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December 2009

Tax and Spending Reform as a Moral Issue

By John Hendrickson

“Where is the politician who has not promised his constituents a fight to the death for lower taxes — and who has not proceeded to vote for the very spending projects  that make tax cuts impossible,” asked Senator Barry Goldwater in his landmark book The Conscience of a Conservative? Goldwater, a Republican Senator from Arizona and unashamed leader with conservative principles, was a true advocate for constitutional government. In fact Goldwater believed that his responsibility was not only to uphold the Constitution, but as he told his constituents, his job was to repeal laws and not make them.

He understood that high levels of taxation and spending would lead directly to detrimental economic policies. Goldwater argued that “tax reduction has thus come to have a hollow ring,” and taxation was not just a question of economic and fiscal policy, but a question of morality. “The Conservative believes that man is, in part, an economic, an animal creature; but that he is also a spiritual creature with spiritual needs and spiritual desires,” stated Goldwater. One of the main liberties that was important not only to American colonists, but also to the Founding Fathers was the principle of economic liberty, including property rights.

The wages that a worker or business owner earns are “his property as much as his land and the house in which he lives,” argued Goldwater. Goldwater argued that “government does not have an unlimited claim on the earnings of individuals.” High rates of taxation are not only a moral issue, but are not sound policy. Higher rates of taxation not only curb an individual’s incentive to work, but they also cripple business confidence and entrepreneurial activity.

In addition, high tax rates do not mean more revenue to the government. “It seems difficult for some to understand that high rates of taxation do not necessarily mean large revenue for the government, and that more revenue may often be obtained by lower rates,” argued Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon in his book Taxation: The People’s Business.

This principle has been proven in the Presidential administrations of Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan. Significant tax reform would not only be moral, by allowing people to keep more of their earned property, but allow businesses to expand and encourage entrepreneurial activity which is desperately needed to reverse the climbing 10.2 percent unemployment rate.

Although a sound tax policy is both a moral and economic necessity — the issue of government spending must not be ignored. In order for a tax policy to be successful, rates must be kept low, but government spending must be reduced, that is, without government spending reductions tax cuts will not be as effective. Goldwater argued that “as a practical matter spending cuts must come before tax cuts.” As he argued: “if we reduce taxes before firm, principled decisions are made about expenditures, we will court deficit spending and the inflationary effects that invariably follow.”

Both political parties have failed to restrain government spending and at the heart of this problem is disregard for constitutional limited government. “The root evil is that government is engaged in activities in which it has no legitimate business,” argued Goldwater. The nation is at a dangerous crossroads with an out of control federal budget, national debt of $12 trillion, a rising deficit at $1.4 trillion, and rising unemployment. The entitlement programs of Medicare and Social Security are in danger of bankruptcy and Washington continues to spend and push for new entitlements.

Goldwater offered a solution that would focus on both spending and tax reductions. He called “for a 10 percent spending reduction each year in all of the fields in which federal participation is undesirable.” The basis of any free society is economic liberty and the solution for economic recovery is returning back to constitutional limited government based on reducing taxes and spending, which in the end will unleash the entrepreneurial spirit that has built our great nation.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Public Interest Institute.  They are brought to you in the interest of a better informed citizenry.

John Hendrickson is a Research Analyst with the Public Interest Institute in Mount Pleasant, IA.  

Web site:

If Health Care Reform Passes, 52% Fear They Could Be Forced to Change Insurance

As 2009 comes to an end, a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 52% of those with insurance fear that passage of the plan now working its way through Congress could force them to change coverage. That figure includes 28% who say it's Very Likely they would be forced to change coverage and 24% who say it's Somewhat Likely.

BREAKING NEWS: Sinclair and Mediacom agree to eight-day extension

The Gazette is reporting that Sinclair Broadcast Group and Mediacom have agreed to an eight-day extension of their retransmission agreement that expires tonight at midnight.

This means cable subscribers in the area will be able to enjoy the Orange Bowl and the Hawkeyes in the comfort of their home and free of rabit ears if they so choose.....

