Wednesday, February 28, 2007

There is hope for reclaiming our cities. I found a good book by Jane Jacobs entitled The Death and Life of Great American Cities which gives part of the answer. I encourage you to go on Amazon and purchase it.

The cities would naturally attract certain economies. They have infrastructure, population, and easy access to a wide variety of resources. The Rudy years of New York and the Reclamation of Atlanta show it is possible to begin a turn around without even getting to some of the root cultural causes. These natural advantages are being destroyed by misguided city planning, high taxes, poor security, and a culture of despair.

The first step is to restore common sense to a community. We need to support our authority structure. We have to enforce quality of life rules. For that approach to work, we have to admit the authority structure undermined its own legitimacy. Of course we recognize Bull Conner and his ilk as undermining it, but we also have to come to grip with the fact that if Sen. Obama, Speaker Gingrich, and Vice president Gore had to cope with the same drug laws that we have today, we would have been deprived of our most popular leaders. The drug laws are not set up fairly, they do not target drugs based upon their danger to others, but based upon a political apartide which adversely affects minorities. People should not have their futures ruined because they went through a period of despair in their lives. As people are being disenfranchised by the millions from mainstream society (jobs, voting, educational opportunities), they become segregated from the institutions which in the past reclaimed them. We create an underclass which is resentful of all the institutions of authority that make up society family, police, government, schools, etc. We can’t just turn loose the drug lords in our cities. We need to dry up their market. The faith based initiative fought by numskull Dems in Congress needs to be passed immediately. We need to stop mandatory minimums for non drug king pins and repeal felony laws on drug abuse for users except for those few drugs proven to spark violent behavior. We need to use misdemeanor laws as a tool to encourage treatment. Those who do not respond should be placed in work camps and not traditional prisons. Those work camps could teach new skills, offer education and treatment, and give a sense of accomplishment and worth. The dealers are a different story. They should be harassed OUT OF BUSINESS.

The second step is to work with the free market and not against it. The entire template of city planning taught in our colleges is wrong. The places with the least planning--like Houston are doing the best. Suburbia did not have the same planning until recent decades (it prospered) and now we are seeing decaying cores in much of it. So people are moving to exurbia and rural counties to escape the problems. The solution is complex and will take its own essay to get started.

The third step is to make security the first priority in our cities. Basic economics says that people trade to get what makes them happy. You trade your time to get money to buy a house because you are happier watching digital TV in a climate controlled house than sitting outside in nature. Money does not matter as much as perceived happiness. If I think I will be killed in a year running a business in the city, it does not matter how much money they say I can make. Remember Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs; we need to fulfill the basic requirements and then move up the scale. We need to teach skills of relating to one another and human relations in the schools. Those start with communication. We need to start being judgmental again. The person who starts a fight is guilty not the victim. This goes back to common sense. If someone starts pounding on my face because he wants my lunch money and I defend myself, I should be praised not punished along with him. That undermines authority. We should not let crime be in the open. Once you allow criminal enterprises to flaunt the law they become bolder. They think they can run neighborhoods. Next we need to target those who enable the active criminals. We need to give landlords tools to evict people who run criminal enterprises out of the landlord’s property then we need to hold them accountable if they don’t use them. The same houses become drug houses again and again with different tenants. These places become criminal hubs for all sorts of gang crime. If the landlords won’t seek help then we should shut them down and pressure them to sale. We should place cameras in our parks and at streets in need of help. We have to make public crime not pay. Singapore is the best example of how to make a successful modern city.

