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Author Topic: NH Voters are New and Blue  (Read 14197 times)

Fishercat

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Re: NH Voters are New and Blue
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2008, 02:04:32 pm »


Unfortunately, public school funding is becoming a huge a wedge issue.  The wedge ends up causing otherwise fiscally conservative Democrats to carry the blue-team's banner for income/sales taxes, greater state control of local schools, and other things.  Those on the other side of the wedge are smaller government, local-control of education types, including homeschoolers.  The two sides dig in their heels, and before long you have each side in stubborn opposition to whatever the other side stands for, such as fiscally conservative Democrats railing against peripheral issues like homeschooling.  I think this is mainly because of the "us vs them" mentality.

It's a mess.   :-\

I'm not sure I want to downplay this one with the term "wedge issue."  I doubt you meant it in this way, but I use that term to apply to minor issues used to distract and divide the voters.  Public school funding is a major, if not the major factor that drives our local government.

In my town, the school district spending is a factor of 20 beyond the second-highest budget line item (police).  A simple indexed-to-inflation increase in the school budget would wipe out entire departments from the town.   A couple of new special education students can take down an entire town.

The contrast at the state level is not quite so stark.  In fact, even at the town level I'm taking advantage of a multi-town school district versus a single town police department.   Nevertheless, it is a significant and growing part of everything that the State of NH does.   It is impossible to discuss property tax, sales and income tax... any of the economic issues, without coming back to Public Schools.

This also is one issue that impacts everyone in the state.  I can't imagine convincing a majority of voters to ignore the school issues, and get riled up about the right to petition for the redress of grievances.

And its why I think the Democrats would never have me.   They like me, they agree with me on many issues... but ultimately they know what a "libertarian" thinks about public schools, and that is going to be the deal-breaker.
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WendellBerry

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Re: NH Voters are New and Blue
« Reply #16 on: November 06, 2008, 02:13:06 pm »

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And its why I think the Democrats would never have me.   They like me, they agree with me on many issues... but ultimately they know what a "libertarian" thinks about public schools, and that is going to be the deal-breaker.

Then rather than stressing getting rid of public schooling you instead suggest "mutualizing" them so they are run like a co-op on a neighborhood level rather than a public institution?
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K. Darien Freeheart

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Re: NH Voters are New and Blue
« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2008, 02:17:26 pm »

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The only way to make inroads though with the left is to have a substantive view of issues of "economic justice" within a negative liberty framework. The neo-classical view of economics (Austrian school) just can't get you there because they are only concerned with corrective justice (trading like kinds) within an amoral study of the "science" of economics.

Not to sound rude or dense but... Huh?

To me, if the word "economics" factors in, you've lost. If your message isn't a principled one, focused on not hurting people, then it's irrelevant to those that want to help people. Wayne (a co-host on Free Talk Live) said yesterday "They don't understand enough about economics". While it might technically be true, even educating them about economics will do very little at all to convince a liberal since a logically sound arguement that causes ethical conflict will result in illogical actions. Believe it or not, most liberals actually think the government sucks. The conservative-libertarians sometimes push it off as if liberals love the government and see it as the greatest thing in human history. Granted, some people DO think that way, and very little will convince THOSE epople. To most liberals though, it's not a matter of government being "good" but a matter of "nothing else being better".

I knew the government sucked LONG before coming to liberty. It took an emphasis on examining human nature and looking at social interactions before I came to see the free market and voluntary interaction as a BETTER tool for attaining all of the things I held up as ideas when I called myself a liberal. You ever taken a flat-head screwdriver to a standard screw, holding it on edge while trying to drive it in. It's a delicate balancing act that certainly isn't the best of solutions, but when you've got one tool within reach it's the best tool for the job.
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Ren

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Re: NH Voters are New and Blue
« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2008, 02:46:56 pm »

Margo --

I understand what you are saying about public education funding.  But, it is a problem that isn't going to go away.  Most don't have the incomes for private school or the wherewithal for home schooling.  Their kids need to be educated and these schools have to be funded.  Maybe cooperative funding would work, or maybe it wouldn't.  Either way, it's a new idea that will probably gain support slowly, knowing how most people go along with the status quo.   I don't think it would be a good idea for a liberty candidate to even go there, as there would be way too much opposition.  From what I have read NH is a very family oriented State.  The money has to come from somewhere to support the schools.  I don't think this is one area you can win, so why even go there...

