Decisions
NEWS FLASH:Bad policy can come from BOTH sides of the isle.  It isn’t a PARTY issue; it’s a PRINCIPLE issue.
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What makes someone vote YES on a bill they don’t like?
After seeing so many good people vote in favor of horrendous bills (both Democrats and Republicans in state and federal government) I decided to start asking why they were voting for them. Recently I approached some politicians on an economic development bill that, in my mind, was very unfair to small businesses and would have implemented a terrible tax policy geared toward incentivizing big business over small businesses and competitors, all at the expense of the taxpayer. I was also concerned by the new bureaucracy that would have been created and been given the ability to acquire new debt backed by the taxpayers. The bill was being pushed as a “jobs” bill, which by itself is a bribe only because no one wants to vote against “jobs.”

I asked some of the office holders what they thought about the bill and after they told me they were in favor of it I asked them why. The answers I received from many of them were disappointingly shallow: “Well, something HAS to be done.” Or, “Well, I’m against some of these unfair economic policies and debt but I have to vote for it.” Even after I tried to inform some “conservatives” that the bill would drastically grow the size of government at an expense that we cannot fully predict, I still heard things like, “There is a whole lot I don’t like about this bill but there are a couple good things so I’m going to vote for it.”

A couple years ago I spoke with a US Congressman who voted in favor a defense-spending bill. The problem with this particular bill is that the so-called “hate-crime” amendment was attached to it. I don’t believe that any crime is more or less heinous based on what motivates it, a crime is a crime period, otherwise there is no equality under the law. Murder and rape should not be worse because the victim fit a certain demographic. If we say it is more evil to murder a black or white person than it would be murder a Latino or Asian person then there is no equality under the law and what we are really doing is dehumanizing certain groups of people. I asked the Congressman why he voted for the bill if it promoted such inequality of the law and the answer was that he didn’t want to vote for it but he had to in order to fund the troops. What sense does it make to fund our troops who fight for our freedoms and at the same time erase the equal protection of those freedoms? He basically told me he understands my point and would have voted NO on that principle except a NO vote would have looked bad. T
he troops would have been funded even if this bill had failed because of this amendment; the funding bill would have just been reintroduced. 

These experiences have caused me to wonder, where does a person draw the line on how they vote? At what point does the cost of a bill outweigh any benefit that it might have? How much liberty are we willing to foreclose on for the sake of what might seem to be a more noble cause? When we are told that a bill has a lot of good but a lot of bad in it, do we vote for it so we can claim the good only? I don’t believe it works that way. If we vote for a bill that has some poison in it only because we want to claim ownership of the good part, we must also accept that we are responsible for the poison too.

For example, if you are hungry, you may go to a restaurant and order a hamburger that comes with french-fries. Although you may not want the fries, the waitress tells you that they are included in the price of the meal, you reluctantly nod your head and accept the fries but
only because you want the hamburger. This is a good description of an acceptable compromise. Although you would rather had some other side, you accepted the fries since they came with your hamburger. You would much rather have had some other side dish to satisfy your hunger but the fries will still do that if you choose to eat them but it really comes down to preference in this particular case. This illustrates how it looks when someone might vote for a bill that has a “side” that we may not prefer but really can’t be called bad. If it doesn’t violate the proper role of government or the Constitution but still satisfies a particular statutory need, you may vote for the larger bill that it is attached to although you would prefer a different “side.”  For example, if you ask a legislator why he voted for such a bill you might hear him say, “I don’t necessarily like lowering the speed limit on certain dangerous state highways, but it is in our jurisdiction to do so and it is a smaller part of a bill we need to pass in order to rebuild some damaged bridges across the Missouri River so I will vote for it.”

