Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Thursday, August 17, 2017

What defines America?

Capitalism

Capitalism is a economic system that recognizes the sanctity of an individual's right to property in himself - what the framers of the Constitution and other thinkers before them called "natural laws."   Man's property in himself is not a right bestowed by government (laws), it is a gift from God, or in secular terms, it just is.  We are born with these natural rights.  Man's property in himself extends to the fruits of his labor (else he would be a slave) such as physical property, his thoughts and ideas, his life, his freedom to exist without restraint, and the right of happiness that comes from the freedoms expressed above.

Capitalism is the best economic system there is for preserving individual freedoms and property in oneself.  Other forms of collectivism make man subservient to government where the state controls what one's freedoms will or will not be.

I was attracted to this article about the dislike and opposition to capitalism that I see more and more of these days.  It astounds me that the benefits of and respect for capitalism are not being taught in schools as early as grade school as it was for most of us older folks.  Perhaps the counterculture movement made capitalism (personal liberty) seem a poor alternative to collectivism (socialism, progressivism, statism).  Unfortunately, without a educational education in economics and political science to show how economic systems define our political systems - and freedoms or lack there of -   collectivism and its variants have gained popularity.  Maybe it's a group thing - a virus of group think that disallows other ways of thinking. Or maybe this generation of teachers don't know what to teach.

I have been seeking to understand the appeal of collectivism since the basic freedoms we cherish in America are in opposition to this economic system.  If collectivism takes over directly or through regulation, we will have become a socialist tyranny.. or what fans refer to as utopia and justice, equity, etc..  This article offers one point of view as explained by a prominent market economist.  Visit the FEE website to read this article and many others.

Excerpts
Foundation for Economic Education, August 15, 2017. By Alberto Mingardi

Why Do So Many Intellectuals Oppose Capitalism?

Friedman also speaks on a matter which has likewise been pondered by many of his contemporaries: why intellectuals oppose capitalism.
To these questions, some have replied that the main reason is resentment (intellectuals expect more recognition from the market society than they actually get); some have pointed out that self-interest drives the phenomenon (intellectuals preach government controls and regulation because they'll be the controllers and regulators); some have taken the charitable view that intellectuals do not understand what the market really is about (as they cherish "projects" and the market is instead an unplanned order).
Friedman rejects the resentment view and proposes a version of the self-interest thesis by looking at the demand-side, so to speak. And it shows – behind the veil of his civility – very little consideration for the tastes of his fellow intellectuals for complex arguments, which seems to me quite a criticism.
Here's the passage:
REASON: Perhaps we can go back to your comment about intellectuals. What do you think of the thesis put forth by von Mises and Schoeck, that envy motivates many contemporary intellectuals' opposition to the free market?
FRIEDMAN: Well, I don't think we'll get very far by interpreting the intellectuals' motivation. Their critical attitudes might be attributed to personal resentment and envy but I would say that a more fruitful direction, or a more fundamental one, is that intellectuals are people with something to sell. So the question becomes, what is there a better market for? I think a major reason why intellectuals tend to move towards collectivism is that the collectivist answer is a simple one. If there's something wrong pass a law and do something about it. If there's something wrong it's because of some no-good bum, some devil, evil and wicked – that's a very simple story to tell. You don't have to be very smart to write it and you don't have to be very smart to accept it. On the other hand, the individualistic or libertarian argument is a sophisticated and subtle one. If there's something wrong with society, if there's a real social evil, maybe you will make better progress by letting people voluntarily try to eliminate the evil. Therefore, I think, there is in advance a tendency for intellectuals to be attracted to sell the collectivist idea.
REASON: It's paradoxical but people might then say that you are attributing to the collectivist intellectual a better feeling for the market.
FRIEDMAN: Of course. But while there's a bigger market for Fords than there is for American Motors products, there is a market for the American Motors products. In the same way, there's a bigger market for collectivist ideology than there is for individualist ideology. The thing that really baffles me is that the fraction of intellectuals who are collectivists is, I think, even larger than would be justified by the market.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Democrat candidates' views on property rights

and sound economic policy:

Warped, misinformed and dangerous.

At a Town Hall in LO last week, seven candidates for the vacant seat for House of Representative District 38 answered questions in front of members of the public.  I don't know why the forum took place since the winning candidate will be appointed by the Democrat Party and not through a public vote. Oh well.  As I read about the event in the LO Review, comments about housing naturally stood out.


