Richard Barnes

A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government. – Thomas Jefferson

Email: lildog@comcast.net

Friday
Jul182014

Local Impact Federal Cause

As someone who has served on a local budget committee for several years I can tell you there are times when local politicians take the brunt of it for tax increases that are outside their control.  School boards get the worst of it because they are forced to comply with state and federal mandates pushed down on them which often times require additional spending but do not deliver additional outside funds.

The Union Leader has an article found HERE that has exactly that, a new tax coming down on the people of Manchester (and most likely other NH towns) brought on as a side effect of ObamaCare.

Ayotte wrote the letter in response to concerns raised by Mayor Ted Gatsas over the possibility that the city and school district could be hit with a combined $5.8 million tax bill in 2018 if its current health plans remain in place. The Cadillac tax is to be levied on employers who offer unusually expensive health plans to their employees.

“This significant new tax burden will put additional pressure on municipalities like Manchester that are working diligently to balance their budgets and operate in a fiscally responsible manner,” Ayotte wrote in the letter to Obama, which was presented to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen at its meeting Tuesday.

 ...

U.S. Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster also replied to his letter, stating that she shared concerns about the impact of the tax, while also pointing out the positive aspects of the health law.

Starting in 2018, the Affordable Care Act will levy excise taxes on employers whose health plans cost more than $10,200 for individuals and more than $27,500 for families. The plans will be taxed at 40 percent of the cost above those limits.

The issue is a pressing concern for the city because most of its union contracts expire in a year, while the city’s largest union, representing teachers, has yet to come to terms on a new contract.

Contracts typically run for three to four years, and health care costs are a key component.

I could not find any comments from Carol Shea Porter or Senator Shaheen on the burden this is putting on local NH communities.

How many people seeing their local property bills going up will make the connection between that and ObamaCare being the cause?  This goes hand in hand with the other story I put up about how uninformed the young voters are today, found HERE.

This is why people need to be informed.  Voters will beat up local politicians over things they have no control over and cheer for the same federal level politicians causing their problems.

Friday
Jul182014

Kids Today

I came across a poll conducted by Reason Foundation that should scare everyone regardless of their political view.  There are things within it that both right and left wingers could pick and say favors their side but the basic result is that young people are clueless in some dangerous ways.

The poll results can be found in full HERE, however I would like to share a couple quotes from a summary article, you can read in full HERE, about the survey.

Millennial politics is simple, really. Young people support big government, unless it costs any more money. They're for smaller government, unless budget cuts scratch a program they've heard of. They'd like Washington to fix everything, just so long as it doesn't run anything.

...

Millennials hate the political parties more than everyone else, but they have the highest opinion of Congress.
Young people are the most likely to be single parents and the least likely to approve of single parenthood.
Young people voted overwhelmingly for Obama when he promised universal health care, but they oppose his universal health care law as much as the rest of the country ... even though they still pledge high support for universal health care.

...

  • On spending:
    Conservatives can say: 65 percent of Millennials would like to cut spending.
    Liberals can say: 62 percent would like to spend more on infrastructure and jobs.
  • On taxes:
    Conservatives can say: 58 percent of Millennials want to cut taxes overall.
    Liberals can say: 66 percent want to raise taxes on the wealthy.
  • On government's role in our lives:
    Conservatives can say: 66 percent of Millennials say that "when something is funded by the government, it is usually inefficient and wasteful."
    Liberals can say: More than two-thirds think the government should guarantee food, shelter, and a living wage.
  • On government size:
    Conservatives can say: 57 percent want smaller government with fewer services (if you mention the magic word "taxes").
    Liberals can say: 54 percent want larger government with more services (if you don't mention "taxes").

...

Forty-two percent of Millennials think socialism is preferable to capitalism, but only 16 percent of Millennials could accurately define socialism in the survey.

Take a moment and absorb what this poll is actually saying.

The youth of today want things but don't want to be the ones paying for it.  They support people and things they have no knowledge or understanding of.

