July 16, 2007
Danny Westneat, real-estate mogul
Danny Westneat continues his campaign against the real estate market with Sunday's column, complaining about this:
There's a new landlord in town. It's called the "Lease Rent Optimizer." The Optimizer is software developed a few years ago by Archstone, which manages 10 apartment complexes around Puget Sound and dozens more elsewhere. It sifts data to squeeze more profit out of rental housing by relentlessly resetting rents, sometimes on a daily basis.
Westneat apparently fails to understand how rent-optimizing software, if it works correctly, would help not only landlords but renters
. For one, landlords who can maximize their profits are more likely to have both the motivation and the capital to invest in increasing supply. For another, a landlord who erroneously sets his asking rent too high
, will effectively keep his unit unfilled, and prospective tenants still looking for housing, until he determines and demands a market-clearing price.
Yesterday's Times also had a rational article on the local rental market:
"The rental market will continue to tighten as a result of job growth, in-migration and a combination of an insufficient amount of new construction to fill demand and apartments leaving the rental pool for conversion to condominiums,"
In his recent columns, Westneat offered his suggestions for lowering rents, including: "Pass an economic-eviction ordinance.
" and "limit condo conversions
". I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to explain why these proposals won't do very much to increase housing supply or lower housing costs.
A modest proposal: Danny Westneat should become a landlord and rent out his apartments at below-market prices so he can feel good about himself. And the Seattle Times should give his column to someone who can write intelligently about business and economics.
Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at July 16, 2007
01:43 PM | Email This
That was a really dumb column. It demonized market pricing when it is aided by technology. It implied that cruel landlords change rents "on a daily basis", whereas in reality an individual's rent changes only according to the lease; the only thing that changes daily is rents offered to prospective new tenants. And it implied that charging market rents is incompatible with providing good service to one's tenants and being generous with those who encounter hard times. OK, sure, few corporate landlords are as kind as Vern Campbell, but that's not because they use technology to determine the market value of their apartments. Surely Westneat can find a way to praise a generous guy like Campbell without demonizing the standard good business practice of market pricing.
On the other hand, we need limited rent regulation to prevent sudden, drastic rent increases, due to the disproportionate impact of such increases on vulnerable tenants. (For example, require 90 days notice for an increase of over 10% and 2 years' notice for an increase over 50%.) But as Stefan keeps saying, the most important step is to increase the housing supply (though I'm not sure I'd be as quick as he would to abolish regulations and taxes).
They ran out of ways to rip us off on purchasing a home, so now they want to take it out of our hide in rent.
Is there anything about the Puget Sound that is not overpriced or some kind of egregious ripoff that only serves the "insiders" ???
3. Is there anything about the Puget Sound that is not overpriced
It's overpriced due to a free market economy. People go where the jobs are. Maybe that's why the populations of NYC and SF increase every year despite having some of the highest prices in the US.
Bruce - Would you also advocate "limited regulation" requiring tenants to provide advance notice if they do not plan to renew their lease, so as to protect vulnerable apartment owners, who (especially in the case of "affordable" units) are less wealthy than the general population? Perhaps 90 days notice for a single individual in a studio apt., and 2 years notice for a family in a 3 bdrm unit?
Should supermarkets be required to give advance notice before raising prices? Gasoline stations? Starbucks? How about allowing home prices to rise only, say, 5% a year, to prevent disproportional impact on vulnerable first time home buyers?
I think it is best when consenting adults enter into legally binding contracts to consume and provide goods and services. The role of government is to enforce the contracts in case of dispute, and to prevent fraud or coercion. There is not even the remote chance of a monopoly in the housing market, which is largely made up of thousands of small landlords. Let 'em compete. The guy raising his rents 100% will go broke soon enough.
"#3 It's overpriced due to a free market economy"
It's not a "free market" economy...the State of Washington is entirely run by Federal tax dollars -- the dollars my parents and siblings pay back east.
As such it's determined by the whims of Olympia and King County, by Defense fed Boeing and Microsoft.
Washington is a completely artificial place, run by bigwigs and geegaws.
Like the Seattle area, SF prices are artificially high do to regulation which limits the addition of housing supply. There is plenty of land near SF to build, but they aren't building there. Like our current GMA that chases growth and development from King County to Skagit County and Thurston County, SF's restrictive growth is pushing folks into the central valley. Remove the artificial restraints on development and both places will see more growth closer in and more affordable housing prices.
Also, govt. restrictions, like Washington's GMA, isn't the free market economy. Elimiante the GMA tomorrow and King County will see a massive building boom while places like Yelm will see their commuter pools shrink.
7. How about the Times pays Westneat less-than-going rate for columnists so the circulation-decreasing paper can struggle less? Wouldn't that be fair, after all? Why should Westneat make the going rate for columnists? Isn't that being greedy?
Wow, apparently John Bailo doesn't pay any taxes whatsoever. Not surprising, since his post struck me as a thought from the terminally unemployed....
It must be all those "bigwigs" that are keeping him down....
Steve@4- What we have here is the difference betewen someone (you) who believes the free market is perfect and someone (I) who believes that the free market, while ideal, sometimes needs tweaking for the common good. (Someone will probably jump on the phrase "common good" and claim I'm advocating communism. But most people know the world isn't all black and white.)
