Open letter from Nick Dranias, Compact for America Balanced Budget Amendment, Goldwater Institute 2/2/13 I
I have an eight year old and a six year old. With the latest news of an economy possibly sliding back into recession and projections of the federal debt going to 200% of GDP, I am increasingly fearful of what lies in store for them in ten or twelve years. We have to throttle back the in-creasingly exponential use of debt before we run out of time. 49 states have recognized that the power to borrow must be limited to some extent. It is simply stunning that the federal government stands nearly alone in maintaining unlimited power to “borrow” resources from voiceless future generations. More than that, the federal government’s lack of constitutional constraint on borrowing presents a looming disaster.
Our national approach to debt reminds me of those movies from Science or Discovery Channel of those beautiful seemingly indestructible suspension bridges that start gyrating because of a minor tremor or breeze and then because of some failed calculation or screwed up angle in construction, the gyrations build into massive waves, and eventually bring the whole bridge down. The Founders did a great job in most respects in designing our Constitution–mixing elements of democracy, aristocracy and monarchy to draw on the strengths of each and counterbalance the flaws of each so that our system could handle a heavy load of misguided majorities or minorities–but they forgot about protecting future generations from current generations’ potential for greed when it comes to easy credit. And they forgot about the unique power debt has to create unsustainable bubbles, not just in the economy, but also in government, because of the natural human incentive to live for the “now” at the expense of the future.
We don’t have much time to correct this tragic system design flaw.
There was a time when principled Americans could unite on common ground to solve common problems. Take for example the Arizona Constitution. Over one hundred years ago it imposed a debt limit, banned subsidies, prohibited the private use of public credit, and barred special privileges and immunities. These reforms represented a historic consensus of the Left, the Right and the Middle of its day. It represented lessons learned after a quarter century of Robber Barons abusing the system to subsidize their risky ventures with taxpayer dollars and credit.
It was good public policy whose time had come. Anyone could see it. Good people united to fix a problem. This story was repeated throughout the American West.
The Compact for America, which has already been introduced in state legislatures across the Nation, presents us with the same opportunity to fix a problem that is many orders of magnitude greater than that faced by Arizona’s founders. With our national debt now in excess of 100% of Gross Domestic Product, and projected to hit 200% soon, itis time to stop pointing fingers at who is responsible. We owe it to the next generation not to win a debate or an election, but to stop mortgaging their future. The Compact for America provides a way to fix the debt without requiring anyone to compromise their principles on matters of substantive public policy.
You only have to agree that it is wrong to burden nonvoting future generations with our policy choices.
You only have to agree that, if we have to raise more revenue to pay down the debt we’ve run up, and then we should do so with a flatter, fairer, less invasive, and more voluntary tax code.
The Compact for America is designed to find common ground to fix a problem that is almost out of hand. It is a unique non-partisan effort to organize the states quickly and efficiently around advancing a powerful Balanced Budget Amendment idea. This Amendment would require Washington to secure approval from a majority of state legislatures for any increase in the federal debt. It would regulate the use of debt to prevent its abuse by decentralizing Washington’s power to incur debt. By inviting state legislatures into the role of a national board of directors, the Compact for America would finally give thestates a seat at the table in Washington. At the same time, it would ensure national debt policymakers are more accessible to the people and that any increase in the federal debt reflects a broad national consensus.
Equally important, the Compact for America uses anagreement among the states to generate a ”turn key” approach to originating this powerful Balanced BudgetAmendment. The Compact organizes its member states toapply to Congress for a convention to propose the BBAunder Article V of the U.S. Constitution; it designates and instructs member state delegates to advance solely the BBA; it specifies the convention location, agenda, committee structure, and rules; it limits the convention to a single 24 hour session devoted to an up or down vote on the BBA; it prohibits any other agenda and bars every member state from ratifying anything that might be proposed by the convention other than the BBA; and it pre-ratifies the BBA if it is approved by the convention and referred for ratification by Congress. The Compact for America also ensures the convention will be organized only if 38 states join the compact and only if Congress calls the convention in accordance with the Compact. This ensures that nothing happens until both ratification can be achieved without further legislative action and the convention logistics set out in the Compact obtain the status of both state and federal law and are guaranteed under the Contracts Clause of the United States Constitution under current U.S. Supreme Court precedent.
In short, with the Compact for America, we finally have a practical, efficient, targeted and undeniably safe vehicle for originating a BBA.
If you have ten minutes to learn more, please watch the overview video at www.compactforamerica.org.
If you have the time or the financial wherewithal to helpsupport this effort, please let me know.
Robert Graham, candidate for Chairman of the Arizona Republican Party, addresses why preserving the Constitution of the United States of America is important. In simple terms, Robert shares a story of a family visit to Pearl Harbor and the impact this visit had on him and his family. This story, like many others addresses the relevancy, importance and strength bestowed upon this nation because of the miracle we call the Constitution of the United States of America. Robert Graham will fight to defend the Constitution and the principles which made this nation great.
