should be encouraged by all public policy, including estate policy.

Edelman makes the assertion that working hard and saving for the purpose of ensuring a more secure future for your children and grandchildren somehow worsens another person's lot in life. In fact, the poor's lives are utterly unchanged by this action. It is absolutely true that the descendents of the person who worked, planned, and saved benefit enormously from such forethought. What makes that a bad thing? That such people will not be dependent upon the welfare state, and therefore, will have no need for the Left and their statist politicians?

Republicans should be at the fore in removing the immoral estate taxes from the books. Unfortunately, they are mired in a directionless muddle on all things economic and drifting ever leftward, moving away from their fiscal conservatism. We hear precious little from them on this subject.

Libertarians grasp these concepts completely, which is why Libertarians oppose all manner of estate taxes.

Mike Kole, Fishers

Kole is a Libertarian candidate for Indiana Secretary of State. He is the former chair of the Libertarian Party of Hamilton County.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Who Causes Price Gouging?

In a few days, when gasoline pump prices soar again, the public at-large will be blaming gas retailers of 'price gouging'.

Understanding that prices are always a function of supply and demand, what happens if the public decides to stock up? That's right, the prices go up faster because the supply diminishes faster. By the way, Consumer, what you are doing is called HOARDING. From Norm Heikens' excellent Indy Star article:
Experts say gas prices could rocket above $4 a gallon, and oil refiners hope consumers won't worsen already-tight supplies by filling tanks like they did during Katrina, when demand shot up as much as five-fold at some locations, said Marathon Petroleum Co. spokeswoman Linda Casey.

Not since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks had Casey seen such hoarding, she said.

Casey is at the bat. She describes the behavior correctly. Don't complain about high prices, especially if you participated in the hoarding that led to the scarcity that drove up the prices.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Greetings From Hilton Head

I am on a vacation with Isabel at Hilton Head, while Ame attends a medical conference. You gotta love the medical profession. They know where to hold a conference!

My blogging activity may be a little short, but I'm still keeping tabs on Indiana. For instance, I'll direct you to Rob Beck, who attended and testified at yesterday's hearing on Eminent Domain at the Statehouse.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Hamilton County Meeting

Hamilton County Libertarians met tonight for a business meeting at Barley Island in Noblesville. This is the same restaurant we put on the front page of the Noblesville Daily Times, thanks to our pro-restaurant/anti-tax pub crawl.

Chair Rob Place had an excellent agenda, including a focus for the 2006 ballot, a possible Fair Tax presentation & discussion, and one of our members' outreach to a significant PAC. Sheri Conover Sharlow came down from Grant County to discuss her campaign for US Representative in the 5th District. She'll be running against Dan Burton, and looking for the support of Eli Lilly employees and their families & friends.

Rob allowed me to speak about my Secretary of State campaign. The photo captures my credit card merchant's display. I let everyone know that I am serious about all aspects of campaigning, including fundraising.
Media's Blind Eye

There was plenty of media coverage for the Colts' stadium groundbreaking, and all of it extremely favorable. Not like there was much questioning of the validity of the project as a matter of public policy from the media during the mostly Republican campaign to raise taxes for this private project, but the questioning period is clearly over.

Some libertarians attempted to get the attention of the media and passersby with pickets. Here is Kevin Fleming's account:

Fred Peterson and myself stood at the corner for approximately 90 minutes. Fred's sign read "Sewers not Stadiums" and mine read "Cops not Colts". The first two reactions we got were negative. One guy wanted to debate why we were there, and another woman yelled sorry about your luck. After this the reactions were extremely positive including three passing police officers, one ambulance driver, and one water company driver giving us the thumbs up. I would say overall there were 35 to 40 thumbsup signs we received. We had three people ask why there weren't more protesters there including one woman who blocked traffic to do so.

We had our photograph taken by someone who worked for a couple of newspapers but would not say which ones. Had a reporter for the Louisville Courier Journal interview us also. Then we had a good conversation with the traffic control officer at the end, he too wondered why there were not more protesters but we found out the he too is a Libertarian and agreed with us wholeheartedly. I think Fred left disappointed because the local media ignored us, but I guess I'm used to it, so I have to say I think it was well worth the effort.

Update: The Louisville Courier Journal ran an article on a stadium proposal in that city, with the telling headline, "Arena Favored, But Not Tax Paid". I think the sentiment was identical here in Central Indiana, which is why the County Councils voted on it and not the citizens. The Libertarian position is not anti-Colts or anti-stadium. The Libertarian position is private ventures should be privately funded, and, public health and safety are top priority- especially in times of budgetary distress.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Think About It

Fiscal conservatives often have a hard time enunciating their care for fellow man while in the process of trying to guard the purse strings. This is as evident in the wake of Katrina as ever.

It's simple, though. The burden the Bush response will put onto every American for generations to come is who fiscal conservatives are looking out for. If you believe in doing best by the majority, as so many Americans do, then this should be easy logic to follow, and therefore begin to question the enormous pricetag to this bailout.

Here's a good way to understand the scope of the $200 billion Bush will spend to show that he is compassionate: That amount represents $400,000 per displaced household. $400,000!!! From Stephen Moore, in the Wall Street Journal:
Conspicuously missing from the post-Katrina spending debate is a question for some brave soul in Congress to ask, What is the appropriate and constitutional role here for the federal government? Before the New Deal taught us that the federal government is the solution to every malady, most congresses and presidents would have concluded that the federal government's role was minimal. One of our greatest presidents, Democrat Grover Cleveland, vetoed an appropriation for drought victims because there was no constitutional authority to spend for such purposes. Today he would be ridiculed by Ted Kennedy as "incompassionate."