Now lets say that you order a hamburger off the menu and you are told that it comes with a little e-coli. Do you still order it? Do you use the argument that so many in government use to vote in favor of bad bills and just say,
“Well, I don’t like e-coli but it is only a little and I need to eat lunch so OK, I’ll take it.” I seriously doubt you would and I think it is safe to say that if anyone used that explanation to feed your child a hamburger with any amount of e-coli, you would sue them for negligence in the care of your child. Why then do we use that explanation to destroy our liberty? Isn’t this what we are hearing when a politician says, “Well, I know that this bill will send us deeper into debt,  grow the size of government or infringe on our freedoms but we need to do something.”

A lesson I learned as an infantry squad leader in the Marine Corps, is that it can be fine to compromise, if you must, in order to accomplish the mission but if your compromise in any way defeats the purpose your mission, then you are the enemy's new best friend. The proper role of government is to protect people’s liberty. If we vote for compromises that in turn destroy liberty and further enslave us to more debt then it is safe to say that we have become our own enemy. Bottom line: when you compromise the principle, you are NOT compromising, you are surrendering.


 
This isn't about Barack Obama, he just happens to have given a great illistration of what is generally wrong the culture of American Politics.

At a recent fundraiser in San Francisco, President Barack Obama made the statement:
“We [America] have lost our ambition, our imagination, and our willingness to do the things that built the Golden Gate Bridge…” He then went on to say:
 “I mean, there are a lot of things we can do…the way I think about it is, you know, this is a great great country that had gotten a little soft and, you know, we didn’t have that same competitive edge that we needed over the last couple of decades. We need to get back on track.”


The key to strong ambition and imagination belongs to a simple concept called liberty and that the less liberty people have the less ambition and imagination they will also have? The Golden Gate Bridge was built in an era that held both economic and personal liberty close to the people.  For example, the people that built the Golden Gate Bridge did not have the extra financial burden of complying with unconstitutional federal mandates such as being forced into private contracts to purchase health insurance. They also didn’t have enormous bureaucracies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) there to fine them for using extension cords to plug in their water coolers. This list could go on and on but I’ll just stop there because I think I made my point.

I find it somewhat ironic that the same administration that is telling the American people that we have lost our competitive edge and our ambition is the same administration that told Gibson Guitar to export their labor to Madagascar. No, this wasn’t the demand of some super villain from a spy novel; the current administration actually told Gibson Guitar that they should export their labor out of the country. If you ask me, we have an administration that is exporting our ambition, our imagination and is forcefully closing the door on any competitive edge we still have. This isn't unique to the current administration, this is a problem that has persisted for years.

How can the president criticize our “lack” of ambition when he is the one bailing everybody out? How does it help to foster ambition when you are constantly applying policies that foster a cradle to grave nanny-state? Recently the president announced his plan to help “ease” the debt on a number of borrowers but isn’t the responsibility of paying back that money what provokes ambition and possibly imagination? When people don’t apply for a job because they know they will make more money off the unemployment check they have been getting, why is the president surprised that people are losing ambition?

“We have lost our willingness to do the things that built the Golden Gate Bridge”
I find it hard to believe this was said by the same president who ended the space program as we know it and has done all but shut down NASA even to the point of putting thousands of NASA employees out of work.

And what’s with this “We have gotten soft” talk? If I remember correctly, one of the first things the president did after getting elected was travel around the world and apologize to everyone on behalf of America for our “arrogance” (I guess the same arrogance that liberated Europe twice).

Political parties aside, understand that my hope that President Obama doesn’t get re-elected doesn’t hinge on the fact that he is a Democrat, it hinges on the fact that he doesn’t understand the basic concepts of liberty and economic growth and that he has absolutely refused to follow the Constitution at every turn.

I would like to further point out that the President of the United States is the most public figure in America and provides the best example of the point that I am making here:
You can't have have a prosperous economy when your leadership doesn't understand the most basic principles of economic freedom, and raiding a guitar factory and shutting them down with out even charging them for any crime isn't the way to promote production and job growth, it is also a direct violation of the US Constitution as it deprives the parties involved of due process. I could not care less if someone has democrat or a republican next to their name (as I point out in the article), when the administration says one thing but then acts contrary to their message and violates the Constitution to do it, I have a problem with that.This isn't about Barack Obama, it is about  foolishness that stretches across party lines and makes both Republicans and Democrats responsible for the many of the problems face our nation today. For example: GW Bush- "I have to abandon the free market principles in order to save the free market" = your tax $ going to bail out big banks on wall street. I don't know what you think but I'm not a fan of increasing the national debt based on, among other things, that kind of illogical nonsense.
 
