HOW THE GREAT COMPROMISE GOT UNDONE AND WHAT WE LIVE WITH TODAY

The state representatives who were sent to Philadelphia to fix the Articles of Confederation, then the guidance for the federation of the United States, obviously went a bit beyond what was expected. The creation of our Constitution required not only great understanding of how governments work but also the potential for governments to grow well beyond the intent of the governed. Because the individual states were concerned about their own interests as well as the need for a federal government for limited purposes they were also very aware of the potential for larger, more populated states to overpower the smaller states in the legislature.  How to fix that problem and how to equalize the rights of states and the rights of individual citizens on the national scene became the subject of the great compromise.

While strictly avoiding the appearance of upper and lower houses of congress, a rejection of the British Parliament of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the delegates did recognize a need for a substantive balance of power. There was no doubt in their deliberations as to the necessity of a legislative branch that clearly represented the will of the people. There was also a strong opinion that the sovereignty of the states needs to be properly represented. The compromise that resolved both the issue of population and state rights was the creation of the Senate which would consist of two Senators representing each state. In addition, Senators would be appointed by individual State legislatures to preserve the direct link between state sovereignty and federal representation. The system worked until, in 1913, under Progressive leadership, a change was made.

The arguments in support of the Seventh amendment were mainly political in nature. It was argued that the appointment of Senators by Legislatures resulted in state level corruption being visited on the Federal government. Another argument was that states might not be able to reach an internal agreement and a Senator might not be appointed. (How that would matter at the federal level is not clear).  In many cases, the efforts by individuals to win the Senate appointment overshadowed the actual election of State legislators with the decisions being based on not the individual candidate’s qualifications or ideas but, rather, on whom that candidate would support for Senator. Various systems were created within the various states to help resolve the voting conflicts. The most common relief was a nonbinding popular vote primary for potential Senate appointees which was then used to elicit essentially binding support from potential legislature candidates. In the end, a sufficient number of votes were found in the US House and Senate to adopt the proposed amendment which was then sent to the states for ratification.

Today the debate over the proper election or appointment of Senators has been rejoined. The growing concern about the meaning and significance of “state’s rights” and “individual rights” as protected by the ninth and tenth amendments is one important concern driving the discussion. There can be no doubt that, with the loss of direct appointment of Senators, individual states have lost voice and power in the US Congress. Senators who are directly elected by popular vote within a state are bound to a constituency that will continue them in office rather than the full state. The actual concerns and matters of importance within a state need not be reflected in Congress by a Senator who is not dependent on minority portions of the state voters. The State level government has no positive means of exerting any influence or control over the Senators that are supposed to be representing the sovereignty of the state. On the other hand, the one-man, one-vote political faction remains in favor of a system that allows popular vote to be the deciding factor in the total make up of Congress. It provides a level of power and assurance of retention of power when a well- controlled Progressive voter base, which may not control the state legislature, can control the elections in state wide races.  The process also allows serving Senators to appeal (perhaps pander) to certain constituencies as a means of “earning” support for the next election. That the specific group being appealed to may or may not be of significant importance on the state level appears to have no bearing on the actions of the Senator.  As in most politics, winning elections and retaining power appear to overshadow the original intent and purpose of government.

It should be reasonably clear that the original intent of the Constitution is not well served or preserved by the popular election of Senators. It should also be clear that in supporting the 17th Amendment, the individual states did not act in the best interest of state sovereignty and, through ratification, severely weakened the power of the ninth and tenth amendments. After all, without a direct representative of the state government in the US Congress just who will be the champion of or act to protect the rights of states? Perhaps it is past time to reconsider the actual intent of the framers and the adverse impact of the 17th amendment and to repeal that error in judgment.

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July General Meeting with Rep Jesse Young (R)

The July 17 General Meeting of the Kitsap Patriots Tea Party will keynote Representative Jesse Young (R) of the 23rd District with a legislative update. With three special sessions and no result on the Hirst (water rights) decision, we expect there will be a lot to talk about.

Bring your prepared and written questions for Q&A and help us keep the meeting moving along as both efficient and informative!

