Monthly Archives: October 2013

We’re Against Corporate Abuses Too

Corporate Welfare

I often rail against the regulations put in place that restrict the growth of commerce, business and the economy – minimum wage being one of my favorite ones to hate.  Further, I often rail against the religion that is Catastrophic Global Warming.  We believe in science, not withcraftery.

Combine those two policies and you can get the traditional republican thug.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  I’m not tied to selfish self interests of corporations nor am I a hater of anything alternative energy.

Consider this abuse of government influence:

ATLANTA (AP) — Sunlight is free, but if you use it to make electricity your power company wants you to pay.

Utilities in many states say solar-friendly rate plans, conceived to promote alternative energy sources, are too generous and allow solar customers to avoid paying for the grid even though they use it.

Some power companies are proposing an extra fee for solar customers. Others are trying to roll back or block programs that allow those customers to trade the solar power they generate during sunny days for power they need from the grid during other times.

As rooftop solar expands from a niche product to a mainstream way to save money on power bills, utilities are afraid they will lose so many customers — and revenue — that they won’t be able to afford to build and maintain the grid.

“We want to make sure that as we change the way our system works that all of that is good for all customers,” said Greg Roberts, vice president of pricing and planning at Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power. The utility is proposing additional fees for renewable energy users, including one that would add up to about $22 per month for typical home solar systems.

I don’t support the concept that oil companies should be punished.    However, neither do I support the idea that emerging technologies should be bullied by the incumbent.

Are Libertarians Taking Over The Republican Party

Libertarian.LogoWhatever the outcome of the recent debates in Washington, I think that the message is pretty clear.  There is a growing movement within the republican party that is decidedly Libertarian.

And to be sure, the methods they are using and the message they are spreading may do them more harm than good.  But I’ve come across two recent articles showing that the trend is steadily growing:

A new poll confirms a libertarian renaissance in 2013.

FreedomWorks commissioned a national survey of registered voters last month, shared first with POLITICO, that finds 78 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents self-identify as fiscally conservative and socially moderate.

It’s not that Republicans are suddenly self-identifying as “libertarians” and devouring Ayn Rand novels, but more that they seem to be embracing underlying libertarian priorities and views about the role of government.

The GOP dominated politics for a generation with a coalition of libertarians, social conservatives and defense hawks that Ronald Reagan successfully cobbled together in 1980. The tea party-affiliated FreedomWorks argues in a 23-page report that the so-called three-legged stool has become lopsided.

The poll asked Republican voters what they are most interested in: 40 percent said “individual freedom through lower taxes and reducing the size and scope of government,” 27 percent picked “traditional values” and 18 percent chose a “strong national defense.”

Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway, who ran the poll, said she’s seeing a spike in voters who feel the government is too expensive, invasive and expansive.

“The perfect storm is being created between the NSA, the IRS, the implementation of Obamacare and now Syria,” she said. “People are looking at the government more suspiciously. They’re looking with deeper scrutiny and reasonable suspicion.”

It’s my hope that this decidedly libertarian push continues.  Partly, mostly, because it’s the right philosophy.  But also because it resonates to more people and will thus generate more of a movement to support the policies.  How many votes has the GOP lost due to Gay Rights or Immigration?

Finally, consider the growth with these two graphs:

Libertarian Graph.1

Freedom Works used Gallup data to generate the trend.  Below is Freedom Works using data from American National Election Studies:

Libertarian Graph.2

Good stuff.

Obama’s Press Conference

Barack Obama

I only caught a few minutes of the President’s press conference this afternoon but one thing I did hear that I found interesting is this:

Now, the good news is, over the past 3 1/2 years, our businesses have created 7 1/2 million new jobs. Our housing market is healing; we’ve cut the deficit in half. Since I took office, the deficit is coming down faster than any time in the last 50 years.

The irony is thick.  The whole reason the deficit is coming down so fast is due to House Republicans forcing the administration to accept cuts.

Obama is taking credit for republicans doing exactly what they’re doing now.

Neighborhood Profiling


About 3 weeks ago I posted that I noticed a young man in my neighborhood that I didn’t recognize, was acting strange [by being in places that people don’t normally hang out] and just didn’t seem quite right.

On our community page this afternoon there are reports of two robberies, during the day, where the suspects are young white men who were seen to be smoking.

Two things are clear:

  1. I am scary right.
  2. Profiling is a very Very powerful tool that society uses to enforce acceptable norms.

Boehner vs. Reid – II

Nickgb commented that Boehner backed off of his claim that he would forgo the Hastert Rule and allow a straight vote on raising the debt ceiling.

I called Reid out for being he more political partisan on issues like this.  Well, it turns out that Boehner has backed away from his claim and will no longer the straight up and down vote:

(Reuters) – U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said on Sunday that there is “no way” Republican lawmakers will agree to a measure to raise the nation’s debt ceiling unless it includes conditions to rein in deficit spending.

I think that the government is too big.  And I think that our debt is a problem.  However, I agree that we cannot do normal business by threat of or actually shutting down the government.

The budget fight is one thing.  I think that a strong case can be  made that the budget comes before the individual programs that are in place.  If the budget isn’t big enough to contain those programs, then revenue needs to increase or expenditures need to decrease.

But the debt ceiling?  For some reason that seems different.

Up Is Down – Democrats Object To Entitlement Programs That Incentivize Not Working


Another example of how whacky this debate has gotten.  We actually have a democrat lecturing a republican on the tender mercies of government largess:

“Now we’re saying to federal employees: We’re going to pay you when this is all over with,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said minutes after the 407-to-0 House vote. “But right now, you just stay home … watch TV, play chess, whatever you’re going to do, because we won’t let you work.”

