Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Home Owners Insurance and Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina has certainly done a lot of damage to The Gulf Coast. My heart goes out to the people living there. I wish them the best and will be donating some money to the relief effort.

That being said, we need to look at the insurance system in this country.

Home Owners Insurance goes up across the country due to Regional disasters. The major insurance companies always decide to raise everyone's insurance rates to recoup the claims that are then made in the Region in question. This is absurd.

I know that the insurance companies tend to raise rates in the affected region more then they do in Indiana. Why do the rates in Indiana change at all, it makes no sense!

People move down to the Gulf for many reasons. The taxes in those States are lower then in Indiana. The housing market is increasing rapidly and many people think that this proeprty is a good investment. The weather is certainly a factor as well. Many companies have relocated to this part of the country. There are many reasons to move to The Gulf.

I think the people in these affected Regions should have their insurance premiums raised; I think mine should stay as it is.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Gas Prices

I just filled up my Camry. I spent over $40. Until this summer I had never spent over $30...

When I bought gas tonight it cost me $2.79 a gallon. Wow...

It will be interesting to see what happens to gas prices over the next few months. I think they are going to go up to $3 or $3.25 in the next couple of days.

I think gas is going to cost around $2.50 - $3 a gallon for the near future... It will be interesting to see how poeple react to that price.

I would think that it will cut down on people's disposable income. I would think this would drag down the economy somewhat.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Running for Public Office in Fort Wayne/Allen County

The Libertarian Party of Allen County is gearing up for the 2006 election. We are lookin for qualified candidates who believe in a SMALLER and more efficient government. If you are interested please contact Mike Sylvester!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly

I am a subscriber to Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly. It is a weekly newspaper that is attempting to be a local, weekly, Wall Street Journal.

I highly suggest everyone check it out. This is a good newspaper.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Fixing Indiana's tax mess

Did you know that a small amount of the local property taxes you pay are sent to The State government?

Did you know that a much larger portion of your local property taxes are it turn paid(subsidized) by The State government?

In other words, they are shuffling money back and forth. This is the method The Indiana Legislature and Mitch Daniel used to make it appear like they were limiting the increase in spending by State government.

We have to split State government from Local government.

Only politicians can come up with schemes like this.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Indiana's Tax Structure

I am going to study Indiana's tax code in more detail in the next few weeks. As many of you know, my wife is a local CPA. She is going to help me.

We need to simplify Indiana's tax code. There are four things I think we should try to accomplish by changing the Indiana tax code.

1. We need to simplify property taxes and we need to lower them. I currently think property taxes should be capped at 1% of assessed value for residential property. I think all exemptions should be removed. They just confuse the issue. I am not sure what to do with Commercial and Farm property yet.

2. We need to completely eliminate personal property taxes. Personal property taxes are taxes that business owners pay on property they use for their business. For example, lets say you are a Realtor. You buy a desk for your business. You of course pay sales tax when you buy it. You pay tax on your business income each year. And then you pay personal property taxes for each item you purchase for the first several years you own it. This is absurd.

Another problem with personal property taxes is the fact that business owners have to fill out a FOUR page form each year. This is excessive paperwork. Large businesses can always file for tax abatements so they get out of paying some of this tax...

3. We need to seriously look at the tax abatement system in this State, it is completely unfair to small businesses. Large businesses can often qualify for tax abatements. They fill out the needed form and submit it to local authorities. The local authorities almost always vote to approve the tax abatement.

Currently, businesses can file for both personal property tax abatements and property tax abatements. I have talked to local officials, if you are not applying for abatements on property worth at least $125,000 you are wasting money. There are filing fees and you will need to dedicate a lot of time or hire a CPA or lawyer to assist you. In other words, this abatement will NOT help most small businesses.

Another problem with tax abatements is that they RAISE other people's taxes. When local authorities allow one business to pay less taxes they have to raise everyone else's taxes to compensate for this!

4. We need to change the states tax structure so that local governments directly get more of the money. Currently the State pays a subsidy to each locality to "subsidize" our property taxes. This is absurd. We would be better of if each locality collected more of its own taxes and completely removed the State from the process.