Shelter is so critical for the health and stability of society that it is worth occasional, small, short-term restrictions on a property owner's profit. As a practical matter, it's much easier for many families to quickly change their shopping habits than their residence.
I don't expect to convince anyone who believes that Ayn Rand is God and The Free Market is The One True Religion. However, even those people might consider that most Americans are far more populist about economics than my proposal, and that our constitution guarantees democracy, not free markets.
10. What do you mean, "the State of Washington is entirely run by federal tax dollars"? We send way more to DC than we get back. We get back just 88 cents on the dollar. And some of that 88 cents comes from the fed's borrowing!
The free market is nothing more or less than the individual exercising freedom. That includes freedom to contract with who you choose and freedom to assemble with those you prefer.
Advocating a "common good" requires that someone besides the individual gets to decide what is best. This ends up being the "elite" who line their own pockets first, and then dole out the rest to their friends. Just look at the Senate of the US for evidence. Earmarks are for the "common good" according to those in power to tax you to support their local googaw museum, who is owned by their brother-in-law. Or for sculpture parks for the wealthy.
Sorry, I prefer to make my own decisions. I have much more faith in the people than I do in the elite. Who do you prefer making your choices?
12. #9 "Our constitution guarantees democracy, not free markets." That is a fabulous statement! To paraphrase Gov. Everett when he congratulated Lincoln on the succinctness of the Gettysburg Address, you have stated in 7 words what I have spent years trying to say.
13. One comment about rent. As values of apartments increase. So do thier taxes. I was talking with my Apartment Manager about the 100 increase in rent from last year. Most of that was due to covering property taxes they have to pay. As values of home increases so to the apartments. the Landlords have to think of many ways to increase the rent to cover these increase Taxes. Eventually we may be priced out of our apartments due to these same tax increases that home users are feeling. Taxes every year take a bigger bite out of the profits land lords make. When you can not break even on paying for repairs, taxes, Managers. what happens. In NY City they became Slum Lords. Rent control prevented enough money to be made to allow basic maintenance from being performed from the honest land lords. THe dishonest ones well they pocketed as much cash as possible. With very little repairs.
14. The Constitution establishes a republic, it doesn't guarantee a democracy. What schools did you attend?
Bruce clearly demonstrates the thinking of a highly educated dilettante that has no experience in business. Good intentions without substance or experience promoted by self proclaimed public leaders and columnists paves the road to hell.
Bruce, it is restrictions that cause problems. More restrictions will only increase the problems. Businessmen (landlords) will not invest into properties that do not produce a competitive ROI. Excuse me, Return On Investment. All profitable businesses compete for available investment dollars. Artificially reducing the profit by fiat or otherwise will only cause fewer properties to be available to renters. There are competing deals which offer greater ROI.
Why do you ignore this simple fact?
Perhaps you never experience the joys and agonies of business. Ever sign the front of a payroll check, Bruce?
Life in a vacuum must be great.
ah yes, Bruce, for "the common good", as defined by.......... who??
The market defines the common good, elites/liberals, for some reason, define the common good according to their own vast and superior intelligence.
Living the lie, loving the lie.
What is it like being so doggone smart?
#8 "terminally unemployed...."
Sign of a weak argument is starting with an ad hominem. If you can't make your point without insult, go off, read a book and come back with some facts.
#10 "See: http://www.taxfoundation.org/files/sr139.pdf"
I checked it out. Look at table 5 -- Procurement...note that Washington (state) gets $1,136 while New York gets a measley $464 (presume this is in millions of dollars).
19. Actually, I started out by commenting on your apparent exemption from paying taxes, and concluded by alluding to the fact that you're a moron.
David @ 13 is spot on. Landlords pay taxes and have to factor that in. And with perpetual tax increases and constant new taxes in this area why deny landlords a tool to project their costs?
Just today Westneat's competing tabloid extolled voting "YES" on two King County Parks tax measures that will appear on the August ballot. You know, two of those warm and fuzzy "just another forty tax bucks a year for the average homeowner."
Funny how renters think the other guy pays property taxes. Just look at all the signs screaming YES ON TAX XYZ one sees in areas like the U District and other local areas of high rental density when taxes are on the ballot.
And when those taxes are enacted and payments have to be accrued through rental increases who screams the loudest?
Wonder what Westneat thinks about tonight's story in his own tabloid about another scheme Seattle has come up with to tax locals for garbage scraps? The scheme to mandate charging all residents for separate garbage scrap containers/collection whether they use it or not. Call it a public utility fee but it's still a tax.
JanetS, you are right that the US Constitution does not guarantee a democracy. The US Constitution, combined with its amendments and the 50 state constitutions, guarantees a democracy. And your point is?
Janet, Snuffy, Hank... I could answer your questions about my education and business experience quite satisfactorily, but that wouldn't really convince you of anything, would it? You have blind faith in free markets no matter what. My original comment defended the free market with some limitations, which (as I noted) would anger purists like you. I also noted that, as a practical matter, we live in a democracy that is more populist than purist. You ignore that at the peril of irrelevance.
Stefan, you really, honestly think that the "Lease Rent Optimizer" was created to benefit renters?
