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. True North Archives 08/21/06

Radio | Editorial | News & Views

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Featured Articles

No 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.

The 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. 

No 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. 

Universal 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. 

Vermont Weekly News Round Up

Taxpayers 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…." 

Affordability 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 the state.

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.

Tax 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.…"

Vermont 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., Wednesday…."

Campaign ‘06

Dubie presents "logbook" of success, seeks another term
By Ross Sneyd, AP, August 17
"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…."

Two Democrat candidates for lieutenant governor trade barbs
By David Gram, AP, August 20
"….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 tax policy…."

Shepard 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…." 


Thursday's Lessons for Tuesday's Victors
By Michael Barone, August 14, 2006
"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…."

Santorum in Striking distance
By Salena Zito, TRIBUNE-REVIEW, August 20
"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…."

The Slaying Of A Red-State Retailer
"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…."

Excuse After Excuse
By Victor Davis Hanson, August 17
"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…."







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