The second question of the night focused on affordable housing policies. All of the candidates called for the state to take action to increase housing availability, although they emphasized different approaches.  If they were smart and did their homework. They would understand that the market is working to stabilize housing prices.  The problem with pro-government Democrats (and progressives and socialists) is that they see every problem as one government MUST get involved in.  They get into politics to grab the power and public money to further their own stupid ideas that sound vaguely like they ought to work;  their plans make them seem altruistic without having to be factual, logical or responsible for the consequences.  

If Democrats want to help with housing affordability, easing urban growth boundaries would be the biggest boost by increasing land availability and therefore cost of homes.  Maybe do something to help slow the demolition of sound, existing housing.  
Josephy said he supported the idea of rent control, but he worried that it would lead to unintended consequences and said combating gentrification needed to be a higher priority.  If the guy already knows there are "unintended" consequences, WHY does he support the idea of rent control?  Or does he just like the IDEA of rent control and understands that the reality sucks?  Can you really call negative consequences of rent control "unintended" if they are well-known to economists and housing experts?  I suppose politicians and progressives like to use the word "unintended" because their political ideas are more magical thinking than hard reality.  "Oh my, we didn't mean for that to happen!"

Nguyen argued that increasing the housing supply must be a focus of the discussion.   A Democrat who knows about how supply and demand works in the housing market!  Nothing magical about it.  
Simon said Democrats need to do more to put human faces and personal stories on the issue, Here I am!!  And there are plenty of other rental owners who have sad faces and pitiful stories too!  Rent control would seriously hurt US!  And if politicians don't think our personal stories - and property rights - are as important as renters', they will find that as they hurt landlords, the people they want to help will be dragged into the morass along with us.  Rent control is a lose-lose.  But don't take my word for it, read the personal testimonies of landlords HERE.  (Unfortunately there are no human faces on the digital documents, but any of the writers will be glad to talk the you personally.)

"Current law affords me flexibility and keeps financial risk to acceptable levels.
If HB 2004-a passes, I will need to add a line item to my expense budget for an attorney and add an allocation for the 3 times rent provision. I will never rent to less than qualified applicants again and I will take whatever rent increases are allowed in my community each year like clockwork.  In other words my base rents will rise, the frequency of rent increases  will be more frequent and my ability to give a break to future less than qualified applicants will be curtailed. ". Eric B.


"It is well known that government cannot provide affordable housing. Every time the try there homes or there apt end up costing about 3 times as much , it has been proven thousand of times. Every time there is a restrictive law punishing the land owner, there is less incentive to build or to invest into new or affordable housing. HB2004 will kill the goose that lays the golden egg. You liberal hens that control our state will be will be crying FOUL waving your arms asking what your are going to do about the diminishing middle class, the working poor, and homeless that you misguidedly created buy your idea of fairness. Tim M.


"Please stop with all the regulation trying to punish landlords and loosen up the restrictive regulation. I have lost two more properties in my portfolio from landlords fearing the new regulation and pulling properties out of the rental pool at a time when we need MORE properties to rent. It only HURTS the renters, not protects them."  Douglas O. 

"I strongly urge you to oppose HB 2004-A. The majority of my clients can't afford the real impacts that this bill would have on their investments and livelihood. These aren't rich, out-of- state investors. These are local, honest, good people who rent out their homes when they leave town, who inherited properties that they now offer as housing to others, or who have saved their hard-earned money to invest in their communities by offering high-quality housing.
These people don't deserve to have their hands tied. We live in a society that is founded on the principles of free speech, free market economy, and social justice. I firmly believe that all people deserve a roof over their head, a warm meal, and the right to exist. However, I don't think that the measures invoked by HB 2004-A do any justice. Rather, HB 2004-A strips landlords of their rights to manage their property and imbues local governments with the ability to set a "fair rate of return" on landlords' investments. This will unduly impact small landlords and will do nothing to address the real causes of the housing crisis.
Again, I strongly urge opposition to HB 2004-A. As an accountant, landlord, property manager, and lifelong Oregonian, I firmly believe that this legislation will negatively impact our state and our communities."  Adam K. A.

and Buck cited his own experiences in Lake Oswego as an example of the need for better housing policy. Many of his own employees are being forced to move further and further away from the restaurants he owns in the city, Buck said.  If Joe paid his employees more they could afford to live closer.  But how near are we talking about?  