Movie Review: Alvin & the Chipmunks - The Squeakquel

By Daniel Thayer

Daniel thayer Good title, but like most sequels it's not as good as the original and specific to this one - not nearly as funny.

This movie includes an all new set of singing and dancing female chipmunks called the 'Chipettes' who compete against the originals.  Though the music is better in this one, other than that there's no comparison to the first.

2_star This movie gets two stars out of five. 

Click the link for the trailer:

County auditor's election budget sees 36.97% increase

According to county documents, the taxpayer outlay for elections and election management by the county auditor's office has gone up 36.97% over the last two years.

In fiscal year 2007, County Auditor Tom "DUI" Slockett spent $714,423.00 on elections and related management.  The budget in fiscal year 2009 was $978,528.00.  In dollar terms, you gave the county $264,105.00 more than you did in 2007.

Why so much more you ask?

Well it can't be because of voter turnout, as 2008 was a presidential election, but 2009 was off-year so a bigger budget for lower turnout simply doesn't make sense.  

Equipment updates?  Yes, but that only explains a portion.

How many times have you walked into a polling place, only to see 7-8 poll workers processing perhaps 2 voters at any given time?

The answer is plenty, all too often, as in Slockett callously throws taxpayer dollars away instead of being mindful of where the money comes from.

A predominant reason for the higher expenditures by Slockett, a liberal, a member of the Democrat machine, is an increase in poll worker wages. 

How is that being a good steward of your hard-earned money?

With exception to satellite voting locations petitioned for by voters, the county auditor is the controlling authority for election day staffing.

In example and again from information provided by county auditor Slockett, let's look at the most recent county election, the Conservation Bond issue (where the Democrat county officials asked for $20 million more of your money, but that's a story for another day), election day May 5, 2009:

The May 5 election expenditures included:

• Full-time wages, equipment setup and delivery: $2,449.63.

• Full- time wages, overtime: $5,223.40.

• Part-time wages: $1,183.50.

• FICA: $677.52.

• IPERS: $487.24.

Precinct official wages: $53,143.50.

• Precinct official wages, satellites: $3,573.50.

• Precinct official mileage: $3,761.42.

• Precinct official mileage, satellites: $279.41.

• Telephones and modem Lines: $944.73.

• Cell phones: $1,140.

• Precinct official cell phones, satellites: $130.

• Polling place rental: $1,410.

• Voting equipment delivery truck rental: $1,308.60.

• Postage: $552.71.

• Official publications: $917.64.

• Printing of ballots, manuals and registers: $10,547.47.

• Envelopes, seals, copies and other supplies: $1,159.58.

The one that sticks out is Precinct official wages: $53,143.50.  That's where the 7-8 poll workers to process 2 voters at any given time comes in.  That's where county auditor Tom Slockett, a Democrat, is callously throwing your money away, hiring 7-8 people for a polling place for the day, when perhaps 4-5 people to staff a given polling place and $30,000 in total wages would do the same job and every bit as well.  Some might argue even more efficiently.

And with the county needing to cut its budget during the lean times of a souring economy, one would think the elections budget would be an area where cutbacks could be made!  But nooooooo, the budget increased!  What kind of *leadership* is that?

And the May 5th election used in example here is not at all an isolated incident.  Slockett has a long history of overstaffing elections.  At $20 - $30K a pop in unwarranted excess wage expenditures per election, that kind of money starts to add up and this is only one sector of county government being looked at.....  Stay tuned for other areas.....  Say, capital projects, up 506.50%.....  up six figures, not five....

Slockett, a Democrat, is a county official, a man who is supposed to be a good steward of the people's money - YOUR money.  How is his overstaffing and inept management of elections - how is he being a good steward of your money?

Vander Plaats Campaign: Vander Plaats Tours Clive Ignition Interlock Maker

Vander Plaats Tours Clive Ignition Interlock Maker; Calls for tough DWI standards 

CLIVE, IA. -- While touring a company that makes devices that prevent intoxicated people from starting their vehicles, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats said today he would seek to provide the necessary leadership to overhaul the state’s drunken driving statutes if elected.