I have to do a lot of reseach to come up with a simple tax structure that is revenue neutral. I want a simple system. This would allow is to downsize local and State government if we choose taxes that are simple to interpret and collect.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Please check out another local blog "Reverent and Free" and read his post about "book banning"

This thread concerns "book banning" in The United States. I am writing this thread after reading an interesting post on the blog "Reverent and Free".

I just cannot support the "banning" of most books. I would ask that you go to the link below and check out the 100 most "banned" books in the United States. I have read and enjoyed several of these books. How about you?



I do not believe in censorship in most cases. I think that "banning" books like Huckleberry Finn is absurd. What do you think.

Daylight Savings time "boondoggle"

I think the political ramifications of Indiana switching to Daylight Savings time are going to be very interesting. I also feel that Daylight Savings time will effect the 2006 elections and possibly the 2007 elections in Indiana.

I am particularly interested in how parts of the State are effected whose State legislators decided to vote against their constituents.

A great example of this is State Representative Phyllis Pond and State District 85, which she represents. About 70% of the people in this district did NOT want to switch to Daylight Savings time.

Phyllis Pond voted in favor of switching to Daylight Savings time. In other words, she voted directly against the wishes of her constituents.

Libertarian "Small Business" meeting in Dayton Ohio

I attended an event sponsored by The Libertarian Party of Ohio. The event was held in the Dayton Convention Center on Saturday, August 20th.

This was an interesting event. Libertarians from Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Kentucky met to discuss Libertarian outreach to small business owners.

Small business owners are definately a great group of people for Libertarians to reach out to. Small businesses are a critcal component of our economy. Almost all government money spent on "economic development" is spent on large companies.

Fort Wayne is a GREAT example of this. Over 98% of all money granted for tax abatements is given to large companies in Fort Wayne.

I have agreed to host a regional event in Fort Wayne in Novemeber. The Fort Wayne event will be similar to the Dayton event.

We will schedule at least a couple of hours in the evening for people to get together and talk politics in a less fomral setting.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Outreach booth at IPFW

The Libertarian Campus group at IPFW hosted an outreach table today. We had people complete the "Worlds Smallest Political Quiz" and we talked about politics.

It was a lot of fun.

Below is a link the "The Worlds Smallest Political Quiz."

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

City of Fort Wayne Re-districting meeting

I really enjoyed attending this meeting. The meeting was very informative and very open to public input.

Basically the Sub Committee of The City Council of Fort Wayne wanted to question two State Senators (Long and Moses) to determine whether there is a realistic chance to get the State of Indiana to change the number of City Council districts in Fort Wayne.

To make a long story short, it does not look like it will happen.

So it looks like we will keep six Council districts + three at large seats.

So now the Committee will decide on an actual redistricting plan and map. You can get involved in this yourself by going to the City's website and making your own map. I did it and it took me about two hours. Go to <http://cityoffortwayne.org/council/residents_guide.htm>.

I expect the City will be posting my map along with three other maps in the next few days.

This Committee will be meeting the second Tuesday of each month. It meets in the Omni rooms at 4 PM in the City County Building.

Evan Bayh's press event in Fort Wayne

I attended the event at IPFW. I listened to Evan Bayh's keynote speech. He gave a good speech. After listening to his speech I am even more sure that he is planning on running for President in 2008.

I will throw out a couple of interesting statistics he gave:
97% of all business in Indiana are small businesses
80% of all new jobs nation wide are created by small business.

Evan Bayh annouced a new Federal small business initiative. I will post details on these when it is brought in front of the Senate.

I wish that Evan Bayh (And all other politicans) understood that small businesses ARE the key to the economy. All politicians talk as if they are pro small business; but, they still give 95-98% of the total tax abatements to LARGE businesses. It just does not make sense.

Fort Wayne is no exception. I have a list of all tax abatements granted by the City of Fort Wayne in the last couple of years. 95-98% of the total dollars given in abatements go to large, successful companies. It just does not make sense.

After Evan Bahy's speech he talked to three of the people in the front row. I was one of those people. He commented that he wished he could dress more like me. I was wearing my short sleeved Libertarian party of Indiana shirt and dockers. I told him I had plenty of Libertarian Party clothing for him. He seemed to think it was funny...