$1353 / 2br - 884ft2 - 2b1b in Lake O! $300 Visa Gift Card + $99 dep oac! Avail Now N208 (Lake Oswego)  

 $1075 / 2br - 750ft2 - Beautiful 2 Bedroom 1 Bath Ready Today (Tualatin) 


 $1359 / 2br - 1035ft2 - ONE MONTH FREE!!! Newly Renovated Unit! Gorgeous Interior! (Wilsonville)  

 $995 / 1br - 510ft2 - 1 bedroom duplex sw portland close to Lewis and Clark college (9220 SW Terwilliger) 

Kohlhoff pointed to her candidacy for the Lake Oswego City Council last year, when she made affordable housing a centerpiece of her platform. She said she was warned that such a position would get a chilly reception in Lake Oswego, but she said the fact that she won a council seat shows that voters support new ways to improve housing, and she said she'd keep fighting for it if appointed.  Exactly what appreciation Kohlhoff's ideas to make housing affordable?  Does she believe like others who like rent control that private property owners should bear the burden for implementing her ideas? 
Salinas called for an end to no-cause evictions and referenced House Bill 2004, which would have ended no-cause evictions but failed to pass the state Senate in the most recent legislative session. She said its failure was "the biggest disappointment of the session" for her.   Of course politicians like appeasing tenants - but they don't have to put up with regulations that make business more difficult and therefore more expensive.  Government "help" doesn't help anyone.  
Ross cited his own experience as a longtime renter in Portland, saying housing costs in the city have more than doubled in the past six years alone, and he called for action to keep people from being priced out.  Any ideas that actually work?  Like encouraging builders to build more housing?  Release more land to build on?  Or does he support the tired progressive landlord punishment that hurts tenants?
"I'm fortunate enough to still be able to afford it," he said, "but I'm an outlier."   "Outlier", really?  This assumes that all of the people who can afford to rent in Portland are overwhelmingly outnumbered by those who cannot.  By this logic, all of the luxury apartments, and most of the mid-range units in Portland would be struggling to stay filled.  But then they'd lower their rents to raise occupancy.  None of that is happening, so Ross is talking through his hat.  I guess this is his mea culpa to the social justice crowd for being successful; He has to minimize his good fortune and most his own hard work.  What lame kind of thinking is this?  Democrats seem to demand a lot of self-loathing in order to be in good standing within their party.  


Seattle disregards safety of citizens


"Fair" Chance Housing?  Or a slap in the face?  
If you or a family member or friend is a renter (or owns rental property), how fair do you think Seattle's new housing code is that prohibits landlords from screening for criminal histories?  What about families and vulnerable people?  What about their civil rights and their right to live in a safe community?  BTW - peoplel living in federal housing must be screened.  Government: "You have to do what we say, but we have special rules just for us."  

There are a few populations that have extreme difficulty finding appropriate housing and could use a public option:  1) the indigent elderly and disabled, 2) the mentally ill and developmentally disabled who need some level of health care services, 3) the homeless, and 4) people with certain kinds of criminal histories who fail standard criminal background checks. 
  While affordable housing for the most financially needy can be solved with Section 8 Vouchers, the state and counties should support populations with special needs and perhaps assist landlords who voluntarily accept them.  Use carrots not sticks.  

People who engage in criminal behavior should not expect to enjoy the level of same trust as those who follow the rules.  After awhile, most, but not all, criminal offenses are dropped from a person's rental application - an incentive to not re-offend.

There must be consideration for regular tenants who deserve to live in a safe environment. Except in Seattle where political snowflakes rule and good people are ignored.  PC agendas be damned.  What will Seattle (or San Francisco or similar progressive places) look like in a decade after years of progressive rule?  A beautifully-situated Detroit perhaps.  


If I were a renter, I'd move to another jurisdiction just to be sure my neighbors had been screened.  If I owned an apartment in Seattle, I would be looking for ways to get out too. Goodby honest, hard-working people.  (Did they contribute to Seattle's ruination by voting for these knuckleheads?)  Will more people with criminal histories find Seattle more welcoming now?  Unintended consequences abound.

 SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL


Full Council Meeting Agenda

Monday, August 14, 2017

2:00 PM
Council Chamber, City Hall 600 Fourth Avenue Seattle, WA 98104


Bruce Harrell, Council President Sally Bagshaw
Tim Burgess
M. Lorena González
Lisa Herbold
Rob Johnson
Debora Juarez
Mike O'Brien
Kshama Sawant 


 City Council Meeting Agnea Item 3:

AN ORDINANCE relating to housing regulations; adding a new Chapter 14.09 (Fair Chance Housing) to the Seattle Municipal Code to regulate the use of criminal history in rental housing; authorizing the Seattle Office for Civil Rights to enforce the regulations set out in this new chapter; and amending Section 3.14.931 of the Seattle Municipal Code to expand the Seattle Human Rights Commission’s duties.

