Skeptics about democracy in the 18th and 19th centuries argued that the enfranchised masses would use their votes to seize the property of the relatively few rich. What could be more natural?
But it hasn't happened, in this country or abroad, to anything like the extent that those would-be Cassandras feared. Nonetheless, we continue to hear calls for economic redistribution, the clinical term for public policies transferring money from the relatively few rich to the much more numerous non-rich.
We also hear cries of frustration from advocates of such polices. The latest example is Thomas Edsall, the longtime Washington Post reporter now writing for the New York Times. Unlike most other liberal reporters, who are optimistic cheerleaders for their team, Edsall has long been alert to signs of liberalism's weakness.
In a long blog post, Edsall notes "a steady decline in support for redistributive government." He cites a study by Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez, another ardent redistributionist, that "as inequality increases, so does ideological conservatism in the electorate."
Edsall cites evidence that support for health care "as a government-protected right" has fallen off from 69 percent in a 2006 Gallup poll, replaced by a 52 percent majority for the proposition that health care is not a federal responsibility.
Those poll numbers should not be taken too literally. Many respondents were surely hazy about what it means to say that a service like health care is a "right". And after passage of Obamacare, talk of a federal responsibility tends to evoke partisan responses in a country split just about evenly between two ideologically distinct parties.
That said, Edsall is right to conclude that there has been a diminution of faith in government as an instrumentality. The reasons are not hard to find. Atop the list: the Obamacare mess. The rollout of healthcare.gov — which the government had 42 months to prepare for — was a disaster. In contrast, there were 42 months between Pearl Harbor and V-E Day. Government performed a lot better then.
Things will get even messier if the Supreme Court reads the Obamacare statute as written in the King v. Burwell case expected to be decided in June. In Edsall's words, "public and private health care would be disrupted, to put it mildly."
It's hard to avoid the conclusion that Yale Law Professor Peter Schuck highlights in the title of his 2014 book, "Why Government Fails So Often". As I put it in a column then, gummint don't work good.
But can't government at least shuffle money around? After all, it does something like that in taxing payroll earnings and paying Social Security benefits to the elderly. Yes, the checks go out, but the program is on an unsustainable trajectory. And when you look at the policies redistributionists advance, you see either things with trivial effects or things that are politically inconceivable.
Consider some redistributive policies often advocated. Increasing the minimum wage and expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit — the latter supported by some Republicans — would redistribute income, a little. Rewriting labor laws to show more favor to private sector unions is a political nonstarter and likely wouldn't restore unions to anywhere near their 1950s peak.
What about higher taxes on the rich, the recommendation of French economist Thomas Piketty in his ballyhooed book, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century"? When actor Will Smith was interviewed on French television, he supported the idea in general. But when told that France's top rate was 75 percent, he exclaimed, "Seventy-five! That's different. Well, God bless America." France's socialist government has since lowered the rate.
British Labour party leader Ed Miliband is calling for higher taxes on high earners and "mansions". But again, the redistributive effect looks marginal — unless these measures choke economic growth. You do get more income equality when you destroy wealth. Everyone is worse off.
The fact is, America already has a redistributionist income tax: the top 20 percent of earners pay 84 percent of income tax revenues, and the top 1 percent, with 17 percent of income, pay 46 percent.
Americans have an innate sense that it's a mistake to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. They seem to understand that, if taxes are too high, the affluent will figure out ways to shelter income. In other words, they doubt that a government incapable of building a working website can effectively redistribute income and wealth.
(Syndicated columnist Michael Barone is senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner, is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00
What do you think of when you hear the number "99?" It is a fairly significant number and I usually think of going to the 99 Restaurant for a steak and some libations. It also is the number of Carl Edward's stock car in NASCAR, it was Charlie Sheen's uniform number in the movie Major League, Wayne Gretzky's real number, and of course we had Agent 99 in the old TV show "Get Smart." There is also the song "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall," but maybe we shouldn't go there. One website I was on said "The meaning or symbolism of recurring 99 in your life or in dreams signifies effort must be put forth to complete the current cycle or path" and "The number 99 is also influenced by the vibrational energy of 9 (9 + 9 = 18, 1 + 8 = 9) making it an urgent message from the nonphysical urging you to complete the tasks at hand." Whereas, in real estate, the number $99,000, $199,000, $299,000, or even $399,000 sounds like a deal compared to the next incremental choice. We are really just trying to get someone's attention. In other words, we are urging you to buy this house!
