Thursday, February 25, 2010

Improving the Business Climate to Create Jobs

None of these ideas include the government directly creating a job (which would have to be paid for by higher taxes) but improving the business climate to create the atmosphere for entrepreneurship, innovation and risk-taking by businesses trying new things.

This local approach to Right-to-Work could be the means to bit by bit improve the image of the state as anti-business/anti-jobs, and make the state more competitive. Local Right-to-Work [Mackinac Center] Feb. 25, 2010

This editorial clearly paints the difference between the parties' approaches to turning Michigan around. The "Spenders" (aka the "Tax and Spenders") plan does nothing to encourage job growth, but only supports the public employees' jobs. We must do better than that. It's Reformers vs. Spenders in state faceoff From the Detroit News. Jan. 28, 2010

Now here are some great New Year's resolutions worth making AND keeping. Michigan's 2010 New Year's resolutions State must say goodbye to its lost decade and start new year on a more productive path. From the Detroit News. Dec. 31, 2009

In this philosophical debate on how best to create jobs, I come down on the side of creating a better business climate for all businesses in Michigan, encouraging all businesses to flourish, to harness the entrepreneurial spirit and innovativeness that made Michigan the envy of the world years ago. I simply do not believe that bureaucrats in Lansing can pick the winners better than the best minds in business and finance who are risking their own money and careers with their investment choices. Sharing Ideas for a Better Michigan: Bureaucrats Should Not be Picking Winners and Losers in Our Fre Dec. 29, 2009

Posts to Facebook re Michigan's Budget Crisis

Tax hike won't solve budget woes Governor's proposal courts failure by avoiding more long-term ref Feb. 24, 2010

It is not my nature to be confrontational, but any cost cutting measures at the state level that do not address the excessively high cost of public employee wages and benefits will not be a long-term solution. They must be brought down to private sector equivalents.
School, Government Employee Unions Drain Their Host
By Jack McHugh, The Mackinac Center for Public Policy Feb. 23, 2010

The union's choice of retaining high salary and benefit levels instead of retaining service levels for Wayne County residents is not a viable long-term solution. It's time for public sector unions to wake up and smell the coffee brewing in Michigan. Feb. 23, 2010

The Governor's Proposed Budget includes a tax increase without sufficient savings from salaries and benefits from state and public school employees. The Legislature must do better. Editorial: Balance Michigan budget with labor cost savings Feb. 14, 2010

Unions bleed taxpayers to help Democrats, Feb. 9, 2010

For more, go to my Facebook page at!/olson48176?ref=profile

Cheers! Rick

Taxes and Spending – the Perennial Issues

Here is an excerpt from the February 2010 Washtenaw Republican Informer, of which I am a co-editor and which may be accessed on the Washtenaw Republican Party website:

Read “Where We Are and How We Got There”, Feb. 17, 2010, by Mitch Bean, with the House Fiscal Agency. This is not fun reading, but a good summary of the State's fiscal status. What is missing, however, are options for cost controls and job growth which help solve the revenue shortfalls. For good starts, see:
Both Republican caucuses and the business groups oppose the tax increases in Governor Granholm’s Proposed Budget. Where some difference of opinion exists among the Republican and Republican oriented groups is whether reforming Michigan to gain control of costs and a reforming the tax structure should occur simultaneously Consensus appears to be that cost control must come first, before reforming the Michigan tax structure is put on the table. Otherwise, the fear is that “restructuring” simply becomes a tax increase.

Defending the Constitution

Here is an excerpt from the February 2010 Washtenaw Republican Informer, of which I am a co-editor and which may be accessed on the Washtenaw Republican Party website:

One of the unifying themes of the many “liberty” groups, whether they be Tea Party groups, Americans for Prosperity, Campaign for Liberty, etc., is the demand for a return of the reading of the U.S. Constitution as it was intended by the Founding Fathers, i.e., the creation of a limited government, chock full of checks and balances. Here are some useful resources.

  • Nullification: A curb on federal overreach - An interesting outgrowth on the debate of the Senate health care bill (and ObamaCare in general) is the renewed interest in nullification among state legislatures. The first instance of the use of nullification were The Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 a direct response to the constitutionally offensive Alien and Sedition Acts of the same year. Whether it’s ObamaCare, federal gun laws or the REAL ID Act more and more state legislatures are turning to nullification to reassert their state sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment. For further viewing: Judge Andrew Napolitano: The Constitution and Freedom

  • On the humorous side, two eminent law enforcement officers (Barney Fife and Andy Griffith) weigh in on the Preamble of the Constitution in this YouTube video.

  • Michael Badnarik, a more credible source on the Constitution, provides a very informative 8 hour class on the Constitution & History which can be watched in short segments.

  • The webcast archives from the Hillsdale College’s January 30th “Constitutional Town Hall” are another excellent source (free, after registering online).

Thanks William Rushlow and Dave Pangborn for your submissions for this article.

Critics of members of the Tea Party: "What a quaint idea. The U.S. Constitution actually means what the words say? Pure madness." We all need to be concerned to the extent the limits on government written in the Constitution have been eroded by Supreme Court opinion after opinion over the years. We are to the point that many believe we are not the republic the Founding Fathers envisioned, but rather a democracy where 50% +1 can do anything they wish against the outvoted minority (typically the producers of society). Tea Partiers hold true to the 10th from the Detroit News.