This is a business tool. Take a gander at this article about it: http://www.propertysolutions.com/Home/Company/Industry_News/Articles/30
Some choice quotes:
"One of the things that our revenue management solution does is institutionalize strategy"
In addition, Roper admits this industry provides a dimension not often seen in many other businesses. "At the operating level we actually live with our customer. That creates an unbelievable empathy between the property manager or leasing agent and the residents," he says. "So there is a need to create some discipline or some science around how we arrive at these prices."
"[LRO] has no emotions, has no attachments to residents, has no angst; it`s an automated system that says, `This is what I see and so this is how we need to price.`"
What Westneat is writing about is the loss of that human factor, the loss of empathy. Surely even your small "l" libertarian mind can understand that?
Bruce, I don't want to split hairs here, but we don't live in a democracy. We live in a democratic republic.
It makes a difference. By stating that the constitution guarantees anything you imply that the government is the source of our freedoms. It isn't. The people are free to choose their representatives. They are also free to elect those who will take their freedoms through regulation, taxes, and socialism.
I've noticed that every time the government sets limits on the free market, and our freedom to make our own decisions, the law of unitended consequences prevails. Rent control? You get a housing shortage. Gun control? Higher crime.
The problem is substituting the general knowledge of the people with the specific intents of the elected. Sorry, I'll take the populace over the inevitably corrupted desires of the elite.
Daniel K #22
When I was young I owned a retail nursery. I am a frugal person by nature, and I let that effect how I priced the goods that I sold. I had a good selection of plants, great service, and the lowest prices. Within three years I was out of business. Low prices hurt my customers. They lost the benefit of have a local nursery with great service.
I loved the way you got all the way to the end of your post, and then just had to throw in an insult.
When people say that a free market is perfect, they mean that the ups and downs balance out, not that every transaction is perfect.
25. I find it interesting that all the rights that the constitution guarantees us (e.g. free speech and freedom of religion)don't require anyone else to give up anything in order for us to have them.
By contrast, all the stuff that libs say are a "right", such as 'health care' and 'housing', require the forcing of money from someone to give it to another. Everytime.
A high price is the signal to suppliers to get into the market--so it's never a good idea for gov'ts to muffle high price signals. Markets work not because capitalists, entrepreneurs or investors are good people (though they might be), but because the consumer and the worker etc. are free to reject any given capitalist and look for another. Getting laid off, having to leave an apartment, etc is going often to be a very miserable experience, but one that is part and parcel of an efficient society that in the long run serves people best. Pro-free market people should make an effort to sound as compassionate as the free market really is in the long run.
The popularity of anti-gas gouging legislation should give many pause as it shows how miserably free market advocates have failed at explaining and convincing Americans of right or left persuasion of the advantages of free markets--even despite the fact that Americans live in a fairly successul one. (Gas gouging legislation would muffle the very price signal suppliers need to begin ramping up production).
But then, the fact that so many conservatives on this site are going to support a sales tax to build roads,(RTID) thus distorting the free market to promote congestion, pollution & sprawl is also very depressing. RTID will muffle the price signal of driving to the consumer, and contribute to a subsidy that tells the consumer to hurry up and get behind a wheel.
One more time around the block. Bruce, do you agree that apartment owners compete for available investment funds to build or buy apartments? And do you also agree that investment funds will give priority to projects offering a greater return?
If you answer yes to the above questions, we are in agreement. Thank you
If you answer no to either question, we are in disagreement and perhaps you may further explain your answer so I may benefit from your opinion.
In the old days one had to be a "free-holder" to vote. That is to say one must be financially involved in the community to vote. These laws were overturned and now people who have no vested interest in the community vote along side people who have vested interest. In effect the government vaults are wide open and people may help themselves by force of government to the money in your pocket.
Paying someone's medical bills is one example. Would you vote for paying their car insurance or life insurance? Why pay for their medical insurance? What about pet insurance? Often pets are a substitute for children. Dogs and cats should receive pet medical insurance.
The vaults are wide open and popular excesses are permitted. They need only be cached in feel good terms. "It's for the children" is one such universal expression used by politicians buying votes with taxpayer's life forces.
"Housing is a necessity" cries the left. Tax or regulate the apartment owners. Control rent. And while we are at it control any other item that seems costly: fuel; food; water; education; medicine; etc., etc. Don't worry about the shortages we will get the government to provide: housing; fuel; food; water; medicine; education; etc.
Forget pursuit of happiness; just give me what I am entitled to and let the other person pick up the tab. Of course lacking incentive reduces participation. Fewer land owners means fewer apartments. fewer doctors means less medical care and longer waits for available medical care. Talk with your comrades up north about their medical system. Public education had deteriorated and is probably a good example of how a government system fails. Fuel will be in short supply soon. Why? Ask yourself where energy may come from. All known reserves are off limits. Can't drill less the environment be disturbed.
And food will continue to rise in cost as demand for corn increases cause by the bio-fuel scams led by your favorite politicians that are doing something.
Bruce and other libs paint a bleak picture for their future society. Check out the fates of other societies that have espoused "from each according to their abilities and to each according to their needs". Very bleak indeed.
Bruce I am pragmatic. You want more of something tax and regulate less. You want less of something tax and regulate more. Simple, isn't it.
