North Archives 08/21/06
| Editorial | News & Views
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More Excuses: If Estonia Can Do It, Why Can’t We?
By Daniel Foty
"….In a rare example of
a government doing things right, the new government of Estonia made a conscious
decision to make a fast exit from the detritus of socialism – adopting
base policies which were free-market, pro-business, pro-investment, and
designed to produce rapid economic growth and lift the country rapidly
out of the grimy poverty that was communism’s universal legacy. The most
innovative idea was the pioneering adoption of the "flat tax" on income…."
-- Daniel Foty co-founded Sarissa Radio, Inc. He is also an Adjunct
Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology
(Georgia Tech) in Atlanta, and is an advisor to the Tallinn University
of Technology (Estonia) and the University of Pretoria (South Africa).
He nominally resides in Fletcher, Vermont.
Road Not Taken
By Robert Maynard
"…. The resulting high taxation
and regulation is driving away those who would seek to put their capital
at risk in search of opportunity. With them go any jobs that their investment
of capital may generate. Over time, this approach kills off the entrepreneurial
spirit that was so much a part of what made Vermont unique…." -- Robert
Maynard is a native Vermonter who resides in Williston. He has been
active in the Vermont Republican Assembly, Citizens for Property Rights,
Vermont Taxpayers Alliance, Vermonters for Better Education and FreedomWorks-Vermont.
Taxation Without Realization - Part II
by Martin Harris
"…. But there is one straw
to grasp at: the idea that taxing property at its speculative worth (including
unrealized, paper, gains) shouldn’t be done by an honest government. After
all, shares of stock, another form of property, aren’t even taxed until
they’re sold.… California does just that with property taxes, accepting
the last purchase price (rather than an appraiser’s estimate) to serve
as the basis for the taxable value until the next sale…." – Martin Harris
is the former President of Vermont’s Citizens for Property Rights. He writes
a regular column for the Addison Eagle and Rutland Tribune.
Preschool advocates are misleading law enforcement
By Rob Roper
"….The Fight Crime: Invest
in Kids brief is like telling police that Kevlar body armor has been
tested, and it’s proven to saves lives -- then wrapping an officer’s chest
in tinfoil and sending him or her out onto the streets under the false
impression it is the same thing. Not only is this dishonest, it is dangerous…."
-- Rob Roper is State Director for FreedomWorks-Vermont, Editor of the
Vermont Education Report, and a guest every Thursday on True North Radio.
Weekly News Round Up
On The Rise?
Caledonian Record Editorial,
August 19, 2006
"A group of taxpayers in
Newark - Newark Citizens for Justice - are mad as hell about the rise in
the cost of education and they are making some noise. We hope that they
are the beginning of a taxpayer revolt that brings some sense to the cost
of education in Vermont…."
Need Resonates, Should Frame Vt. Debate
By Emerson Lynn, St. Albans
Messenger Editorial, August 16, 2006
In Vermont, the Democrats
are in firm control of the Senate, and the House. We live in a state colored
deep blue politically and the president and his party in Congress are about
as welcome here as the prospect of an early freeze to our farmers.
Yet, there is a distinctly
conservative thread that is being pulled by the state's governor from one
end of the state to the other, all in the hopes that the final weave will
mean a less liberal, more balanced Legislature this November. The issue
is affordability, and the message is one that connects with Vermonters,
liberal or conservative, rich or poor. Even devout Democrats cringe at
the thought of higher property taxes, or escalating prices at the pump.
Increasingly, there is the understanding that our cost of living in Vermont
runs at a pace that far exceeds our income levels.
The governor is capitalizing
on that as he stumps from county to county, supporting Republicans who
agree with him and opposing Democratic legislators who voted otherwise.
He recently campaigned in St. Albans for the two Republican Senate hopefuls,
Rep. Alan Parent and John Whitney.
Obviously, the governor's
decision to campaign early for fellow Republicans invites derision from
the Democrats. The affordability theme is one that puts them in the spot
of defending themselves and they must exercise caution: it's hard to argue
against the need for affordability. The often respond by suggesting that
affordability by itself is not much of an answer to the problems facing
That's true. To an extent.
But the governor's affordability
theme frames the debate and properly so. It also provides voters a sense
of accountability. The governor, for example, is not shy to say which legislators
supported a proposal to raise the price of fuel at the pump. And those
voters concerned about the price of gas may want to know. It may be their
way of deciding whether that representative has in mind their best interests.
The governor is continuing his push to expand funding for his Vermont scholarship
program - using the tobacco settlement revenue as a means of doing so.
He was fought tooth and nail by the Democrats. He's calling them on it.
Perhaps the issue that looms
largest of all is the impending battle over school spending and how Vermonters'
property taxes will be affected. School enrollment has dropped by almost
10 percent in the last decade, yet total staffing levels in our schools
have increased 21 percent. We're now spending $13,000 per student or $1.3
billion statewide, a huge percentage increase in the last decade.