Parliamentary Procedure Interactive Workshop Available

A Parliamentary Procedure Interactive Workshop was held on February 24 at the Monroe County Community College for community leaders and activists to conduct more effective meetings. I am willing to conduct this workshop for other groups upon request.

This is a fun, engaging way to learn the basics of Parliamentary Procedure, as you briefly hear the theory, put it into action through skits, and have a few laughs along the way. For more information, contact me or download the Fundamentals of Parliamentary Law.(PDF)

Rick Olson, 734-944-0794

Lowering the Cost of Public Safety Services

Contracting with a lower cost department can make sense and avoids the stupidity of the Urban Cooperation Act's forcing the highest wages and benefits that occurs with consolidation of municipalities (and thus discouraging the very "cooperation" the name of the Act implies).

Municipalities stuck with excessively high costs imposed by arbritrators under PA 312 should definitely look at this alternative. The Center for Michigan » SPECIAL REPORT: Combining cop shops can save big bucks

An amendment to PA 312 without requiring the arbitrator to take into consideration the municipality's ability to pay is truly "hollow". A chance to control costs has been lost, but we will need to come back to this. Michigan Senate Bill 1072 Will Change Public Act 312, but May Have Little Effect [Mackinac Center]

As much as we love and respect our public safety employees (police and firefighters), PA 312 needs to be more balanced, to reflect the community's ability to pay. The Center for Michigan » Cities push hard on Act 312 and cost controls

These proposals make sense to control costs of corrections, without being "soft on crime". We also need to look further at the levels of wages and benefits of prison workers and privatizing support services to minimize costs. The Center for Michigan » Three things every citizen should know about state prisons

See also: Repeal PA 312 to Eliminate Binding Arbitration for Police and Firefighters? and
Michigan Laws that Impede Greater Efficiency through Collaboration

I welcome your comments. Cheers!

Is the Name of the Michigan "FairTax" a Sham?

In response to Facebook postings:

  1. David A. Dudenhoefer February 23 at 11:33pm Reply This is timely as some hacks in our state are pushing this "fair-thief" tax” and

  2. Tony DeMott’s Facebook posting: “The Fair Tax simply changes who is the tax collector. It turns small businesses into tax collectors. The Consumer will still end up paying all the taxes. The tax burden will not be lowered at all. Michigan citizens care about lowering the tax burden, not who the tax collector is. The Fair Tax is a sham and if you believe our government is too big, too intrusive, and too oppressive, you should oppose this sham”

I respectfully disagree. But first, let me make clear that I totally agree that there are a lot of costs that can and should be cut out of government spending, both at the state and federal levels. Any serious look at my Facebook and blog postings would confirm that. Second, I am opposed to many of the government interventions into our economy and personal lives which go well beyond the limited government our Founding Fathers envisioned. So, I am onboard with the concept endorsed in Michigan by the Business Coalition that we must get the spending reforms first, then we can tackle the tax structure.

I also agree that the name “FairTax” is a misnomer, as any tax system is a transfer of wealth from somebody to government for transfer to someone else, and so will never be “fair”, whatever that means. But, it is a piece of the marketing of the FairTax idea, and I can understand that. A proposal needs to be evaluated on its content, and not by its name.

Having said that, now it is important to realize that taxation in one form or another is a reality, and one that is not likely to change. So, if we are to be taxed, the questions are, “What taxing mechanism is best? On what criteria should we judge a tax system?” In other words, one can distinguish between (1) the tax level, i.e., the total amount of taxes collected and (2) the taxing mechanism or structure.

It does matter what tax system is in effect, as different tax systems have different secondary or indirect effects. For example, economists will tell you that a business is a tax collector, and not a “taxpayer”, as the indirect impacts are: higher prices, lower wages to its workers, lower dividends to its owners, or fewer jobs, or some combination of these impacts. The consumer ultimately pays. Different tax schemes have different impacts, some which distort the free market economy more than others. An income tax, for example, discourages earning, savings and investing. With different direct and indirect impacts, it therefore does matter what tax system we use – given that we will have some tax system.

A consumption tax is one that distorts the free market the least, although even a consumption tax discourages consumption, and therefore lowers prices, and therefore less is produced in a free market society, in effect, lowering the standard of living in the society. Is it perfect? No. No tax system is. I just see it as better than the current tax system, whether it be called a “consumption tax”, “FairTax”, or whatever.

It also matters how easily a tax can be increased, as the easier it is to raise a tax, the more likely the politicians will raise it. The visibility of a tax is one deterrent to a tax being raised. Contrary to the claim that the FairTax would be hidden, it would be incredibly visible, paid on each purchase, and far more visible than an alternative I fear will be proposed to raise more revenue at the federal level – the Value Added Tax, which is collected at each level of production and hidden in the final price of a product.

I further disagree with the use of David’s term of calling those who support the FairTax as “hacks”. I understand the tactics espoused by Saul Alinsky in his book “Rules for Radicals” that calling people names is a good tactic for radicals. I believe it is offensive, however, when used against friends who happen to disagree with you on some point. Fact is, none of us will ever agree 100% with anyone else. Maybe I am too willing to leave the name calling to the radicals who we jointly oppose, but us freedom lovers should look to find common ground amongst us, rather than look to tear us apart. No one group in the “liberty” movement has a monopoly on patriotism.

Respectfully, your friend,