Michelle @ 25:
By contrast, all the stuff that libs say are a "right", such as 'health care' and 'housing', require the forcing of money from someone to give it to another. Everytime.
What happened to love they neighbor? Don't you want your Govt. to follow the teachings of Jesus? He is your savior after all.
Cato, do you love others because you are forced to by the government? I thought love is a voluntary thing.
What does loving one's neighbor has anything to do with constitutional rights? Are you now saying that being loved is constitutional rights?
Cato, I thought loving one's neighbor is a voluntary thing rather than forced one. Wasn't Michelle just pointing out how the meaning of contitutional rights changed.
What does loving one's neighbor have anything to do with constitutional rights? Are you saying that being loved is also constitutional rights?
31. I thought love is a voluntary thing.
I dunno, ask Michelle.
Are you saying that being loved is also constitutional rights?
I'm saying no such thing.
32. Don't you want your Govt. to follow the teachings of Jesus?
Jesus wasn't a commie. =)
33. As a former landlord, I put in writting that any increase in property taxes will increase their rent. This is called profit. The constitution does not grant many rights, certainly the so called right to: healthcare, housing, food, etc. Our founding fathers did not care for the redistribution of wealth. They believed that you kept what you earned and the government took only what was necessary for national defence and other constitutionaly mandated governmental operations. Education was left to the states not to the feds. Taking care of the needy was also a state function. Of course during this time churches/congregations took care of their own....the way it should be. That is were taking care of your neighbor comes in....ref the good samaritan (no gov entity involved). When gov gets involved, tyranny follows. Remember, the gov doesn't have money, its the tax payer who supports gov activities not the other way around. Bruce, Cato, ET AL are nothing more than Marxists and would be home in Communist China, USSR (Russia), Cuba, ETC. Their thist for power is endless...and regulations, taxes help slake their thirst...but MORE AND MORE is always needed...for the common good. Socialistswant to see this country turned into another SSR....which means that all true Americans must resist this putsch by any means necessary.
34. Of course during this time churches/congregations took care of their own....the way it should be.
Why should someone be forced to join a whackjob religion so they can afford medical treatment?
Our founding fathers did not care for the redistribution of wealth.
Our Founding Fathers also believed in Slavery and that Women were not allowed to vote. Do you favor the rerun of these things or do you selectively interpret our Founding Fathers beliefs to fit your particular idiotic rant?
Education was left to the states not to the feds.
Great, I'm sure that people from Kansas will do just fine in life knowing that the world was created in eight days and women were created from man's rib. That's some serious fact based science there.
would be home in Communist China
Hmmm, Communist China seems to be doing well for itself. In fact most economists expect China to overtake our GNP in 8 - 10 years. That's a pretty big coup for a bunch of neo-Marxists.
Allan Rothlisberg made an excellent point in saying "put in writing that any increase in property taxes will increase their rent". I think if all apartment dwellers knew that property tax increases would indeed affect them, you might see more thoughtful responses to property tax increase proposals.
Cato said "Communist China seems to be doing well for itself. In fact most economists expect China to overtake our GNP in 8 - 10 years." I think this view is outdated by a number of months. China is looking VERY iffy right now from an export standpoint as more and more people in more and more countries don't trust the safety of their products--poisoned pet food, poisoned toothpaste and seafood, lead-coated children's toys, etc.
China's recent execution of the head of their Food and Drug administration is an attempt to "get tough", but it may be too little too late. The U.S. Congress is debating requiring country of origin on meat and produce and that is a direct response to China's problems. Guess socialists aren't so perfect after all.
36. The U.S. Congress is debating requiring country of origin on meat and produce and that is a direct response to China's problems.
That's very ironic, especially considering our own US. Govt. doesn't want Mad Cow disease tests run on slaughtered cattle. (Source)
I guess general idiocy runs strong in both forms of Govt.
Cato said: I guess general idiocy runs strong in both forms of Govt.
You're right. And you really want to give these people more money to waste?
38. And you really want to give these people more money to waste?
Hey, I didn't vote for the guy who put his biggest fundraisers in charge of offices (FEMA, VA, Etc)they were totally unqualified for. I voted for the other guy while holding my nose.
They already have my money, I pay my taxes like everyone else here. Now if we had an intelligent person in the top post maybe we'd see some positive changes rather than the utter chaos we have currently.
39. I disagree. My federal taxes keep going down, despite the federal deficit continuing to shrink. Local taxes? That's a different story.
Don't you just love the unintended (maybe I don't give the real estate people enough credit) consequences of the Growth Management Act.
Folks, quit bitching about the high cost of housing in the Puget Sound region; it is EXACTLY what YOU asked for; everyone of you who only knows how to vote Democrat!
And don't you just love the Democrats and the poorly educated, low-income people who only know to vote for the candidate with a D after his name. The Dems say don't worry sucker we will take care of you and then their rent skyrockets because the Dems are taking care of their high power environmentalist and lawyer friends.
Snuffy, congratulations, you understand Econ 101. So do I. You, however, worship capitalism unconditionally; I greatly value capitalism but think occasionally civilization is better if capitalism is regulated. My position (which you obviously never read in comment #1) is much closer to capitalism than socialism, and closer to capitalism than the average American's. It's hilarious how many people on this board view the world in black and white, and go ballistic over the slightest shade of gray. Good luck with that.