This is dangerous.  These are the uninformed voters who make the mistakes that end up costing all of us.

Wednesday
Jul022014

Twisted World of Democratic Opposition to Hobby Lobby

It has been interesting reading the rantings of Democrats in reaction to the ruling about Hobby Lobby this week.

What I find the funniest about it all is that they passed the bill that allowed for it to happen.  The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 introduced by Chuck Schumer (D - NY), passed Senate with a 97-3 vote, passed the house unanimously and signed into law by Bill Clinton.

Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 - Prohibits any agency, department, or official of the United States or any State (the government) from substantially burdening a person's exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except that the government may burden a person's exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person:
(1) furthers a compelling governmental interest; and
(2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
Sets forth provisions pertaining to judicial relief, attorney's fees, and applicability.
Declares that:
(1) nothing in this Act shall be construed to interpret the clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting the establishment of religion;
(2) the granting of government funding, benefits, or exemptions, to the extent permissible under that clause, shall not constitute a violation of this Act; and
(3) as used in this Act, "granting" does not include the denial of government funding, benefits, or exemptions.
This bill came into being because of the ruling on the case Employment Division v. Smith (1990) in which two Native Americans took peyote as a religious ceremony.  Since they were working as drug rehab counselors they were both fired from their jobs.
Justice Scalia warned in the ruling that exemptions for religious reasoning “would open the prospect of constitutionally required exemptions from civic obligations of almost every conceivable kind.”
Of course now that their law is being implemented the Democrats are crying foul and claiming it's about greed and money.  They ignore that Hobby Lobby pays full time starting wages of $15 an hour and part time of $9.50 an hour.
My favorite slam is that they are now also claiming Hobby Lobby finances the same birth control they oppose because employees choose to invest their employer matched 401k in such a way as to include those stocks.
Or even better, attaching Hobby Lobby because it purchases goods from China where abortions are mandates.  Do Democrats not remember their own chants about when they support the troops even though they opposed the wars under Bush?  Same thing here.  Just because Hobby Lobby supports Chinese business and the people in China doesn't mean they support it's government.  Equating that to a direct choice of what they ensure their employees for is not the same thing.
Friday
Jun272014

Dirty Hippies

When you think of the Occupy movemement what do you think of?

Dirty, smelly people living in tents on sidewalks or parks of major cities?

If so, you aren't far off from how they view themselves.  In a recent study at Stanford they discovered "unattractive" people were twice as likely to donate to the Occupy movement.  You can ready the story in full HERE.

Professor Margaret Neale and doctoral student Peter Belmi tested perceived concepts of beauty in relation to social hierarchies. The researchers told half of the participants to write about a time when they felt physically attractive or unattractive. The remaining participants wrote about an incident in which they were sensitive or insensitive to the needs of others.

The participants were then asked to rate their own attractiveness and their ability to empathize. Finally, after watching a short video about the Occupy Movement, participants were asked if they would like to donate their compensatory $50 lottery ticket to the movement.

Researchers found that those who perceived themselves to be less attractive were almost twice as likely to donate to Occupy. Those who related memories of self-confidence about their appearance viewed themselves as part of an elite social class and were less likely to donate to social inequality causes.

Makes sense when you think about it.  The Occupy movement is all about a victim mentality, not being as good as others and therefor being at a disadvantage and therefor needing the government to give them something.

This is similar to the 2012 UCLA study that found Democrat women tend to look more like men, where Republican women were more feminen and attractive.

 

 

Tuesday
Jun242014

What Can You Do To Make A Difference

I was part of a discussion recently in which a motivated individual was asking for guidance.  They want to fight for smaller government and more personal freedom but they had no idea where to start.

This unfortunately is a common feeling.  If you stop 20 people on the street and ask they if they are happy with local, state and federal government I would be shocked if more then 3 said yes.  If you asked those same 20 people how they could change what they dislike you'll end up with a mix of ideas and theories but most shrug and say they don't know.