So what can you buy at these price points. Well, I didn't find much at $99,000 as you might expect, but take a look at these great listings and see if you have the urge to complete the task at hand.
My $199,000 choice is at 461 Elm Street in Laconia. This home was built in 1890 and has 1,934 square feet of living space, three bedrooms including the master suite, two and a half baths, a remodeled kitchen, mud room, formal dining room, living room, sun room, and a large screened porch. It also features natural woodwork with a mixture of hardwood, softwood, and carpeted floors. It also has a newer roof and fresh interior paint. Is this light and sunny home urging you to come take a look?
At $299,000 there is a very nice reproduction cape at 46 Willowgrass Lane in Gilmanton. This charming 1,880 square foot residence has a wonderful open floor plan. The living room features a fireplace, lots of built-ins, and hardwood floors. The eat-in country kitchen has tasteful white cabinetry, a center island, stainless appliances, and a French door that leads out to an expansive back deck that's perfect for entertaining and taking in the amazing mountain views. There's also a den with cathedral ceilings that makes a great place to watch a ball game or read a book. This home has a first floor master suite and two bedrooms and a full bath upstairs. This house sits on a 2.48 acre lot but has 253 acres of conservation land beside it so you won't feel crowded.
At $399,000 you could own a classic circa 1790 center chimney colonial and attached cape on 27 acres of grounds with perennial gardens, brooks, and even your own private pond. If you like classic older homes with character and charm, you will love the home at 16 Lily Pond Road in Alton. The main home has the typical four fireplaces associated with the center chimney style, wide pine floors, plaster walls, gunstock corners, and a captain's staircase. The cape addition houses a fully modern kitchen built tastefully to blend to the period and there's also a great room with cathedral ceilings, exposed beams, and wood stove. This 2,600 square foot home has four bedrooms, two full baths, and a sleeping loft accessed by a ladder. That could be fun for the little ones. Outside you'll find a two car garage and workshop for all the blacksmithing work.
Stepping up to $499,000, you can have a 4,680 square foot colonial built in 2006 on a two acre hillside lot with panoramic mountain views that will keep you mesmerized. Located at 56 Carter Mountain Road in New Hampton, this home should be a must see for anyone looking for peace, tranquility, and privacy. You'll find a large, 27' x 19' living room with cathedral ceilings and fireplace, country kitchen with hardwood floors, a first floor master suite and three bedrooms up, five baths, a theater room, formal dining room, exercise area, and a great front porch to take in the views. The views might be even better from the in ground heated pool, especially with a cool drink in your hand. An attached heated two car garage makes a great space to store your sleds. The extensive exterior stonework and old stone walls add to the mountaintop elegance of this home. If I could put my two cents worth in, this house is easily worth $499,000.02. That might really get someone's attention...
There were 990 homes for sale as of May 1, 2015 in the twelve towns covered in this Lakes Region Real Estate Market Report. The average asking price comes in at $622,856 and the median price point stood at $272,400. This inventory level represents an 11.8 month supply of homes on the market in these towns.
Pease feel free to visitwww.lakesregionhome.comto learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others.
Data compiled using the NNEREN MLS system as of 5/1/15.
Roy Sanborn is a sales associate at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at603-677-7012
Last Updated on Friday, 08 May 2015 07:14
They did. And then, in a moment, it all changed.
The First Couple becomes the First Widow. I have to read the story twice to understand.
Forty-seven-year-old billionaires aren't supposed to fall off treadmills and die. He was on vacation with his wife and kids, with the family he loved. He was beloved by women everywhere because of the support he gave to his wife's career. Sheryl Sandberg is the famous one, but put two women together, and it wouldn't be a minute before one of us pointed out that what was really extraordinary was the man she married, the father of her children, the other parent at the dinner table, the one who pushed her to ask for more, who wanted Mark Zuckerberg to stretch to get Sheryl because she's worth it. This is the man who fell off the treadmill and died.
In the coming days, there may be more information as to what caused Dave Goldberg to fall and the sequence of events. But that isn't what I mean. What I mean is why .
Why this guy, who was showing men they could actually have it all? Silicon Valley is full of guys who don't even understand what role models are.