Also, not all liberty minded people or libertarians (meant loosely) are against gov't support, used wisely.  Not all liberty minded people are against welfare to the truly needy.  Not all liberty minded people are against gov't funding of schools.  Not all liberty minded people are opposed to a tiered income tax system, esp if they are in the lower brackets and watch corrupt CEO's make millions per yr.; Not all liberty minded people are against gov't regulation for environmental controls because of past problems in this area or in the "banking system" because of what just happened with the mortgage system. Most just want some of their personal liberties back.    Because of this, when you recuit, just don't go there.  To ignore those things may not be truly libertarian, but most of these people aren't llibertarians anyway.  Again, they just want more of their personal liberties back.  It's a start and attitudes will change in time as this movement grows.    



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margomaps

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Re: NH Voters are New and Blue
« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2008, 03:15:12 pm »

I'm not sure I want to downplay this one with the term "wedge issue."  I doubt you meant it in this way, but I use that term to apply to minor issues used to distract and divide the voters.  Public school funding is a major, if not the major factor that drives our local government.

I certainly didn't mean to use the term to describe a minor issue that divides voters.  I meant it to describe issue that divides voters, period.  Sometimes minor issues do this, sometimes major ones do.  The issue isn't the problem, the use of the issue as as wedge to pit one side against the other in an "I'm not budging!" war with a whole host of related issues is the problem.

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It is impossible to discuss property tax, sales and income tax... any of the economic issues, without coming back to Public Schools.

I guess that's kind of my point.  A lot of politicos have pet issues that they want to see come to fruition: for many Dems in the state, it's a state income and/or sales tax.  They're using "public schools" in general as a wedge to get people to support their tax schemes.  They're getting rank & file Dems to agree with a broad-based tax and greater centralized control of education by convincing them that these things are implicit in "support for public schools".  On the other side of the wedge are those who oppose broad-based taxes no matter how they feel about public schools.  At the end of the day, those on one side of the wedge are manipulated into supporting a set of ideas loosely related to "support for public schools", and those on the other side end up supporting diametrically opposed sets of ideas.
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WendellBerry

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Re: NH Voters are New and Blue
« Reply #20 on: November 06, 2008, 03:29:30 pm »

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To me, if the word "economics" factors in, you've lost. If your message isn't a principled one, focused on not hurting people, then it's irrelevant to those that want to help people. Wayne (a co-host on Free Talk Live) said yesterday "They don't understand enough about economics". While it might technically be true, even educating them about economics will do very little at all to convince a liberal since a logically sound arguement that causes ethical conflict will result in illogical actions.

Right-libertarians reliance on the neo-classical, Austrian school of economics is dead on arrival because liberals are concerned with economic and social justice. Most are Keynesian neo-liberals of some flavor.

This is not a question the Austrian school can answer because they treat economics as an amoral "science" rather than an ethical inquiry which is what classical liberalism was all about (political economy) and a Keynesian approach to distributive justice is crude and requires a centralized state with monetary manipulation.
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Ren

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Re: NH Voters are New and Blue
« Reply #21 on: November 07, 2008, 01:30:55 am »

"for many Dems in the state, it's a state income and/or sales tax.  They're using "public schools" in general as a wedge to get people to support their tax schemes.  They're getting rank & file Dems to agree with a broad-based tax and greater centralized control of education by convincing them that these things are implicit in "support for public schools".  On the other side of the wedge are those who oppose broad-based taxes no matter how they feel about public schools.  At the end of the day, those on one side of the wedge are manipulated into supporting a set of ideas loosely related to "support for public schools", and those on the other side end up"

Margo--

I didn't realize this was occuring.  Per my last post, I don't think most people, are going to vote differently if it means giving up public school funding, if they have kids in the public school system.   I didn't realize that some dems are wanting a state income tax and sales tax in NH that would help fund the schools.  Don't property taxes go to the schools?  Are they complaining it isn't enough?