Next you get into changing the economics. Then you go into the changing the culture. The cities have failed governments which have to be replaced. These could use essays on their own.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Fair Tax Primer
Imagine a tax system that:
• Allows you to keep 100 percent of your paycheck, pension, and Social Security payments.
• Frees up the time wasted on filling out cumbersome IRS forms.
• Wipes out the income tax code and shuts down the IRS.
• Makes taxation of income unconstitutional by repealing the 16th Amendment.
• Exempts all taxpayers from federal taxation up to the poverty level, through a monthly rebate.
• Ensures that all Americans pay their fair share of taxes.
• Dramatically lowers tax rates for low-income and middle-income Americans.
• Makes taxes visible by eliminating hidden income and payroll taxes in consumer prices.
• Enables families to save more for home ownership, education, and retirement.
• Protects and ensures the funding of Social Security and Medicare.
• Leaves unchanged the amount of money raised by the federal government.
• Makes American products more competitive overseas.
How? This tax system is the most researched, and we think you'll agree, the best tax reform plan. It's called the FairTax.
The problem is the current income tax code.
A. The current tax code is unfair, costly, and unreasonably confusing.
• Because the tax code is so complex and easy to evade, many of us pay more in taxes per year than we should! The IRS estimates that over 40 percent of Americans are out of compliance with the current tax code! This makes the rest of us pay about 30 percent more in taxes.
• Over half of American taxpayers seek professional help simply to prepare their returns. And according to Money magazine, chances are 99 percent that you will pay someone to file an incorrect return!
Talking points to use when presenting the FairTax plan Page 2 of 5
• Compliance with the tax code is not only very difficult and complicated, consuming a total of 6 billion hours, but unreasonably expensive as well. It is estimated that it costs taxpayers $265.1 billion for tax filing, tax record keeping, and tax reduction advice. That's just shy of $900 for every man, woman, and child in America! We have taxation without comprehension!
B. The current income tax code unfairly hampers personal financial opportunity.
• When citizens are taxed on their earnings and on what they produce, hard work is discouraged.
• The current income tax code inhibits economic growth, capital formation, and, most importantly, job creation.
• The current income tax code punishes personal savings and investments, and sometimes these are unfairly subjected to double and even triple taxation.
C. The current income tax code tax is grossly unfair to all wage-earning Americans.
• Payroll taxes are taken out of our paychecks, and we all have no control or choice over when we pay or how much we pay in taxes. They are deducted from our paychecks before we can save or spend them.
• The payroll tax is the most regressive and unfair feature of our current tax system. The current payroll tax applies to the first dollar of wages earned, effectively stifling the most important tool to improve one’s economic well-being.
D. The current tax system allows for massive loopholes encouraging politicians and lobbyists to pick winners and losers.
• The tax code is filled with loopholes that are manipulated by high-priced lobbyists for their clients and by other special interests.
• The complexity of the current income tax code is an open invitation to those with the means to manipulate the tax code.
• There are more lobbyists registered in Washington, D.C. for taxes than for any other issue.
The solution is the FairTax.
The FairTax is fair to all Americans and simple to understand. Under the FairTax, all wage earners keep 100 percent of their paychecks and Social Security and Medicare funding are more secure.
The FairTax frees up financial opportunity by restoring choice in spending, encouraging savings and investment, and dramatically reducing tax evasion. With the elimination of 90 percent of compliance costs, over $238 billion is restored to the economy. The FairTax offers an unprecedented opportunity for lower- and middle-income wage earners to get ahead, to save to buy a house, to educate themselves and their children, and to save for a dignified retirement. All Americans, regardless of their income level, are better off with the FairTax.
Talking points to use when presenting the FairTax plan Page 3 of 5
• Everyone is subject to the same consumption tax rate (23 cents of each dollar of spending) with no exceptions and no exclusions, and those least able to share in the cost of government carry no federal tax burden at all.
• The FairTax increases individual purchasing power, making it easier to get ahead financially by eliminating:
o the individual income tax
o the payroll income tax
o the estate tax and the gift tax
o capital gains taxes
o the alternative minimum tax
o the self-employment tax
o the corporate income tax
The solution we propose involves two actions:
• Passage of legislation that institutes a single-rate FairTax on all final sales of new goods and services. This tax becomes the chief source of revenue for the United States government, replacing all federal income and payroll taxes, yet generating the same revenue. The legislation provides for a tax rebate equal to the consumption tax paid on essential goods and services. The rebate ensures that no American pays tax on the purchase of necessities.
• A constitutional amendment (HJR 16) that repeals the 16th Amendment and makes a federal income tax unconstitutional.
We can win!
Bringing the FairTax to a vote only requires 31 members of Congress! If eleven members of the Senate Finance Committee and twenty members of the Ways and Means Committee support the FairTax, they can bring the FairTax bill out of their respective committees and onto the floor of both the House and the Senate. At that point, it is the leadership's decision to go to a full vote by the entire membership. It can be done, and we are well on our way there.