The Committee recommends that Full Council pass as amended the Council Bill (CB).

In Favor: 6 - Herbold, Sawant, O'Brien, Bagshaw, González , Juarez

 
Opposed: None


Summary and Fiscal Note
Summary Att 1 - Racial Equity Toolkit - Fair Chance Housing 


  1. The legislation requires a business justification when a landlord takes an adverse action based on an applicant’s conviction record that is less than two years old or on an adult applicant’s status on a sex offender registry. The legislation also addresses requirements on the landlord to ensure the applicant is given notice of this law, and an opportunity to correct erroneous records. The legislation includes exemptions for certain types of housing and federal requirements


c. Is there financial cost or other impacts of not implementing the legislation?
Yes. Not implementing this legislation means that individuals will continue to face barriers to housing. We know these barriers have resulted in homelessness for many in our community. Beyond the many other reasons for addressing this issue that are outlined in the Racial Equity Toolkit, there is a financial cost to not ensuring people who face these barriers can secure stable and safe housing. 


  1. Is a public hearing required for this legislation?
    No. 

  1. Does this legislation require landlords or sellers of real property to provide information regarding the property to a buyer or tenant?
    Yes, the legislation includes a provision requiring the landlord to notify the tenant in writing on the application of the new law. Once the legislation is passed, SOCR will place a summary of the ordinance with a link to the chapter in the Seattle Municipal Code on our website. We will send this information to Municipal Research Services to have it included in ordinances applying within Seattle city limits. 

  1. Does this legislation affect a piece of property?
    No. 

  1. If this legislation includes a new initiative or a major programmatic expansion: What are the specific long-term and measurable goal(s) of the program? How will this legislation help achieve the program’s desired goal(s).
    N/A. 


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Why we should keep OUR PUBLIC golf course

Gobble up some of the City's golf course?  For what?  

What could be so important that the City Council would rip this valuable resource out from under our feet without a vote?  Nothing that I can tell.  Land is the most precious commodity we have, and once it's gone, we can't get it back except without a huge investment and great disruption.  But what makes the Council think that the golf course is expendable - all or just a portion of it?

So the park facility doesn't turn a profitL  So what?  How much money does Waluga Park make?  Sundaleaf Park?  How about Pinecone Park or Westridge Park? The  Kincaid Curlique?  You get my drift.  Parks are amenities for citizens, not profit-making enterprises for the City's General Fund (used primarily for staff wages, retirement and benefits.).   Preserving, not chopping up our public assets is the City Council's job!  Yes, it takes money.  And yes, there can be cuts made to the budget that would bring our costs more in line with area cities.

Most of all, there is an equity issue about having a public golf course.  Without these - THIS - assets, only the wealthy have access to the sport through private clubs.  The same argument is true for having a community swimming pool, which also loses money.   Take away these money-losers, and only a very few elites can enjoy the sports.

Has Lake Osweg become so wealthy, selfish and discnnected that average residents are of no consequence?  We have ours - we shouldn't have to pay for yours too.  We don't do that with public education (what a money-loser that is!).

But the BIG LIE is that interest in golf is waning.  (Read articles below.). The myth that golf is on the wane is being repeated here as a cover to take our golf course away, or are from people who have not done their homework.  Lake Oswego has a unique asset.  We also have "almost three times the national average" of use at the course!  Where is the fire?  What is going on?

If you like having the golf course, even if you don't currently use it - if you use any Park that doesn't produce a profit  - if you use any public facility at all or think it is a good idea to have them, let your Mayor and City Councilors know.  NOW!  (Just wondering - how many of them are gofers and have access to or money for private facilities?)   Let people believe that government can be a good steward of valuable resources that should belong to all of the people, but we are only as safe as the last election.  Let's not allow our public golf course to slip away.
Here is the start of a Lake Oswego Review article from August 3 2017,  By Anthony Mauck

Council tees up range of options for Lake 

Oswego Municipal Golf Course

Closing the facility is 'off the table,' but a new configuration or added features are possible

Interest in golf is slowing nationwide, and that's creating a conundrum for the staff and officials in charge of Lake Oswego's Municipal Golf Course. 
Despite being used by 9 percent of the city's population last year — almost three times the national average — the site's overall usage has been in decline, and it now costs the City roughly $182,000 annually to operate an amenity that used to pay for itself.