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How Taxation Creates Affordable Housing and Economic Growth

When you read that headline you probably asked yourself – “Is he out of his mind? – or – “What kind of funny shaped cigarettes is he smoking today?’ Well, unfortunately, neither is the case. The headline simply reflects the approach that government and some in the “social service providers” loop would have you believe. For them, there is no problem that cannot be solved by adding a bit more money to the solution side and an entrenched position that government has the responsibility to take care of citizens. When everything is a “Right”, Do-gooders can do no wrong.

Unfortunately, that is the position taken by those who believe it is the responsibility of those that “have” to be responsible for supporting those who “have not”. They have no understanding of the “how” haves came to be that way or why “have nots” are in the condition they are in. Those are not to be considered when the need is so great and immediate. After all, is it not our individual responsibility to “protect the most vulnerable among us” and to “prevent the suffering of our children”? The fact that the “haves” enjoy the fruits of their individual labors (they actually worked for what they have) and that taking those personal gains is both immoral and a violation of their individual rights seems not to matter. They have it – we need it- we will simply take it. If the same practice were followed in a store or a private residence it would be properly called theft and the perpetrators would be held accountable (not sure if that is actually the case any longer). So the apparent difference is if the actual thieves are well-meaning or just stealing for their own benefit. I am not sure how that rectifies the actual impact on the individuals who are the targets of the theft.

So what does this have to do with housing and economic growth? – actually a whole lot. Consider that the cost of a home, as we previously knew it, was the price of the land and the cost to construct the house. To acquire the land one individual contracted with another for the sale and paid a price that was acceptable to both. That is a free market solution. The new land owner then contracted with a builder to actually construct the building that would be the home. The contract considered the cost of materials and labor, services required by the builder, utilities associated with the project and some other costs directly associated with construction and completion of the contracted project. In addition, there were some nominal costs associated with getting the necessary permits and inspections to validate that the job was being completed in compliance with applicable codes. On completion, the value of the home properly reflected the cost of the land and the actual construction cost of the structure. That value also established a benchmark for property taxes and other taxation programs various jurisdictions would use to fund public services. If it all worked that simply, many of the problems we face today in housing and the economy would not exist.

History has proven to be a beast that, if not positively checked, will soon grow to consume the people it was created to serve. For Americans, the “balance of power” formula was supposed to provide that protection. If that balance fails, the system is allowed to run wild. That is the case today in housing and economic growth. Government involvement in the development of property (residential and commercial) has grown from simply regulating a separation of incompatible uses (saloons away from schools and hog rendering plants away from homes) to the most intrusive and detailed guidance on where to develop, what to develop, and when to develop. Current zoning regulations have destroyed the free market of land by either limiting or mandating the specific use of parcels. Owners no longer enjoy the normal right of use as it has been replaced by government dictate. Government action in land use also dictates how we shall live by demanding use dedicated to high-density individual housing or multi-family structures. The government has also dictated that some land areas cannot be used by adopting policies that require minimum (and normally exceedingly large) lots for home construction outside the government approved living areas. On top of zoning, Governments have instituted a number of “protective” regulations that serve to further limit the actual use of available land. Regulations protecting undefined wildlife habitat or waterways that may or may not harbor species of fish limit the land available to develop. It is not uncommon for these regulations to require significant cost and effort to document the presence of a “critical area” on a piece of property to be developed, the cost of which is born by the developer and which add no value to the project. Building codes that proscribe everything from the specific design of toilet that can be used to the number of electrical outlets that must be installed further add to the final cost of the project with no real added value. In the end, however, the cost of the structure and completed project is much higher than it would be without the cost of excessive government regulation and oversight. In the end, the excesses of government create an artificial value that is then employed to establish the taxation base. Are you beginning to see the connection?

Government action in land use also dictates how we shall live by demanding use dedicated to high-density individual housing or multi-family structures. The government has also dictated that some land areas cannot be used by adopting policies that require minimum (and normally exceedingly large) lots for home construction outside the government approved living areas. On top of zoning, Governments have instituted a number of “protective” regulations that serve to further limit the actual use of available land. Regulations protecting undefined wildlife habitat or waterways that may or may not harbor species of fish limit the land available to develop. It is not uncommon for these regulations to require significant cost and effort to document the presence of a “critical area” on a piece of property to be developed, the cost of which is born by the developer and which add no value to the project. Building codes that prescribe everything from the specific design of toilet that can be used to the number of electrical outlets that must be installed further add to the final cost of the project with no real added value. In the end, however, the cost of the structure and completed project is much higher than it would be without the cost of excessive government regulation and oversight. In the end, the excesses of government create an artificial value that is then employed to establish the taxation base. Are you beginning to see the connection?

