rjm's blog

Tax Cap More Like a Beanie

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Albany's tax cap is starting to look a little small.

The cap would exempt growth in pension payments (which, like that car ad says, are HUGE).  Schools and local governments can "catch up" and exceed the cap if they were frugal in previous years.  These two items alone mean that there really isn't any real substance to this cap.  Taxes will still climb, compounded, at unsustainable rates. Maybe this is one of those caps with a propeller on top.

One of the few positives is that it may get local governments on the side of taxpayers regarding the state's unfunded mandates.  Our Martha is quoted in the IJ (5/24):

Today, the Assembly released a tax cap plan that doesn't include any mandate relief, and doesn't even recognize the unique burden of counties to deliver and fund the state's own programs by carving those mandates out of the cap," [Martha] Robertson, D-Dryden, [wrote] in an e-mail.

Before, local governments could just pass along all of the cost of unfunded mandates.  Now, they may eat into the local pet projects, so we might get some help pushing back at Albany.  (I won't hold my breath... somehow these things usually don't work out as well as one might expect.)

How about this idea for a tax cap:  Over the time you own your house, you should never need to pay more in property taxes than you spent on the purchase price of your house.  At present rates around here, you'll pay that much (more or less) in thirty years... about the length of that 30-year mortgage.  Think about that... the government will have taken your house from you, and made you buy it back from them.  Once you've done that, that should be it.  No more property tax.  Now that would be a real cap.

Kids Just Want to Ride

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008 was intended to ban small toys with high lead content, but because of broadly written language, it has been interpreted to apply to all products for kids 12 and under, including dirtbikes, ATVs, bicycles, clothing and books.  Young motorcyclists, parents, and concerned riders met with U.S. Representatives in support of H.R. 412, the Kids Just Want To Ride Act.

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) noted that parents, not government, know best how to make sure their kids stay safe.

"This is a great instance of where the government just doesn't get it," West said. "These kids are the responsibility of the parents. If the parents can make sure these kids are safe, and if parents can make sure they go out and enjoy a little bit of something that's part of who we are in America -- enjoying these little dirtbikes -- then let the parents decide."

Motorcycling is a healthy activity that should be encouraged, not curtailed by over-reaching government laws, said bill co-sponsor Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.). "That's what I'd rather have my kids do, to get outdoors and get some exercise...and ride their bikes," he said.

Principles

NY-26 is far away -- you have to go over, under, around or through the lakes to get there.  And yet the reasons for the loss of a red congressional seat seem so close.

From NRO:

Corwin was probably the best choice of the three candidates running — but her failure to stand on principle [about free trade] is what caused a safe Republican seat to fall into the hands of a liberal Democrat tonight.

From Erick Erickson at Red State:

Cuomo cut an ad for Hochul. Hochul’s been blasting Corwin for not supporting Cuomo’s agenda, which amounts to running to Corwin’s right on spending.

From The Other McCain:

In the middle of a recession, why would you nominate an heiress for Congress? Not to play class-warfare here, but do you really think that it helps the GOP win over hard-pressed blue-collar voters when you run a candidate who inherited part of a $400 million fortune? You think folks can relate to that?

Conservatives have a powerful fiscal message, one that will increasingly resonate as the debt-fueled economy inevitably crashes.  But Repubs, Tea Party types and others on the right need to decide who they are and have the courage to stand on their principles if they want the electorate to believe that they are serious.  Trying to find a moderate position is a trap.  Conservatives won't believe you and the takers will go for the one that offers more candy.  Stand up for sound principles now, so that when it hits the fan, the people who are looking for adult leadership will know where you are.

The Full Monty

Representative Richard Hanna must have taken a lot of heat over the the news reports of his debt limit remarks yesterday, because he tweeted today

Hanna tweet

His remarks were rather (unfairly?) clipped in the broadcast piece, and I'm glad to embed the whole thing here.

However, given the urgency of our debt problem, and the attempts of the current administration to compound our debt with even more spending, the (fully expanded) talk of doing something over 7 or 10 or 12 years is equivalent to saying that we're going to do nothing at all.

The debt limit is there for the same reason as the proposed NYS property tax cap -- to force those who deny there is is a problem to come to terms with reality.  Repeatedly raising the debt limit is enabling the deniers to feed their addiction, and to take down the rest of their American family with them.

We need to control our entitlement spending now, not somewhere down "a trajectory." This isn't something we are going to do by consensus (or "working with the other side," as Hanna says), but because we have to.

Breaking the Code

Rep. Richard Hanna (NY-24) was interviewed on YNN regarding the federal debt ceiling.

"This kind of gamesmanship is never helpful. Everybody who understands what the nature of the debt limit is, understands that it has to go up and that, hopefully, the majority of people in Congress will recognize that and vote for it."

Squish.

For some reason, listening to this clip led me to type "debt ceiling gamesmanship" into news.google.com.  Looking over the results, what struck me is that the "gamesmanship" talking point was almost completely exclusive to leftist sites, or quotes from leftist politicians.  It's code for "let's not talk about this," or just "shut up." 

I'm not sure why Hanna has taken to this vocabulary.  Maybe he picks it up at the many shared functions with Chuck U. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, or maybe he is himself just uncomfortable with the topic of finance.

