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Author Topic: Constitutional Issues WY vs. NH  (Read 3874 times)

pond

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Constitutional Issues WY vs. NH
« on: July 04, 2003, 02:20:08 am »

It seems like the issue has been brought up and dropped a few times and just dropped, so link me and slap me if I'm wrong but I dont see where the constitution thing was resolved.

It looks like Wyoming has some nasty issues with water ownership and VERY strong protections of public schools k-college. Also its constitution is huge compared to NH so I'm not sure if I caught all the implications of any of that stuff seeing as how there's no way I could read it so please correct me if I'm wrong. NH seems to have a pretty straightforward constitution with few hangups to liberty.

Like I said, if this is all hashed out I apologize but if it hasn't lets keep this thread to constitutional issues only. I guess any state discussion on constitutions would be good.
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JasonPSorens

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Re:Constitutional Issues WY vs. NH
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2003, 11:03:50 am »

I undertook a preliminary investigation of state constitutions for myself.  The differences between Western and Eastern constitutions are instructive.  The Western constitutions came along at a later date and thus include both good and bad ideas that came along during the 19th century.  Western constitutions are long and detailed, specifying policy sometimes to an extreme level of detail.  Eastern constitutions were developed in the 18th century and thus lack some of the good and bad ideas that came along in the 19th century.  They are short, abstract, and philosophical.

What do I mean by "good and bad ideas that came along during the 19th century"?  Well, I would count initiative, referendum, and recall as good ideas, as well as strong safeguards of county sovereignty.  OTOH, state ownership of water and specification of a free system of public schools throughout the state are bad ideas.  The Western constitutions are more easily and more frequently amended than Eastern constitutions.  That in itself is both good and bad, because it can mean unrestrained democracy, or an easier opportunity to get rid of the bad aspects of the constitutions.

I really think Western and Eastern constitutions are so different that they almost must be judged in separate categories.  All Eastern constitutions have much more in common with each other than they do with any Western constitution.  Wherever we move, a key goal will have to be to secure the state judiciary, so that interpretation of the state constitution is freedom-friendly.
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Kelton Baker

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Re:Constitutional Issues WY vs. NH
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2003, 05:33:15 pm »


The Western constitutions came along at a later date and thus include both good and bad ideas that came along during the 19th century.  Western constitutions are long and detailed, specifying policy sometimes to an extreme level of detail.  
From what I have seen, having spent several hours falling asleep to a copy of several different state constitutions,  I observe that  states that came into the Union during the late 19th century were required to prohibit polygamy, license marriage and prohibit secession.

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Eastern constitutions were developed in the 18th century and thus lack some of the good and bad ideas that came along in the 19th century.  They are short, abstract, and philosophical.

NH's constitution: legislature "must cherish" public education (modern interpretation=legislature must fund public schools)
 
Western constitutions: legislature [must fund] public schools
(modern interpretation=same)

Vermont is the only state with wording that is already strongly in our favor alreadly, unfortunately, popular political support for public schools is very high in Vermont.
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What do I mean by "good and bad ideas that came along during the 19th century"?  Well, I would count initiative, referendum, and recall as good ideas, as well as strong safeguards of county sovereignty.

Montana has the most accessible inititive process while Idaho is second-most accessible.  Though in practice, Montana's inititives have been frequently foiled frequently by the courts, and Idaho's are somewhat cost-prohibitive when the matter is not popular.  Other Western states seem to also have an advantage.

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OTOH, state ownership of water and specification of a free system of public schools throughout the state are bad ideas.  The Western constitutions are more easily and more frequently amended than Eastern constitutions.
As an example, Nevada and Utah both seem to be Western states where the constitutional provision for state ownership of water had some rapid changes as special interests demanded changes.

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I really think Western and Eastern constitutions are so different that they almost must be judged in separate categories.  All Eastern constitutions have much more in common with each other than they do with any Western constitution.  Wherever we move, a key goal will have to be to secure the state judiciary, so that interpretation of the state constitution is freedom-friendly.

That is a very good insight!  I am going to guess that when it comes to interpretation,  Eastern states (or at least NH, the only one I've seen) seem to have the supreme historical advantage when it comes to upholding the rhetorical traditions of the Enlightenment thinkers,  while the Western states have the advantage of being overly plain, good when it upholds liberty, difficult when they do not.
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jgmaynard

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Re:Constitutional Issues WY vs. NH
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2003, 06:36:31 pm »

It's funny.... New Hampshire was the first state to declare itself independent from England, and was the first to adopt a revolutionary constitution.
I was listening to the Declaration of independence being read today in one of the churches where it was originally read in 1776, and it sounds so much like the NH constitution, I turned to my girlfriend and said "Do you get the feeling that the people who were here from New Hampshire in 1776 were saying to each other "NOW they get it!"" :D