The problems of government intervention are even more complicated and damaging when associated with economic development. The cost of commercial projects which result in creating jobs and provide goods and services to the community (called economic growth) are often linked to significant loans to finance the projects. The loans are normally secure in sequence with the anticipated progress of the project and the project budget is based on realistic expectations of progress. The one factor that is not under the control of the developer is the time that the government will take to consider required permits or the expansion of required permits. Once the developer has the funds in hand to commence the project (either personal capital or loan funds) the clock starts on the accrual and payment of interest on those funds. Government delays in approving permits or necessary time to meet new permit requirements all add to the time cost of money. This is a factor that government bureaucracies processing permits are not only unfamiliar with but have no interest in understanding.  It makes no difference to the permit office if the approval is granted today or next month. Their job is to make sure everything is alright and all requirements have been satisfied. In many cases, developers will readily agree to additional requirements or restrictions (read added unnecessary cost) just to get permit approval and move the project forward. Once again the result is an additional cost to the end result with an artificially elevated value base for the project. All the while, the developer is at risk for the funds in the project. It should not be surprising that the number of commercial developers who might create economic opportunity soon lose interest because of government actions.

In addition to the specific taxes related to property, local and state governments have a nasty habit of considering any money left in a citizens wallet at the end (perhaps the beginning ) of the day are actually available for a better use as dictated by the government. First let us establish that we, the citizens, have authorized governments to collect taxes as may be required to support the services and functions we have delegated to them. We did not declare open season on our wallets or bank accounts. Excessive sales taxes to support government pet projects (mass transportation, community theaters, bike trails, and many others) reduce the amount of available funds for the wage earners to spend as they wish and bolster the free market economy. Funds used to offset conditions like “excessive housing costs” for some do little more than reduce the ability of others to afford housing and actually negatively impact the “quality of life” for the general public. From an economic standpoint, the programs that are effectively redistribution of wealth through taxation and government programs is called socialism and is contrary to the principles of the free market system. When the taxation is specifically directed toward supporting housing for one class of citizen at the expense of another, all relations to a free market and personal liberty are eliminated.

And thus we come to the understanding that after a little taxation here and a little taxation there, pretty soon you are talking about no more liberty.  Any reasonable person who either supports or agrees with taxation not consistent with the documented responsibilities of government deserves the impacts on their lives that they would foster. Our grievance is that they have no right to take the rest of us down with them. If any person actually believes that they are not taxed enough, then they are free to send as much money to the government treasury of their choice. Just don’t expect the rest of us to send matching funds.

 

 

 

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Cathy Griffin, Robert Reich, and the end of America.

Conservatives of all stripes have long questioned and complained (to each other) about the apparent never-ending diatribe voiced and printed by the progressive movement in their efforts to silence any and all opposition.  While progressive noise has grown stronger and more distasteful, conservatives have continued to huddle together in their small herds seeking solace and protection. The progressive wolf is at the door and conservatives, by and large, put on earmuffs. This past week the distaste created by progressives reached a level that even some in that camp cried foul.

Cathy Griffin, the well-known (not sure known by whom) comic, displayed a picture of herself holding, at arms-length, the decapitated head of President Donald Trump. The picture was a clear imitation of the now common Islamic Terrorist pictures of a “warrior” holding the head of a victim or infidel. There should be no doubt concerning the actual intent of the picture (a dead President) nor should there be any question about how sick minded Griffin is. What does give pause is that the condemnation of Griffin was not immediate and universal and that she was not fully removed from public access. To the contrary, following a bit of light castigation in the liberal media, Griffin was afforded a national platform to air a “press conference” to address her miss-deed. Griffin, conducted a lengthy castigation of the President, his family, the conservative press, and anything and everything else she could demean while playing the victim card. The ultimate claim was that Donald Trump ‘broke” her and destroyed her life. Only if it were so.