That's why fewer and fewer people get involved.  They feel helpless and like their voices make no difference.  The political involvement of most people consists of posting links to pre-made graphics on facebook half of which aren't even accurate or consist of nothing more than opinions.

For that reason here is a top 10 list of things you personally can do that will make a difference.

1) Sign up to run for office.  This option isn't for everyone and I know not everyone has the time but for those who can this is the most direct way to make changes.

Don't worry about running and not winning.  No one will win every election.  Just by putting your name on the ballot people will begin to listen to what you say.  It will allow you to bring up issues you feel are being ignored and at the very least start conversations about them.  I have actually seen people run and lose elections but make such convincing arguments about issues that the board or committee they were running for actually took up their suggestions and went with them.

2) Become informed about candidates.

Not knowing who you are voting for is even more harmful then not voting at all.  Just because a candidate says they are for issue X doesn't mean they will actually be for issue X.  The only real way to know if the person you are voting for actually supports X or not is to look at their voting history.

I realize that often times with local elections you will have someone new step up to run with no past experience.  Not having any record to look at isn't always a bad thing but do your homework.  Look at who is supporting them, that often times says more then what they say publicly because, I know this will be shocking, but politicians lie.

3) Become informed about issues.

This is often the most difficult since most towns in New Hampshire have very little coverage of local meetings and events.  It is usually only when there is a lot of controversy that anything is covered at all.

When five board members all get along with each other and vote to spend $100,000 and there isn't any argument about it, that doesn't make the news.

So how do you become informed?  Unfortunately this is what many people do not have the time for.  That's showing up at meetings, watching them on local public access or even reading the minutes of what took place.

This leads us to the next suggestion...

4) Organize a community forum or facebook page for people to discuss what's going on in town.

If you don't have time to watch every town meeting, you can at least get feedback from those who do.  Local forums do sometimes get heated with debate but that is far better then local communities not talking at all because they don't even know what's going on around them.

5) Speak out.

All too often I've heard politicians justify their actions by the fact no one complained about what they did.  Nearly every town I'm aware of has the email addresses and phone numbers of the members of different boards posted.  Send them emails or call them when you disagree with their actions.  Or show up at meetings and say something during public comments.

Even if the local board ignores you, your comments will go on public record if you speak out so they will no longer be able to claim no one objected to their actions.

That said, be respectful.  Showing up at a meeting and calling the board a bunch of jerks will not win them over to your point of view.

6) Write to your local paper.

Sometimes speaking to a local board isn't enough.  Politicians often times want to continue to stay in power.  They shy away from what they believe will cost them votes and rally behind things that will.  If you have a hot button issue that you feel others will agree with, write a letter to the editor about it.  Don't be afraid to call out politicians who disagree with you.  Sometimes embarrassing politicians is the only way to get them to change their ways.

7) Put up signs for candidates you support

A lot of people think this is silly but it does get people talking.  If you are known in town people who aren't informed will sometimes vote based on who people they know and like are supporting.

8) Donate to campaigns

Buying signs, putting ads in papers, even putting up informational web sites costs money.  Helping local or state candidates can often times help getting their message out.

9) Talk to people you know

Often times in local elections word of mouth is the best way to help a candidate gain (or sometimes lose) a handful of votes.  Talk about things going on in town.  If someone voted to support something you liked or didn't like, your telling 2 or 3 people might spark them in telling 2 or 3 more people and so on.

10) Volunteer

This goes hand in hand with the first on this list, not everyone has time to step up and put their names in for boards or committees but sometimes towns have smaller jobs that you can assit with over one or two nights here and there.  Some volunteer positions are even positions you can set your own hours on.  This will give you an in, and by being active local politicians will listen closer to what you have to say because they'll get to know you through your volunteerism.

I'm sure others can come up with additional things and I'd love to hear you sound off below if you know of any.