Two local events in Fort Wayne

I plan on attending two local events today in Fort Wayne.

The first is at IPFW. It is a small business event at the Walb student union building at 1 PM. Evan Bayh is the guest speaker. I am not sure what to expect from this event; but, I am going anyway.

The event I am really looking forward to today is the Fort Wayne City Council Redistricting meeting at 4 PM in The City County Building. I have submitted a re-districting proposal. I am waiting to get a map back from the City GIS department. I have some news for this Committee; after reading State law I am almost positive that one precinct in the City was assigned a City Council District in violation of State law. I plan on pointing this out to ensure that when the City is re-districted this is fixed.

Coincidentally I live in that precint, and I am the President of its neighborhood association as well.. I will be interested to hear what they have to say about it.

Monday, August 15, 2005

18th item promised in the Republican Contract with America

The 18th item promised in the Republican Contract with America

"The citizen legislature act: A first-ever vote on term limits to replace career politicians with citizen legislators."

This was a great promise that has completely failed. We still do not have term limits.

In fact, Mark Souder, who campainged on term limits, is about to run for COngress, again. He is going to violate the term limits he recommended when he ran for office. Imagine that.

Final Score of Republican Contract with America:
Promises Broken 13
Promises Kept 5

17th item promised in the Republican Contract with America

The 17th item promised in the Republican Contract with America:

"The Common Sense Legal Reform Act: "loser pays" laws, reasonable limits on punitive damages and reform of product liability laws to stem the endless tide of litigation."

This promise is very easy to grade; as usual I will split it into its component parts.

1. "Loser pays" laws were promised. This has not been done at all. They promised a system more like Canadae; in Canada if you bring a lawsuit and LOSE you pay the court costs.

2. Reasonable limits on punitive damages and reform of product liability laws to stem the endless tide of litigation. This has not been done at all. Within the last years there have been some small pieces of legislation aimed towards limits; but, these efforts have taken ten years and have not changed anything so far.

This promise is a complete "goose egg." The Republicans have failed to deliver on this promise!

Current score of Republican Contract with America:
Promises Broken 12
Promises Kept 5

Saturday, August 13, 2005

16th item promised in the Republican Contract with America

The 16th item promised in the Republican Contract with America:

The job creation and wage enhancement act: Small business incentives, capital gains cut and indexation, neutral cost recovery, risk assessment/cost-benefit analysis, strengthening the Regulatory Flexibility Act and unfunded mandate reform to create jobs and raise worker wages."

This is another very complicated promise that must be broken into its compnent parts.

1st: Provide small business incentives. Either 6 of 10 or 7 of 10 new jobs are created by small business today. Unfortunately over 90% of all incentives are given to LARGE businesses. This is certainly a broken promise.

2nd: Capital gains cut and indexation. This was promised and it was successfully implemented by The Republicans.

3rd: Neutral cost recovery was promised. Basically, this means that everything has to be revenue neutral. This promise was shattered into a million pieces! Congress is using even more accounting tricks and sunset provisions then ever before!

4th: Risk assessment/cost-benefit analysis was promised. This promise was badly broken as well. Accounting tricks have become even more prevelent under The Republicans.

5th: Strengthening the Regulatory Flexibility Act. This was intended to DECREASE government regulation. Unfortunately, The Republicans have INCREASED government regulation at a faster rate then The Democrats ever could. This is a major failure.

6th: They promised unfunded mandate reform. This is another huge failure. They are creating unfunded mandate after unfunded mandate. This is a major problem with Congress.

This promise is an almost complete failure.

Score of Republican Contract with America:
Broken Promises 11
Kept Promises 5

15th item promised in the Republican Contract with America

The 15th item promised in the Republican Contract with America:

"The Senior Citizens Fairness Act: Raise the Social Security earnings limit which currently forces seniors out of the work force, repeal the 1993 tax hikes on Social Security benefits and provide tax incentives for private long-term care insurance to let Older Americans keep more of what they have earned over the years."

As usual, I will have to split these items up and analyze them.

1st: They promised to raise the Social Security earnings limit. This was done.

