Thursday, January 31, 2008

Libertarians around the world

Even though the Libertarian movement started in the US, it is no longer unique to America. People around the world are forming Libertarian parties. The most recent is the Libertarian Party of UK, which was founded this month. I posted some links on the side. Feel free to browse through them during the next slow news cycle.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mark Souder has a challenger!

Committee to Elect Scott Wise
6857 N. 350 W.
Columbia City, IN 46725
Phone (260) 799-4325
Fax upon request

Press Release
Contact: Scott Wise
Phone: (260) 229-7102
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

12 P.M. EDT, January 30, 2007

Scott Wise files for GOP primary in Indiana’s 3rd U.S. HOuse district

Columbia City, IN, September 30, 2008:

Scott Wise filed in Indianapolis today for Indiana’s 3rd U.S. House seat. Scott will run a populist campaign to restore the ideals that made America great. Scott believes our government no longer acts in the interest of the people, and is moving us toward a North American government without consent.

Scott is running a grassroots campaign financed from the bottom up. He hopes to bring thousands of new voters that have felt their vote didn’t matter to the process. Extreme partisanship, border security, individual liberty, and an overreaching Federal government are things he hopes to fix while in Washington.

Scott recognizes that his efforts are a monumental challenge as well as unconventional in modern politics, but feels there is nothing more important than preserving this great nation for future generations.

Scott is a former Whitley County Councilman, who tried to run for this seat in 2006, but had his candidacy disallowed by the Secretary of State’s office. Scott is a lifelong resident of the 3rd district, and has identified with the Republican Party most of his life. Scott feels a duty to try to reform the party and the government to preserve the American way of life.

If you wish to help in this effort you may contact Scott at (260)229-7102.

-End-

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

An example of our Federal Income tax system

As I have discussed the stupid Economic Stimulus package that Democrats and Republicans both broadly support I have told people that I am against giving a tax rebate to people who do not pay income taxes in the first place.

The Democrats LOWERED the income limit the Republicans wanted so that even more taxpayers can get the rebate who do not pay income taxes. The Republicans readily went along with this...

Several people (including Jeff Pruitt) have pointed out that some of the people in the lower income brackets who do not pay income taxes do pay payroll taxes; that is true.

I think this is best illustrated with a real world example.

The below family would have already qualified for a so called "Rebate" with the Republican proposal; the Democrats have lowered the income limits even further...

Lets assume we are discussing a family of four Americans living in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Lets assume this family consists of a married couple and their two dependent children who are both age 12. Lets say the Mom and Dad work and that they bring home a gross of $16,000 per year from their jobs. Lets assume they have no other income. Throughout the year they would have a grand total of $992 withheld from their paychecks for Social Security and they would have another $232 withheld for Medicare. This money is their personal contribution to Social Security and Medicare and their employers will make an equal contribution...

They would then bring home $14,776 if they elected to have their employer withhold no money for Federal income tax or State income tax (Which would be wise since they do not pay ANY).

Now lets say they come in to my office today with their W-2's and I prepare their Federal income taxes

This family would receive an Earned Income tax credit of $4716 and then a child tax credit of $638. They would get a Federal tax refund of exactly $5354. If they gave me their bank account information then $5354 would be directly deposited into their bank account by the IRS on February 8th!

So during the year $1224 is withheld from their paychecks and paid to Social Security and Medicare. At the end of the year they get a Federal Income tax refund of $5354.

So for the year they net will RECEIVE $4130 more then they paid in payroll taxes AND Federal income taxes combined!

Then along come the "Republicrats" in Washington and they want to send these people a "rebate" check. Based on what I have been able to read this family would receive a check for another $1800.

Both Republicans and Democrats agree that the above family should get a net $5930 payment from the IRS more then they have paid in payroll taxes and income taxes combined...

No wonder we are running budget deficits every year and Social Security and Medicare are going bankrupt!

Any questions?

Mike Sylvester

P.S. How does this sound to you Jeff Pruitt? Is this a fiscally sound proposal?

Should the US abolish the electorial college?

US Constitution Article 2, Section 1
The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice-President chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.


At first, people could not vote for US Senators. Instead, each Senator was chosen by his state legislature. After a while, that method was considered to be too undemocratic. So it was changed in 1913 with the 17th Amendment.