The story of the Mayflower, the Pilgrims, and Thanksgiving is widely taught in all our schools. What is seldom taught, however, is what those Pilgrims learned, at great pain, about Free Enterprise versus Socialism. That story stands as perhaps the clearest and starkest-ever comparison between those two rival systems for human interaction.
We all know how the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in November, 1620, and how they lost half their population to starvation, sickness, and exposure that first winter. We all know how a Native American named Squanto taught the survivors to fish, plant corn, use fertilizer, and hunt deer. And we know that following their first harvest, Governor William Bradford (above) declared a day of Thanksgiving that we celebrate to this day.
What most of us never learned was that the original contract the Pilgrims brokered with their London sponsors required that everything the Pilgrims produced was to go into a common store, and every member was to be allotted one equal share. Further, all the land they cleared and all the buildings they constructed were to belong the whole community.
It must have sounded like the ideal society. Free of outside evil influences, greed and personal property were to be banished. Everyone was to work for the common good, and altruism was to be its own reward.
How did it work out? Horribly. In the three winters of 1621-1623, many died from starvation, pneumonia, or both. Here is Governor Bradford’s own summary of the community’s results with what we now call Socialism:
The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato’s and other ancients applauded by some of later times; that the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God. For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For the young men, that were most able and fit for labour and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense.
In other words, said the Governor, it simply didn’t work.
Wisely, in April, 1623, Bradford abruptly abandoned the idealistic practice of collectivism. Instead, he assigned a plot of land to each family, permitting them to keep everything they grew or made and to market anything they didn’t consume themselves. He actually harnessed all that awful ”greed” and put it to work in a Free Enterprise system. Bradford had discovered that even these most idealistic of peoples had no reason to put in any extra effort without the motivation of personal incentives to do so.
So how did Free Enterprise work out for the same people in the same place under the same circumstances? Boffo!
The Pilgrims soon had more food than they could eat or trade amongst themselves. So they set up trading posts and exchanged goods with the Native Americans. They paid off their debts to their London sponsors and soon attracted a great European migration.
As Bradford summarized the new approach:
This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content.
This was an essential and timeless lesson, learned the hard way. So why isn’t this lesson featured up front, in neon lights, in American history classes? Why isn’t it the lead story of the Pilgrim experience? Perhaps it’s because the people who write our history textbooks still don’t want to believe it. Perhaps those authors still cling to the hope that some form of Socialism will one day triumph over Free Enterprise. Unfortunately for those authors, the historical record couldn’t be clearer, and the Pilgrims’ experience is Exhibit One: when it comes to bettering the life of the common man, Free Enterprise works — and Socialism fails.
For more than 3000 years at Passover, Jews around the world have been re-telling the story of their deliverance from slavery, and for over 2000 years at Easter, Christians have been re-telling the story of their redemption. Now that it’s been nearly 400 years since the Pilgrims landed in America, perhaps we could begin re-telling the real story of Thanksgiving every year, headlining those life-and-death lessons the Pilgrims learned about the differences between Socialism and Free Enterprise.
[Originally posted at WesternFreePress.com, January 26, 2011]
by Gerald Stevenson (reprinted with permission)
I know Virginia and her business acumen — she has the technology background and organizational experience to lead the recorder’s office out of the operational and financial missteps of the past.
She has clearly outlined her objectives to revitalize this key county department to be more customer oriented; technology current; and fiscally sound.
After years of ingrown management, the Pinal County recorder’s position needs Virginia’s drive and leadership to ensure the critical data of our county is protected and accurate.
She has quickly grasped the pivotal needs to lead for the future and make it more accessible to you and me.
Virginia is a seasoned and disciplined manger whom we can trust with our county’s critical records. She will make the right business decisions to upgrade, strengthen and refresh the office as appropriate.
Once elected, Virginia will conduct an operational audit and a budget review to determine the weaknesses and refine the development needs for the recorder’s office. She will then publish the short-term and long-term objectives of the department and provide a realistic roadmap to accomplish these goals.
I think you’ll agree with me. This office has an embarrassing record and is a laggard. Let’s straighten this out and get it right this election. Virginia Ross is the best candidate for the Pinal County Recorder’s position.
- Gerald Stevenson is retired IBM executive who lives in Mountainbrook.
by Anonymous Because I Could Lose My Job
Usually, rank-and-file voters make up their minds last minute. Additionally, they only really bother to vote in the races at the top of the ticket: President, U.S. Senate, Congress, and Governor. State offices tend to fall by the wayside. If voters aren’t going to bother to be informed, it’s not such a bad thing because no one in their right mind would advocate for the uninformed casting votes. But if you live in the new LD 20, if you are going to bother to vote down-ticket from the Presidential race, the U.S. Senate race, and Congressional races, much less vote at all, it’s high time you know the truth about the LD 20 Arizona Senate candidate named Doug Quelland. Elections have consequences. If you vote for him, just know the kind of person you’ll be voting for.
Voters should know Quelland has been removed from office before because he violated a number of campaign finance laws. In fact, Quelland is continuing to skirt the law even today by putting up “Q” signs without the required “paid by” disclosure (more on this later). Once you learn about Quelland’s assertions about his campaign finance as opposed to the evidence to the contrary, couple that with his claims about his political beliefs as opposed to his record, and see his actions today, you’ll understand that the man has a continuing track record of fundamental dishonesty.