2nd: They promised to repeal the 1993 tax hikes on Social Security. They failed to do this. The 1993 tax hikes on Social Security are still in place.

3rd: Provide tax incentives for private long-term care insurance to let Older Americans keep more of what they have earned. The results of this are a mixed bag. You can deduct the cost of long-term care insurance as a medical expense limited to 7.5% of AGI. In other words, you can deduct the total amount of your deductable medical expenses MINUS 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. I cannot give this one to The Republicans. Medical expenses have spiralled out of control and paying for the care of Older Americans is a FAR greater problem today then it was in 1994. Older Americans are NOT keeping more of what they earned over the years.

They have completed almost half of this promise, I just cannot give it to them based on health care costs.

Republican Contract with America Score
Broken Promises 10
Kept Promises 5

Friday, August 12, 2005

August Meeting of the Libertarian Party of Allen County

The next meeting of the LPAC is on August 15th. Our committees will meet at 6 PM. Our business meeting will start at 7 PM. The meeting will take place in the private meeting room at The Munchie Emporium on Dupont Road.

I hope to see you there!

Mike Sylvester

14th item promised in the Republican Contract with America

The 14th item promised in the Republican Contract with America

"The National Security Restoration Act. No US troops under U.N. command and restoration of the essential parts of our national security funding to strengthen our national defense and maintain our credibility around the world."

To be fairly analyzed this promise must be broken into its component parts as well.

1st, No troops under UN command. This was done and I agree with The Republicans on this one for sure. I am a military veteran and I do not care for our troops ever being under UN control.

2nd, Restoration of the essential parts of our national security funding to strengthen our national defense and maintain our creditibility around the world. The Republcians have certainly thrown countless billions of dollars at national defense. What has to be analyzed is has it made us safer? Several recent government reports all claim that we are not safer today then we were several years ago. Our credibility in the world has certainly taken a huge "hit." We do not have the credibility that we did ten years ago. Our borders are open and we are encouraging illegal immigration. This is a HUGE Republican failure, they spent the money but improved NOTHING.

Score of Republican Contract with America:
Promises Broken 9
Promises Kept 5

13th item promised in the Republican Contract with America

The 13th item promised in the Republican Contract with America

"The American Dream Restoration Act, A $500 per child tax credit, begin repeal of the marriage tax penalty,and creation of American Dream Savings Accounts to provide middle class tax relief."

This is overall a very simple promise to grade, for simplicity I will split it into three parts.

1st is the $500 per child tax credit. This was done, in fact they have gone even farther now; the child tax credit has been increased to $1000 per child. The child tax credit is tied to income, in other words, if the parent makes a lot of money, they do not get the tax credit. Without a doubt; the Republicans delivered this tax credit to both the poor and the middle class.

2nd is beginning to repeal the marriage tax penalty. It took some time; but, this promise has been fulfilled as well.

3rd is creation of American Dream Savings Accounts to provide middle class tax relief. The tax laws have been modified to make it easier for all classes of American to save for retirement. I have to give The Republcians credit for this one as well.

I have to say that The Republicans did come through on this promise in its entirety!

Score of Republican Contract with America:
Promises Broken 8
Promises Kept 5

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Eminent Domain Hearing in Indianapolis

I attended the Eminent Domain Hearing in Indianapolis. About 160 poeple attended the hearing.

The hearing started with 4 keynote speakers. Two were in favor of restricting Eminent Domain and two (Who represented various Indiana government interests) thought that Eminent Domain is needed as is.

None of the keynote speakers said anything surprising.

Many citizens of Indiana then spoke to the committee. I was the third citizen. I gave the committee several examples of how Fort Wayne has abused Eminent Domain (Especially the recent Belmont Liquors debacle). I had a very good conversation with the Committee and I hope that they understand how Eminent Domain has been abused in Fort Wayne!

At the end of my remarks the Committee Chairman, Rep. Dave Wolkins, told me that he has a list of recent Eminent Domain cases that he plans on reseraching this summer. Fort Wayne's use of Eminent Domain is already on his list! He then proceeded to ask me what Cindy's Diner is!

It became obvious to me that people in the rest of Indiana have heard of Fort Wayne's abuse of Eminent Domain...