Bill H, it's ironic that you cite Communist (sic) China's recent product safety problems as evidence of their decline. Indeed, those problems are due to unchecked capitalism, whereas the US and other developed countries have regulatory and legal systems that (usually) prevent such problems.
#32 Says Jesus wasn't a commie.
Listen to this quotation from Mark, the first gospel:
"If anyone wishes to be first, he will be last of all and the servant of all" (Mark 9 :35)
and this from Luke "For whoever is least among you, this one in fact is great" (Luke 9:48)
Certainly Jesus wasn't a Communist as we know them now, but people shouldn't just assume Jesus was whoever they personally wish him to have been.
Oh, and btw, I'm not injecting religion here (just history) at all, and certainly not proselytizing--except for maybe one thing. This site and conservatives in general could use a little spirit of generosity, less mean-spiritedness and less putting down large groups of people. It really is what independents hate about conservatives, and part of the reason conservatives lose 65/35 in most state races.
43. Cato: Its nice to know that one can always count on your socialist rant. A persons medical need(s) are theirs and theirs alone. I am responsible for my own housing, medical, food, transportation etc. NO ONE owes me anything. Remember, taxation is legalized theft...if tax money is spend on anything other than constitutionaly mandated programs. All else is socialist pap. It is also interesting to note that conservitives donate more of their income to help the needy than do liberals. That my communist friend is a fact. But then facts never get in the way of socialist rants. It should also be noted that not all the founding fathers believed in slavery. It was a hobsons choice that had to be made. For the colonies to come together in a united front, hard choises had to be made. Remember the time at which this took place. That also applies to women not having the vote.....thats what to ammendment process is all about...changing things that need to be changed. The fact I currently live in KS should not deride the fine schools that are here. I'd like to point out that as a person who taught (H/S, college), lived in ten states, three countries and visited 49 of the fifty states, I'll match my experience in observing different systems vs your experiences. Socialism destroys the mind, body and souls of those who fall under its spell. Communist China who seams right now an economic power house should be careful about that assumption. As all communist systems, look beneath the veneer of civility, they have massive amounts of business loans that are in default that are hidden in their banking system. While we think they are a free market system, they are not.....decisions are still made by their politburo. It should also be noted that the chicom army also owns many of the businesses we deal with....of course it is thru fronts...not direct..we just choose to ignore that fact. I would hope that even an ardent socialist like yourself cannot hide that fact that Communist China is run by brutality.....selling body parts of executed criminals, forced abortion, silencing chrsitian activity, ad nauseum. Kind of what todays deomcrat party is becoming. Just providing facts.......for those who are interested in facts, not propaganda
44. I am responsible for my own housing, medical, food, transportation etc. NO ONE owes me anything.
Good for you, your a productive member of society. Did you pay for your own schooling too? Did you receive and Pell Grants?
A persons medical need(s) are theirs and theirs alone
I see, so your against abortion but your willing to let people born with medical defects die slow and possibly painful deaths?
It is also interesting to note that conservitives (sic) donate more of their income to help the needy than do liberals.
Good for them...thought I don't think the NRA qualifies as a true charity.
thats what to ammendment (sic) process is all about...changing things that need to be changed
True, but amendments take a while and have to be ratified by the states. Sometimes we have stupid amendments (18th) that need to be repealed by other amendments (21st). Even then we still have some of the laws on the book, see the Costco v. WSLCB.
The fact I currently live in KS should not deride the fine schools that are here.
I'm sure they are fine, it's the religious loons who sit on the school board that are not fine. You're free to believe in the great biblical myth of creation, but do not try and pass it off as factual science and teach it in schools.
Socialism destroys the mind, body and souls of those who fall under its spell.
Heheh you sound like Joe McCarty, you got proof of that?
As all communist systems, look beneath the veneer of civility, they have massive amounts of business loans that are in default that are hidden in their banking system.
As opposed to this country where we run on massive amounts of debt?
I would hope that even an ardent socialist like yourself cannot hide that fact that Communist China is run by brutality.
Anyone who disagrees with you or challenges you to defend your opinions must be an ardent socialist. Yes, China is very brutal by the western standards. The west was like this for a long time (Spanish Inquisition, Bastille, etc) but we changed our ways. I'm sure China will change in time.
forced abortion, silencing chrsitian (sic) activity
So humans should expand beyond their means to sustain themselves? A country of 1.3 billion people is a lot of people. That's 1 billion people more than the US has in a country that's roughly the same size. You want mass food/water shortages due to lack of farmable land?
As for silencing Christian activity, they suppress all religions equally (unless you're Falun Gong, then they just kill you). I'm in no way defending this, I personally support freedom of speech/religion. China has gotten a lot better in recent years. Granted it's only a matter of time before the changes towards freedom happen. It happened in Russia, it can happen in China.
Kind of what todays deomcrat (sic) party is becoming.
Whatever. Dem's are not forcing anyone to have an abortion (most people choose to have one). Dem's are not suppressing anyones religion (just keeping it out of schools). Dem's are certainly not forcing you to buy anything from the military. Get a clue, there's no comparison.
