November 1, 2014
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My Take
One Man’s View on the News of the Week
Lonnie Barham

Governor Chafee may have lost whatever support he had behind allowing illegal immigrant students to pay in-state tuition rates. Those leaning in favor, an apparent minority of our citizens, are likely having second thoughts after Chafee announced he is open to issuing driving permits to illegal aliens. Fears that Rhode Island will become a sanctuary state (if it isn’t already) are obviously valid. From his opposition to police cooperation with federal immigration authorities, to the tuition issue, to driving permits, Chafee seems intent on paving the way for an influx of illegal immigrants that will further burden our social service and health care agencies and will lead to even higher taxes. He is clearly out of touch with the average taxpayer on these thorny issues.

Two activist groups and a union demonstrated outside Bank of America HQ in Providence protesting home foreclosures. The union (SEIU) says banks are at fault because “they started the economic crisis.” No, banks didn’t start the housing crisis! Left wing politicians like Barney Frank (D-MA) started it years ago by ramming laws through congress that required banks to issue mortgages to families who couldn’t afford the payments.

The Narragansett Indians now want to stop a 2012 statewide referendum on a full Twin River casino after its own attempt to change the state constitution failed. If gambling is good for our economy, let’s not favor Twin River or the Indians. Instead, let’s allow the market to decide. Whether we end up with one casino or ten, competition will be good for our economy.

Kudos to Warwick elected officials for listening to citizens on the car tax issue. The broad-based tax is fair because it spreads the burden of financing local government to include renters instead of relying solely on homeowners and businesses. Why not raise the exemption from $500 to $2,000 and tax cars at 80% of blue book value? This will protect renters whose economic situations are dire and will eliminate controversy over assessment of most vehicles. Further spending cuts will be necessary to offset the relatively small revenue loss.

A report this week compared the U.S. economy and its underlying support system to those of India. India moved from a stagnant economy 20 years ago that was held back by socialist underpinnings to a market-driven economy that now enjoys a whopping 8 percent annual growth rate. The U.S. seems to have moved in the opposite direction with its socialist-slanted government policies (think Obamacare) that hamper free markets and keep our growth rate barely above recession level. Could this juxtaposition of economic approaches be a harbinger of our devolution to third world status as China and India become the major players in the world economy?

Two men armed with pistols entered a convenience store in Johnston intent on robbing the owner. Surprise, surprise! The owner pulled out a pistol of his own. The would-be robbers dropped their weapons and crawled out of the store into the hands of an alert Johnston police officer who had seen the two men brandishing pistols. So, who still says the government should weaken our Second Amendment rights to protect ourselves with legal firearms?

Governor Chafee’s decision to not issue licenses to the three medical marijuana dispensaries he had chosen as Rhode Island’s compassion centers is nothing short of cowardly! The people of Rhode Island have spoken. The General Assembly has spoken. There is clear support for giving this kind of medical relief to the 4,000 RI citizens whose afflictions do not respond to normal pharmacology. Governors in four other northeast states have defied federal threats and opened such dispensaries. But Rhode Island, the bastion of freedom and independence at the birth of our nation, will roll over and accept its crushing by the federal boot.

A study released this week shows we are happiest in the morning and on weekends. Duh! Who could possibly have suspected that after a good night’s sleep and before confronting many of the day’s obstacles we might be a bit happier in the morning than in the afternoon? And, wonder of all wonders, that we might be even happier on weekends when work stress is absent? Is this a part of Obama’s jobs plan – to encourage employment of people to research the obvious?

Rhode Island taxpayers will pay consultants and outside lawyers $1.5 million for the upcoming decennial redistricting of legislative boundaries. Why can’t an appointed panel of diverse citizen volunteers and a few General Assembly staffers do this job? U.S. census data and available software programs provide the framework to redistrict without outside help, as many other states do. Experts contend that consultants are more often used when legislatures want to “gerrymander” the borders to favor reelection of incumbents. Is that the case with our Democrat-controlled General Assembly?

Is it any wonder that Rhode Island’s public service pension system has been allowed by the General Assembly to devolve over the past two decades to its current penniless state? Recent revelations that over two thirds of our elected legislators have conflicts of interest because of their own or a close relative’s public service employment should clearly tell us why excessive pension benefits have been voted in over the years. A classic example of the fox guarding the hen house!

NATO announced plans to end its involvement in Libya and leave “mop up” operations to the U.S. Here we go again! The U.S. involves itself with a coalition to militarily resolve a crisis situation only to be left holding the bag alone before the job is completed. While the U.S. may be hurting for jobs, it looks like our job as world policeman is still secure.

Lastly, in his unofficial reelection campaign – financed almost entirely by the taxpayers under the guise of “official travel” – President Obama is calling himself a “Warrior for the middle class.” Obama’s use of the word “warrior” to describe himself is an outright insult to every American who ever served in our country’s military, especially those real warriors who suffered and died for our country. He is certainly not a warrior and he is a darned poor advocate for the middle class. Obama’s actions during three years of a dysfunctional presidency have plunged the middle class deeper and deeper into economic distress. A “warrior” he is not!


Comments
1 comment on this item

Lonnie Barham you must be reading difeerent newspapers then I. City officials have done everything in their power to ignore the Car TAx Issue. Why don't you rethink your position about cutting spending so it is large enough so that the Car Tax would not be necessary?

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