Truly remarkable.

By the way, the strategy is working:

The Senate is expected to OK it as well but adjourned Saturday without a vote. The Democrat-controlled chamber will not scheduled a vote until at least Monday afternoon, when members return to Washington.

Pubic Funding Of Education


Following a theme here lately I wanna get this article off of my stack:

Raleigh, N.C. — Although they won’t be issued until next March, vouchers that will allow hundreds of students from low-income families to attend private schools across North Carolina already have officials at many schools eagerly anticipating an influx of students.

State lawmakers set aside $10 million in the budget for so-called “Opportunity Scholarships” to help pay private school tuition for about 2,500 students, starting in the 2014-15 school year. Legislative leaders said they plan to ratchet the fund up to $50 million a year after that.

For the life of me, I cannot understand how this is not a win/win for both the liberal and the conservative.

On the one had, you have a continued commitment by the state to fund education.  On the other hand you let market forces shape the flow of that education.

I firmly believe that the public has a role, a critical role, in funding the education of our youth.  However, I see no characteristic of the government that would make it the go-to provider of that education.  There is simply nothing that would make government agencies more adept at delivering education than a private sector.

Government Shutdown – Obama Making It Painful: Part I

Amber AlertWow.  Just wow.

Obama has shut down the Amber Alert program.

Conservatives And Charity

While searching for “charity” images for my last post I stumbled upon this tidbit:

The Fraser Institute has released their latest report on charitable giving in the U.S. and Canada, and once again North America’s leaders in charitable donations from the Rio Grande to the Arctic Circle reside overwhelmingly in red states. This has been the case for some time, and the reason for it almost certainly comes down to a difference in philosophy regarding charity and the role of private/public institutions in its application. It’s unsurprising that conservatives – who by and large believe in the sovereignty of the individual, particularly in terms of fiscal decision-making – choose to give of their own net incomes to charitable causes and organizations that they find worthwhile. It’s also unsurprising (and stereotypical) that liberals choose to give less of their own net income to charity, instead leaving that responsibility to the government, which replaces the individual as the evaluator and benefactor of charitable organizations and endeavors.  Based on that philosophy of charity and responsibility, it’s no surprise that some liberals have been calling on the government to reduce or eliminate the charitable giving tax deduction.

Based on 2009 data, the Fraser Institute found that the top ten states by percentage of aggregate income donated to charity are: (1) Utah, (2) Georgia, (3) Alabama, (4) Maryland, (5) South Carolina, (6) Idaho, (7) North Carolina, (8) Oklahoma, (9) Mississippi and New York.

Conservatives think that charity means taking one’s own money and contributing to the relief of the deserving.

Liberals think that charity means taking other people’s money and contributing to the causes of their liking.

Private Charity


I posted yesterday about what it would take for the Left and the Right to come together on social safety net programs.

There are three aspects of the programs that, in my mind, create and fuel the differences between the two sides.  They are:

  1. How do we measure
  2. Do they end
  3. Are they moral and consistent with the concept of Liberty

Just this evening I come across a story concerning a local charity that I love and support:

Raleigh, N.C. — Three years ago, Dyretta Smith and her son were homeless.

“I got laid off from my job, and when I got laid off from my job, everything started to fall apart,” said Smith.

One of her biggest challenges was keeping her then-11-year-old son engaged in school.

“I was determined, and he was determined,” Smith said. “He’s such a smart little boy. I was not going to let the things that happened in our life get him off track.”

For many, the face of homelessness might be someone on the street begging for money or someone sleeping on a park bench.

But there’s a side of homelessness that’s not so noticeable.

PLM Families Together, a nonprofit founded in 1980 as Pan Lutheran Ministries, helps homeless families with housing and other services.

It gave Smith and her son a fresh start.

Smith is now back on her feet with a full-time job and her own apartment, and she even volunteers with PLM Families Together.

Her son is now a ninth-grade honor student at a Wake County high school.

A beautiful story of human kindness, strength and the power of an indomitable will.  The exact model of how such gentle examples of human kindness ought to work.

And how does it work?

 Families that are “literally” homeless — meaning they have no place to go and are living in places not meant for habitation, are served by PLM Families Together by moving into one of our 10 Short-term Housing apartments.  Once they are safe and warm in the privacy of single-family living, they will stay, at no cost, for 2-4 months.

And this is when the real transformation begins.

Each family works one-on-one with a Mentor Advocate (Masters-level Social Worker), to create and carry out a plan of action.  During that time, the family meets weekly with the Mentor Advocate.  They deposit 50% of their income into an escrow account, and attend PLM Families Together workshops on topics like budgeting, renting, and how to work with a landlord.  Mentor Advocates also coordinate special services as needed (disability, educational assessment, school transportation, food, furniture, transportation, etc.).

The goal of Short-term Housing:  Help a family re-gain its stability and return to independence and permanent housing — paid for with their own money.

But it doesn’t end there.

When a family leaves Short-term Housing and moves into its own place, care continues through “Aftercare.”  Mentor Advocate support and guidance — plus landlord mediation — last an additional 12-14 months.  This key piece of the PLM Families Together model increases the chances of continued success for the family.

The assistance is coupled with two key aspects:

1.  It ends

2.  It helps to build skills such that the recipient is possessed of skills to help cope with the vicissitudes of life.