Now compare that to an article in Forbes Magazine, January 23, 2017. By Erik Matuszewski

Here's Why We Should Be Bullish About Golf In 2017

Golf has a big problem.  
It’s the pervasive – and lazy -- narrative that the sport is dying. It’s not just misguided, it’s wrong
But it’s a story often regurgitated because golf is an easy target, with detractors saying it’s too slow, too expensive and too exclusionary. The naysayers insist the sport must be in its death throes because participation is down, more golf courses are closing than opening, Golfsmith filed for bankruptcy and Nike stopped making clubs. Those things clearly aren’t positives, but the issue is that they never seem to come with proper context.
The reality is that the good in the game right now far outweighs the negatives, which is why – during the week of a PGA Merchandise Show that draws more than 1,000 passionate exhibitors to Orlando – we should be bullish on golf in 2017. There are, in fact, plenty of reasons for optimism.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Have a star party this weekend!

Check out this site for stargazing apps, tips on how to take photos of the meteor showers and the night sky, locations and times for OMSI viewing parties, and more.

Oregonlive, August 9, 2017

Don't forget about the Perseid meteor shower 2017 (photos, video)

According to space.com, peak viewing occurs this year during the predawn hours of Aug. 12 and 13. Of all the meteor showers, the Perseid is the most well-known, and can produce roughly 80 meteors an hour in normal years. This year, however, the moon may limit visibility to 40 to 50 meteors per hour. The meteor shower technically runs from July 14 to Aug. 24. 

If you're up for giving it a try, all you need is a spot that offers a wide view of the sky with as little artificial light as possible and the ability to stay up late.

Meteor showers are caused when Earth passes through trails of debris left behind by comets — the Perseid shower is caused by Comet Swift-Tuttle. As the tiny bits of debris burn up in our atmosphere, some 30 to 80 miles up, they create brilliant streaks of light across the night sky.

Bay Area housing growth: Government regulations inhibit housing production and increase costs

Vital Signs, Metropolitan Transportation Commission (Bay Area)

Housing Growth

In contrast to population statistics, which reveal past trends, information on housing permits acts as a leading indicator of likely growth in the near future. During the period of expansive growth across the Bay Area over the last half-century, most of the permitted units in the region were single-family homes. As growth returns to Big Three cities, permitting rates have shifted toward a prevalence of multi-family homes, which range from duplexes to apartment buildings. This trend is most noticeable in cities closest to the Bay. Most of the units permitted today will be constructed in the next few years.

19,800  units were permitted in the Bay Area in 2015.
    63%  of units permitted in 2015 were multi-family units.
       #3   Dublin permitted the third-largest number of units from 2010 through 2015.
      -10   housing units permitted declined by10% between 2013 and 2015.
      1/3  The Bay Area permits 1/3 the number of housing units per capita as 
              Houston (the national leader for this measure.)*
    41%  of units permitted in 2015 were located in Inland, Costal and Delta regions 
                 (farthest from San Francisco Bay). 
  Regional Performance 
Permits for new housing remain well below levels seen in the 1970s and 1980s, despite an affordability crisis and a significantly larger population.
The Bay Area housing market has clearly rebounded from the Great Recession, as reflected by the nearly 20,000 permits issued in 2015. Still, permit levels remain 26 percent lower than just one decade ago and well below the peaks of the 1970s and 1980s. Over the long term, much of this decline is attributable to slowing development patterns in Contra Costa and Alameda counties – as the region’s mid- and late-20th century suburban communities were built out. North Bay counties saw similar slowdown in units permitted. In Sonoma County, for example, the total number of units permitted has dwindled as single-family residential development declined in Santa Rosa.
 Local Focus 
Multi-family housing constitutes the majority of new units in the Bay Area, especially in cities encircling San Francisco Bay.
Since 2010, a whopping 95 percent of housing permits approved in the region’s three largest cities – San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland – were for multi-family development. This is a significant shift from just 25 years ago, when only 55 percent of approved units in San Jose and Oakland were multi-family. The shift towards multi-family development is not limited to the “Big Three” cities though. Other communities encircling San Francisco Bay increased their share of multi-family housing permits from 44 percent in the 1990s to 69 percent in the past five years.
 National Context 
Houston, Dallas, Atlanta and Washington have permitted housing units at significantly higher rates than the Bay Area since 1990.
For the last two decades, Houston and Dallas* have remained powerhouses for housing production, permitting double or triple the number of housing units per capita compared to our region. Atlanta, once the nation’s leader in housing permits, was hit hard by the Great Recession. While it has experienced a modest recovery since 2013, it remained well below its 1990s rate of housing production.