Vander plaats “Iowa, like a number of states, is behind the curve in protecting innocent people from drunken drivers who have no regard for other people’s lives or public safety in general. For too long, we’ve failed to use technology as effectively as we could and just plain common sense to save lives and spare people from debilitating injuries in collisions that we could prevent,” Vander Plaats said. “We have to make sure our laws have teeth in them and that those laws are enforced. As governor, part of my public safety effort would be to work with lawmakers to overhaul our current statutes.”

Kevin Doyle, president of Consumer Safety Technology, said ignition interlocks prevent people who have alcohol in their system from driving a vehicle. Before attempting to start the vehicle, the driver breathes into the device, which determines blood alcohol concentration. The vehicle does not start if there is measurable alcohol in the blood.

Vander Plaats noted that New York enacted legislation in November that requires all convicted drunken drivers to use an ignition interlock device and also made it a felony for someone convicted of drunken driving with a child in the vehicle.

“Laura Dean-Mooney, National President of Mothers Against Drunk Driving said that driving drunk with a child in the car is a form of child abuse pure and simple. I agree completely that we cannot allow that to happen and so I’d want to review that law, too, to see if we should enact it here,” Vander Plaats said.

According to research cited by MADD, first-time offenders arrested for drunk driving have driven drunk more than 87 times before their arrest. Up to 75 percent of those whose licenses are suspended for DUI continue to drive. Interlocks have been proven to reduce repeat drunk driving offenses on average by 64 percent.

“When I was leading Opportunities Unlimited, a Sioux City nonprofit that served people with brain and spinal injuries, I saw firsthand the heartache, pain and devastation that drunken drivers leave in their wake. Drunken driving destroys families and futures and extracts a huge financial toll. Ignition interlocks are an important tool in keeping drunken drivers off our roads,” Vander Plaats said. “I want to make sure they’re being used whenever and wherever it’s appropriate so that we save lives and prevent needless suffering.”

Miller-Meeks: Senate health care bill doesn't benefit working Americans

Miller Meeks:  Senate health care bill doesn't benefit working Americans, Loebsack should listen to Iowans who oppose measure

OTTUMWA, IA. -- While Senate Democrats praised themselves on the passage of a bill that drastically reshapes America’s health care system, Republican congressional candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks warned its crushing costs will fall on middle-income families in Iowa and across the nation.

“The bill approved today will benefit insurance companies at the cost of the taxpayer and ordinary working, middle-income Iowans and Americans. It does not bend the cost curve down or control escalating health care costs,” the Ottumwa ophthalmologist said this morning. “It will increase health insurance premiums. Despite its tremendous cost, it does not provide universal coverage and, even more importantly, it fails to provide portable insurance for individuals so they’re able to keep their insurance coverage as they go from one job to another or one state to another.”

Miller-Meeks noted that Rep. David Loebsack voted for the House version that will be the basis for negotiations with the Senate as the two chambers work to cobble together a compromise bill early in 2010.

“The Senate bill is terrible. Unfortunately, the House bill is even worse. The entire process led by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi is a disaster for America because it’s going to cost trillions of dollars going forward and it’s going to make the health-care system worse instead of better. It’s already been widely reported that Nebraskans will never have to pay the increased costs for Medicaid. That was a deal that was cut to get Senator Ben Nelson to vote for it. We can only imagine how many more deals like that are going to have to be made at the expense of the American people so the Democrats can get the votes they need to take over our health care system.”

She added, “If there’s ever a time when David Loebsack should listen to his constituents and support representative democracy, this is it. He needs to meet with the people of this district during the next few weeks and represent them instead of representing Nancy Pelosi. And, I urge the people of the Second District to call Congressman Loebsack and tell him to stop this destructive bill by voting no.”

46% Say Airport Security Procedures Not Strict Enough

Following the failed terrorist attempt to blow up an airliner landing in Detroit on Christmas Day, Americans are a lot less critical of airport security procedures. In fact, a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 46% of U.S. voters believe current airport security procedures are not strict enough, a 13-point increase from April 2008.