Yet today, you still cannot vote for president. Instead, you vote for a bunch of guys who will choose a president for you. It works well enough most of the time, but every now and then the people choose one candidate and the electorial college chooses a different candidate.

Some argue that the electorial college promotes state's rights and federalism. But under a popular vote system, states would still retain the right to control who gets on the ballot. A popular vote selection process would give more voice to individual voters while still recognizing the role of the states.

Would Gore have won in 2000 if the race were determined by popular votes rather than electorial votes? It isn't as clear as people think it is, because both the Bush and Gore campaigns would adjusted their strategies to earn the most popular votes. Still, a lot of Democrats felt cheated after the 2000 Election. A lot of Republicans would have felt cheated if Bush had won the popular vote and Gore won the electorial vote.

Many taxpayers fail to understand our tax system

I have heard a lot of Democrats saying that it is ok to issue rebate checks to low income families because those low income families pay payroll taxes. It may be ok to do that; however, it is NOT a rebate check if that family already gets back more from the Federal Government then they paid into the system.

I am going to illustrate this with some undeniable facts on a sample tax return that I will post later.

It is true that the members of these low income families with earned income do pay payroll taxes; however, the very low income families I am referring to in my last post that were included at the last minute by the Democrats in the Economic Stimulus Package get paid back more from the Government through the earned income tax credit then they ever paid into the system.

These families end up getting all of the money withheld from their paychecks back and they then get back as much as $4716 with the Earned Income tax credit. In the cases I am discussing those taxpayers get more back in Earned Income Tax Credit then they paid in payroll taxes...

I think it is ok that people want to issue those rebate checks; I just want to make sure that the readers of this blog understand that in those circumstances it is not a rebate check. A rebate check is what you get when you paid something in and have it rebate to you.

Mike Sylvester

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Economic Stimulus Package Election style

The Economic Stimulus Package that Republican and Democratic incumbents want to push through in an election year to help them retain their political posts is completely ignorant and just gets worse and worse. The Economic Stimulus Package is neither Liberal or Conservative. It is solely intended to help our current politicians get re-elected and it is an embarrassment.

I will write several posts about this and limit each post to one central idea.

The details of the Economic Stimulus Package are still in flux due to the Senate...

First lets look at the rebate check idea. It looks like the final package will send "rebate" checks worth about 70 billion dollars to taxpayers who pay income taxes and are below a certain income threshold. Washington's intent seems to be to send these rebate checks to low and middle income taxpayers. These rebate checks will go to low and middle income wage earners with at least $3000 in earned income and those with dependent children will get more then those without dependent children.

The Democrats forced the addition of another 30 billion dollars worth of rebate checks that are actually welfare checks to lower income families who would not have qualified for the previously mentioned rebates since they do not pay Federal income taxes. These checks should NOT be called "rebate" checks; they are welfare checks and should be called welfare checks.

I am completely against the idea of rebate checks as outlined above for several reasons:
1. If you want to inject money into the economy then lower taxes a small amount permanently. When Washington lowers taxes they should do it by SIMPLIFYING the tax code.
2. It is absurd to go to the expense of sending rebate checks at all. If it has to be done it should be done as part of the income tax filing process.
3. I have looked at the research of several "think tanks" and respected economists concerning the actual impact on our economy the last time rebate checks were mailed out during the tenure of President Bush. If you average the studies it appears that between 21% and 22% of the money "rebated" to taxpayers was injected back into the economy directly; the rest was saved or used to pay debt. Considering that household debt has dramatically increased since the last "rebate" check debacle, I would surmise that even less of those rebate checks will go directly into the US economy this time. I strongly feel that most Americans will use their rebate check to pay some of the balance of their credit cards; this will NOT stimulate the economy; however it will help the credit card companies and banking companies clean up their balance sheets.
4. I do not agree with the criteria of who they want to send the rebate checks to. They exclude many middle income Americans AND they pay a smaller amount to retired Americans on Social Security.

In short; I detest the idea of rebate checks (30% of which are actually welfare checks) being used to stimulate the economy.

Mike Sylvester

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A first



We've never posted video on this blog before. I thought that I should actually try doing it before I tell Doug that I know how to do it. We are still looking into posting episodes of Doug's show on this blog.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Proposed cell phone tower faces opposition

Hat tip to Fort Wayne Observed



Centennial is applying for a height variance so they can build a cell phone tower near the GE building on Broadway. Some people do not want it to be built for aesthetic reasons.