USC NOTE: * Texas prohibits rent control.  Only 4 states plus Wash. D.C. allow rent control: New York, California, Maryland, New Jersey, Washington DC 

Progressivism: Destabilizing, unAmerican, and dangerous

15 years ago, Larry P. Arrn wrote this article for Imprimis, the free monthly speech digest of Hillsdale College and is dedicated to educating citizens and promoting civil and religious liberty by covering cultural, economic, political, and educational issues.  

The excerpts from this article briefly summarize the origins of and philosophies of Progressivism, a malignant deviation from our American Constitution's rights, our heritage, and protections from growth of government control.  By perverting Constitutional concepts of individual rights, Progressives have spun a new identity for Americans and their relationship to government.  In doing so, Progressivism has made government, specially at the federal level, a culturally divisive force that seeks to control our behavior according to a new set of values.  

While the ideas expressed in Progressivism are not new to the world, they are "new" to American mainstream politics, having crept in over the last century, gaining more social legitimacy as attested by the growing favorable view of Socialism, which is antithetical to the Constitution and our Founders' beliefs and intent.  This article is but one of many that explains the rejection of our foundational rights and the cultural divide.  If schools don't value our heritage and spread these new, perverted ideas, how will we be able to live as a free people unencumbered by government power and force?   

From 2002: After fifteen years, the disintegration of fundamental Americanism is even more profound and dangerous.     





Our Responsibility to America

Imprimis, Hillsdale College

Larry P. Arnn is the twelfth president of Hillsdale College. He received his B.A. from Arkansas State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in government from the Claremont Graduate School. From 1977 to 1980, he also studied at the London School of Economics and at Worcester College, Oxford University, where he served as director of research for Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill. From 1985 until his appointment as president of Hillsdale College in 2000, he was president of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy. He is the author of Liberty and Learning: The Evolution of American EducationThe Founders’ Key: The Divine and Natural Connection Between the Declaration and the Constitution; and Churchill’s Trial: Winston Churchill and the Salvation of Free Government.

First published in 1972, Imprimis is one of the most widely circulated opinion publications in the nation with over 3.6 million subscribers.

The Crisis in America Today

   First, let us look at America. Right now it is engaged in a great battle. It is not only the obvious and urgent battle with terrorism, but also a battle over the meaning of the country itself. This battle concerns certain key words that have ever been identified with our nation. Words—ideas and principles—are at the heart of our nation. Over the course of history, our geography has changed massively. Our population has grown manyfold, and as at the beginning we are a nation of immigrants and their children. Yet somehow America has a definite meaning, a meaning in principle that can be measured in practice.
One day every summer we celebrate the making of our country. As John Adams predicted, this day is the anniversary of a document that states the purposes of our nation. Abraham Lincoln once spoke of a “central idea” in America, from which all of our “minor thoughts radiate.” The Declaration of Independence called this idea a “self-evident truth.” It is the idea that each of us is equally a child of God, born the same kind of creature, and so equal with respect to our rights.

We have these key terms—rights, equality, liberty. And at certain times in our history we have a pivotal debate about what these terms mean. The political party commanding a majority has changed but a few times in our history, each time after such a debate. At Hillsdale College we like to say that “ideas have consequences.” These are the ideas that have the most profound consequences.
These words do not refer merely to theories, detached from how we live and act and think. These ideas live in our hearts, and grow up with us in our homes and families. Americans are, after all, a distinctive people. They start businesses more often than other people do. They give to charity more often than other people do. They think, or they have thought, that their own families and their own neighborhoods, their own businesses and their communities, are their own things to direct and to nurture. They do not look to others to tell them how to manage their own affairs. They know how to compete with each other and cooperate with each other at the same time, energetically and with good will. They prefer doing things of their own volition and by themselves. They do not like war, but when they are compelled to fight they make good warriors for the same reason that they make good business people or good neighbors, and they can be ruthless. This is the American character.

