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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A Practical New Years Resolution for Conservatives

Happy New Year!

With a new year always comes a plethora of resolutions, most of which will fall by the wayside in short order. I propose a simple one for Conservatives in 2008: start to make progress in the dismantling of the nanny state at all levels of government.

How often does government stick its nose where it doesn't belong? Have you ever contemplated doing something to benefit yourself, your family, or your business only to realize that you had better forget it because some level of government forbids it or has implemented policies that make it financially unrealistic? How much more disposable income would you have if the government only took what was needed for legitimate government services and got out of the redistribution of wealth business?

Everyone of us is impacted every day, more often than not negatively, by the runaway bureaucracies and political empires that have been built at all levels of government through direct laws that often don't pass Constitutional muster at the federal and state levels, regulatory enforcement by the myriad of acronym alphabet soup government agencies at both the federal and state level (e.g., EPA, EEOC, IRS, DOT), local PITA government and quasi-government entities (e.g., League of Minnesota Cities, Metropolitan Council), and inane local government laws and ordinances.

A glaring example of out-of-control Federal government is the recent energy bill. In addition to mandating vehicle fuel economy and "alternate" energy development, the bill sets into the motion the eventual outlawing of the standard incandescent light bulb! Aside from the outright stupidity of the legislation, since when did the federal government get the Constitutional authority to make such edicts?

The nanny state is also well entrenched at the state level. How many of our rights and liberties have been eliminated or constrained in the name of "public safety", political correctness, and the building and maintenance of the Minnesota welfare state? Do we really want or need state government to mandate politically correct and intellectually dishonest "green" policies that are going to drive businesses out of the state and raise food and energy prices? Do we want to let the state dictate (i.e. the root word of "dictator") where we can and can't smoke (an activity that is still legal regardless of whether or not we do inhale) on private property or who we have to let use our restrooms?

As bad as the situation has gotten at the federal and state level, local governments are also out of control. Fortunately the local level of government is the one we citizens have the most influence and control over, so it is a good place to start to bring back limited government. Hopefully if enough local governments are reformed momentum will build to take on the larger challenges presented by the state and feds.

Here in New Brighton our city government is an out of control command-and-control bureaucracy. Not withstanding the well documented abuse of eminent domain, the we-know-better-than-the-private-sector arrogance that drives the NWQ disaster, and the burgeoning reputation of being a "speed trap" town, the city is plagued by an unfriendly business environment. With a seemingly endless litany of laws and ordinances that often force businesses and property owners to repeatedly play the "City Council, may I?" game for matters that should be none of the city's business, is it any wonder that people find neighboring communities more conducive to doing (and staying in) business or owning property?

A couple of months ago Councilmember Gina Bauman, owner of the Cuppachiodos coffee shop, was forced to take down some portable (approximately 3 ft. tall) sandwich signs that advertised her offerings due to an inadvertent violation of an obscure city sign ordinance. Ironically, for three years the signs were never deemed a problem until Mayor Larson called it to the attention of another coffee shop owner who (coincidentally, I'm sure) just happened to be a political supporter. As a result of the sudden interest in enforcing the silly ordinance, the common practice of sandwich sign advertising by several businesses in the area has been quashed. Interestingly, the signs in question can be legally displayed (for a limited time) if owner pays the appropriate ransom fee to the city. Never mind that business owners already pay a large amount in taxes and fees for the privilege of owning and operating a business.

Imagine that! Bureaucrats in New Brighton city government think they should be able to control speech displayed on a simple sign on private property (or at least put a price tag on it)! Yes, "they the government" legally can do it, but only because "we the people" allow them to! Contrary to what appears to be the prevailing attitude at city hall, city government works for us, not the other way around!

A new New Brighton City Council will be seated in 2008, with a make-up much more conducive to limiting government than it has been in a long time. We need to let our elected officials know what we want (and don't want) and make it clear that we demand it (feel free to remind our very politically driven Mayor Larson that 55% of the voters voted for someone else last election). New Brighton also has a bunch of unelected commissions that in the past appeared to have undue influence over city government. We need to work with our elected officials to reign in this bureacratic excess into accountability with the voters.

Don't get me wrong. I support the necessity for limited government that protects and promotes life, liberty, and property rights. Problems arise when government at any level expands its "mission" beyond its legitimate functions. The result is the very same lives, liberties, and property rights that it is supposed to protect are often threatened.

It will be a long tough process, but we can begin to make progress in turning things around by holding elected officials accountable for their actions and ousting those up for re-election (e.g. Representative Kate Knuth, Congresswoman Betty McCollum, possibly Senator Norm Coleman) who promote and propagate the nanny state.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

2008 the year of a smelly boot

1/02/2008 8:33 AM  
Blogger Right Hook said...

Just how do people like Anonymous come up with such witty and intelligent commentary (not to mention such a creative handle)? It must help to have an IQ that is straining to make double digits.

The only reason I let your breathtakingly substantive comment through was to illustrate how much work needs done by Conservatives because people like you vote.

Feel free to lurk on some other blog as we encourage intelligent discourse on this one.

1/02/2008 11:55 AM  
Anonymous Centerfield said...

Two comments:

1) What size boot does Mayor McCheese's rear end wear?

2) Anyone else notice signs erected throughout the city - by the City - promoting some health fair? Are these signs in compliance with the city sign ordinance? They are actually on sidewalks preventing me from passing without stepping into deep snow!

1/02/2008 2:44 PM  

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