The only thing worse than a politician that lies is a lying politician that stands for nothing. Doug Quelland is that politician. In the past, Quelland has campaigned as a conservative, but his voting record shows him as anything but. His scores from Goldwater Institute, Americans for Prosperity, and Pachyderm Coalition show that his votes have been all over the map: some years, he scored as high as the most conservative members; other years, he was the most liberal Republican in the House.
Is this really who you want to vote for?
QUELLAND’S DISHONESTY re PAYING A POLITICAL CONSULTANT WITH BUSINESS FUNDS IN 2008
During the 2008 campaign season, Quelland, mid-stream, decided to become a “participating” candidate. Quelland failed to disclose a consulting contract with Larry Davis of Intermedia PR that he was required to disclose when he became a Clean Elections candidate. Quelland asserts that he aborted the contract 2 days after he made it and before he became a participating candidate, never paid the consultant at all and wasn’t required to report it. However, the CCEC produced a number of checks from Quelland’s Q-Land Enterprises, Inc. business account to the consultant during the course of the campaign. Not only were payments made, but the corporate payments to the consultant were made on the exact same time schedule agreed to in the contract that Quelland claimed he terminated. Clean Elections candidates can’t accept corporate donations, but Quelland financed his “clean elections” campaign not only with public money, but with his business’ money too. One could argue that Quelland sought to circumvent campaign finance laws by trying to pay a consultant through his business so the corporate donations would be off the campaign books and undetectable. Additional information tends to prove that Quelland didn’t terminate the contract at all: the consultant did campaign work for Quelland, got a campaign debit card to make expenditures, worked with vendors for Quelland’s campaign, collected signatures for him and held two fundraisers for him. What’s worse is that Quelland testified that the consultant collected no signatures for his campaign, but signed petitions show that the consultant did collect signatures. In simple terms, Quelland lied to the CCEC about hiring the consultant, illegally paid the consultant through his business account, and lied about the consultant collecting signatures for him. Granted, Quelland asserts that he hired Intermedia to do work for his businesses and that Davis did volunteer work for his campaign, but if that’s true, why wasn’t there a separate contract for business services and only the contract for campaign services that Quelland claims he terminated and why did the corporate payments to Intermedia match the schedule in the political consulting contract?
QUELLAND VIOLATED SPENDING CAPS
If one runs as a participating candidate, they agree, up front, to spending limits. Quelland’s corporate payments to Intermedia not only were illegal because they were business donations, but the amount spent put Quelland well over the spending limits he agreed to. Do you want to vote for someone who violates agreements? Is it honest? Is it the level of honesty that you expect from a politician?
QUELLAND VIOLATED CAMPAIGN FINANCE RULES WITH HIS WEBSITE
In addition to violating the CCEC campaign funding rules by failing to disclose the political consulting contract when he chose to become a participating candidate and paying for the political consulting services with his corporate accounts, he re-used a campaign website he used from 2006 and failed to report its use to the CCEC. According to CCEC rules, Quelland was required to report the use of the website and count the fair market value of the site’s use as a campaign expense. Quelland failed to make any report of the site.
QUELLAND’S VOTING RECORD
As mentioned before, Quelland made representations to those who signed his petitions that he was a conservative. True conservatives believe in, and endeavor not to waver from, a set of principles: less taxation, less spending, smaller government, the law meaning what it says (that is the rule of law as opposed to judicial activism). A hallmark of true conservatism is a consistent voting record. In 2003 and 2006, the Goldwater Institute gave Quelland scores that put him in the middle of the Republican pack. In 2004 and 2005, according to Goldwater, Quelland earned scores that put him in the company of top conservatives.
In 2009, Goldwater scored him as one of the most liberal Republicans in the legislature. The Pachyderm Coalition gave him the lowest score of any Republican in the legislature that year for the regular session, but their special session report marks him as a middle-of-the-road Republican.
In 2010, according to Goldwater, Quelland returned to voting with the middle of the Republican pack. Americans for Prosperity’s 2010 score card that includes cumulative scoring gives Quelland a rating that equates him with liberal Republicans. Pachyderm’s ratings that year again gave Quelland the lowest marks in the legislature.
As is illustrated by these scores, Quelland oscillates politically like a garden sprinkler. He’s all over the map from year to year. The fact that the man is absolutely inconsistent in his voting record shows that no voter can trust what the man says he believes in because he may vote the opposite way the very next year.
DOUG QUELLAND’S CONTINUING, CONSISTENT PATTERN OF FUNDAMENTAL DISHONESTY
If you live in LD 20 or the immediate area, you’ve likely seen red “Q” signs that are similar to campaign signs. While, Quelland has claimed the signs are promoting his business, the “business signs” are the size of campaign signs, they’re put up in the exact same areas as other political signs, are erected during campaign season, and are shuttled to their spots in a truck covered in Quelland for Senate signs. Most importantly, Quelland asks supporters to put a Q sign in their yards on his political website. If the Q signs are not political signs, why does he ask supporters to put them up in their yards like they are campaign signs? Additionally, the signs on the truck have no “paid by” disclosure either. But this isn’t all when it comes to Quelland’s consistently dishonest behavior!