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‎Two years ago this November 5th, people organized to help me take the principles of liberty into the state capitol to protect their freedom. On November 5th will you consider helping me stay there? 


(PS Occupy Wall Street is having a Money Bomb on the same day, please don't let them steal my thunder ;) ;)

I'm not asking you to wear body armor to protect your liberty, we already have people doing that, I'm just asking for a few bucks to help me get my message out. Please consider helping and share this on your face book and twitter wall to spread the word! 

Freedom Favors the Brave, 
Paul Curtman

 
For pledging healthcare and hundreds of millions of mine and my fellow Americans tax dollars to the Libyan rebels - we don't need our money. Our roads and bridges are in great shape, the border is secure, our schools produce the most educated people the world has ever seen and everyone has a job!!! You are a benevolent genius. Although many tax paying Americans might argue that we shouldn't spend money on militant Islamic regimes determined to establish a constitution based on Sharia law, I would say it might not really be that big of a concern, after all, we have a constitution and we don't use it so maybe they won't use theirs either. For a minute, I began to think that maybe we should use that money to lower taxes, meet social security obligations to those who have paid into the system or at least pay off some debt but then I totally snapped out it when I remembered my moral obligation to redistribute the fruit of our labor to people who want to kill me - what was I thinking?!?! LOL (please read sarcastically)
 
Somebody asked me today to tell them a little bit about my NO vote on the "Pick a Winner" tax credit bills we had in special session. I talked with the reporter and then decided to tell you what I had told her.
If you have read my previous article on the principles of economic freedom you will see that this recording is much the same as the article. Hope you like Knight Rider. 
 
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The house passed the Economic Development Bill today by a vote of 98 to 48. 

I voted for several amendments to the Economic development bill including amendments to:

·      Cut the Corporate Tax ¾ of a percentage (the only part of the bill that provides a decent help to more businesses than just the ones picked for targeted tax credits)

·      A sales tax holiday for products that are “Made in the USA” (Finally a step in the right direction to ultimately encourage production of goods in America and also good for business in our state)

·      No sunsets on Tax Credits for Food Pantries and Pregnancy Care Resource Centers. (These tax credits operates more like a tax deduction and they are nontransferable so no one stands to profit at the expense of the taxpayer Also, these are for benevolent organizations, not businesses so no one is forced into a competitive disadvantage)

After other amendments were added, I had doubts about a vote I cast to add sunsets to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, I liked a plan that I heard later by Rep Ryan Silvey.  Rep Silvey had offered up an amendment to bring every tax credit under review every four years instead of sunsets. Due to the nature of the various types of tax credit programs (some are more characteristic of tax deductions etc…) I think it would be a good idea to bring ALL of them up for review on a routine basis, at this time in our state, we do not have the luxury of perpetual tax credit programs that continue on without any oversight.

Although I voted in favor of several amendments, I ultimately voted NO on the entire bill for two main reasons: 

(1) The bill was extremely bloated and covered an entire host of different issues and tax credit programs and we didn’t even debate the content of the proposed 200 page + bill on the house floor, we just debated different amendments.  The 200 pages of this bill were given to us a day or so before we arrived in Jefferson City and many of us felt we didn’t have adequate time to study the new version of the bill. 

(2) I believe the Economic Philosophy of the state is headed in the wrong direction; instead of using sound principles of economics to spur economic growth, we are debating how best to control the economy in an attempt to force it into prosperity instead of relying on consumers and producers to initiate the growth. When the government issues policies to choose who can and who cannot participate in the market  we only put more economic control in the hands of bureaucrats and politicians who feel they can improve the economy by writing new laws.  The government cannot predict supply and demand so they should stop trying to give economic advantages to one industry over another. The more we do this, the deeper of a hole we will have to dig ourselves out of when we finally decide to break a sweat on the tax reform that we desperately need to give businesses more economic freedom to succeed and prosper.