The New Idea of America

  That is the old idea of America. Now there is a new idea. According to it, human nature is not fixed but evolves. Furthermore, this evolution comes to be something that we ourselves control. To believe that man can control his evolution is to believe in effect that we can create ourselves. We can take the place of God. This way of thinking comes to us from German historicism, but in America it became known as progressivism. Early in the last century it began to take over the academic world. Gradually it took over the Democratic Party and got a very powerful influence on the government.
These ideas, too, are not just theories, debated in the ivory tower. Hillary Clinton gave a commencement speech at the University of Texas in April of 1993. . The central point of this speech is the need to “redefine who we are as human beings in this post-modern age,” something that requires “remolding society” and “reinventing our institutions.” And of course the engine of all this change is government.

Compare this with the doctrine in the Declaration of Independence that human beings have a certain nature, that they may be governed only in a certain way, and that whatever the location or period of history, any government that does not govern people in that way is wrong.
Just as the old understanding of government implied a certain kind of Constitution and way of life, so the new understanding implies a different kind of Constitution and way of life. Today, the Constitution hardly functions at all as a limit on the actions of the federal government. We citizens expect different things from the government, and tolerate actions by it that would have outraged our fathers. Think, for example, what has become of our property rights. The Founders saw property rights as a sort of summary of all our rights. Where the right to property is protected, entrepreneurship flourishes, and people are able to care for themselves. If it is not protected, then for the same reason freedom of speech and worship and equality of justice will suffer, too.
 In 1944, Franklin Roosevelt gave a speech about a “new bill of rights,” founded upon “new self-evident truths.” Notice the use of the language of the Declaration, but now put to a new purpose. One of these new rights is that a farmer should be guaranteed a price for his crops. This is the idea that has produced the mohair subsidy and the annual payments to farming corporations. Roosevelt presents this as an extension of the old rights protected in our Constitution, but in fact it is the abnegation of those rights. It inspires a battle in society over who gets what from the government, or rather, from the taxpayer. The easy path to wealth is to become a member of a protected class. The distortions this breeds in the economy are massive, and they grow steadily. Whereas the old idea of rights—that they can only include things that do not take from another—breeds harmony in society, so the new idea breeds conflict.
The same thing is happening in the political system. Because we have the first purely representative government ever built, we must rely entirely upon elections to control the government. Today elections are managed ever more tightly, and notoriously with a purpose to affect who wins. In the last two months, federal regulators ruled that Jay Leno and David Letterman will not violate election law if they joke about candidates just prior to an election. But of course a government that can rule that this is legal, may soon rule that it is not. Meanwhile, electoral issues move steadily into the courts, where lawyers and judges may decide who can run and who will win. Just recently the New Jersey Supreme Court, the same court that ruled that the Boy Scouts of America may not exclude homosexual scoutmasters, permitted a party to substitute a popular candidate for an unpopular one, after the statutory time limit had expired. If this continues, elections will become like relay races at a track meet.
I will mention later federal education policy, which now dictates to almost every college in the land about the most minor details. It has developed in just the same way as most of the other interminable intrusions of the federal administrative system into things that were previously private or local.
How does this new understanding affect our national character? Have you noticed that we are not as apt as we used to be to take care of our families for ourselves? Have you noticed that we are not as apt as we used to be to resent subsidy of ourselves by the government? Have you noticed that we are not as apt as we used to be to think that there’s a standard of uprightness to which we are to conform? Ride the back roads across America and notice how many buildings have been built to house federal bureaucracies. In the 30 years since Imprimis was founded, the U.S. economy has grown in real terms two-and-one-half times, while the federal government has grown eight times.

What Are We to Do?

