Tag: Nansen Malin

The Plight of the Motor City Would Come as No Shock to Friedman

Since Detroit was already circling the drain when Milton Friedman was alive, he would hardly be surprised by its imminent arrival in bankruptcy court. It is, after all, the ultimate culmination of all the big government evils he warned of all his life.

A fierce critic of the government monopoly on education, he championed school choice as the solution to children stuck in the downward spiral of failing inner city schools. Detroit illustrates the end result of schools run more for the benefit of the employees than the kids. Despite ever increasing sums being spent the graduation rate is atrocious. It’s no wonder one study estimated that 47% of Detroit’s adults are illiterate.

As the auto unions ever-increasing demands drove the Big Three into the ground, Detroit responded by taxing businesses in the area even more. This started a vicious cycle of increasing taxes on business and property, leading to more of the tax base exiting the city, resulting in lower revenues and even higher taxes. Detroit now has the highest property taxes in Michigan, but almost half the property in the city is delinquent in paying them.

The loss of over half its population has left Detroit with a bloated, inefficient public sector. Hundreds of millions poured into the city by the federal and state governments did nothing to reform the city, and only seemed to increase corruption. Struggling to pay the costs of retirement and health care for its retired workers, Detroit does not have enough left to provide adequately for public safety and service workers it employs today.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, much of Detroit still believes in what Dr. Friedman called the “Free Lunch” fallacy: that money spent by the government is somehow created magically out of thin air. A prime example of this is the new proposed hockey rink for the Red Wings team. The hundreds of millions in subsidies for the new building are raised from taxing those in the city, and are funneled to a private corporation that owns the Red Wings. There is no added productivity, just money taken by the government from the people and redistributed; money that could have been spent more productively if left in their hands in the first place.

State Campaign Finance Investigators Recommend Dismissal of Complaint Against Conservative Group

The Washington State Public Disclosure Commission investigation staff today recommended dismissal of a complaint lodged by the State Democratic Party against Americans for Prosperity Washington relating to mailings the organization sent out in 2010. Although the PDC has yet to officially act upon its recommendation, but that action to put an end to the year-long inquiry could happen soon, perhaps after the commission hears the results of the investigation at their Dec. 8th meeting.

The decision comes as welcome news to current AFPW Chairperson Nansen Malin.

“AFP has always maintained that this was a frivolous complaint,” Malin told NW Daily Marker by email this afternoon. “I am pleased with the recommendation.”

The reaction from State Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz was considerably less exuberant:

“It is a travesty that the PDC staff took over a year to assess whether the unethical, behind-closed doors actions of the Koch Brother’s backed AFP-WA violated state law. AFP-WA was given a free-pass to influence the 2010 election cycle without a word from the state agency that is supposed to serve as our campaign finance watch-dog.

“Karl Rove, the Koch Brothers, and countless other right-wing organizations are planning to pour hundreds of millions in shady money into the 2012 election cycle. The PDC staff has just issued a road map as to how they can funnel their dirty politics into Washington State.”

The recommendation to dismiss turned on two key questions. First, did the activities of AFPW conform to the state’s legal definition of a political committee; second, were the mailers sent by AFPW in 2010 political independent expenditures or electioneering and therefore subject to limitations and disclosure requirements. The PDC’s report clearly answers each question: No and no.

The PDC determined that although AFPW did target Democratic candidates with their mailings, the content of the pieces did not solicit recipients to vote one way or another, but instead offered a general negative criticism of how each candidate had voted in the past, there was no call to action that could be called political advertising. The report finds that AFPW engaged in “issue advocacy,” and as such cannot be subject to government regulation.

You can read the entire PDC report here.

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[photo credit: dan taylor]

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