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    Tuesday, November 18, 2008

    Stupid Electorate?

    A recent Zogby poll shows that only 32% of voters knew that Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. Since 2006, Democrats have controlled both houses - and 68% of voters in 2008 had no idea.

    This is just one more reason why we need a more educated electorate. This information is pretty easy to find out. Turn on your nightly news maybe one hour a week, and you would have learned this pretty quick. Now, if voters do not know something about our contemporary political situation, what do they know about the U.S. Constitution and how our government works? The answers may be frightening.

    Think you might want to start down that road of learning the first principles of American government? Here's a good place to start.

    Who Bails Out the Bail-Outor?

    In a great column in the Wall Street Journal, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford asked the question: "Who bails out the bail-outor?" The federal government is on a spending spree to "save" the economy - at the expense of the American taxpayer.

    I think I've heard this story before. Every time this kind of attempt is made, it doesn't work. Sanford even points out the problems that we are simply delaying: "Washington is short on cash these days and will borrow every dime of the $150 billion to $300 billion for the "stimulus" bill now being worked on. Federal appetites may know no bounds. But the federal government's ability to borrow is not limitless. Already, our nation's unfunded liabilities total $52 trillion -- about $450,000 per household. There's something very strange about issuing debt to solve a problem caused by too much debt."

    Then he asks, "Isn't government intervention supposed to be the last resort and come only when it can make a difference?"

    "In 2008 bailouts became the first resort. Over the past year the federal government has committed itself to $2.3 trillion (including the tax rebate "stimulus" checks of last February) to "improve" the economy. I don't see how another $150 billion now will make a difference in a global slowdown. We've already unloaded truckloads of sugar in a vain attempt to sweeten a lake. Tossing in a Twinkie will not make the difference."

    Saturday, November 15, 2008

    Understanding Taxes With Beer

    The following easy-to-follow story was put together by David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D., Professor of Economics from the University of Georgia.

    Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100.
    If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

    The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
    The fifth would pay $1.
    The sixth would pay $3.
    The seventh would pay $7.
    The eighth would pay $12.
    The ninth would pay $18.
    The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

    So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. 'Since you are all such good customers, he said, 'I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20. Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

    The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?' They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

    And so:
    The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
    The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
    The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
    The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
    The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
    The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

    Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant the men began to compare their savings.

    'I only got a dollar out of the $20,'declared the sixth man.He pointed to the tenth man,' but he got $10!'

    'Yeah, that's right,' exclaimed the fifth man. 'I only saved a dollar, too.It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!'

    'That's true!!' shouted the seventh man.'Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!'

    'Wait a minute,' yelled the first four men in unison. 'We didn't get anything at all.The system exploits the poor!'

    The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

    The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important.They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

    And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

    Sunday, November 09, 2008

    How the Community Organizer Won Florida

    Some of us made fun of Barack Obama for being a community organizer - or rather, for having that on his resume for President. Truth be told, it may be that his community organizing skills were the PERFECT skills to run a successful campaign for the highest national office in the land.

    The Miami Herald just published an inside story to how Obama won Florida. In the last four months of the general election campaign, Obama's campaign registered 200,000 new voters in Florida, opened 50 state field offices, recruited 600,000 volunteers and allocated $40 million to fight John McCain. WOW. Did they say 600,000 volunteers? Just in Florida?

    Obama's Florida strategy was thorough and simple: ask every supporter to help, give every volunteer a job, register every eligible voter, get ''sporadic'' voters to the polls, and bring the campaign to every pocket of the state. Conservatives: this is what we must do beginning now.

    Obama's campaign did it by dividing the state into five regions, or ''pods,'' each with its own staff and message geared to regional concerns. It harnessed social networking on the Internet and cell phones to allow grassroots organizers set up their own voter registration drives, home-grown phone banks and text messaging chains.

    Florida represents a convergence of the national campaign's community-organizer approach and Steve Schale's (Obama's state director) view of the state, shaped by two years as political director for House Democrats in which he helped reverse the party's decline by wresting nine legislative seats from Republican control.

    A lesson learned for conservatives here in Florida and across the nation. Acquire skills by getting yourself involved in and organizing in your own community. And then build relationships with those on the ground and invest technologies, skills, and creative freedom to each regional and community campaign organizer on the ground. The community organizer learned his skills long ago in the streets of Chicago. It ultimately helped him win a national campaign for the highest office in the land.

    Wednesday, November 05, 2008

    Florida's new (GOP) house speaker: "I think we have momentum back"

    Ray Sansom (R-Destin), who takes over as the new Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives confirmed what I posted about in my blog earlier about conservatism remaining strong in the state of Florida.

    According to the St. Petersburg Times, in his first formal news conference this afternoon, House Speaker-designate Ray Sansom declared victory for conservatives in Florida despite the Obama win, citing weak Democratic performance in legislative races and passage of the gay marriage ban.

    "It was a great night for Florida House Republicans," Sansom said in Tallahassee. "I think we have momentum back on the Republican side. ... Florida is still very conservative."

    Florida: An Example of How Conservatives Win From Principle

    While defenders of freedom might feel like they've gotten a little kick in the butt last night, we too have reasons to be optimistic. First, I wrote a piece that appeared on our book's website about the election of Barack Obama. Even though I co-authored a book that was very critical of him, I think as Americans, we can all take something "good" out of this result:

    But, a few other brief notes. I apologize that Florida went to Obama. At least we kept it close (don't we always?). But, let me tell you where Florida came through.

    There are 25 U.S. Congressional seats in Florida. Before the night started, Republicans held 16 of them. We still hold 15. In essence, 60% of our U.S. congressional delegation remains in Republican control - most of whom are solid conservatives. While the GOP lost 2 seats, we won back the seat Mark Foley lost in 2006. So, we only had one net loss in a year where the GOP went down again hard nationally.

    Second, even with an Obama victory in our state, Florida passed (with 63% of the vote) a Marriage Protection Amendment for our state constitution. 60% of the vote is required to put something in Florida's state constiution. Our radical state supreme court shouldn't be able to touch that. I have a hunch that the large black turnout for Obama may have actually helped protect marriage as most blacks share the conservative social values.

    Third, our very conservative state legislature remains that way. There are a few close races and some recounts being done, but before election day, Republicans had a 77-43 majority in the Florida house and a 26-14 advantage in the state senate. It looks like it will be almost exactly that same control. Obama's victory in our state did not affect the rest of the dynamics here.

    The lesson for conservatives is right here in Florida: when you govern from principle, you win and your community, state, and nation is better for it. From my observation, most conservatives here in Florida do govern from principle. I can't say the same for our current Republican governor and he may pay the price in 2010. Voters here were obviously caught up in the "change" factor - as it relates to the national political scene - but they seem to like the way the state is governed. And, the passing of the marriage amendments here in Florida and in places like California, show that this nation is still one made up of traditional social values.

    So, there are reasons for conservatives to be optimistic - and as a Floridian, I challenge all conservatives around the nation to look to our state as an example. And despite the total Democrat Party control of the Whitet House and both houses of Congress, America is still the place where all things are possible. (Just ask Nancy Pelosi!)