AllenN's blog

Can we expand government services?

FC 205, PART TWO

In Part One (http://www.actonforum.com/blogs/allenn/when-government-right-solution), I discussed the issue of when should the government provide services. There are some services government must provide, some that it should never provide, and some perhaps in-between.

How to help Hong Kong

We have a great country with a great economic system and freedom. But we deal with a lot of "bad actors" around the world.

We used to shun such political rivals, but we have since adopted a more "pragmatic" approach which allows us to negotiate and trade with them, and basically "hold our nose" and not interfere with their internal affairs.

This has got to stop.

China has created economic wealth because of us, yet they have declined to adopt a true free market, and more importantly, they supress freedom for their people and rule without free and fair elections.

When is government the right solution?

Fiscal Conservatism 205

POP QUIZ TIME! I have a proposal that will actually save trillions of dollars and tens of thousands of American lives over the next 10 years. Given this as true, are you in favor of the proposal? Answer at the end of this column.

Part One.

Fiscal conservative versus social liberal

Fiscal Conservatism 204

After dinner last night with the in-laws, who are strong Democratic Liberals, I was told that I should be a Democrat, not a Republican, because while I am a Fiscal Conservative, I am socially liberal. "I'm also a Fiscal Conservative" one of them said. Ha!

Time for curbside pickup

We all know Acton has very high property taxes with not a lot of services to show for it, other than our school system, which consumes about two-thirds of our taxes. The rest goes mostly for police, fire, highway, and town administration.

Funny Pix Four

Here is this month's Funny Pix. If you see something funny and take its picture, send it to Acton Forum!

For a link to previous photos, see http://www.actonforum.com/blogs/allenn/funny-pix-three

Captions for today's photo:

1. Coming soon, courtesy of Obamacare!

2. No thanks. Really, no thank you. I don't care even if it is free.

3. A tough decision. Give me the shingles shot please.

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Time for some Acton property tax relief

Another fiscal year just began, and now that Fall has arrived and school has started, we begin the annual town and school budgeting process that determines next year's budgets and eventually next year's property tax rates.

Whenever concerned citizens show up at Town Meeting and ask for lower spending levels and thus lower levels of taxation, the refrain that is heard is "not now." For our town leaders, it is never a good time to give taxpayers a break. In the 20 or so years I have lived in Acton, we have yet to have a year of no tax increase.

Climate change caveats

I'm a climate change/global warming agnostic. I have heard our President tell us the science is settled, yet whenever I look into the issue to a superficial degree, I see conflicting evidence and data.

Most of us are not climate scientists, so we get our information from experts who have studied this. Of course, scientists who get paid to research this issue not only develop expertise, but they also may develop bias.

When individual actions become collective

I recently did an article on global warming. In it, I argued that logic dictated that the United States (or any citizens therein) didn't need to take any steps to stop global warming. (See Climate Change Activists Illogical at http://www.actonforum.com/blogs/allenn/climate-change-activists-illogical).

President Romney's press conference on September 11, 2014

Good evening. Thank you for joining me at this prime-time press conference on September 11, 2014. Thirteen years ago today, the United States suffered its worst terrorist attack on American soil. Please join me in silent prayer for the many victims of this tragedy.

I'd like to make a few opening remarks and then will take some questions from the media. I want to start off discussing an issue that has been talked about a lot lately, which is our military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Community-minded charity challenge at Acton Market

We received the following press release which I thought would be fun to share with our Acton Forum readers. Shows you the power of the Internet!

Tomorrow two teams from the Shepherd's Bush-based travel company Mr & Mrs Smith will compete, Apprentice-style, to sell fresh produce at Acton's bustling market in aid of horticultural therapy charity Mind-food.

Climate change activists illogical

Logic is a funny thing. We humans tend to agree with arguments that support our underlying beliefs and discount or ignore those that oppose them.