Folks, my primary objection to not granting the variance is that it is a violation of property rights. Many regular readers of this blog already know the libertarian view on property rights, and they either agree with it or they don't. I won't bother repeating it in this post.

Instead, I will make the argument that the new cell phone tower serves the public interest. Even though cell phones are still perceived as a luxury, many individuals and companies depend on them for critical calls. Sometimes a motorist has a medical emergency, sometimes the guy who is on-call isn't at home when the boss needs him. Centennial would not go to the expense of building this tower if it were not needed to improve reception.

If the city uses "aesthetics" as an argument against allowing companies to build here, it will mean that fewer companies will want to have operations in Fort Wayne. It would be one thing if someone wanted to put a new structure in a purely residential neighborhood. But Broadway is a place of industry, and industry isn't supposed to be pretty. It's supposed to be profitable.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Economic Stimulus Package stupidity

Well the politicians in Washington are at it again; they are hurting our economy in the long run by increasing the Federal deficit, again...

Does anyone remember when the Democrats swept to power and absolutely promised to follow the "pay as you go" rules? Well, guess what. They lied, again. They are suspending them and they are going to add about 150 billion more to the Federal budget deficit...

This entire "economic stimulus package" will be borrowed and will be paid back with interest by future generations.

This economic stimulus package is more about re-election then helping our economy...

I am disgusted by both Republicans and Democrats...

It is really time to elect some new people and send them to Washington.

Does anyone reading this blog think that the current "economic stimulus" package is a good idea for the long term economic prospects of this country?

Mike Sylvester

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Another thing to like about Karen Goldner

Please come to our first 2nd City Council District meeting next month on MONDAY, FEBRUARY 25, at 7 p.m. at Psi Ote Barn (Lower Level) in Northside Park (enter off of Parnell; the building is just past the tennis courts).

The purpose of the meeting is to give anyone in the district the chance to share what is on their mind. We'll start off by talking about infrastructure but that will be short and then it's open for whatever people want to discuss.

I hope you are able to attend. Please circulate this e-mail to your neighbors, and help spread the word. (We will put out a news release closer to the event, but it is better for people to hear about this from more than one source).

Thanks, and I look forward to seeing you on February 25 -

Karen Goldner
2nd District City Council

P.S. If you are the kind of person who likes to mark your calendar early, you can plan on the rest of 2008:

Wednesday, May 21, 7 p.m., Shoaff Park Riverlodge

Monday, September 15, 7 p.m., Shoaff Park Riverlodge

Monday, November 17, 7 p.m., Northside Park Psi Ote Barn Upper Level

A sad day in Fort Wayne

Matt Kelty is selling his house to help pay his legal bills and personal debts.

You can read more here:

<http://www.news-sentinel.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008801230342>

I wonder how many local press outlets are celebrating...

Mike Sylvester

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

LPAC Has New Chair

To All,

At last night meeting Doug Horner was approved as the new Chairman for the LPAC.

I think it is a great testament to the previous Chairs Mike Sylvester and Jennifer Jeffries that we have been able to transition through the sudden resignation of a chairman. This would have caused chaos in many other counties and we have effected a smooth transition here in Allen County.

I will only be Chairman until our April convention. At the April convention I will run for Chairman of the LPAC. As of right now I do NOT intend to run again. I may change my mind but I doubt it.

After the end of last nights meeting I resigned as Secretary of the LPAC and have appointed Ken White as Secretary. Per our bylaws there will be a vote to approve him at the next business meeting.

I told the other officers some monthes ago that I would run one more time as Secretary and after that I was done. Meetings are only once per month but that adds up as the years go by.

I hope I can do as well as the previous Chairs and will probably be asking for a lot of help in the coming months.

Should any of the readers be fed up with the current status quo and believe in a smaller government that does not interfere in the lives of its citizens or businesses the Libertarian Party would welcome your membership. Contact me if you are interested.

Respectfully,

Doug Horner
Chairman, LPAC

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Public Access Tonight

To All,

Just a reminder that Libertarians at Large is on tonight.

Cable channel 57 from 7P - 8P.

My guest will be William Larsen.

Respectfully,

Doug

Voter ID law

Instead of requiring voters to show a state issued ID, they should simply store digital images of registered voters at polling places. That way, if I get mugged on my way to the polling place, poll workers would still be able to verify that I am me. Provisional ballots would still be available for those who grow or shave off facial hair, and those who have disfiguring accidents.