Polling shows that the American people understand and favor fundamental reform such as a federal consumption tax. The national groundswell of support is growing in leaps and bounds. Thousands of Americans are expressing their support for the FairTax through phone calls, e-mails, letters, and faxes. FairTax volunteers are growing by the hundreds. The possibility of bringing about peaceful change is one of the great strengths of the American system. It is obvious that the FairTax is a reasonable solution whose time has come.
Let me repeat the tremendous benefits of the FairTax plan. The FairTax plan:
• Allows you to keep 100 percent of your paycheck, pension, and Social Security payments.
Talking points to use when presenting the FairTax plan Page 4 of 5
• Frees up the time wasted on filling out complicated IRS forms.
• Wipes out the income tax code and shuts down the IRS.
• Makes taxation of income unconstitutional by repealing the 16th Amendment.
• Exempts all taxpayers from federal taxation up to the poverty level, through a monthly rebate.
• Ensures that all Americans pay their fair share of taxes.
• Dramatically lowers tax rates for low-income and middle-income Americans.
• Makes taxes visible by eliminating hidden income and payroll taxes in consumer prices.
• Enables families to save more for home ownership, education, and retirement.
• Protects and ensures the funding of Social Security and Medicare.
• Leaves unchanged the amount of money raised by the federal government.
• Makes American products more competitive overseas.
As Americans come to understand that the FairTax closes tax loopholes and makes everyone pay their fair share of taxes, it will be passed into law. Fully 85 percent of Americans informed about the FairTax are likely to support the tax change that makes the closing of these loopholes a reality. And the FairTax offers not only this, but many other benefits:
• You never pay another hidden tax again. The FairTax is printed on every receipt for every purchase.
• All taxpayers are treated fairly. No loopholes for anyone.
• Individuals have more control and choice. People can make choices about how much to pay in taxes, by deciding when to buy and what to buy.
• Virtually all economic models project a much healthier economy under the FairTax. Real investment will grow by an estimated 76.4 percent. Exports will jump by an estimated 26.4 percent. Interest rates will drop between 20 and 30 percent.
• Small businesses never have to track tax withholdings or deductions.
• Tax evasion dramatically decreases. No more income reporting means the end of "hiding" income from tax authorities.
• Compliance costs are slashed. Compliance costs drop by over 90 percent, from $265 billion.
Concluding remarks
It is time for the FairTax. For nearly 100 years, we have carried the burden of an oppressive and counterproductive tax system which has punished work and achievement, savings, and investment. The current tax code has been grossly manipulated to reward elite political interests and it hurts the average American. The current tax code has hidden the true cost of government from the very taxpayers who pay for it.
Talking points to use when presenting the FairTax plan Page 5 of 5
Americans are not obligated to accept a tax system that penalizes the average working American while giving special consideration to those who buy favors and perks in Washington, D.C. To be competitive in the next century and to renew the American dream, we must change the way we fund our national government. It is time for the FairTax.
The FairTax allows Americans to keep 100 percent of their paychecks, protects and ensures funding of Social Security and Medicare, empowers low-income taxpayers, and puts choice and control back into the hands of all Americans. All the crucial elements are in place: A public eager and ready for a tax system that is fair and a Congress seriously willing to consider genuine tax reform. It only takes thirty-one members of Congress, and we will win.
To learn more about the FairTax, read The FairTax Book by syndicated talk show host Neal Boortz and Congressman John Linder, sponsor of the FairTax legislation. To get your copy go to and click on the FairTax book icon.
What is the FairTax plan? The FairTax plan is a comprehensive proposal that replaces all federal income and payroll taxes with an integrated approach including a progressive national retail sales tax, a rebate to ensure no American pays federal taxes up to the poverty level, dollar-for-dollar revenue neutrality, and the repeal of the 16th Amendment. This non-partisan legislation (HR 25/S 25) abolishes all federal personal, gift, estate, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security, Medicare, self-employment, and corporate taxes and replaces them all with one simple, visible, federal retail sales tax – collected by existing state sales tax authorities. The FairTax taxes us only on what we choose to spend, not on what we earn. It does not raise any more or less revenue; it is designed to be revenue neutral. So it is also cost neutral – the final cost for goods and services changes little under the FairTax. The FairTax is a fair, efficient, transparent, and intelligent solution to the frustration and inequity of our current tax system. is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots organization dedicated to replacing the current tax system. The organization has hundreds of thousands of members and volunteers nationwide. Its plan supports sound economic research, education of citizens and community leaders, and grassroots mobilization efforts. For more information visit the fair tax link on or call 1-800-FAIRTAX.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Three Little Bakers added to art and culture in Delaware.

