Grassroot Perspective – Aug. 6, 2003-The Issue; When a ‘Tax Cut’ Isn’t One; Blair to Risk British Sovereignty Without a Vote; Fly the Not-So-Friendly Skies; Environment & Climate News

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“Dick Rowland Image”

”Shoots (News, Views and Quotes)”


– The Issue

The California Department of Education has backed away from a
controversial claim that homeschooling is illegal in the state. While
homeschooling has proven a popular and effective method for teaching
children, the practice is not addressed by the state’s laws.
Homeschoolers contend they comply with the law when they register their
homeschools as private schools. But until recently, the California
Department of Education claimed that “homeschooling is not legal in
California.” As a result, several parents have been charged with truancy
for educating their own children.

The Department of Education has dropped its claim that homeschooling is
illegal and removed itself from enforcement of truancy laws. From now
on, local school districts will determine their own policies in regard
to homeschoolers.

While not a complete victory for homeschooling, this shift leaves
homeschoolers free from fear of prosecution in homeschool-friendly
school districts, and it removes a state-backed legal position that
fueled the efforts of districts opposed to homeschooling.

The above article is quoted from Internet Education Exchange Education
Alert June 04, 2003

– When a ‘Tax Cut’ Isn’t One

It sounds like a bad joke told by an economically literate stand-up
comic: When is a “tax cut” not really a tax cut? When it isn’t offset
by a reduction in government spending. In that case, it is more
accurate to call the “tax cut” a deferred tax increase. (That’s why
the joke’s not funny!)

According to Alexander Tabarrok, research director of the Independent
Institute, this is precisely the case with President Bush’s proposed
“tax cut”; it’s really a tax shift, Tabarrok argues, to a future
where taxes already were expected to increase significantly to pay
for growing Social Security and Medicare liabilities.

“To grasp the difference between a tax cut and a tax shift, we must
first understand that what ultimately drives taxes is spending,”
writes Tabarrok in an op-ed carried last week by United Press

“If spending increases, as it has under the current administration,
then sooner or later taxes must increase (or inflation, a type of
tax, will go up)…. If spending isn’t cut, then less taxes today
means more taxes tomorrow. Thus, the Bush tax cut plan is really a
plan for future tax increases….

“Conservatives used to argue that the public didn’t want big
government but was fooled by deficit financing and other hidden taxes
into thinking that it costs less than it actually does. Today,
conservatives seem to believe that the public does want big
government and that the only way to curb government growth it is to
fool the public with lower taxes today so that the costs of
government will be so high tomorrow that no one will accept the
offer. How cynical.

“Will deficits in fact force future administrations to cut spending?
It’s possible but I am fearful. The combination of changing
demographics and current tax cuts is seeding out economy for a fiscal
‘perfect storm.’ When the storm hits there will be a crisis, and as
economist and historian Robert Higgs has ably demonstrated in CRISIS
AND LEVITHAN, small government rarely does well in a crisis.”

See “What Tax Cut?” by Alexander Tabarrok (5/22/03)

Also see:

“Taxation, Forced Labor, and Theft,” by Edward Feser (THE INDEPENDENT
REVIEW, Fall 200)

Independent Institute archives on taxation, see

– Blair to Risk British Sovereignty Without a Vote

Former President of France Valery Giscard d’Estaing says it’s crucial
that citizens be permitted to vote on whether their country cedes
power to the European Union, but British Prime Minister Tony Blair
doesn’t seem to think so.

Blair has announced that he will bypass British voters next month
when he approves a new European Union constitution, although 84
percent of voters polled by a British newspaper said they should vote
on the matter.

Will the land that gave birth to the Magna Carta and the Declaration
of Arbroath lose its sovereignty and with it the rights of its
citizens? Will the edicts of EU bureaucrats replace Britain’s
venerable traditions of accountable law? British voters may be asking
these questions, but not Blair.

“Not even dictators claim the power to terminate the sovereignty of
the countries they rule,” writes Paul Craig Roberts, research fellow
at the Independent Institute, in his latest syndicated column.

What would life for Britons be like under the EU? Roberts fears that
they will lose their traditional rights even faster than they have in
recent years.

“Britons [today] can be arrested for self-defense,” Roberts
continues. “Imagine having to decide whether to submit to rape,
robbery or assault or face arrest for responding with excessive
force. Force capable of driving off an attacker is likely to be
‘excessive,’ especially if accomplished with use of a weapon.”