This election cycle, Quelland has paid for letters distributed to homes in the district inviting the residents to visit his campaign website and learn about his policy positions. Quelland claimed that he put “paid by” stickers on the letters and the stickers must have fallen off, but when the Secretary of State’s office tried to remove one of the stickers Quelland claims he applied, the letter was damaged. Considering the letter was damaged when the sticker was removed, do YOU believe the stickers “just fell off”?
Even after the complaint about Quelland’s letters arose, one local news outlet noticed that Quelland’s campaign website also lacked the requisite funding disclosures. Since the news outlet pointed out the lack of campaign disclosures on Quelland’s website, the disclosure has been added. So, taken in the aggregate, one can see that Quelland has serious difficulties with campaign finance requirements and an inability to tell the truth about it. One might think that if a candidate had encountered difficulties with campaign finance disclosures, they might become paranoid about them and disclose who things are paid by more often than is necessary, but Quelland seems to take the opposite lesson.
Quelland has an outstanding CCEC judgment against him for $31,000 from 2009 and he has yet to pay it. Apparently, he has an agreement to pay the judgment, but he has not adhered to the agreement. According to one source, he has a, “wink and a nod agreement with the Attorney General.” In other words, Quelland and the AG put up a written agreement to make it appear that there’s enforcement, but Quelland has no intention of paying back the $31,000 and the AG will do nothing to truly see that the fine is paid.
Between his website and linked Twitter account, Quelland states that he will personally visit every household in LD 20. Numerous individuals questioned about visits by Quelland said that they were never paid a visit by him. Insignificant? Sure, but it shows a consistent, continuing pattern of dishonesty by Quelland.
CURRENT THOUGHT ABOUT QUELLAND’S CAMPAIGN
In a recent Capitol Times article, consultants noted that Quelland hasn’t raised very much money for his campaign and has contributed personal funds to keep the campaign going. The consultants interviewed were dismissive of his campaign. That’s dangerous. Any candidate should always take their opponents seriously lest they be upset. One of the consultants stated that if Quelland wanted to win, he needed to stroke a big personal check, but if he stroked a personal check it suggests he could pay the fine he’s been willfully ignoring.
The only thing consistent about Quelland is inconsistency. There’s inconsistency in the fabricated excuses he tried to sell the CCEC, inconsistency in his voting record, and inconsistency between his current behavior and the law. Voters expect candidates to fulfil their promises: promises to pay fines, promises to abide by campaign finance laws, promises to be transparent in their campaign funding, and promises to adhere to either party platforms or stated positions. Quelland can’t be counted on to fulfill any promises.
If one speculates that Quelland may actually believe the lies he’s told, one might discern a pattern of insanity in the man. Quelland’s actions actually conform when viewed through the lens of insanity as an explanation for his actions: believing his own lies; megalomania, believing he’s above the law, expressed in his consistent flaunting of disclosure laws and refusal to pay the judgment against him; the strange moustache; outrageous assertions that he’s visited every home in the district…it all fits. Granted, this is all pure speculative musings from someone with no expertise in the mental health field.
Elections have consequences. If you’re going to vote, learn what you can about the candidates and vote as wisely as possible. The questions remains, LD 20 voters, considering everything above, is this the man you want representing you? Is he reflective of your views? Is this the man you want standing in your stead casting votes in your name?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No New Taxes, No On Prop 204
October 02, 2012
Dr. Craig Barrett Speaks Out Against Prop 204
Former CEO and Chairman of Intel Corp. Shares Why $1 Billion More in Taxes Won’t Reach the Classrooms
PHOENIX – Dr. Craig Barrett has joined Governor Jan Brewer and State Treasurer Doug Ducey in their outspoken opposition to Prop 204. Barrett currently serves as BASIS School Inc.’s President and Chairman of the Board, and as Chairman of the Arizona Ready Education Council.
“If you’re looking to improve education, there are many systemic things we need to change like the introduction of the Arizona Common Core Standards, paying teachers based on their performance in the classroom, and helping failing schools to improve,” said Dr. Barrett. “Prop 204 throws money at education and numerous other special interest groups, but doesn’t tie that money to performance improvements. Unless we fix the system, we won’t see any improvement in results. I also think sales taxes are the most regressive taxes we have; it puts more strain on the middle class and working poor than any other group. Prop 204 is bad for our economy, and if our recent history is any indication, these dollars will not make it to the classroom and lead to any improvement, like we’re always promised they will.”
Dr. Barrett has been committed to true education reform for a number of years. In 2001 he supported Prop 301, which created the Classroom Site Fund. In 2010, he supported Prop 100, which promised a temporary one cent sales tax increase. Prop 204 breaks that promise.
“Real education reform happens inside the classroom,” added Barrett. “Prop 204 doesn’t address the key areas that will make education better in Arizona. Our tax dollars need to be better focused on attracting, training, rewarding and retaining the best teachers in the nation – that’s what will get us the results we’re looking for.”