I enjoyed attending this Committee Hearing.

Every citizen I heard speak thought the the government has been abusing Eminent Domain in one fashion or another. Most of the citizens felt that it should be limited to cases where the land is to be taken for public use.

I was only surprised by one thing, and it did not surprise me very much. Not one single official from this area attended the hearing.

Monday, August 08, 2005

12th item promised in the Republican Contract with America

The 12th item promised in the Republican Contract with America

"The Family Enforcement Act: Child support enforcement, tax incentives for adoption, strengthening rights for parents in their children's education, stronger child pornography laws, and an elderly dependent care tax credit to reinforce the central role of families in American society."

This is another large and complicated promise. We will dig through it one portion at a time.

1. Child Support enforcement was promised. First of all I do not think The Federal Government should be very involved in collecting Child Support, it should be up to the fifty States. The only way to determine if the Republicans succeeded on this is to look at governmental statistics. In 1995 the government collected 70% of all Child Support payments that were due. In 2004 the government collected about 78% of all Child Support payments that were due. In 2004 the government spent 5 Billion dollars to collect 22 Billion Dollars of Child Support payments. A total of 28 Billion dollars of current payments were due. Based on this information I have to conclude that some progress has been made on collecting Child Support payments since 1995.

2. Tax incentives for adoption were promised. This was promised and delivered. In 1996 an adoption tax credit of $5000 was passed. Today, depending on your income and how much you spend on adoption, you may qualify for a tax credit of up to $10,390. The Republicans certainly delivered on this promise!

3. The Republicans promised to strengthen the rights of parents in their children's education. This was a broken promise for sure. The public school system is a protected monolpoly. The public school system is broken, we need to fix it. The Republicans have not made a real effort to strengthen the rights of parents.

4. The Republicans promised stronger child pornogrpahy laws. The Republcians passed stronger Child Pornography laws. Due to the rise of the internet Child Pornography is a much larger problem today then it was in 1994. I do not think we can hold that against the Republicans. As far as I am concerned they fulfilled this promise.

5. The Republicans promised to create an elderly dependent care tax credit. They came through on this promise.

As far as I am concerned, The Republicans fulfilled 4 of 5 portions of this promise; so I will give them credit for fulfilling this promise!

Score of Republican Promises:
Promises Broken 8
Promises Kept 4

Sunday, August 07, 2005

11th item promised in the Republican Contract with America

The 11th item promised in the Republican Contract with America

"The Personal Responisibility Act, Discourage illegitamacy and teen pregnancy by prohibiting welfare to minor mothers and denying increasing AFDC for additional children while on welfare, cut spending on welfare programs, and enact a tough two-years-and-out provision with work requirements to promote individual responsibility."

This promise was overall a very good idea. Welfare spending has exploded in the United States since 1965. It is out of control.

This is a complicated promise that has been analyzed by a number of individual groups and persons far more qualified to analyze it then I am. We will look at it piece by piece.

1. Discourage illegitamacy and teen pregnancy by prohibiting welfare to minor mothers and denying increading AFDC for addition children while on welfare. This one is very easy to grade, it was NOT done. Not even close.

2. Cut spending on Wefare programs. This one is is fairly easy to grade as well. Federal spending on Welfare has increased a little bit after adjusting for inflation. The increase is not large; but, it has increased. The Republicans can possibly claim that they have limited the increase; but, they certainly have not cut spending on Welfare...

3. Enact a tough two-years-and-out provision with work requirements to promote individual responsibility. Tis one is easy to grade as well, it was NOT done at the Federal level. Note that SOME states have enacted this rule on their own.

The Republicans did make some improvments to the welfare program; but, they come no where close to fulfilling their promise. The Republicans currenlty have a majority in The House, The Senate, and the President is a Republcian. They could certainly fulfill their promises if they wanted to. They currently have no desire to fulfill their campaign promises.

The Republicans did pass some Welfare reform in 1996. Basically this reform gave more power to the States, and in my opinion that is a good thing.