In the beginning, certain ideas were powerful in shaping our nation and forming its character. At key moments in our history, these ideas have been controversial. Their meaning has been debated and the future has been shaped by the course of these debates. Today the meaning of these terms has been claimed for a new cause, a cause contradictory to their first meaning.
Education has always been important in these debates. In a nation of ideas, it matters decisively what is thought, especially by those who teach the young, especially those among the young who are likely to become leaders. For instance, if young people go to college with the understanding that they have a right to go, and therefore that someone else is obliged to pay for it, they learn a lesson about the meaning of rights. If they go to a college where their scholarships and loans are provided by private citizens, who give their money voluntarily, and if they are asked to write thank you letters to those benefactors, they learn something else.
We have big government today because of a vain attempt to replace the authority of the “laws of nature and of nature’s God” with the authority of lawmakers—no, with the authority of regulators. We will turn back from that attempt, or we will lose the ability to exercise our rights and control our government.
Woodrow Wilson, a leading figure in progressivism, called our Declaration of Independence “obsolete.” But he, like Franklin Roosevelt and more recently the Clintons, understood the power of its terms. They used those terms for new purposes. They altered their meaning, and by that means, over two generations, revolutionized the constitutional system.
It is an important fact that the debate they began has not yet been completed. Though the aims of the progressive movement have been far advanced, they have not been fully won. Their advocates have fought a long battle with the conservative forces in the land, among whom Hillsdale College has been proudly ranked for over 30 years. Thus the American people still live for the most part in love of liberty, in vigorous enterprise, in respect for God, in devotion to the common-sense understanding of right and wrong. Osama bin Laden is the latest in a line of tyrants to believe that our soul has been corrupted and when attacked we will run away. Like those before him, he has learned that we are a people in whom courage, and all the other virtues too, still thrive.
If then we are not to despair, we should learn the lessons of the past. To keep our freedom, we must study with renewed diligence the principles that make it right. We should learn again to use the tools bequeathed to us. We should talk and act like Americans, loving our country, respecting that Providence upon whom our Fathers called, and keeping faith in the Right, as God gives us to see it.
The history of Hillsdale College is in fact nothing other or less than the telling, on a smaller scale, of the history of our nation. Because we have held fast to the faith of our original creed, we have been in conflict now for a long time with the government that we have also fought bravely, at every time of need, to preserve. We are not given other tools than study and learning, prayer and devotion, argument and action, with which to defend our liberty. If a little College can stand for that through war and trial, anyone can do it.
There is the hope. There is the method. We at Hillsdale College will abandon neither.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Human Nature not important

Myopic Vision, Magical Thinking, or Malicious Intent?

There is nothing on the article, and quite possibly in he ODOT report that addresses th spillover to alternate routes when tolling is introduced.  What would the impact be on Lake Oswego roadways?

Just guessing, but I predict that:
  • Boones Ferry Road, including Kerr Parkway  (from Tualatin to Barbie Boulevard) would pick up more traffic until it too was choked;  
  • Highway 42 from Oregon City and West Linn to Portland would be far worse,; and 
  • Stafford to Highway 43 or Childs Road and Bryant Road to Boones Ferry would see their share of increased traffic. 
Any route that connects to another that gets into Portland or goes East and West through Portland's southern suburbs outdoor be crowded.  ODOT, Tri-Met and Metro routinely and conveniently choose to ignore human nature when planning their projects.  Whatever they plan is what is supposed to happen.  We bend to govrnment's will.

Have all options been tried?  Express buses, bus rapid transit. advantageous traffic signaling for buses, HOV lanes separated from the main freeway, lanes that change direction with rush hour traffic flows?  NO. Time to call your state and federal representatives.  

Toll roads are a good idea in cities where roadways have kept pace with growth over the years, or where there is enough room to build a toll road.  A private enterprise has built a toll alongside an existing roadway to provide convenience to frustrated drivers in Austin, Texas. Investors expect to make money, all with the City and State's blessing.  They are on the hook to make the project pencil out;  Private companies build and operate better than government-run projects, so capitalism o a market-based approach will be better run and financed from the start.  

Portland Trubune, July 27, 2017 By Peter Wong. 
Freeway tolls loom for metro motorists 

Portland-area motorists face the possibility of tolls on Interstate 5 and Interstate 205 as part of a $5.3 billion transportation package approved by the state Legislature earlier this month — but not until 2019 after a study is completed, and only if the Federal Highway Administration says it's OK. 
The multibillion-dollar plan for transportation projects also requires the Oregon Department of Transportation to report by February — six months away — how much it will cost to widen I-205 between Stafford Road and the George Abernethy Bridge and to reinforce the bridge against severe earthquakes. 
But unlike two other major highway projects proposed in the region, the transportation plan provides no specific funding for that work. Some money for I-205 was included in an initial version that proposed $8.2 billion in spending over 10 years, but it was dropped in the final proposal.
If the federal agency says yes, the state commission must inform lawmakers and implement the proposal. No public vote is required.

"What they entail is charging a price for the use of a transportation facility that varies based on the time of day or the level of congestion on the facility," said Travis Brouwer, ODOT's assistant director for public affairs. "We need to develop some form of variable-rate pricing of roads that would help address some of our congestion concerns."

ODOT's Brouwer said there are other considerations for tolls, such as billing, collecting and customer service, which ODOT is likely to contract out. 
"It may not pencil out in certain areas. There are a lot of components that go into whether something is viable," said Tammy Baney of Bend, the state transportation commission chairwoman and a Deschutes County commissioner. "But I think we are at a crossroads in Oregon. We need to look at all options to make sure we are exhausting those and taking into consideration all factors."