My wife and I visited the Dinner Theater for what looks like the last time Sunday. It was always a fun experience. Great food, wonderful entertainment and good conversation with friends and total stangers alike. The perfect night out.

OUTSIDE THE BOX Plus Ça (Climate) ChangeThe Earth was warming before global warming was cool.BY PETE DU PONT
Wednesday, February 21, 2007 12:01 a.m.

When Eric the Red led the Norwegian Vikings to Greenland in the late 900s, it was an ice-free farm country--grass for sheep and cattle, open water for fishing, a livable climate--so good a colony that by 1100 there were 3,000 people living there. Then came the Ice Age. By 1400, average temperatures had declined by 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, the glaciers had crushed southward across the farmlands and harbors, and the Vikings did not survive.
Such global temperature fluctuations are not surprising, for looking back in history we see a regular pattern of warming and cooling. From 200 B.C. to A.D. 600 saw the Roman Warming period; from 600 to 900, the cold period of the Dark Ages; from 900 to 1300 was the Medieval warming period; and 1300 to 1850, the Little Ice Age.
During the 20th century the earth did indeed warm--by 1 degree Fahrenheit. But a look at the data shows that within the century temperatures varied with time: from 1900 to 1910 the world cooled; from 1910 to 1940 it warmed; from 1940 to the late 1970s it cooled again, and since then it has been warming. Today our climate is 1/20th of a degree Fahrenheit warmer than it was in 2001.
Many things are contributing to such global temperature changes. Solar radiation is one. Sunspot activity has reached a thousand-year high, according to European astronomy institutions. Solar radiation is reducing Mars's southern icecap, which has been shrinking for three summers despite the absence of SUVS and coal-fired electrical plants anywhere on the Red Planet. Back on Earth, a NASA study reports that solar radiation has increased in each of the past two decades, and environmental scholar Bjorn Lomborg, citing a 1997 atmosphere-ocean general circulation model, observes that "the increase in direct solar irradiation over the past 30 years is responsible for about 40 percent of the observed global warming."
Statistics suggest that while there has indeed been a slight warming in the past century, much of it was neither human-induced nor geographically uniform. Half of the past century's warming occurred before 1940, when the human population and its industrial base were far smaller than now. And while global temperatures are now slightly up, in some areas they are dramatically down. According to "Climate Change and Its Impacts," a study published last spring by the National Center for Policy Analysis, the ice mass in Greenland has grown, and "average summer temperatures at the summit of the Greenland ice sheet have decreased 4 degrees Fahrenheit per decade since the late 1980s." British environmental analyst Lord Christopher Monckton says that from 1993 through 2003 the Greenland ice sheet "grew an average extra thickness of 2 inches a year," and that in the past 30 years the mass of the Antarctic ice sheet has grown as well.
Earlier this month the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a summary of its fourth five-year report. Although the full report won't be out until May, the summary has reinvigorated the global warming discussion.
While global warming alarmism has become a daily American press feature, the IPCC, in its new report, is backtracking on its warming predictions. While Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" warns of up to 20 feet of sea-level increase, the IPCC has halved its estimate of the rise in sea level by the end of this century, to 17 inches from 36. It has reduced its estimate of the impact of global greenhouse-gas emissions on global climate by more than one-third, because, it says, pollutant particles reflect sunlight back into space and this has a cooling effect.
The IPCC confirms its 2001 conclusion that global warming will have little effect on the number of typhoons or hurricanes the world will experience, but it does not note that there has been a steady decrease in the number of global hurricane days since 1970--from 600 to 400 days, according to Georgia Tech atmospheric scientist Peter Webster.
The IPCC does not explain why from 1940 to 1975, while carbon dioxide emissions were rising, global temperatures were falling, nor does it admit that its 2001 "hockey stick" graph showing a dramatic temperature increase beginning in 1970s had omitted the Little Ice Age and Medieval Warming temperature changes, apparently in order to make the new global warming increases appear more dramatic.
Sometimes the consequences of bad science can be serious. In a 2000 issue of Nature Medicine magazine, four international scientists observed that "in less than two decades, spraying of houses with DDT reduced Sri Lanka's malaria burden from 2.8 million cases and 7,000 deaths [in 1948] to 17 cases and no deaths" in 1963. Then came Rachel Carson's book "Silent Spring," invigorating environmentalism and leading to outright bans of DDT in some countries. When Sri Lanka ended the use of DDT in 1968, instead of 17 malaria cases it had 480,000.
Yet the Sierra Club in 1971 demanded "a ban, not just a curb," on the use of DDT "even in the tropical countries where DDT has kept malaria under control." International environmental controls were more important than the lives of human beings. For more than three decades this view prevailed, until the restrictions were finally lifted last September.
As we have seen since the beginning of time, and from the Vikings' experience in Greenland, our world experiences cyclical climate changes. America needs to understand clearly what is happening and why before we sign onto U.N. environmental agreements, shut down our industries and power plants, and limit our economic growth. Mr. du Pont, a former governor of Delaware, is chairman of the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis. His column appears once a month.
Copyright © 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The necessity for undestanding the true nature of government was brought home by the recent dictatorship of Hugo Chavez.