Current score for Republican Contract with America:
Promises Broken 8
Promises Kept 3

10th item promised in the Republican Contract with America

The 10h item promised in the Republican Contract with America was

"The taking back our streets act, an anti-crime package includer stronger truth-in-sentencing, "good faith" exclusionary rule exemptions, effective death penalty provisions, and cuts in social spending from this summer's crime bill to fund prison construction and additional law enforcement to keep people secure in their neighborhoods and kids safe in their schools."

This is a very difficult promise to grade since it is so large. I have to say that they TRIED to accomplish some of these items in 1995. We will look at each point separately.

1. Stronger truth-in-sentencing and "good faith" exclusionary rule exemptions. This was done with The Sentencing Reform Act of 1984. This act basically established much narrower sentencing guidelines to be used. It took power AWAY from the courts and the courts were forced to follow Federal guidleines. I do not think that this act was a good piece of legislation; however, it did work towards fulfilling the promise...

More infomration can be lcoated at
<http://www.pixi.com/~itmc/Sentencing.html#anchor3882751>

2. Effective death penalty provisions. This has been a complete failure. We still spend WAY too much money trying to execute criminals that deserve to be executed.

3. They promised to cut spending on social programs and to increase funding to build more prisons and to make our citizens and children safer. This has also been a dismal failure. Spending on social programs has SKYROCKETED under The Republicans. They have increased spending on social programs MORE then The Democrats ever dreamed of doing. We have not built a significant number of new prisons as promised. Our prison system is WAY TOO overcrowded.

As far as safety, a lot of crime statistics are generated by the government. I found some government statistics that tend me support the fact that we are safer now. I have found an equal number of government statistics that tend to make me think we are not safer. The truth tends to be in the middle; I imagine we are about the same as we were before this promise.

This promise has to be counted as another failure...

Scorecard of Republican Contract with America:
Broken Promises 7
Kept Promises 3

Friday, August 05, 2005

Comments on I-69 wall to help contain noise from I-69

Kevin Leininger wrote an interesting article in the Thursday News-Sentinel entitled "Wall not for all."

<http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/fortwayne/news/local/12303219.htm>

I think Kevin hits a lot of good point in this well thought out article.

This is a 13 million dollar project that benefits a few taxpayers, and in many cases does not protect other tax payers in the exact same situation. Of course it is not fair. This is a typical government project.

This project is a good example of how government has gone wrong.

What should happen is we all should pay LESS taxes and the government should not get involved in projects like sound barriers at all.

Since we all would pay less taxes we would have more disposable income. If a neighborhood decided to build a sound barrier it could, people in that neighborhood could pay for their own sound barrier. The government would not tax EVERYONE in a county and then pick and choose who to spend money on...

Believe it or not this is the way the government of The United States operated just 60 short years ago...

Another potential Russian submarine tragedy

I spent four years stationed on a nuclear submarine. It can be a lonely job in the most isolated environment you can imagine.

The Russian submarine Kursk went down a few years ago. All hands died. Many of them died a long, slow, painful death.

There is currently another Russian submarine on the bottom, it is a min-sub and has a crew of seven. The crew is still alive; but, they only have enough air for 24 more hours.

I hope they can be rescued, that would be a terrible way to die.

Eminent Domain Hearing in Indianapolis next week

I will be attending the Eminent Domain hearing in Indianapolis next week. This hearing is at 1 PM on Wednesday, August 10th.

I plan on spekaing out and bringing up specific examples of eminent domain abuse here in Fort Wayne.

Is there anything about eminent domain anyone would like me to specifically bring up at the hearing?

9th item promised in the Republican Contract with America

The Republicans promised to:

"Pass a balanced/tax limitation amendment and a legislative line-item veto to restore fiscal responsibility to an out-of-control Congress, requiring them to live under the same budget constraints as families and businesses."

The Republicans have failed on this one so badly that I left the Republican Party over it.

The Republicans did pass the "line-item veto;" however, The Supreme Court determined that it was unconstitutional.

The Congress is currently FAR more out of control on spending issues then the earlier Congresses they replaced.

This is the most frustrating failure of The Republican Contract with America. They promised fiscal responsibility, and now they spend more then The Democrats were spending. Not only have they failed on this issue; they have made this problem significantly worse.

Who would have ever thought that The Democrats were MORE fiscally conservative then the Republicans of today?