Craig Barrett joins a number of business organizations opposing the permanent $1 billion annual tax increase, including the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, North Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce, Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Arizona Small Business Association and the Arizona Retailers Association.
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Paid for by No New Taxes, No on 204. Major funding by Americans for Responsible Leadership, Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance Company, the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, and the Arizona Chapter of NAIOP
Proposition 204 disproportionately hurts Arizona’s middle class and low income families
What is a regressive tax? Simply, if a taxes’ burden falls more on the middle class or the poor than those who are wealthy, the tax is considered regressive or disproportionately punitive on those who can least afford it.
Proposition 204 is the perfect example of a regressive tax, targeting those Arizona families that can least afford to pay more for the goods that they need. Proposition 204 makes Arizona’s “temporary” sales tax “permanent,” making Arizona the second highest sales taxed state in America. Incredibly, the only state that has a higher sales tax is Tennessee, a state with no income tax.
Proposition 204 is marketed for education, but the revenue raised is not required to go to teachers or the classroom. In fact, the measure is a grab bag for special interest groups, containing over $100 million dollars for public transit and roads. So, while Proposition 204 contains money for politically connected special interest groups, the revenue raised is coming from those who cannot afford to be politically connected.
By their very nature, sales taxes are regressive because expenses such as clothing, shelter, food, and other household goods tend to be the primary costs of a middle class and low income households’ budget.
That’s why opposition to Proposition 204 is coming from all sides, from those who know it is bad for business and job creation and from those who know it will hurt poor Arizona families. Why are we “permanently” raising taxes on those people who can least afford it? Why are we “permanently” increasing taxes during a time when Arizona’s unemployment rate is still high? Why are we raising taxes under the auspices of education, but sending that revenue to groups not related to education?
There is nothing more important than the education of our children. Arizonans want a bright future for their kids and improving education is an important priority. But, we need real education reforms, not permanently mandated tax increases devoid of independent oversight or accountability.
Proposition 204 is bad for Arizona middle class and low income families, it is bad for teachers, and it is bad for Arizona’s economy. We need to Vote No on Proposition 204.
There is nothing more important than the education of our children. That is why we oppose Proposition 204, a broken promise to make Arizona’s temporary tax increase “permanent.” Proposition 204 brings a permanent, billion-dollar-per-year price tag to Arizona families. While raising your taxes, Proposition 204 provides no real reform and contains no real accountability.
Arizonans want a bright future for their kids and improving education is an important priority. Although wanting to improve education, throwing money at the problem is not the answer. We need real education reforms, not permanently mandated tax increases devoid of independent oversight.
Additionally, Proposition 204 was written by special interests for special interests.
While Arizonans continue to struggle, do we really want to continue to raise their tax burden? Are we willing to have the second highest sales tax in America?
Arizona needs real education reform and jobs. Proposition 204 will make Arizona less competitive while providing very little benefit to Arizona’s education system.
Proposition 204 is too taxing on Arizona families, Vote No on 204.
Only the cost of health insurance is greater
WASHINGTON, D.C., August 22, 2012 — Small-business owners prominently rank “Uncertainty Over Economic Conditions” and “Uncertainty Over Government Actions” as their second and fourth most serious problems in the quadrennial National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) report, Problems and Priorities. The top problem remains “Cost of Health Insurance,” which has historically been the No. 1 problem for small employers; 52 percent labeled it as “critical”. Nearly 40 percent of those surveyed said that economic uncertainty is the most critical problem, followed by 35 percent who identified “Energy Costs, Except Electricity” as critical for their firms; another 35 percent of owners named “Uncertainty Over Government Actions” as their most critical issue.
“This year’s survey was conducted on the heels of the worst U.S. recession since the 1930s; historically high levels of unemployment and housing foreclosures, and historically low levels of consumer confidence and hiring still plague the small-business community,” said Holly Wade, senior policy analyst and survey author. “The high level of uncertainty cited by small employers helps to explain the sector’s inability to recover and expand. Fears over increasing health insurance costs continue to dominate the list of concerns for small businesses, very much in spite of the president’s health insurance reform law—certainly not an endorsement of the policy, nor a good sign for the future of the sector.”
The “Cost of Health Insurance” has been the top problem for small employers for the 25 years of the survey history. The percent of small-business owners who cite this problem as critical overshadowed the runner-up by 14 percentage points. Health-insurance costs for small firms have risen 103 percent in the last decade, an increase outpacing wages and inflation, and rendering insurance unaffordable for many small-business owners. The contention around the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly called “Obamacare,” has proven valid, as it has failed to address the fundamental causes of rising health-care cost while opting to focus on coverage. NFIB challenged the law in the Supreme Court of the United States, after the overwhelming majority of its membership expressed a desire to have it repealed. Without a major refocus of current thinking, the cost of health insurance will almost certainly be the most critical business problem facing small-business owners again in four years.