But whatever the reason, he needs to understand that wishing the debt problem away or delaying the day of reckoning isn't going to help anything.  We need to cut spending by trillions (with a "T") and end the concept of entitlement.  

Don't raise the debt ceiling and stop debasing the currency by "buying" our own bonds.

The only gamesmanship on display is the politicians trying to panic the public into closing their eyes while their savings are being taken from them.

Standing on the Corner

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I’m not much for protests, it just isn’t my style.

Yet, last Monday, there I was down on Green Street standing under Congressman Hinchey’s office window standing with the Tea Partiers, and taking in the atmosphere.

There were several motivations for me to be there: For one, to get a picture or two for One of Nine.  For another, to support the like minded people out there, some of whom also feel that protests aren’t their style. 

And, of course, the main point of the event: to let folks know that there are some people, even here in blue Ithaca, that don’t believe in the progressive, Marxist, Communist, social justice, We are One, UnCut, global warming, sustainability, ICLEI, no fracking, dependency, tax (or kill) the rich, truther, blame Bush, George Soros funded, Center for American Progress organized, Media Matters vetted, class warfare hyping, moonbat blathering religion which is de rigueur in our fair county.

This “protest” wasn’t about convincing anyone about anything.  There is a fine essay about this fact over at Marginal Futurity, which I incorporate here by reference. 

For me, the main point was to create some thinking space for people who don’t really agree with the left-religion, but are inundated by its drumbeat.  The point was, by mere presence, to carve out some breathing room for people who haven’t been involved in politics, but who sure can see prices rising every day.  To create a little opportunity for someone to ponder what is happening to the little 403b account they have been accumulating for the past 20 years.   To let even one person wonder what they will do once all of the money has been spent, and none is left to pay their underfunded pension, their social security or their Medicare. How can the debt we have already incurred ever be repaid?  If it isn’t, will it mean a war to defend our land?  Who owns the Federal Reserve, and why do we accept their inflating paper money?  Why are so many working to hard to undermine the concept of private property?  Who will benefit from that?

Some people came across the street with an apparent expectation that if they could get a great sound bite or video clip that the “Tea Party movement” might be discredited.

“Do you listen to Glenn Beck?” asked one with an audio recorder pushed at us.  “Do you think he tells the truth?”  

“Can I interview you?” says the video camera in my face.  Well, no.  That’s not why I’m here.

You might be convinced, but not by someone who can turn a phrase on a street corner. You might be convinced by honestly looking at the world as it actually is.

h/t to Lost Napkins for the video.

The Sounds of Silence - Updated

Via email, Melissa Bianconi, Dryden Director of Recreation says: 
We are excited to offer our FREE egg hunts again this year!
 
April 22: TEEN EGG HUNT GRADES 6-10 (ages 12-16). Bring your flashlight and search for thousands of hidden eggs full of cool prizes like movie passes, iTunes cards, gift certificates, and of course CANDY.
The hunt begins at dark. Montgomery Park, village of Dryden. Please brings friends and flashlights.
 
April 23: Traditional egg hunt for toddler and  elementary aged kids. 11:00 AM at Montgomery Park in Dryden. The Bunny comes in a fire truck—exciting for all!
 
UPDATE: We have adjusted our ages groups for the youth egg hunt on Saturday—it will be for GRADES K-5 at 11:00 AM at Montgomery Park. The TEEN flashlight hunt will be for GRADES 6-10 on Friday night (roughly 7:30) at Montgomery Park.

Both events are FREE and are rain, snow or shine!

 
This is great, but there is something about not mentioning the word "Easter" in this announcement that just sounds silly to me.  Well, not as silly as calling the Easter eggs "spring spheres."  You can find the original story about that over at MyNorthwest but stop in over at Hillbuzz, where I lifted the great "spring sphere" picture and have a look at their new website design. 
 
I'm sure that you'll recall that the very first post on OneOfNine just happened to be about the leaving of the word "Christmas" out of the announcment of the "Annual Holiday Tree Lighting."
 
Oh, well.  Some words are louder when not spoken.

Politics, in order of increasing importance

Rep. Richard Hanna was in Chenango County to talk about what he is doing to get the government out of the way of businesses which want to grow and create jobs.  Read about it at NewsChannel34.

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From the Bangor Daily News:  

The House has approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. Richard Hanna, R-N.Y., to the HAMP Termination Act (HR 839). The amendment would insert the findings of Congress that the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) had failed to benefit many of the homeowners who enrolled in it, that it had harmed some homeowners, and that its termination would save $1.4 billion. Hanna said that by declaring “the specific reasons why we should end the failed HAMP program,” the amendment would provide the public with information about the rationale for passing the bill. An opponent, Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., said the program was helping middle-class families remain in their homes. The vote, on March 29, was 247 yeas to 170 nays.

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At WSJ via Allahpundit:  Paul Ryan calls for $6.2 trillion in cuts over 10 years.  The talking points that will get the buzz ( Path to Prosperity. "adult conversation") don't matter much.  Realizing that this is just a start on the road to fiscal sustainability, that's important.  

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At Lost Napkins, regarding Planned Parenthood:

Can someone, anyone, please get Richard Hanna a laptop, or even a smartphone, and have him spend 20 minutes researching what this evil organization is actually about before he votes again to support them. Ignorance is no longer a defense in abetting the actions of Planned Parenthood.

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