Contract Score:
Broken Promises 6
Kept Promises 3

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Republican spending is totally out of control

Congress just passed another Highway Bill (H.R. 3) and it is full of both waste and pet projects, as always.

The Federal Highway system was formed in 1956. The system had one purpose, to allow our military to respond quickly and efficiently to any invasion. If either Mexico or Canada decides to invade us, I can guarantee that our Highway system is adequate to allow our military to respond quickly and efficiently.

When the Congress agreed that it was time to build this infrastructure in 1956 it stipulated that it had to be paid for as it was built. This certainly makes sense t0 me.

That is no longer the case. Our annual budget deficit is currently projected to be 333 billion dollars if you assume that the Social Security Surplus will be spent again, rather then saved (Which it will, they always spend it). We need to cut Federal spending. This Highway Bill is another huge increase in Federal spending.

Here is an idea, let the fifty states build the projects they want to build. The Highway system has long since been completed; let's get The Federal government out of the highway system entirely.

Currently the Federal gas tax is collected in all 50 states. It is sent to the Federal government. The Federal government (Congress in this case) then splits the money up and sends it back to the fifty states for various projects. This is a very wasteful and corrupt system. The states get money back depending on how powerful their politicians are, specifically what committees they sit on. Not all of the money goes back to the states either, some of it is wasted and spent by the beauracracy. What a joke.

The first Highway Bill had two earmarks in 1956. Earmarks are pet projects that various politicians put in the bill to help them get re-elected the following election cycle. By 1982 we were up to 10 earmarks, this Highway Bill has 6371 earmarks! These 6371 earmarks account for 24 BILLION dollars of pet projects. Please stop telling me The Republicans are fiscal conservatives! They are big spending liberals as far as I am concerned. Here are some examples of what these supposed "Fiscal Conservatives" just agreed to in H.R. 3:

The bill includes $230 million for the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere,” now renamed “Don Young’s Way,” connecting Gravina Island (population: 50) with the Alaskan mainland. This Bridge will now be named after the elected politician who has secured all of this pork for Alaska.

A more complete list of earmarks can be found at:

<http://councilfor.cagw.org/site/News2?abbr=CCAGW_&page=NewsArticle&id=9162>

Please contact your politicians and ask them to address this wasteful spending!

We can elect better officials!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

More examples of Federal government waste and fraud

I have always been interested in economics and government spending.

The main reason I feel the Republican Party left me in the 90's was when they became another Party in favor of larger government and more wasteful government spending.

I found an article listing ten great example of Federal waste and fraud. This article I am linking you to is written by Mr. Riedl of the Conservative Heritage Foundation. Please check it out.

<http://www.heritage.org/Research/Budget/bg1840.cfm>

We need to elect new government officials who believe in smaller government!

8th item in The Republican Contract with America

The 8th item The Republicans promised America was

"To gaurantee an honest accounting of our Federal Budget by implmenting zero base-line budgeting."

This was one of the most important things The Republicans promised, and one of the first they immediately decided they would not do...

Zero base-line budgeting means that you do not simply start with the previous years budget and start increasing it. With zero base-line budgeting you must redo your budget each year and only budget that money that is really needed.

Many companies do this. This change in accounting practices would help us cut excessive Federal spending.

The Republicans have become a party of bigger and bigger government. In fact, the Republicans are increasing the size of government faster then Bill Clinton and the Democrats ever even considered.

Heck The Republicans have specifically increased spending on both Medicare and Education MUCH more then The Democratic party ever did. I think the Republicans are trying to appease the Democrats by spending as much money as they can and raising the Federal Debt to embarrasing levels.

Contract Status:
Promises Broken 5
Promises Kept 3

7th item in The Republican Contract with America

The 7th item The Republicans promised in The Republican Contract with America is

"Require a three-fifths majority vote to pass a tax increase."

This one is VERY simple to grade. It was never accomplished.

The Republicans in Federal office are not currently increasing very many taxes; however, they are tinkering with and making the Federal tax code more and more complex every year. The Federal tax code is well over 60,000 pages at this point.

Status of Contract:
Promises Broken 4
Promises Kept 3