Uncertainty has emerged as a major hurdle to small-business recovery and growth, prompting the addition of two new problems, “Uncertainty over Economic Conditions” and “Uncertainty over Government Actions” to this year’s survey. Small-business owners ranked these two problems as the second and fourth (respectively) most severe problems facing their businesses. In the last four years, the federal government has enacted significant policy changes of an immense nature; their impact will continue as the regulatory system works to implement new policy directives. Uncertainty also surrounds pending government action on the expiring 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, the debt ceiling and the federal budget. All of these policy changes create a huge “question mark” for small-business owners, impeding their ability to make short and long-term business decisions.
Other notable survey findings include:
- As a category, “Taxes” takes the top position as the most severe problem cluster in the 2012 survey, followed by the category “Regulations.” Five of the top 10 most severe problems are tax-related, including “Tax Complexity,” “Frequent Changes to Tax Rules and Regulations,” and “Federal and State Taxes on Business Income.” Comparatively, the most severe problem cluster in 2008 was “Costs.”
- Regulations and financing lead the problems of increasing importance to small-business owners. “Environmental Regulations” topped the list, rising 20 positions from a rank of 47th in 2008 to 27th in 2012. “Finding Out about Regulatory Requirements” increased 13 positions from a ranking of 38th in 2008 to its current 25th position. “Obtaining Long-Term (five years or more) Business Loans” moved up 17 positions from 73rd to 56th. “Obtaining Short-Term (less than 12 months or revolving) Business Loans” follows moving 14 positions from 72nd to 58th.
- The least severe problems identified by small-business owners include: “Exporting My Products/Services,” “Undocumented Workers,” “Access to High-Speed Internet.” Exporting, the least severe problem proves critical for three percent of small business owners, virtually unchanged from 2008. “Undocumented Workers” and “Access to High-Speed Internet” are both a critical problem for seven percent of respondents.
- While the critical nature of some problems increased, for others, it declined, perhaps as a sign of the times. The largest decline in the ranking was “Interest Rates”, falling 30 positions from 32nd to 62nd. Also declining in importance and severity were “Finding and Keeping Skilled Employees” and “Employee Turnover”. Both fell 21 positions from 17th to 38th for the former and 51st to 72nd for the latter.
While small-business owners tended to evaluate most problems in the 2012 survey as they did in 2008, the major changes that did occur are largely related to the recession and increased regulations. The magnitude and duration of the recession significantly altered the small-business landscape along with the problems owners now face in operating their businesses. The four years between the last edition published in 2008 and the current edition saw a near collapse of the financial system and housing market, unprecedented government bailouts of the banking and automotive industries, and the enactment of massive economic stimulus programs. While the economy is over two years into its recovery, progress is painfully slow as economic headwinds and uncertainty remain. The effects of the recession and fragile economic recovery are reflected in owners’ assessment of business problems.
The findings of this publication are based on the responses of 3,856 NFIB small-business owner/members to a mail survey conducted from mid-January through April 2012. A sample of 23,000 members was drawn for a response rate of 17 percent. Owners evaluated 75 potential business problems individually and assessed their severity on a scale of “1” for a “Critical Problem” to “7” for “Not a Problem.” A mean (average) was calculated from the responses for each problem. Problems are ranked by mean score. A copy of the report is available at http://nfib.com/priorities. More information about the NFIB Small Business Research Foundation is available at http://nfib.com/research.
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NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C., and all 50 state capitals. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small and independent business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB’s powerful network of grassroots activists send their views directly to state and federal lawmakers through our unique member-only ballot, thus playing a critical role in supporting America’s free enterprise system. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses. More information is available online at www.NFIB.com/newsroom.
The senseless and horrific killings last week at a movie theater in Colorado reminded Americans that life is fragile and beautiful, and we should not take family, friends, and loved ones for granted. Our prayers go out to the injured victims and the families of those killed. As a nation we should use this terrible event to come together with the resolve to create a society that better values life.
We should also face the sober reality that government cannot protect us from all possible harm. No matter how many laws we pass, no matter how many police or federal agents we put on the streets, no matter how routinely we monitor internet communications, a determined individual or group can still cause great harm. We as individuals are responsible for our safety and the safety of our families.
Furthermore, it is the role of civil society rather than government to build a culture of responsible, peaceful, productive individuals. Government cannot mandate morality or instill hope in troubled individuals. External controls on our behavior imposed by government through laws, police, and jails usually apply only after a terrible crime has occurred.
Internal self governance, by contrast, is a much more powerful regulator of human behavior than any law. This self-governance must be developed from birth, first by parents but later also through the positive influence of relatives and adult role models. Beyond childhood, character development can occur through religious, civic, and social institutions. Ultimately, self-governance cannot be developed without an underlying foundation of morality.
Government, however, is not a moral actor. The state should protect our rights, but it cannot develop our character. Whenever terrible crimes occur, many Americans understandably demand that government “do something” to prevent similar crimes in the future. But this reflexive impulse almost always leads to bad laws and the loss of liberty.
Do we really want to live in a world of police checkpoints, surveillance cameras, and metal detectors? Do we really believe government can provide total security? Do we want to involuntarily commit every disaffected, disturbed, or alienated person who fantasizes about violence? Or can we accept that liberty is more important than the illusion of state-provided security?