I'd like to point out that as a person who taught (H/S, college) you sure spell like crap.
45. Cato: What an interesting character you are. Selective data, never put into context. I worked and paid my own way thru college and grad school. I never borrowed a dime. My parent were poor and undereducated....but they stressed that if you want something, work for it because no one owes you anything. Now let me answer your response(s). While it is true that I am against abortion (except to save the physical life of the mother), the other part of your statement is answered thus: People should have insurance...insurance that can be deducted from their taxes......that way, they can take the coverage they need. Also, before government took of medical care, the poor and needy were take care of...at much lesser cost. So by throwing in medical defects is a non-sequitor. NRA, much needed to keep our second ammenment rights. It is a much more charitable organization than moveon.org, pew trust, ford trust, aclu, et al. I see that you don't like the ammenment process. Thats too bad. Our founding fathers made it a difficult process for a good reason. To ensure that ammendment would be fully thought out and not enacted by emotional thought processes. The fact that a bad ammendment can be changed is a testiment to their forward thinking. So called religious loons were voted out of office. Too bad that socialist goons can't be voted out of office in the peoples republic of WA. But then, when you have such voter fraud to stay in office, thats what you get. Sen McCarthy. While his methods were poor, his message was true...there were and now communist sympathisers in the State Dept, CIa (today), on FDR's staff, Hollywoood (sean penn, et al). Also, if you ever visited former warsaw pact countries, you will see the drabness of the old USSR. Read your history, not the propaganda put out by TASS. Massive gov debt. Lets begin with the great society....prior to this massive gov giv-a-way programs, our country was not deeply in debt. Social security was solvent and the economy was growing due to the tax cuts intiated by JFK. Social security reserve started to go on a decline when more social welfare programs were folded under the Social Security umbrella. Massive gov borrowing started under LBJ and continues to today. You are right that this current administration borrows too much money....won't argue that point at all. But remember that the Dem party had power from 1932 to 1994 (house and senate except for very brief periods). Taxes and spending are a house and senate function, not the exective function. Freedom is a God given right and it the tyranny of government that takes it away.....any government that is afraid to have its citizens have weapons is a government to be afraid of. As for spelling, I have a learing disability....but I get the gist of information to my students. One other thing, I will bet you $5,000.00 if you can point out to me and other readers of this blog as to where the phrase "separation of church and state" in the US Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights are. Are you willing to put up or shut up?........Please read thes documents word for word, not the way you want them to read. When you can't find them, I doubt that you will be a man and admit it......that you are wrong....libs can never admit they are wrong...it would shatter their messianic belief they are always right. Take care and have a great day.
46. there were and now communist sympathisers (sic) in the State Dept, CIA (today)
This is a new one to me, I didn't realize the commies were in charge over at the CIA. This is a free country, people can believe in whatever form of Govt. they want regardless of their job.
So called religious loons were voted out of office.
There will always be religious loons trying to shove their version of history down peoples throats. Why? I dunno, because Jesus told them to. Heck, 55% of the GOP Presidential candidates don't believe in Evolution. That's a disturbing statistic. I support their right to believe in whatever they want, but I don't support religious fundies trying to pass off religious myths as factual science in public schools.
you will see the drabness of the old USSR.
I've been there...I don't know how much of that is 'Animal Farm' behavior by the leaders and how much is due to a true Socialistic Govt. I wonder how well we'd do under economic sanctions.
Massive gov debt. Lets begin with the great society....
Sure and then let's look at reality. I think you'll find that the Reagan/Bush years contributed to the biggest jump on that chart.
Taxes and spending are a house and senate function, not the exective (sic) function.
Sure, but when you ask for things and the legislative branch gives you a blank check, your going to run with it. Up until the Dem's took power W never met a spending increase he didn't like (see lack of vetoes).
Freedom is a God given right
No it's not, it's a human right. God didn't invent freedom.
....any government that is afraid to have its citizens have weapons is a government to be afraid of.
Democracy seems to be flourishing in Japan and England where they have much stricter gun laws than here.
You also bring up an interesting point, if you can elect your representatives why should you be afraid of Govt. tyranny? Can't you just just have your elected representative make a law to change the way the Govt. works? Don't trust your representative(s), maybe you should vote them out of office.
where the phrase "separation of church and state" in the US Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights are.
It's not it there...but explain to me this...why should the church have any involvement in the states affairs? You would violently resist the Govt. taking over your church, I can't imagine why the opposite should not be true.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"
Which seems to imply that if the Church got involved in the state that freedom to exercise the non-state religion might be in danger. Hence the separation of church and state.
Look at England where many of the colonists came from, there were many bitter wars fought between the Protestants (state sponsored religion) and the Catholics.
libs can never admit they are wrong...it would shatter their messianic belief they are always right.
That's a very general statement for someone who claims to be so well traveled and so well educated. Trust me, I'll happily admit I'm wrong on something if you prove it to me. So far you have not proven me wrong. Instead you run around and call me names like a five year old.
Bruce said "Bill H, it's ironic that you cite Communist (sic) China's recent product safety problems as evidence of their decline. Indeed, those problems are due to unchecked capitalism, whereas the US and other developed countries have regulatory and legal systems that (usually) prevent such problems."