While the Griffin episode is mind boggling to most of us, it should not come as any surprise. It is just one step further down the road of the campaign of personal destruction and isolation being waged by progressives. Take, for example, the continuing flow of garbage and miss-truth that flow from the pencil of Robert Reich (a Sunday standard in the Kitsap Sun).  We should remember that Reich served as Labor Secretary under Clinton but did nothing of remark while in the job and certainly nothing since then. Since the election of Donald Trump, Reich has conducted a continuous campaign of vitriolic misinformation that blames Trump for every possible failure or wrong outcome. Reich has become the master of the twist and turn that allows him to find a way to lay every possible distasteful event at Trump’s doorstep. To believe Reich one would conclude that no matter what Trump might do it would only cause despair and disaster for the American people. If Reich only occasionally went off on his rants it might be overlooked. That his caustic commentary is continuous and every building is of much greater concern. The problem is not what Reich has to offer (that is of course a problem) but that he is able to rant on without any realistic pushback or response from the rank and file conservatives.

A more demonstrative example of the ground being gained by the left is on our college campuses through the nation. The occasional student “uprising” for better meals in the cafeteria or the right to gender neutral dorms has now become the continuous battle for exclusion of conservative from campus and the demand that the students run the institutions. The days of “youthful exuberance” have been replaced by masked thugs destroying property and attacking people (conservatives) all in the name of “diversity” and “freedom of expression”. While the students’ rebel and riot, the school administrations stand silent and allow the riots to continue or actively support the student efforts. We conservatives sit still and reflect that “they are just being kids” or that “college has always been that way”. Regretfully, that is not the case and the current trend and activities mark a very sharp departure from the past and actually present a real hazard to the continued existence of our nation and our culture. The “little darlings” who are breaking windows, burning cars, and storming buildings in the name of academic freedom are what we should think of as the leaders of tomorrow. Just what kind of leadership training are they undergoing?

So, you say, what’s new? This has been going on for a long time and we are still here. If you really believe that, you might as well stop reading because you have become part of the problem.

I am a product of parents who lived through the Great (real) Depression and who essentially saved the world by their faithful service to the nation in World War II. They earned our respect and the title of “The Greatest Generation” not for what they received from life but for what they sacrificed for freedom. Theirs’s was not an easy life and we, their children, have been ever thankful for the lessons in life that they taught us. Those lessons have been lost on the current generation of pampered and spoiled brats who believe history began the day they were born and who get their world view information from some social media outlet. They are the end product of a lifestyle that gave them everything wrapped in instant gratification asking little or nothing in return. Their safety and security is assured by some unknown named ‘right” while they decry and try to destroy the same forces of good that we call police. They demand (never ask) that they get their way in everything in life or shout discrimination and victimhood from the roof tops or capital steps. If our parents were the Greatest Generation what we have today is the “Worthless Generation”. They have earned nothing, contributed noting of value, and will leave little to be proud of to history. They are what we have allowed them to become.

Now for the really sad news. All of this has happened while we stood on the sidelines, watching and grousing but making no overt moves to stop the progressing. We, to our shame, have become a true silent majority, When we were called racists and bigots we remained silent.  When we objected to illegal immigrants in our country we were called mean and without compassion. When we questioned poor science we were called deniers. When we wanted to discuss almost anything we were shut down because of our hate speech. When we questioned cultural issues were called homophobes. And we just stood there and took it all. Now we find ourselves in a place where the progressive own the language, the debate (none is allowed) and the public domain simply because we did not openly fight back. We were so afraid of offending someone that we refused to speak. Well the time has come to end our existence as the “silent majority” and to actively bring the fight to the left.