Any new computer equipment purchased towards this end would still be cheaper than the ongoing lawsuit. Even though SCOTUS is expected to uphold the Voter ID law, this law could be challenged again when the court gets some new members.

The claim that no new measures are needed because no one has been convicted of voter fraud in this state is a hollow argument. There have been no hijackings in this state, do we still need metal detectors in our airports? There have been recent recorded cases of voter fraud in Illinois and Ohio. There may be voter fraud in Indiana if Evan Bayh becomes a running mate and we become a battleground state. We owe it to ourselves and the rest of the country to have an voter identification system that is fair, convenient, and reliable.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Do we need an economic stimulus package?

Many of the Presidential candidates are proposing a short term economic stimulus package to try to keep our economy out of a recession.

If we go into a recession in the short term it will be due to the following things:

1. The high price of gasoline.
2. The fact that real estate prices are dropping and there is a "glut" of homes on the market.
3. The subprime mortgage problems and the number of mortgage defaults.
4. The reality that our trade and tax policy have forced our jobs overseas.
And many more reasons.

The main reason we are headed for a recession is the fact that Americans have overspent at have all levels of our Government. There is too much debt and it is not all going to be paid back.

A short term stimulus package would infuse money into our economy and this would tend to help prevent us from slipping into a recession; however, when we do slip into a recession it would make the recession worse...

We do NOT need a short term stimulus package. What we need to do is to:

1. Simplify our tax code and change it so it helps keep jobs here.
2. Change our trade policy.
3. Encourage Americans to save rather then to spend.

A recession is coming and it is going to be a big one. There is just too much debt in our economy and our politicians keep trying to "spend our way out of it."

Mike Sylvester

Democratic Presidential debate in Nevada

I watched the Democratic Presidential debate last night.

I thought that OBama won; however, most of those interviewed on CNBC thought Hillary Clinton won.

I still do not know who I will support for President this year. I will most likely support a Libertarian; however, I may vote for a Republican or Democrat depending on who wins the nomination of each of the three Party's.

After watching the debate my thoughts on the top three Democrats have not changed:

There is no way I could ever vote for John Edwards. I do not believe that he is genuine.

I also cannot vote for Hillary Clinton under any circumstances. She is as fake as they come and she flip flops too much.

I could possibly vote for Obama. Obama has a lot of policies I disagree with; however, I think he is genuine.

Mike Sylvester

Monday, January 14, 2008

Its the economy stupid...

I often post about the economy and I often say that it is better then the Democrats say it is; however, it is worse then the Republicans think it is.

The truth is there are some economic indicators that are good and some that are bad...

I have always felt that a major global recession is coming in the next ten or so years; however, I think it is likely to come within the next five years at this point.

Both Democrats and Republicans are turning a blind eye to our economic problems and instead are trying to spend our way out of our short term problems. This will possibly work short term; however, in the long run it is just making the recession worse when it finally hits us.

I suggest that all of the readers of this blog take a few steps towards protecting themselves and their families from future financial turmoil:

1. Stop spending as much money as you are spending. Most of us need to "tighten our belts" and spend less money.

2. Save money.

3. Diversify your investments.

Mike Sylvester

Thursday, January 10, 2008

LPAC Chair Resigns

Jennifer Jeffrey has resigned as the Chair of the Libertarian Party of Allen County.

Her letter to the party follows.

Dear Friends and Members:

Thomas Jefferson once said, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed
from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its
natural manure." I truly feel all leaders should evaluate their roles
from time to time and put party needs above personal goals.

Because of this belief, I find myself standing at such a crossroad
where I have decided the party is in need of leadership which will be
able to focus on the needs of the upcoming elections, growing the
party, and planning for the future.

I have found a greater need of my own which is to focus on my family
and issues which need greater attention than my role as Chair of the
LPAC.

It has been a tremendous and historic run for me and the people who
believed in the change the Libertarian Party of Allen County offered
this year. I am truly grateful for the support, respect and enthusiasm
for myself and the ideas we represented. The year and years to come
will, no doubt, be full of more historic moments and great leaders.
My resignation will take effect immediately and the current
Vice-Chair, Jonathan Bartels, will take over as the Chair until the
April 2008 convention.