Sorry Bruce, but it is capitalism that will teach China a lesson, not regulation. China will (eventually) have to clean up its act or the free market will punish it by not buying its products. China is about the most controlling country around--its control did not prevent these problems, it CAUSED them. The free market is what will fix it--not regulation.
48. its control did not prevent these problems, it CAUSED them.
Personally I think it was corruption that caused the problems (which would imply lack of control)...but yes, the free market will correct these problems.
I have been continually impressed with the quality and quantity of discussion on political and economic organization on this board. I'd like to contribute my two cents to this debate.
I want a dictatorship. Period. I want a strong leader who is committed to free markets, pro-growth policies, limited government intrusion into people's lives, and most of all, to getting sh&t done.
1) Expand all of our highways by 100%, and price the new capacity so that it is used most efficiently.
2) Do away with costly, unnecessary, and ineffective "environmental mitigation" schemes, "prevailing wage" laws, and any other garbage that inflate the cost of any major public-works project by a minimum of 40%.
3) Eliminate the public education system. Yesterday.
4) Eliminate all income taxes, capital gains taxes, and any and all other garbage taxations schemes that fuel the beast we know as local, state, and federal government.
5) Replace all of those taxes with one consumption-based tax set at 15% - simultaneously cutting the budget of all governments by 25% while reducing the tax burden on all of our country's citizens.
6) Establish completely free trade. Period. No "tit-for tat", if you open your market we'll open ours garbage. No chicken taxes, shortage-inducing tariffs, or "importation levies." Economics 101 tells us that no matter what, a country benefits if it opens itself to free trade.
7) Allow immigration to this great country based on two criteria: 1) The individual should be able to speak English and have a reasonable degree of understanding of our history and culture, and 2) Should not be a terrorist. Since there won't be any incredibly ridiculous "social justice" programs for them to suck our taxpayer dollars from, they'll either get a job or die in their slums.
Thank you very much and I look forward to your comments and additions.
50. Student of history: Since Pinocht was a dictator in SA, I can't say I'd agree to a dictatorship in our Republic. That being said, he did prevent his country from becoming another Cuba. The seven posted thoughts are right on target except we should cut the size of the federal government by 50%. This cut would not include DOD the way the former draft dodger did. Going back to Pinochet, he did what the Turkish army did several times...assume authority until a stable secular government can be installed keeping power away from muslim extremists. This not not mean I would ever indorse military take over of or Republic, not at all.....I'd just like to see zero voter fraud in our elections. Sadly, as long as dems are im power, vote fraud will still be there. After all, thats how they stay in power. They know if voter roll were purged of illegal registrants, they'd loose power...and that they can never accept. Thats why they don't want those registering to vote thru motor voter to have to prove citizenship and that why they don't want photo voter ID cards...reduced chance for fraud.
51. Cato: As for communists in the state dept during WW II, read the Verona documents. They prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the State Dept had spies in its midst. As for the CIA, remember it was created in 1947 from the OSS. It has also been proven that the OSS had soviet spies in its midst. It would be folly to think the current structure of the CIA doesn't have its moles. As for gun control look at the huge increase of violent crime in Great Britain and look at the prosecution of Brits who defend themselves from intruders....I would hope that even you wouldn't want that to happen here. One other fact on an armed citizenery, cities and counties that let home owners defend themselves wityh hand guns, etc have a much lower rate of violent crime than cities who ban weapons.....see Detroit, NYC and DC as three examples. By the way it is God who grants freedom, man is the one who takes it away....by a thirst for power over his fellow man. Just food for thought. Take care and have a great day in this great Republic.
52. It would be folly to think the current structure of the CIA doesn't have its moles.
We talking moles or communists now? Again it's a free country if a member of the CIA feels that communism/socialism is a better form of Govt. they have every right to do so. I don't think Communism is coming to this country anytime soon regardless of how many CIA workers believe in it.
As for gun control look at the huge increase of violent crime in Great Britain and look at the prosecution of Brits who defend themselves from intruders.
"1,815 recorded (gun) offenses." were recorded in Great Britain last year according to this article. 1,185 gun offenses (I will just count 1 offense = 1 murder to make things easier) in a country of over 60 million people, Detroit had 366 murders in '03, but has a population of 927,000. Simple math will tell you that Great Britain is a much safer place to live.
Great Briton x1 = 60 million w/ 1,185 "offenses"
Detroit pop. x4 = 3.7 million people w/ 1334 murders.
Dallas x5 = 6 million w/ 1130 murders.
Seattle x40 = 23 million people w/ 1360 murders.
cities and counties that let home owners defend themselves wityh hand guns, etc have a much lower rate of violent crime than cities who ban weapons.
This myth has just been busted (at least for 1st world countries), see the math above (now if you want to compare third world countries where guns are handed out like candy America will be much safer. This fact further disproves your argument).
y the way it is God who grants freedom, man is the one who takes it away
Ummmm, no. Man giveth freedom, and man taketh away. God just sits there and listens to your prayers, God does not interfere (unless you believe in pre-destination, but of course that would be anti-freedom).
You really should fact check your talking points for accuracy before you open mouth.
