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Posts Tagged → accountable

Property Tax Accountability

Yesterday a majority of Pennsylvania voters passed a referendum, the first step in amending the Pennsylvania constitution to allow for a much fairer property tax situation.

The current Pennsylvania property tax arrangement is backwards, dating either from the 9th Century or the 1720s, either way fundamentally unfair to home owners.

Perhaps in the 9th Century or the 1720s owning a home or property was a big deal and unusual, indicating great wealth. Taxing the source of that great wealth may have made sense a thousand years ago or three hundred years ago, but today’s America bears no similarity to those bygone worlds.

In fact, one of the great things about America is that our form of capitalism distributes the greatest amount of wealth to the greatest number of people, based on one’s willingness to work hard. This is the heart of American meritocracy, and home ownership in a meritocracy is widespread, not unique. Owning your own home is an American standard, a basic goal of all Americans.

And so punitively taxing the very emblem of meritocracy is an artifact of the feudal society America rejected in 1776.

But Pennsylvania home taxes are now so high that people are essentially renting their homes from the government.

No matter if you buy your home with cash, build it yourself on property that has been in your family, or buy it with a mortgage that you eventually pay off, you still must pay incredibly burdensome property taxes that bear no relationship to the actual costs your home might (or might not) impose on the surrounding community.

Property taxes are now a form of rent. And if you run out of money to pay the government rent, the government can come and steal your home from you and sell it cheap to someone else.

The unpleasant truth is, your home is now a cash cow for others.

Teacher’s unions and their pet career politicians are the primary beneficiaries of the current property tax arrangement, rooted as it is in the government threat to steal your home if you don’t pay their crazy rent. Current property taxes are conveniently off the books, coerced from unwilling serfs, and paid to unaccountable government employees who by all standards are primarily failing.

Most government-run schools are disasters, failing to deliver on the most basic educational results, and yet the tax-paying public is constantly told that we must pay ever yet more money “for the kids.” And here in PA, the teachers automatically must pay the unions, and the unions then dump our own tax money into buying yet more career politicians to work against our interests.

Something has to give.

This is more about making government tax collection accountable to the people who pay the taxes, than it is about total tax reduction. Right now there is zero accountability for property tax expenditures or increases. Greedy unions control almost the entire process.

Unaccountable government schools continue to underperform and yet demand more and more money. The government schools oppose all forms of competition because they are committed more to holding onto their own power than they are to the success of the children they are supposed to educate. The way property taxes support this shameful situation serves everyone involved except the children and the taxpayers.

Something has to change.

The Pennsylvania of the 21st Century cannot continue to live under an ancient feudal arrangement. It is not fair, it is not sustainable, it is not good government.

We all deserve better.

Rolling Stone & Gawker decisions are a good first step

First it was Gawker, the sensationalist “new media” icon that abandoned decency to make an extra few pennies. Along the way of Gawker’s brutal path lay strewn the unfairly damaged reputations of many innocent people, including homosexuals who wanted their private lives to remain private.

When Hulk Hogan sued Gawker and won a huge award that reflected the cruelty they had inflicted on him, normal people rejoiced.

Today Rolling Stone magazine has been held accountable for a fabricated story about an alleged rape at the University of Virginia campus.

Turned out, everything in that story was false. A federal court jury assigned a huge award to the very real victims of that story, and more victims will be coming forward to hold the fake journalists responsible for their assault on truth and justice.

These are good steps in the correct direction. It is time the other media outlets were also similarly held accountable for their fake “reporting” on political and cultural subjects. The willful misconduct now being represented as honest reporting is damaging American democracy. All this pro-Clinton anti-Trump political activism masquerading as  impartial, professional journalism counts as an illegal and unaccounted trillion dollar donation to the Clinton campaign. Time to clean this up.

Every day now new facts leak out from the FBI and the New York City police department. Computer files demonstrate how utterly corrupt and evil Clinton is and those who surround her. America was not designed to withstand official corruption aided and abetted by the media complex. And the official mainstream media news blackout about the corruption emanating from the White House is exactly that: Aiding and abetting

Without a public airing of this dirty laundry, America cannot cleanse itself and right the ship. Political coverups are like initial murders. The collateral murders that follow as the perpetrators try to cover their tracks are where the real damage is done.

Here we have a growing pile of evidence of the worst sort of illegal deeds, and the people who don’t want to be held responsible are making official government decisions to stop the inquiries.

Only the media can let the American people know, and yet they are blocking the news. What is the cost of this crime? What is the penalty?

Holding news “reporters” accountable

Liberal news propaganda outlet Politico attacked a guy who is a part-time actor and full-time lawyer.  He appeared in a political ad.  That was his sole exposure to politics.  Politico’s Jonathan Martin called him a pornographer, but the movie is an intentionally Z-rated horror film.

Since when do private citizens get treated like politicians?

How do we hold accountable reporters like those as Politico?

It’s doubtful that reporters want to be held to the same standard they apply to their victims.

Today I got into a back-and-forth with yet another liberal reporter.  He wrote a story about carrying concealed guns, and I was quoted.  I objected to his obvious bias.  He would not accept the truth that he is a political activist, and not a news reporter.  Nice enough guy, but like so many in the news business, he’s dedicated to his version of the truth, not to accuracy, not to giving all sides equal opportunity.

At some point, we need to start digging around on the private behavior of activists who represent themselves as objective reporters.  Let’s hold them to the standard they hold everyone else to.  Or they can begin to provide truth in advertising, and be honest about their personal views that shape their writing about other people they usually disagree with.