If these costs continue,
and if our rate of growth continues at half the national average, and if,
as with most of New England, we continue to see our youth flee the state
for better job opportunities elsewhere, then obviously what is unaffordable
today becomes even more unaffordable tomorrow.
That's a troubling message
and one the governor has chosen to address early by stressing the need
for policies that don't bankrupt Vermonters.
The issue, however, goes
far beyond the superficial appeal of a partisan campaign to highlight the
records of those who, for example, voted for the gas tax. But that's true
for both sides of the issue. It doesn't work for Democrats to simply raise
taxes each time the need arises. That creates a huge divide between classes,
and places an extra burden on the poor and middle income. And Democrats
can't remain silent when it comes to the challenge of school spending,
even though the discussion is a burr to the unions that represent our teachers.
What's essential is for both
parties to recognize the difficult position that frames Vermont's future.
Things will not progress sufficiently if we don't find a political balance
that gets us beyond the same sort of partisanship that now hobbles Congress.
The governor's message of
affordability is the essential line in the sand that must frame the debate
going forward. If we spend beyond our means now, we rob ourselves of the
capacity to respond later. But what we need to hear from both sides are
better suggestions as to how Vermont will compete in the marketplace that
shapes the state's future going forward. That's the sort of control most
valued by Vermonters.
cuts: Holistic healing for the economy
By Rob Roper, Vermont
Guardian, August 18
"Cutting tax rates results
in more money flowing into the government treasury. Since 1980, this idea
has been sneered at by many as "voodoo economics," but, Vermonters might
do well to start thinking of this voodoo as "holistic healing" for the
economy. Why? Because it works. To claim otherwise is to deny history,
experience, and reality. And to act contrary to this economic reality is
to invite disaster.…"
Woman Who Caused Plane Diversion Urinated on Floor, Passed Notes to Crew
AP, August 17
"A woman on a trans-Atlantic
flight diverted to Boston for security concerns passed several notes to
crew members, urinated on the cabin floor and made comments the crew believed
were references to Al Qaeda and the Sept. 11 attacks, according to an affidavit
filed Thursday. [Peace activist,] Catherine C. Mayo, 59, of Braintree,
Vt., appeared in federal court Thursday on a charge of interfering with
a flight crew on United 923 as it flew from London to Washington, D.C.,
presents "logbook" of success, seeks another term
By Ross Sneyd, AP, August
"Kicking off his campaign
for a third term, Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie presented a "logbook" and a "flight
plan" cataloguing his achievements Thursday….His accomplishments, he said,
included bi-partisan fairness in presiding over the state Senate, working
on homeland security issues, promoting healthy aging and encouraging investment
in environmentally sound businesses…."
Democrat candidates for lieutenant governor trade barbs
By David Gram, AP, August
"….the two Democrats running
for lieutenant governor are debating over fundraising and whether it's
a good idea to get a pre-primary endorsement from a Washington-based group….
[Matt] Dunne added. "I would love nothing more than to be able to get up
every day and work on behalf of Vermonters." [John] Tracy said he would
use the lieutenant governor's office as a bully pulpit to speak out against
policies emanating from Washington, including the Iraq war and Republican
says Welch favors big government
AP, August 12
"Republican U.S. House candidate
Mark Shepard is criticizing Democrat Peter Welch for supporting big government….
Shepard said at a Thursday news conference. "Peter Welch does not know
how or when to stop growing government, and his appetite for more government
seems to never be satisfied…."
Lessons for Tuesday's Victors
By Michael Barone, August
"Tuesday and Thursday. On
Tuesday, anti-Iraq war candidate Ned Lamont beat Sen. Joseph Lieberman
in Connecticut's Democratic primary. On Thursday, British authorities arrested
more than 20 British Muslims who were plotting to blow up American airliners
over the Atlantic Ocean…."
in Striking distance
By Salena Zito, TRIBUNE-REVIEW,
"The news of Rick Santorum's
political death may have been greatly exaggerated. He has not won re-election
yet but he has gained traction. The junior senator of Pennsylvania has
gone from being tagged as DOA to being within striking distance….You see,
Ned Lamont, victor over Sen. Joe Lieberman in this month's U.S. Senate
primary in Connecticut, has made it unfashionable to be anything but progressive.
Moderate (let alone, conservative) Democrat candidates need to move to
the back of the party bus. Casey is not a moderate Democrat; on social
and hawk issues, he is as conservative as you get without being a Republican…."
Slaying Of A Red-State Retailer
INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY,
"Politics: Imagine a private
group that pays billions in taxes, creates millions of jobs and sells things
at ultra-low prices. Too good to be true? It's called Wal-Mart — and Democrats,
for some reason, want to kill it off….This may be good politics. We don't
know. But those who participate in such Wal-Mart-bashing reveal themselves
to be economic illiterates of the most dangerous sort…."
By Victor Davis Hanson,
"What makes two-dozen British
Muslims want to blow up thousands of innocent passengers on jumbo jets?
Why does al-Qaida plan hourly to kill civilians? And why does oil-rich
Iran wish to "wipe out" Israel? In short, it's the old blame game, one
that over the past century has taken multiple forms…."