Just in case you doubt my stats:
Dallas murder rate & population (source
Seattle murder rate & population (source
UK Population (source
54. Cato: The CIA as I hope that even you know is suuposed to collect and analyze date from friend and foe....if avowed communists are allowed to enter the process, how then will we be able to collect data from secret sources.....it would be an oxymoron....like an intelligent democrat. As for source material. I prefer to get mine from reliable sources, not left wing wacko sites. Its also a shame that you have fallen under the spell of frog style relegion of secular humanism. Look what it got them. The reign of terror, thousand slaughtered in the name of the French Republic....and the millions killed by Stalin, Mao, Hitler...yep...a real good foundation of faith. But that what you get for being such a left wing wacko socialist and anti-american. Perhaps someday you can use you inteligence for good rather than for evil...since you seem to believe that elitists should be in power...dictating to the masses...rather than a Representative Republic......limited government.....of the people and by the people....not from the gov to the governed. Now go and continue to take your daily medicine and calm down......before you get your next latte.
I appreciate your response to my original post, and I'm glad you pointed out some of the issues with it. I should have prefaced my longing for a dictatorship by saying that it would, at most, be a 10-year scheme to get done what needs to get done in this country (much like you were saying with the Turkish military and such). There is just absolutely no consensus on anything in this country, let alone in this region, and way too many incentives for actors to act completely irrationally and lose sight of the necessity of expanding the economic pie as quickly and as painlessly as possible. I'm glad Bush made a start by chopping the capital-gains rates, but I am thoroughly disgusted with both his incompetence in prosecuting the war in Iraq, and his ability to rehabilitate regions of the United States that were devastated by Hurricane Katrina. This back-and forth could definitley expand into an entire thread - Stefan, are you listening? Maybe a post on the benefits of temporary emergency dictatorship? :) Anyways, take it easy Allan, and I look forward to conversing with you down the line.
56. if avowed communists are allowed to enter the process, how then will we be able to collect data from secret sources.....
Ummmmm...you've lost me here. How does a persons political beliefs about the foundation of Govt. undermine secrecy in the CIA? Or are you implying that the US Constitution does not apply to people who work for the CIA?
I prefer to get mine from reliable sources, not left wing wacko sites.
1) Why would the BBC lie about how many "offenses" there were in the UK? Ok, fine. According to the Home Office (the UK equiv of Homeland Security) claims the number of homicides in the UK is 765 for 2005/6.
2) How are sites that pulls it's statistical data from the FBI a left wing wacko web site?
Even with the higher # quoted earlier it looks like you're still wrong and you just can't admit it.
you have fallen under the spell of frog style relegion (sic) of secular humanism.
How about the reign of terror, thousand slaughtered in the name of Christianity during the Crusades? Maybe the thousands killed by Joan of Arc's followers because she claimed God spoke to her. Or maybe the hundreds killed by Jim Jones in the following of a (twisted) Christian doctrine. Give me a break, people make excuses to kill people all the time...they don't need a leftist Govt. to encouraging them doing it, religion is just a good a vise.
since you seem to believe that elitists should be in power
I've said no such thing, you obviously have issues with admitting your wrong.
that what you get for being such a left wing wacko socialist and anti-american.
Ummm yeah, calling people names while frothing at the mouth is usually a sign of ignorance not intelligence.
dictating to the masses
How is that different than limiting access to abortions? Would that not be you trying to dictate your moral belief unto others?
57. Student of history: I am sure we could have some weel thought out converstaions. Being able to see and take things in perspective is a good trait. It's hard to talk with left wing screeders. Its like talking to a rock with eyebrows.
Allan, maybe if you defended your arguments with facts rather than name calling you could get your point across more effectively.
I put everything in it's proper context, you just refuse to listen to a different opinion. Ironic considering that's the exact same thing you accused me of doing.
59. Cato: I get my facts from various intell sources.....not the left wing BBC (even they admitted they were biased in their reporting) As for different opinions...no problem there....I just have a hard time conversing with people who aren't against tyranny....the enslavement of people by big brother government....the collective vs individual liberty and freedom.
60. not the left wing BBC (even they admitted they were biased in their reporting)
I gave you a number directly from the Home Office page. The BBC number I originally used was actually higher than the official number. I still proved that living in the UK is far safer than living in any major city in the US.
I just have a hard time conversing with people who aren't against tyranny
I don't support tyranny, that's a pretty pathetic excuse on your part. Btw, if you want to have a intelligent conversation I'm all ears.
Why don't you should try presenting a intelligent reasons as to why I'm wrong? Currently you've resorted to pathetic name calling while displaying a lack of an actual thought process.
61. Name calling....how sweet and endearing...it seem that when you hurl names, thats ok but when anyone correctly lablels you for who and what you really are, then it becomes name calling. How pathetic.....but then all libs/socialists/communists are pathetic. A good place for all of them would be on a nice, isolated island where they can all live in the collective....and enjoy their socialsim in peace and quiet. It would be nice to live in a world where good people wouldn't have to put up with those who desire to enslave them...but since socialism is like a cancer, it must be removed by any means necessary. Those of us who value liberty, freedom, individualism need to stand up to these fascist bullies. Again, by any means necessary. To all good American, have a great day and to all others, please move to Communist China or any other communist utopia. We will help pay your one-way ticket.