He is instituting a socialist dictatorship. What they call a dictatorship of democracy. People are losing property and liberty. What does that mean for us? There are people over here trying to lead us down the path of giving up our property rights. Like a salesman giving us a free gift, they want to tell us that our lives will improve at no cost for giving up some of our rights for their notion of the common good. In reality, most of us will lose out in the long run.

I must say that more evil has been done in the name of the common good than we would like to admit. As strongly as I believe in the common good, I cringe when I hear it used in a political context as much as I do when a salesman says he is going to give me a free gift. Why?

The common good is based upon individual rights. It is just the collective representation of those rights. Like Hugo Chavez, most government planners and regulators seem to see the common good in opposition to the individuals rights.

The keys to a free society are tolerance, respect, equal access to protection, and self determination.We have to distinguish between what we don’t like and what hurts us. I did not like the glow worm green a neighbor painted his house, yet I would fight for his right to paint it whatever color he wants. If my neighbor wanted to paint burn the n–r’s house down, that would be different. Why? One is just differing tastes and the other is a threat of violence. The duty of government is to protect the individual so we have a consistent standard and not the changing emotionalism of mob rule or vigilante justice.

Government has a duty to allow you exercise to your rights because that is the reason we formed it. Government was not formed to force a uniformity of lifestyle. It was formed so we could all live our lives based upon mutual respect and self determination.

The law has no power but that which the individual can concede to it. I have a right to protect my life, liberty, and property. By social contract, I have hired the government to be my agent for that job. I do not have the right to tell my neighbor how big his house should be (unless it crosses my property line or is unsafe) or what color his house should be. The government does not either.

If we remember that the government is a collection of individuals to protect themselves, their rights, and their property, we will be more likely to let it stay on purpose. The government is a most wonderful tool if we use it for its purpose.

Power to the people?

Two petitions deserve your attention. One is designed to protect taxpayer's assets (the toll roads) and the other taxpayer's right to know spending proposals (HB4). Please go over to the STOP link and check them out.