 I think that if a liberty candidate is going to run on a no tax platform, against a candidate who wants to tax, he/she better come up with a solution to the public school funding problem that the dems/repub would think is better than what they have now or what a tax would give to them.  Wouldn't wanting a state income tax or sales tax be a voted on proposition, though.  I thought most New Hamp. people liked living in a state w/o taxes.  What's going on there.  What's the story?   
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Dreepa

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Re: NH Voters are New and Blue
« Reply #22 on: November 07, 2008, 07:54:30 am »

Right now... schools are funded (mostly) by LOCAL property taxes.  (Local meaning the town or city).
There have been lots of lawsuits regarding funding education (google Claremont ).
The Supreme Court said that the state should pay for an 'adequate' education.
Now how to define adequate? and how to pay for it.

Socialists want an income or sales tax.

The rest of us want it at local control.

Gardner Goldsmith has an excellent essay on this topic in his book Live Free or Die.

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Ren

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Re: NH Voters are New and Blue
« Reply #23 on: November 07, 2008, 11:54:59 am »

Do you consider this a major issue that has to be addressed by the FSP or the liberty candidates or can it be kind of pushed under the table, as they say, at least for now?  Not all democrats are major socialists.  Most that I know want fairness, but don't really want the gov't in their business and don't like being taxed.  But, they will pay taxes for much needed things, like fire, police, infrastructure, schools, etc.  If they can be shown another way of funding these things w/o a sales/income tax, that would be good.  I thought the system in NH of property tax going to these things was working, cause it's such a small state.  Is it not working??   I don't recall anyone mentioning a ballot measure to start an income or sales tax.  Is there a group trying to get this to occur in the future?
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Fishercat

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Re: NH Voters are New and Blue
« Reply #24 on: November 07, 2008, 12:27:56 pm »

Do you consider this a major issue that has to be addressed by the FSP or the liberty candidates or can it be kind of pushed under the table, as they say, at least for now?  Not all democrats are major socialists.  Most that I know want fairness, but don't really want the gov't in their business and don't like being taxed.  But, they will pay taxes for much needed things, like fire, police, infrastructure, schools, etc.  If they can be shown another way of funding these things w/o a sales/income tax, that would be good.  I thought the system in NH of property tax going to these things was working, cause it's such a small state.  Is it not working??   I don't recall anyone mentioning a ballot measure to start an income or sales tax.  Is there a group trying to get this to occur in the future?

Many of the Democrat candidates were running on a platform of "fiscal responsibility" and doing something about excessive property taxes.  Both of those probably are code words for the state-wide sales or income tax, but you'll only see it that way if you are particularly attuned to this issue.

I see this issue uniting the Teacher's Union lobby, who wants state funding so as to centralize the control over education, and the retired-taxpayer, who resent having to pay property taxes and interest-and-dividend income taxes, while they see those with incomes (thus, more able to pay) as getting a free ride on their back.  We lost votes from hard-core conservatives because we ran on the "No income tax" pledge.   I know this because they told me so.  Combine the lobbying strength and funding of these two groups, and you've got a lot of political power.

Once the state budget gets to the breaking point, this coalition will bring on the parents-with-kids-in-the-public-schools, who are concerned about "underfunding" the schools and the resulting decline in quality (as fictional as that may be) and the average person concerned about their high property taxes, and who see most of that local money going to the school system, instead of to fire, police, infrastructure, where they want it to go.

Most voters will agree with the statement that "property taxes are too high."  And as property values decline, town budgets are going to be squeezed.   Any way to get money from "outside the town" is going to look really attractive to a lot of people.

Again, the Democrats don't run on a platform of "higher taxes."   In NH, that would be a non-starter.   They run on a platform of managing budgets to keep costs down, while maintaining the things that we all "need."  And on the revenue side, they push the seeking of alternate sources of revenue.  Federal grants are the best, because that comes from a big, nebulous "somewhere else."   But state money is really good too, because people see that as directly cutting their own, individual property taxes.