Jennifer


The membership will vote to approve me as the Chair or to select another replacement at the next LPAC Meeting. That Meeting is on January 21st at 6:30 at the main branch of the Allen County Public Library in meeting room B. All LP Members are strongly encouraged to attend.

For further information please contact the Vice Chair, Jon Bartels at:
Jonathan.Bartels@gmail.com or 513.304.0164

Fox New Hampshire Republican debate

It has wrongly been argued on this blog that FOX did the right thing by excluding two candidates from their debate since those two candidates did not have enough supporters.

Lets look at the New Hampshire results on the Republican side:
McCain, 37%
Romney, 31%
Huckabee, 11%
Guiliani, 9%
Paul, 8%
Thompson, 1%
Hunter, 1%

FOX excluded Paul and Hunter from the New Hampshire televised debate.

If you went by supporters in New Hampshire then FOX should have excluded Hunter and Thompson...

Mike Sylvester

Monday, January 07, 2008

New Hampshire Republican Debate

I wasted nearly two hours of my life watching last night's debate on FOX.

FOX was shameful when it decided to exclude two of the Republican candidates from the debate (Hunter and Paul).

When I looked at the eight Republicans running for President a month ago there were three I could not vote for and five I might be able to support

The four I liked were Ron Paul, Tancredo, Duncan Hunter, and Fred Thompson. Tancredo has dropped out. Paul and Hunter were excluded from the debate. Huckabee I am not sure about; however, his performance last night was not impressive.

The three I cannot vote for are Giuliani, Romney, and McCain.

I do not like inconsistencies in candidates and I do not like "flip-flopping."

As far as last night's debate goes I am not sure who won. I liked the responses of Fred Thompson the most; however, that is not surprising since I liked him the most before the debate.

The New Hampshire Republican Party impressed me since it dropped its sponsorship of the debate since Paul and Hunter were excluded.

I am not sure who will win the Republican primary at this point; any of the five candidates in last night's debate could win the nomination; however, if I had to guess I think it will be Huckabee or Romney.

The Republican field is wide open and it will be interesting to see who wins.

I imagine that Clinton or OBama will win on the Democratic side.

Looks like I will most likely be voting for a Libertarian for President again; however, it will depend on which Libertarian wins the nomination.

Mike Sylvester

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Health Care part 2: Choice

Most people who get dissatisfied with their insurance company do so because of a claim that was denied. Often, a person either does not understand their policy or is trying to commit fraud, so the company has to deny these claims. Any system, public or private, that is designed to filter out illegitimate claims from legitimate ones will occasionally deny claimants who should be paid and pay claimants who should be denied.

If I ever feel that my insurance company is not being fair to me, I can sue or switch companies. This is one reason why I oppose a single-payer health care system: I can switch insurance companies a whole lot easier than I can switch governments. If I am dependent on the government for health care and I don't like the way it's being handled, my best option is to wait until the next leap year and hope that a majority of the electoral college votes the same I do.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette front page story

First of all they are still delivering the JG to my house even though I cancelled it many weeks ago... I wish they would stop.

Second of all they ran a front page story from the Associated Press that is inaccurate.

It reads "Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards struggled for supremacy in a close Democratic contest.

Lets look at the results:
Obama, 38%
Edwards, 30%
Clinton, 29%

This race was "called" in the very early evening Thursday night.

Barack Obama won by a large margin; yet the AP story thinks it was a close race and so the JG just copies that AP story and makes it their lead story?

Wow...

Mike Sylvester

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Predictions for 2008

People like to make predictions at the beginning of the year. In the past, people reminded everyone else when they made a correct prediction, yet failed to note when their predictions were wrong. But this is the Internet, so in 366 days we can dig this post out of the archive and see who is right and who is wrong.



So post your predictions. I just have a few rules.


  • Cite the reasons why you believe the predicted event will happen. I don't want to hear about any gut feelings or wishful thinking. Previously, people usually predicted high results for the candidates that they favored.

  • Do not make any predictions regarding future domestic criminal activity or future violence against US nationals abroad. You can however make predictions about potential and ongoing investigations regarding previous illegal activities.

I'll go first. Whoever wins the Iowa caucus will either lose their party's nomination or lose the general election. Since 1972, the year in which Iowa's caucus started to come first, only two non-incumbent candidates won both that state in the primary and the November election. George W. Bush won Iowa in 2000, and so did Carter in 1976. Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton all lost Iowa when they were running for their first terms in the White House.