We all want to see New Orleans rebuilt, but it does not follow that this requires more than $100 billion in federal aid. Chicago was burned to the ground in 1871; San Francisco was leveled by an earthquake in 1906; and in 1900 Galveston, Texas, was razed by a hurricane even more ferocious than Katrina. In each instance, these proud cities were rebuilt rapidly and to even greater glory--with hardly any federal money.

What's amazing to me is that the Left continues to scream about how cheap the GOP is. I know that the screaming merely reflects political strategy. It's completely disingenuous, but utterly effective. The objective of the Left is to create socialism, and as Bush & DeLay also move left with their spending, if the call is to keep moving further, Bush & DeLay merely help the Left achieve their objective without even having elected majorities. It's quite brilliant. Bad for the country, but brilliant strategy.

What point is there to electing Republicans who do little but forward the Democrats' agenda? Fiscal conservatives need to change their ways and vote Libertarian.
Anniversary of Note

The date September 9th of any year has always jumped off the calendar for me, especially seeing it noted 9/9. The reason is that on 9/9/1980, at the age of 12, I took on my first daily newspaper route. We received a weekly bill for the papers we bought and then re-sold. Every bill had the carrier's start date printed on it. My 25th anniversary recently passed, and I didn't want it to slip by without comment.

Remember the old newspaper carrier, who delivered the paper at 6am, putting it inside the box, or the screen door, per your instructions? That was me, the paperboy. We didn't toss the paper from a moving car. We walked from house to house and delivered the paper to a place convenient to the customer, even if it was a little less convenient to us.

Of course, we were hoping for tips. We made 4 cents per paper Monday through Saturday, and 20 cents per paper on Sunday. 44 cents a week was ours out of a weekly charge of $1.50 to our customers. If the service was good, I would often see a tip greater than the expected profit- $2 tendered, and I could keep the change. Today's carriers are generally adults. They take several routes and work on volume, with no expectation of tips, and moreover, no expectation of getting to know the neighbors.

It frosts me to get a wet newspaper today. The carriers wrap the paper in a plastic bag, but because they toss it from a moving car onto concrete, the bag rips open, and if its raining, the paper gets soaked and ruined. We prided ourselves on delivering dry papers without using bags, and while running through the rain. (Yes, you can begin the "It was better in my day, son!" routine now.)

I crabbed about having to get up at 5:30 every morning, but I look back fondly at the experience. I did get to know everybody in the neighborhood. I did learn how to do a job, even on the days I didn't feel like it, or when the weather was lousy. I learned how to manage purchases and inventory. I learned how to make customers happy- all at the age of 12. In sum, it was a valuable experience.

I have unfortunately learned that most morning newspapers no longer employ kids for delivery. As employers, they would rather not deal with liability and child labor issues. Parents would rather not have their kids out in the wee hours, for fear of the boogey-man.

It's too bad. As you can see, I learned very important lessons as a young independent contractor. It was better training than a fast food job, because I had to know my route. If I bought too many papers, I was cutting into my profits. Not enough, and I disappointed some customers. That's training and responsibility that mere burger flipping doesn't provide.

By the time I was 16, I also had three other part-time jobs in addition to the paper route. I loved working and making money. But the work ethic was formed on the paper route, some 25 years ago.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

No More Pork?

Tom DeLay's comments that there is no fat to cut from the Federal budget have gotten the lampooning they so richly deserve. But will the mutiny by fiscal conservatives from within the GOP ever take place? Comments as absurd as these certainly should be launching some sort of overthrow from within, if it is ever to happen.

Alas. Get over it. No takeover will be forthcoming. The fact is that the Republican Party is not the party of smaller government, lower taxes, and general fiscal conservatism. That's the Libertarian Party. Fiscal conservatives need to do the reality check on themselves if they are sticking with the GOP. Wake up and smell the sodium pentathol!

Or, at the very least, take a look at The Truth Laid Bare's Porkbusters page, where you can see the pork itemized, in all its grisly detail.

Hat tip to Kevin Fleming!
Saturday's Campaign Trail Notes

Yesterday was a day that felt like a full campaign day, with two excellent events to participate in.

The first was the annual La Plaza event in downtown Indy. Ame & I have attended this event before, as we enjoy Latino culture. Conveniently, Ame was also involved with the event this year, staffing a booth for her employer, distributing new baby kits to anyone who had an infant or was pregnant.

I was glad to have former LPIN staffer Robert Butler over from Ohio to help us speak Espanol. I can get around town, ordering meals or finding the train station, but curiously enough, I cannot speak Spanish regarding politics. We'll have to remedy that. Big thanks to the Marion County Libertarians, and to former gubernatorial candidate Kenn Gividen, all of whom participated here.

The Mariachi band insisted that I take their guitar. I protested that I really only know how to play a few chords, and barre chords. They enjoyed a good laugh.

Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson stopped by our booth, and Sam Goldstein asked him to take the World's Smallest Political Quiz. The Mayor asked what would happen if he scored Libertarian. We told him he could bring in his $25 membership fee and attend Monday's meeting at Shapiro's. This prompted a huge round of laughs.

The second event was a radio appearance on WXNT. Guest host Andy Horning & I engaged listeners and callers in a great conversation about the role of the Libertarian Party, especially for fiscal conservative who aren't getting what they bargain for with the two older parties.

Andy Horning, as guest host fill-in for Greg Browning.