JM
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pond

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Re:Constitutional Issues WY vs. NH
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2003, 11:42:29 am »

Thanks to Zxcv for pointing out that apparently Wyoming has 1.8 billion dollars of the citizens' money tied up and unavailable for use according to the constitution there. Why on earth a state whose yearly production is less than 20 million needs to continuously steal 1.8 billion from its people is beyond me.
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Karl

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Re:Constitutional Issues WY vs. NH
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2003, 11:53:25 am »

Thanks to Zxcv for pointing out that apparently Wyoming has 1.8 billion dollars of the citizens' money tied up and unavailable for use according to the constitution there. Why on earth a state whose yearly production is less than 20 million needs to continuously steal 1.8 billion from its people is beyond me.

pond,

Wyoming's trust fund is intended to save money from the non-renewable resources, such as oil and gas.  Much of Wyoming's revenue comes from oil and gas royalties.   One day, those resources will run out.  Without the trust fund, it would be a shock to Wyoming's tax base.  The trust fund is a necissary and prudent measure.
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pond

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Re:Constitutional Issues WY vs. NH
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2003, 11:57:25 am »

pond,

Wyoming's trust fund is intended to save money from the non-renewable resources, such as oil and gas.  Much of Wyoming's revenue comes from oil and gas royalties.   One day, those resources will run out.  Without the trust fund, it would be a shock to Wyoming's tax base.  The trust fund is a necissary and prudent measure.
That's a job for private insurance you socialist.
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Karl

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Re:Constitutional Issues WY vs. NH
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2003, 12:09:26 pm »

That's a job for private insurance you socialist.

Well, I'm pretty sure I'm not a socialist.  But I'm not an anarchist either.  I'm a minarchist.  I don't really understand your insurance angle as it relates to paying for legitamate government functions.

None of the candidate states are free, as we envision them to be.  If Wyoming is chosen, the trust fund may be a benefit in later years, since we could conceivably operate a minimalist government from the trust fund alone.
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pond

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Re:Constitutional Issues WY vs. NH
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2003, 12:22:35 pm »

That's a job for private insurance you socialist.

Well, I'm pretty sure I'm not a socialist.  But I'm not an anarchist either.  I'm a minarchist.  I don't really understand your insurance angle as it relates to paying for legitamate government functions.

None of the candidate states are free, as we envision them to be.  If Wyoming is chosen, the trust fund may be a benefit in later years, since we could conceivably operate a minimalist government from the trust fund alone.
Hmm... somehow I seem to have misplaced my smiley  :P. That'll teach me to submit too fast.
Anyway the way private insurance would function in the place of a government-held trust fund is that rather than keeping a lump sum of money and restricting use to the interest on the sum the gov't could take out an insurance policy against its mineral resources drying up with, say, Lloyd's. That way there would be a small yearly fee and the rest of the money would be freed for tax breaks.
I am not quite an anarchist but I don't believe gov't has any "right to exist" and certainly no right to make contingency plans against threats to its future existence. I think the gov't should suffer every financial hardship that its citizenry does, and if you're holding rainy day funds solely for the purpose of ensuring government function then that won't be the case.
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Karl

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Re:Constitutional Issues WY vs. NH
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2003, 12:44:08 pm »

Anyway the way private insurance would function in the place of a government-held trust fund is that rather than keeping a lump sum of money and restricting use to the interest on the sum the gov't could take out an insurance policy against its mineral resources drying up with, say, Lloyd's. That way there would be a small yearly fee and the rest of the money would be freed for tax breaks.

Insurance works only when the probability of a claim is less than the average premium is collected.  Here, we have one claimant (the government) and a high degree of certainty of when the claim must be paid (in 20 years).  Since we have a high probability of claim, the premium must be very high; in fact it must singularly cover the entire claim, and do so forever.  I don't think you'll find many takers on that deal.

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I am not quite an anarchist but I don't believe gov't has any "right to exist" and certainly no right to make contingency plans against threats to its future existence. I think the gov't should suffer every financial hardship that its citizenry does, and if you're holding rainy day funds solely for the purpose of ensuring government function then that won't be the case.

Shouldn't prudent citizens hold rainy day funds?  I would hope so, especially since we hope to eliminate all government unemployment welfare.  Same for the government.  I'd hate for someone to rob me and find out that the police and courts are closed.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2003, 12:46:42 pm by Karl »
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pond

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Re:Constitutional Issues WY vs. NH
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2003, 05:53:03 pm »

Insurance works only when the probability of a claim is less than the average premium is collected.  Here, we have one claimant (the government) and a high degree of certainty of when the claim must be paid (in 20 years).  Since we have a high probability of claim, the premium must be very high; in fact it must singularly cover the entire claim, and do so forever.  I don't think you'll find many takers on that deal.
The insurance claim would be against the mineral resources being depleted prematurely. That's an easy calculation: the expected value of the mine lasting the full duration - sum( the probability of early depletion * the expected value of resources n years before duration) = total premiums. Do you think that any amount of money (up to and including $1.8b) is going to keep those mines from going dry eventually? At best the government's rainy day fund is going to keep it from going under for the duration of the existence of the fund, when that money would be much better spent by private citizens investing in new business opportunities that provide the possibility of future revenue streams.