Another way of looking at it is something I heard during some campaign training:

New Hampshire has a "structural deficit."   That is, if left alone spending will grow faster than revenues.   In some ways, this is a good thing.   It means we have to be ever vigilant with costs, constantly cutting just to stay even.   However, what that means is that being "anti tax" means you are always going to have to come out against one government program or another, and advocate eliminating government programs that some people want.

The socialist side simply argues that we need these things, and we will just have to be smart, work together, and do what it takes to find a way to pay for it.

It's a seductive argument.  I think it is eventually going to be used as a way to save the schools while preventing property taxes from going through the roof.  More money from the state, funded by a state-wide income tax on the "rich."
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Fishercat

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Re: NH Voters are New and Blue
« Reply #25 on: November 07, 2008, 12:39:26 pm »

Do you consider this a major issue that has to be addressed by the FSP or the liberty candidates or can it be kind of pushed under the table, as they say, at least for now? 

A shorter answer:

FSP - does not need to address it.
Liberty Candidates - need to understand its what they are up against.  I think it is better not to address it, since we don't have any near-term, practical, likely-to-be-implemented alternatives. 

So why did I write so much in the FSP forum about it?   I think its to remind anyone who reads this that they should never see NH as a nice, quiet pro-liberty place that is getting ever better.  Just like the rest of the country, there are some very real crises that are going to come up in the next few years.   We will need as many people as possible, doing as many things as possible, if we are to have some hope of preventing things from getting a whole lot worse, really fast.
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sonio

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Re: NH Voters are New and Blue
« Reply #26 on: November 07, 2008, 12:42:01 pm »

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I think its to remind anyone who reads this that they should never see NH as a nice, quiet pro-liberty place that is getting ever better.

It's the same problem with many people I know who don't necessarily feel impositions on their rights, but it's happening.  Liberty is a constant battle and thinking you are safe is being the frog in boiling water.
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JasonPSorens

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Re: NH Voters are New and Blue
« Reply #27 on: November 07, 2008, 01:01:52 pm »

Lynch has said he'd veto any general sales or income tax, and state Democrats are still saying they won't support these. I predict a hike in some selective sales taxes in the next session, combined with spending cuts on public safety & transportation (Republican constituencies).

Look, let's say the Republican Party becomes 75-90% pro-liberty (meaning that 75-90% of their state reps & senators are pro-liberty) over the next 20 years, and the Democratic Party becomes 25-35% pro-liberty. So long as the GOP maintains at least 40-45% of the seats in the General Court, the pro-liberty side will be the majority. But there's a lot of hard work to do on both sides of the aisle before we get there.
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"Educate your children, educate yourselves, in the love for the freedom of others, for only in this way will your own freedom not be a gratuitous gift from fate. You will be aware of its worth and will have the courage to defend it." --Joaquim Nabuco (1883), Abolitionism

sonio

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Re: NH Voters are New and Blue
« Reply #28 on: November 07, 2008, 01:08:09 pm »

I think the Bush/Obama governments are going to push more people to liberty options.

Liberty may not be widely talked about, but it's part of the American invisible dialogue.
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It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence. – Charles A. Beard

Fishercat

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Re: NH Voters are New and Blue
« Reply #29 on: November 07, 2008, 01:16:57 pm »

Lynch has said he'd veto any general sales or income tax, and state Democrats are still saying they won't support these.

Did he actually say he would veto, or did he say he "wouldn't sign."   I know he slipped a few things through last section by not signing them, and just letting them glide through on that basis.

It also seems to me that the longer the pro-state-tax people wait, the better for them.  Increasing the deficit, or just balancing the budget in the short term at the expense of the long term, that makes the argument for new taxes strong when they eventually become "inevitable."  How many people will really argue against a tiny, little income tax on the highest income earners, if it is be used to avoid a 20% property tax hike?

The only way to avoid an income tax, in the long run, reduce spending to below revenues.  That means cutting programs, reducing staff, and not funding big, new things (like the commuter rail - I hadn't realized how much we desperate need a new rail, until I heard both the Democrats and Republicans agree on it).  Everyone may be united in their opposition to new taxes, but very few have the spending plan to back that up.
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