There are all kinds of ways this didn't happen, shouldn't happen, wouldn't happen, and then there is the fact that it did. The tree in the mountain dead-straight on that shouldn't be there, but is. A guy goes to the gym at the Four Seasons Resort and works out and comes back. It happens hundreds of thousands of times all over the world. Except this time.
In most of life, there is, thankfully, a comforting connection between cause and effect, between deliberate actions and their consequences, which makes life substantially less terrifying and, I think, accounts for everyone's eagerness to find ways in which this simply couldn't happen to them.
And it works, most of the time. You make good choices, prudent choices, responsible choices, and the results follow. The kids who get in trouble are the ones you think will get in trouble. The girls who are fast don't slow down. Treadmills make you healthier.
Goldberg should have lived on to change the way people think of powerful men and women. He should have lived to make sure Sheryl's great talents aren't undersold. He should have lived to be there, holding her hand, as he was in so many pictures of the two of them at business meetings together. He should have lived, period.
The comments sections on Goldberg's death are already full of snarlings about whether we can stop "leaning in" now that Dave is gone, and whether Sheryl can or should, as if any of that is anyone's business but hers right now. Blather. Those pictures of him holding her hand — those will be emblems for future generations, if not for the once-so-lucky girl who looks so happy.
Last Updated on Thursday, 07 May 2015 09:09
Who killed Freddie Gray?
According to Baltimore prosecutor Marilyn Mosby, Freddie was murdered in a conspiracy of six cops who imprisoned him in a police van and there assaulted and killed him. The killer was African-American officer Caesar Goodson, driver of the van, who, with a "depraved heart," murdered Freddie.
This is a summation of the charges against six Baltimore cops made Friday by Mosby, as she ranted into the TV cameras: "To the people of Baltimore, and the demonstrators across America: I heard your call for 'No justice, no peace.' ... To the youth of this city: I will seek justice on your behalf. ... This is your moment. ... You're at the forefront of this cause and as young people, our time is now."
Mosby has cast herself as the avenging angel of those clamoring for retribution. But unless she has far more evidence than has been revealed, Mosby is talking a stronger hand than her cards are showing on the table.
For consider the captivity of Freddie Gray, step by step.
Making contact with a cop at 8:39 in the morning, Freddie fled, was caught with a knife, and put in a police van that made four stops.
On the first, the cops lifted Freddie off the floor and sat him down. On the second and third, they looked in on him again. On the fourth, they had detoured to pick up another prisoner.
Mosby is charging that not only did the cops willfully ignore Freddie's cries for help, but also the driver deliberately handled the van in so reckless a manner as to inflict a fatal injury, the severing of his spine.
But where is the evidence for any of this?
True, as Freddie had a legal knife, he had committed no crime and should not have been arrested. And the cops should have used the seat belt in the van to buckle in Freddie. But those are police failings, not police felonies. And while Freddie should have been taken sooner to a hospital, did the cops know how badly injured he was? How could they have known — if they had done nothing to injure him?
And when and how was Freddie's spinal cord severed? There appears thus far no evidence that five of the cops did anything to cause this. And no evidence has been brought forward that Goodson tried to injure Freddie by giving him "a rough ride".
The Washington Post reported that the second prisoner said that on the final leg of the trip to the police station, Freddie was thrashing around, possibly injuring himself.
Consider. In the Rodney King case, where there was film of his extended beating with billy clubs, a Simi Valley jury refused to convict any of the four cops. In Ferguson, Michael Brown sustained half a dozen gunshot wounds. Yet officer Darren Wilson was not indicted.
On Staten Island, 350-pound Eric Garner was seen on film being taken down by five cops in an arrest that led to his death, but none of the cops was indicted.
And there is far less visible evidence of any police crime in the case of Freddie Gray than in any of those three incidents.
The heart of the case against all six is that they denied Freddie the medical treatment needed to save his life. But where is the proof the officers knew how gravely injured he was, that he was in danger of death?
By going on national television and ordering the arrest of the six officers on charges that could mean the rest of their lives in prison, Mosby may have stopped the riots and calmed the crowds in Baltimore. But she has kicked this can right up the road into 2016. For what is coming is predictable.
Thus far, Freddie Gray has been portrayed by the media as the victim of brutal vigilante cops. But, soon, those six officers are going to be seen as flesh-and-blood cops who may have blundered in not seeing the extent of Freddie's injuries, but who are being railroaded by a malicious prosecutor pandering to an angry mob calling for vengeance.