The left may “own” the media but we have the internet and those few public outlets still available to us. We must either use them or lose them and the ultimate loss of freedom. We must get our “in your face” approach to debate back and refuse back down in the face of adversity. We must cease being “socially acceptable” and carry the battle forward on whatever field the opposition may chose or whenever we have the opportunity. We need to stop supporting, with our time, effort, and money, those organizations and activities that do not actively endorse and support American core values. We need to stop allowing public schools to remain indoctrination centers by insisting that our elected school boards return to basics of education and depart from social experimentation. We need to stop sending our kind to colleges that foster disrespect for the very rights and values that have made it possible for them to get an education in the first place. We need to restore the concepts of personal responsibility, and self-reliability to our children. Finally we need to get off our collective couch and begin to wage a political war that is continuous and dedicated to removal and replacement of every liberal currently in office.  If we want our elected officials to govern in a manner appropriate to our Constitution, we need to elect people who will do just that. Getting ‘hyped up” and sending in a few dollars just before the election is not active participation.  rhaps the best way to address the urgency and immediate need for active involvement is to understand that “if you do not exercise a right it will be soon lost”. Be bold, be brave, be conservative every hour of every day and in every place you travel. This is a war we cannot afford to lose.

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Fast Ferry or Fast Move?

While a lot of attention is being addressed to the Seattle Sound Transit rip- off (increased tab fees based on MSRP) very little is being directed to an even bigger rip-off here at home in Kitsap. In one of the most brilliant and deceiving marketing campaigns, Kitsap Transit convinced 51 percent of Kitsap voters to support a sales tax increase to subsidize a fast foot ferry operating between Kitsap and Seattle.  What was the promise and what is the reality?

First, the tax increase is estimated at about $12 million each year, but will grow as either prices increase, more money is spent on taxable items, or more items are moved into the taxable bracket. In reality, the total tax receipts will never go down (after all survival of the ferry is dependent on those monies). If you doubt the validity of that statement, please consider that we previously authorized a sales tax increase so we could have expanded and reliable bus transit throughout the county. How is that working out?

The “plus side promise” was economic growth in Kitsap County and less commuting time for our residents who worked on the other side of the “pond”. There was also a general promise of higher employment on the Seattle side because workers could get there easier.  In reality, things are not working out so well. First, the commuters who benefit from the shorter commute are paying less than 20 percent of the bill. The taxpayers are picking up the other 80 percent (The ratio for the WDOT ferry is 70 percent fare, 30 percent subsidy). A round trip ride that should cost about $100 is going for $20 or less). The actual funds for the ferry operation will be spent in Seattle because a Seattle side firm has been contracted to operate and maintain the fleet. In case you were wondering, that means that the people engaged in fleet operations and maintenance will also probably live on the Seattle side. The first hire for the system was a six figure salary Marine Division Director. That is really nice money for a person to oversee a system that currently has one ferry run. More recently, Kitsap Transit is advertising for Three “Ambassadors” who apparently will be responsible to sort out the riders for each boat and collect tickets. At a potential $52,000 and year (plus generous benefits) those positions will be more lucrative than the mean income in the county. Expect a lot of people to apply for these windfall sweet positions.  That accounts for a total of four jobs (at a very nice level of pay) for Kitsap. So where is this economic development we were promised?

Perhaps we can take a look at the potential to recover the tax cost by growth in the County. Currently the county receives $25 million in sales tax that goes into the general fund. The $12 Million that is separate for the Transit System (not in the County take) does represent a requirement for a 50 percent growth in the county tax revenue to make up for the transit tax. That can happen by a major (can you say huge) increase in retail sales of taxable items or a major increase in population. However, most of it will probably come in the form of increased property tax, Since 250,000 residents currently pay about $34 million in property tax each year(about $136 each)  it will only take about 88,000 additional residents or about 22,000 new families to move to Kitsap to equal things out. Of course in order to entice that many new families to Kitsap would require a massive increase in the job market in the County. Since that has not worked very well for the last 15 years, there should be some doubt about the validity of the assumed economic growth.

The bottom line of the entire issue is that while we will have a subsidized fast ferry system that moves commuter to the Seattle side, there really is no actual positive fiscal impact for Kitsap County. Just one more really good deals sent our way by the people we elected to protect our individual rights and to look out for us. Just remember that TEA stands for “Taxed Enough Alredy” the next time some bureaucrat or politician comes up with another grand idea to foster economic growth in the county.

Have you read my book “The American Political Conservative” available in paperback or electronic format on Amazon?

For related commentary and more,  follow my blog at noslackjack2017.wordpress.com  

 

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