"Climate change," what used to be called "global warming," is a much debated topic. Liberals believe the science has been "settled" on this subject, while conservatives point to a small number of scientists who have not yet been convinced. And we continue to fund millions of dollars worth of scientific research to prove that the earth is overall getting warmer and debate what we as Americans can do about it.

Dealing with dictators

Fiscal Conservatism 203

Preventing medical bankruptcies

Fiscal Conservatism 202

In previous articles, we have defined why government, especially the federal government, should be limited. When government does things outside its mandate, it forces everyone to participate which is unfair. And government is inherently inefficient and has different priorities other than operating efficiently (so it will never be efficient).

Today versus tomorrow

Fiscal conservatism 201

Who controls your body?

Fiscal Conservatism 109

One of the underpinnings of fiscal conservatism is freedom, versus "state control" of things which is stifling and should be avoided whenever possible. As I have explained elsewhere, the state (aka the government) should be involved as little as possible in the free market. That being said, government is always trying to expand and exert as much control as it can because that is what it does. This means we must be vigilant to stop government excess.

Why not let the government do it?

Fiscal Conservatism 108

I'm sure many people implicitly trust the government. But our founding fathers did not, and neither do I.

Like corporations, the government is made up of people. Most people are not evil. They don't personally seek anyone's harm.

But governments have all sorts of justifications for abuse of power and it is very hard to punish those responsible, which might curb some of the abuses. So we have an IRS which is targeting conservative and religious groups for harassment as just one example.

What would Jesus do?

Fiscal Conservatism 107

In this article, I want to explain why President Obama is wrong to take the law into his own hands, bypassing Congress, and make changes using his "executive orders."

Musings on the Wall Street Journal today

The Wall Street Journal is a great newspaper. I don't read a lot of the business news, but much of their regular news coverage is very informative.

Today's Journal (8/9/14) had several interesting articles that I wanted to highlight and comment on. They are somewhat interrelated.

Rich versus poor

Fiscal conservatism 106

Hundreds of years ago, the rich people were members of royalty and inherited their land and wealth. Ordinary people could be given wealth based on their connection to the King and "working" for a living would rarely make you rich. The King was presumed to own just about everything.

So if you weren't born to royalty, the way you became successful long ago was probably your ability to ingratiate yourself to the royal family.

Mass Lottery Instant Ticket Ripoff

The Massachusetts State Lottery has introduced a new instant ticket called "World Class Millions" and this $30 ticket is a world-class ripoff. Players would probably get more pleasure, do more good, and get the same return on investment if they walked down the street and handed out their money to strangers.

Update on Kelley's Corner Work - August 4 2014

In response to a recent Acton Forum article on work being done to upgrade the Kelley's Corner sidewalks (see http://www.actonforum.com/blogs/allenn/kelleys-corner-uncoordinated) State Rep. Jen Benson's District Director, Meagan Greene, sent us the following update:

Acton tax policy based on cheapness theory

Part 2.

In the last article, I tried to show how the desire to help others by using public funds is a form of being cheap. Instead of stepping up to raise money for a cause privately, some believe it is better to have the public pay for it.

On the one hand, this results in a much (much) lower cost-per-donor. But on the other, it forces people to support a charity perhaps against their will.

Cheapness redefined

There are two types of cash donations to charity.

The most well-known is personal charity. This is when individuals give money out of their own pocket to help some charitable cause. There can be some personal benefits to this (donating to a kid's soccer team on which your child is a member, or donating to a church which helps pay the salary of the Reverend), or it can be donations to help the needy or cure cancer.

Kelley's Corner uncoordinated

Many have probably noticed the sidewalk reconstruction at Kelley's Corner, which is the intersection of Routes 111 and 27 in Acton, just off Route 2. This project is being done by the state's Dept. of Transportation to "increase accessibility." Surprisingly, it is being done outside of the Kelley's Corner redevelopment project that the town recently voted to spend $277,000 on. (See Beacon article on the 2013 town meeting at http://www.wickedlocal.com/article/20130407/News/304079825).