While we have seen film of the arrest of Freddie Gray and his placement in that van, film that is inconclusive, what we are going to hear now is the other side of the story, the cops' side. From now on, they will be the underdogs, and Americans love underdogs.
A nation already riveted by the Freddie Gray episode, already divided, will become more so, as we move toward the indictments, the trials and the verdicts.
In our deepening political divide, the left invokes the narrative that black males are all too often terribly treated by brutal cops, while the right sees tough policing as having cut crime to more tolerable levels and cops as the thin blue line between them and anarchy.
The battle lines have been drawn upon which the "War On Cops" issue will be fought out in 2016.
As Pete Seeger sang, "Which side are you on?"
(Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three presidents, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He won the New Hampshire Republican Primary in 1996.)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 May 2015 10:21
The essence of government is police power, the ability to enact and enforce laws. At the federal level, the Congress has been designated to write the legislation and the Executive, the president, has the responsibility to either sign it into law or to veto it. When a law has been signed, it then becomes the responsibility of the Executive Branch to ensure its compliance.
At the federal level, the laws deal with interstate and international issues, ensuring that commerce may proceed across state lines, and that violations of federal laws may be enforced by federal authorities. In the case of international issues the Legislative Branch has the responsibility to issue declarations of war and the Executive Branch is responsible to serve as commander in chief of the military. The Executive also has the responsibility for international relations and can make treaties with other governments, subject to the advice and consent of the Congress.
The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution provides that powers not specifically delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states or to the people.
Shortly after he was first elected to the presidency, Mr. Obama made a statement on national television that he believed we needed a "national police force" equal in strength to our military. That statement, if it were to become implemented, would essentially destroy our form of government by usurping the most basic of states' rights, as it would put the definition and enforcement of laws in the hands of the federal government. The role of the states would be changed from serving the needs of the people to serving the federal government
During his tenure, we have seen a number of comments or steps taken by the president that makes one wonder if he is in fact working towards establishment of a national police force. For example, in the case of a black Harvard professor who had been away from his home, his neighbors called the police and reported that they believed the professor's house being broken into. When the police were dispatched they confronted a black man who appeared to be entering the house. The man became abusive towards the police and stated it was his house. The police demanded he show them proof of his identity. The professor took offense at that demand and the incident became a national issue. The president, before knowing any of the facts in the case, went on national television and stated that the "police acted stupidly".
In the Travon Martin case in Orlando, local authorities initiated their investigation of the case. The federal Justice Department appeared to influence the State of Florida's attorney general to also investigate that incident, and the Justice Department also opened an investigation. It became clear the state and federal cases essentially implied that the city's investigation would not be credible. And, as we all remember, the president went on national television to tell all that if he had a son, he would look like Travon Martin.
When the incident in Ferguson, Missouri, occurred, and the white officer shot the black man, both the president and the attorney general imposed themselves into the case. The attorney general went to Ferguson to meet with the family and the black community and told of how, in the past, he had been stopped and questioned by the police. He then went on to initiate a federal investigation. Neither the attorney general nor the president did anything to calm the situation, and the city erupted in flames. Even though many charges were leveled at the police and the prosecutor and other local officials, in the end, the investigations at both the local and federal levels showed that the shooting by the officer was justified.
Now, we all watch as Baltimore has erupted into riots and burning and looting, in response to the death of a black person who was injured and died while in police custody. While it appears that there may be some culpability on the part of the arresting officers, before an investigation could take place, the assumption of police guilt was leveled and the riots began. The mayor made a statement early on that the rioters needed to be given some room to carry out their freedom to destroy. The police essentially watched as the rioters pelted them with rocks and bricks, burned buildings and automobiles, broke into and looted stores, and moved freely from area to area to repeat the process. It appears there was a report that the White House encouraged the mayor towards the approach she took in dealing (or not) with the rioters. There are still questions as to why the National Guard was so late to the game, or whether there was some federal influence to go slow. In any event, the community that will be hurt the most is the one where the rioters reside, as needed stores that have been burned and looted may not be willing or able to re-open.
And now, protests and riots are being orchestrated in major cities across the country.
The question before us is this . . . are these riotous incidents being orchestrated so that the president can fulfill his desire to have a "national police force"? If so, say goodbye to our local and state government structures . . . say goodbye to a government of, by, and for the people.
(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)
Last Updated on Monday, 04 May 2015 09:23