I am glad that there were beneficial items in this bill but  unfortunately the cost of this bill seems to have outweighed the overall benefit, especially if we continue with flawed economic policy geared more and more toward central planning.

Freedom, liberty and property rights for consumers, producers and laborers will make us the most prosperous in the end; it worked the first 200+ years in America and I believe that if we try it again we will see some great innovation come out of our state!



 
I just voted NO on the "China Hub" bill in the Committee on Economic Development. It seems that to compete with other states for economic development and job creation, many are under the impression that we have to do what everybody else is doing but just do a better job of it. Maybe that is the reason why I often hear people say "Well, we have to do something!" when they tell me that they do not like these targeted tax credits but they are going to vote for them anyway. Although the Aerotropolis bill is far from anything I consider to have true economic potential, parts of it are better than what we were given in committee before. 
CORRECTION from earlier post: "Compete Missouri" is not in this bill as it was first proposed but some of the items still remain to my understanding (I am still trying to figure this out, we just got the bill the other day already had to vote on it without any debate in the committee itself). 
There were Four NO votes on this bill in committee:
Myself
Rep Schieber
Rep Wallingford
Rep Swearingen

Targeted Tax Credits and the Principles of Freedom

The proper role of government is to protect the rights of the citizens. This means, among other things, that the government must keep us safe from invasion, protect our inherent rights such as our freedom of speech and our property. It takes funding for the government to protect our rights but when the government begins to reallocate the people’s money beyond their jurisdiction, their acts naturally become counterproductive to the purpose of government and become dangerous to our liberty, our treasury and our ability to pursue happiness with the confidence that we are all equal under the law.

I AM NOT AGAINST PROPER AND REASONABLE REGULATION IN THE MARKET AS LONG AS THAT REGULATION IS DESIGNED TO PROTECT THE INEGRITY OF THE MARKET SYSTEM BY PROTECTING THE PROPERTY (MONEY AND LABOR) OF BOTH CONSUMERS AND PRODUCERS.

Here are some freedom-minded bullet points on sound economic principles: 

• When the government targets certain industries for tax credits in hopes of spurring economic prosperity, the government is either implying that it can predict supply and demand for goods and services, or it is attempting to suspend the laws of supply and demand altogether in favor of central economic planning, both of which are bad policy and rob the people of their liberty and property.

• When the government targets certain industries for tax credits, it is basically admitting that letting that industry have more money is a good thing that will spur economic growth. The problem is that the government is picking who gets a greater opportunity to succeed at the expense of the others, possibly even a small businesses competitors and thus there is no equality under the law. That notion alone is enough to make this a civil rights issue.

• The government is literally robbing the labor of the people through their tax money in an effort to assist others in their labor and pursuit of success. This is an outright abuse of our property rights and not only that but we are implementing the basic tenant of socialism to do it insomuch that we are advocating the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles in hopes of attaining a healthy economy. 

• Another point to make is that there is no equality of law under such a program when one is forced to pay taxes so that a competitor may not pay taxes. 

• Good and bad investments in our economy can only be properly determined when consumers and producers are free to make their decisions without interference of intrusive government policies that distort the pros and cons of the investment. 

• The markets do not become more free when the government gets involved; they become less free. It is important to keep the government out of the market except when they are needed to protect the rights and property of producers and consumers. 

Economic prosperity has always and will always follow the path of least resistance. Bottom line: If we want to bring back the jobs, we need to cut taxes and red tape equally for everyone and get the government to STOP planning the economy. Let the market and investors, consumers and producers work it out. That is the system that brought us the toaster, the lightbulb, the plasma flat screen TV and the Macbook Pro that I am typing this on. Let's try that system again and see what new ideas can come out of Missouri!