Freedom is not defined by safety. Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference. Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place. Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens’ lives. Liberty has meaning only if we still believe in it when terrible things happen and a false government security blanket beckons.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012 – by Ron Paul
Thank you to the retiring Republican Congressman from Texas for defining paleoconservatism in Congress for 12 terms and for his service in the military, in Congress and to the Republican party.
Make sure to follow his current Audit The Federal Reserve bill that is on the floor this week.
*No* thank you to the Fed for enabling Congress to put our children and grandchildren into generational debt slavery to the federal government, for creating the current economic turmoil through Keynsian economic policy, nor for stealing our savings through inflation for 100 years as of next year.
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 16, 2012 — The following statement is the response from NFIB President and CEO Dan Danner to President Obama’s declaration over the weekend that “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
“What a disappointment to hear President Obama’s revealing comments challenging the significance of America’s entrepreneurs.
“His unfortunate remarks over the weekend show an utter lack of understanding and appreciation for the people who take a huge personal risk and work endless hours to start a business and create jobs.
“I’m sure every small-business owner who took a second mortgage on their home, maxed out their credit cards or borrowed money from their own retirement savings to start their business disagrees strongly with President Obama’s claim. They know that hard work does matter.
“Every small business is not indebted to the government or some other benefactor. If anything, small businesses are historically an economic and job-creating powerhouse in spite of the government.”
# # #
NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small and independent business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB’s powerful network of grassroots activists sends their views directly to state and federal lawmakers through our unique member-only ballot, thus playing a critical role in supporting America’s free enterprise system. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses. More information is available online at www.NFIB.com/newsroom.
[Update: Site Administrator has moved it under "Guest Opinion"]
(Author’s note: This is NOT a press release, it’s a Guest Opinion, but I don’t have that log-in. This opinion was posted anonymously for a reason: some people can’t express their opinions without endangering their jobs.)
Let me be brutally frank. You’ve been dazzled by good-sounding ballot initiative titles quite regularly and, in the end, the initiatives never do what their liberal proponents have duped you into believing they’d do. Let me give you some examples to illustrate and prove the point. According to “Clean Elections”’ liberal proponents, the measure was supposed to “level the playing field,” which has been an illegal purpose according to American jurisprudence for quite some time, but in the end, it got more conservatives elected. The recent proposal to increase sales taxes by 18% was sold to you as a measure to protect education, health care and public safety funding. Did it? No! The Independent Redistricting Commission was supposed to give us more competitive races. Has it? No! We’ve got more uncontested races and races that will be decided in a primary than ever before! Term limits were supposed to force turnover in politics so those “evil politicians” couldn’t accumulate too much power. In reality, politicians stay in power despite term limits by playing a virtual musical chairs of elected positions. Ultimately, you,. The voter, are directly responsible for killing institutional knowledge and increasing the power of unelected legislative staff members. Great job!
Certainly you have heard the cliché, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Frankly, voters, you’re WELL PAST the shame on you stage! You voted for all the above measures and NONE of them delivered on the promises the liberal proponents made to you! Similarly, this “Open Government” initiative sounds great at first blush, but its liberal proponents will not deliver on their promises. They will fail you this time like they’ve failed you every time before.
If you read between the lines of the arguments that the sponsors and proponents of the jungle primary make, it’s plain to see that they have an agenda: to drag the political football to the left. The sponsors and proponents of the initiative argue that a jungle primary will fill the legislature with fewer extremists and more moderates will be elected. No Republican has any business voting for this initiative. Democrats? Well, what Democrat doesn’t want fewer Republicans elected overall and a greater percentage of those Republican office holders to be moderate? Independents, if you want to continue to be dissatisfied with the parties, go ahead and vote for this initiative. Do you, voters, honestly believe that extremist Democrats like former State Senator Kyrsten Sinema or current State Senator Steve Gallardo will be ousted by moderate Democrats? Extremist Democrats won’t be ousted at all, but what the liberals are hoping is that conservative legislators will be picked off by liberal “Republicans” like Senators Rich Crandall, Adam Driggs, John Nelson, Nancy Barto; Speaker Andy Tobin; Representatives Heather Carter, Karen Fann, Bob Robson; and former-Rep. Bill Konopnicki, etc.
So, with extreme Democrats and liberal Republicans in power, you can see that the ultimate result will be that the state will take a hard left turn because liberal “Republicans” will betray the party’s principles and side with the Democrats when it matters most. Big government is already a problem considering our national debt and deficit spending, this initiative will only compound our problems by adding irresponsible state spending on top of outrageous federal spending.