Shouldn't prudent citizens hold rainy day funds?  I would hope so, especially since we hope to eliminate all government unemployment welfare.  Same for the government.  I'd hate for someone to rob me and find out that the police and courts are closed.
It's not the government's job to make sure that it continues to function, it's the citizens' job. Once you instill bureaucratic incentives like self preservation in government it ceases to be an agent of the people.
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Karl

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Re:Constitutional Issues WY vs. NH
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2003, 10:04:14 pm »

The insurance claim would be against the mineral resources being depleted prematurely. That's an easy calculation: the expected value of the mine lasting the full duration - sum( the probability of early depletion * the expected value of resources n years before duration) = total premiums. Do you think that any amount of money (up to and including $1.8b) is going to keep those mines from going dry eventually? At best the government's rainy day fund is going to keep it from going under for the duration of the existence of the fund, when that money would be much better spent by private citizens investing in new business opportunities that provide the possibility of future revenue streams.

The mineral resources can't be depleated prematurely.  We know, within a few years, how long they will last.  There is no chance factor.

The trust fund is NOT primarily a rainy day fund, but a permanent fund intended to replace lost mineral revenues once those mineral resources have been exhausted.  Only the interest from the fund is used, so it should last forever.  Eliminating the mineral tax would benefit primarily businessmen not based in Wyoming.  Although it might indeed encourage new drilling and create jobs, it will do little to encourage non-mineral business in Wyoming.  Also, those mineral jobs will be gone along with the exhausted resources.

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It's not the government's job to make sure that it continues to function, it's the citizens' job. Once you instill bureaucratic incentives like self preservation in government it ceases to be an agent of the people.

It is most certainly the government's duty to make sure it continues to function, in as free a manner as is possible.  How else can it maintain its legitamate functions, including the operation of police and courts?
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pond

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Re:Constitutional Issues WY vs. NH
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2003, 01:07:13 am »

The mineral resources can't be depleated prematurely.  We know, within a few years, how long they will last.  There is no chance factor.
Well that certainly would remove the need for any insurance. Consider me informed.

The trust fund is NOT primarily a rainy day fund, but a permanent fund intended to replace lost mineral revenues once those mineral resources have been exhausted.  Only the interest from the fund is used, so it should last forever.  Eliminating the mineral tax would benefit primarily businessmen not based in Wyoming.  Although it might indeed encourage new drilling and create jobs, it will do little to encourage non-mineral business in Wyoming.  Also, those mineral jobs will be gone along with the exhausted resources.
Well my first and foremost reaction to this is that it means ZionCurtain is completely wrong and any negative economic effects caused by turning down federal grants and subsidies will be felt full-force by the citizens of Wyoming. Again we are in the scenario where we have slaughtered the sacred cow that laid the golden eggs to mix cliches, and are hated by the state. Bad news Wyoming.
Secondly I wasn't suggesting tax breaks for mining, I was suggesting lower sales, property, whatever taxes apply to the general tax base. Doing that would most certainly encourage job growth in non-mineral industries and wean the state off of mining and its associated cash flows.
It is most certainly the government's duty to make sure it continues to function, in as free a manner as is possible.  How else can it maintain its legitamate functions, including the operation of police and courts?
This is where you're starting to lose me. I realize that the FSP is made of a fairly broad spectrum of political viewpoints leaning toward freedom, but you're starting to tread into dangerous territory if you value freedom at all.
Once you allow the government bureaucratic incentives like self preservation it automatically seeks out influence to achieve them. The way the government maintains legitimate functions is through a balanced current budget, not through golden parachute clauses. If there is a certainty that income will drop off dramatically at a certain time the way to adjust for that is to cut back on services (employees, agencies, judges, etc.) at that time.
If the government maintains the tax base it had under a mining-based economy but all the mines have closed up and the miners moved on to greener pastures you have just had a population decrease relative to government size, so you now have too much government. The only way to keep government in check is to keep it on a tight fiscal leash.
I suppose you won't buy into this because you believe in a small optimal level of government, which tends to be a subjective measure. That's why I gave up on defining small personally and went with "aim for none and see where we land." At this point you're basically trading security for freedom in a tug-of-war where the line is drawn separately for everyone
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