Recently, we’ve witnessed ultra-liberal Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts embark on a “Dekookify” the state campaign. Laurie has heralded this “Open Government” proposal in her column and has argued, like the sponsors of this measure, that it will remove the “kooks” from the legislature and install moderates in power. Let’s be perfectly clear: the ONLY people Ms. Roberts considers “kooks” are conservatives and she is the Left’s willing “useful idiot.” Ms. Roberts is so benighted that she doesn’t understand that without the “kooks” she’d have nothing to write about and she’d be out of a job. People want to hear about CONFLICT, it’s what gets them engaged and interested in politics. If she got what she claims she wants, moderate legislators all holding hands and singing Kum By Ya and constantly passing “non-controversial” legislation that steadily grows the government, no one would want to read the stories about everyone compromising. It’s one of the reasons why Rodney King’s admontion , “Can’t we all just get along?” is so laughable. Like it or not, humans LIVE for conflict. It’s the common and uniting theme in our history, our music, or novels, our plays, our news, etc. Laurie Roberts would put herself out of a job because even fewer people would buy the Republic, subscriptions would decline even further and there’d be no money to pay Ms. Roberts’ salary because no one wants to read non-stories with no conflict. Idiot. I am ASTOUNDED that she is actually PAID to put her opinions in print!!
Let me ask you, voters and Ms. Roberts, if the electorate is so dissatisfied with our elected officials, why do we have so many uncontested races? Why are so many contests being settled in the primary? Why isn’t EVERY race contested? Why aren’t ALL races settled in a general election? The fact that we have so few contested races reflects that people aren’t as unhappy as you, Ms. Roberts, and the sponsors of this initative (and even the proponents of the IRC initiative) like to intentionally mislead the public into believing. The lack of any real contests proves that you are a bald-faced liar, Ms. Roberts, and that goes for the sponsors of this initiative as well. Shane may have treated you with kid gloves on Sunday Square Off, Ms. Roberts, but I won’t because you’re threatening the state that I love dearly. I take my patriotism very seriously.
If the proponents of this “Open Government” initiative aim to get more Democrats elected and, of the Republicans elected, more moderates, think about what the impact would be on voter registration. It would energize the Democrats and they’d recover their flagging registration percentages while disenfranchised and discouraged conservatives would flee the Republican Party to re-register as Independents. This initiative is insidious and it’s a liberal’s wet dream come true. I cannot urge voters enough to reject this initiative.
I know you, voters, are also familiar with the cliché, “Sunshine is the best disinfectant.” As stated above, no one would pay attention to politics if we all elected a bunch of moderate, compromising legislators that had no guiding principles. Basically, you would lose any interest in politics and that, my friends, would breed corruption. Is corruption really what you want?
I know you’ve also heard the adage that, “There’s not a lick of difference between the Demopublicans and the Republicrats.” This measure would fuel that cynicism and continue to drive people away from the parties. In essence, it is a lack of adherence to a set of guiding principles that has driven voters from both parties. Former President Ronald Reagan likened strong adherence to principles to, “bold colors” and likened a lack of guiding principles to, “pale pastels.” He wanted stark contrasts between Republicans and Democrats. It is a LACK of differences between the parties that breeds cynicism, opacity. Bold colors have served BOTH parties very well. Democrats are energized by liberal politicians like President Obama and Republicans are energized by strong conservatives like Ronald Reagan. Democrats have been critical of both Clinton and Obama for not being liberal enough! Similarly, conservatives castigate moderate Republicans for not being conservative enough. To further illustrate the point, no one gets excited about moderate elected officials. No one cares about liberal RepublicanU.S. Sens. Lindsay Graham or Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins. So, if you vote for the “Open Government” initiative, you’re going to be voting to replace our current elected officials with boring officials that prove the old cliché about there being no difference between the parties and you’re going to be asleep at the wheel (or voter booth as the case may be…if you even bother to vote in the future). Is that really what you want?
As stated above, elected officials’ lack of adherence to a clearly defined set of guiding principles has driven liberals out of the Democratic Party and conservatives out of the Republican Party. Not only will this initiative promote opacity in government because it will breed apathy because of boring elected officials, but it will also breed opacity in that it will continue to drive voters from the parties and thereby make it much more difficult to identify and target voters for contact by those seeking office. It’s easy for Republicans to target Republicans in an election and easy for Democrats to target Democrats…but how does a campaign identify exactly what an “Independent” believes and get information to like-minded independent voters to turn them out to vote? If you vote for this, people are going to become increasingly dissatisfied with the parties and you will receive less information on the candidates. In other words, you’ll not only be voting for a lack of enthusiasm about politics if you vote for this initiative, but you’ll also be voting to make yourself more ignorant about candidates since you can’t be as easily targeted for contact. Apathy, ignorance, opacity. Sounds like just what we need!
One concept that you, voters, seem to fail to grasp on a regular basis is that we are guaranteed a republican form of government. The initiative process is a democratic form of government. We’ve been warned since Plato and even by our Founding Fathers that democracy is an inferior form of government to a republic. Your consistently poor votes on initiatives are proof of that fact. You’ve heard the cliché that, “elections have consequences.” That cliché is absolutely true. WAKE UP, people! Quit falling for soundbite arguments and do some critical thinking for once and REJECT this utterly stupid proposal! I know my arguments are counter-intuitive, they take some time and thought to understand, but I believe the points are valid because they’re supported by evidence. If you pass this initiative, you get what you deserve…and I’ll be observing the results and waiting in the wings to excoriate you again when I’m proven right.
A m e r i c a n P o s t – G a z e t t e
Distributed by C O M M O N S E N S E , in Arizona
Wednesday, June 20, 2012