Even toy guns are legally suspect in Britain today. Children as
young as 12 years have been arrested for played with toy guns; their
fingerprints and DNA samples are now on file for life. And a college
professor was fired for allowing a photography student use a toy gun
in her photos.

“Such a sorry example of democracy as Tony Blair’s Britain is not a
role model for Iraq,” Roberts writes.

See “Our Undemocratic Ally,” by Paul Craig Roberts (5/21/03)

– Fly the Not-So-Friendly Skies

Last month THE LIGHTHOUSE reported Robert Roots’s prediction (spelled
out in his recent INDEPENDENT REVIEW article) that the federalization
of airport baggage screeners — under the new Transportation Security
Administration, the largest new government agency in decades — would
reduce, not increase, airport security.

Recent discoveries give credence to this suspicion.

According to the WASHINGTON POST, more than two dozen federal airport
screeners at Los Angles International Airport — and at least 50
screeners at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport — have
been found to have criminal histories.

The screeners’ rap sheets include felony gun possession and assault
with a deadly weapon. And 40 percent of the agency’s 55,600 screeners
have yet to undergo an in-depth background check.

“Although I am not suggesting that the private screeners of the
pre-September 11 period were performing perfectly, their standards of
performance may stand up well in comparison to the future performance
of public screeners who are replacing them,” Roots wrote in THE

Unfortunately, Roots’s point is likely to remain true even if the TSA
succeeds in screening out higher-risk employees with criminal

“Civil service regulations on the books since the 1970s make firing
or reprimanding most government workers extremely difficult. One
survey of municipal commissioners found that the files of workers
identified as the very worst employees in city government contained
no ‘unsatisfactory’ evaluations,” Roots writes.

“As a result of such worker-friendly civil service rules, the record
of serious errors, corruption, and misconduct among government
employees — even sworn policy officers — hardly demonstrates
excellence in job performance by employees acting under government

“Once hired, rarely fired” is hardly a policy that fosters
accountability. Thus, the friendly skies probably won’t stay too
friendly — or super-safe — for long.

See “Terrorized into Absurdity: The Creation of the Transportation
Security Administration,” by Roger Roots (THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW,
Spring 2003)

Also see:

“Don’t Federalize Airport Security,” by Robert Higgs (SAN FRANCISCO

“Security May Have Lapsed With Screeners,” by Sara Kehaulani Goo

Above articles are quoted from The Independent Institute The Lighthouse
vol 5. Issue 21, May 27, 2003

”Roots (Food for Thought)”

– Environment & Climate News

The Heartland Institute

Managing Editor James M.Taylor reports on
the hydrogen R&D funding debate and offers
an overview of the status of President George
W. Bush’s energy proposal. He also covers the
April Fool’s Day tightening of fuel economy
mandates-a move that won’t decrease fuel
consumption or our reliance on imported oil,
but will increase highway fatalities. . On
climate change, E&CN reports private-sector
pledges to reduce voluntarily greenhouse gas
emissions. . Jay Lehr and Richard Bennett
offer the first in a three-part primer on
climate change, and we report a threat by
seven Democratic state attorneys general to
sue EPA to compel it to regulate carbon
dioxide as a pollutant. . Bob Adams of the
American Legislative Exchange Council
summarizes ALEC’s recently released
guidebook addressing state efforts to regulate
greenhouse gas regulation. . An expert on
statistics challenges the warming scenarios
drafted by the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change, saying “The unprofessional
use of statistics to make exaggerated
statements.places at risk the status of the
IPCC as an objective and policy-neutral
body.” . In a report issued by the American
Council on Science and Health, former
Surgeon General C. Everett Koop warns
public policies based on junk science fail to
protect children and in fact endanger them,
by diverting attention from more important
risks. . A report issued by the Sustainable
Washington Advisory Panel, lauded by
Governor Gary Locke, was overwhelmingly
rejected by experts in Washington State and

– Health Care News
The Heartland Institute

The May 2003 issue of Health Care News
features a centerspread analysis by Nina
Owcharenko and Robert E. Moffit of the
Bush health care plan and how it helps
address the problem of the uninsured. The
Heritage Foundation policy analysts also offer
suggestions for improving the plan. Page 1
addresses Congress’s apparent unwillingness
to take up malpractice reform; the
FDA’s crackdown on prescription drug
reimportation; defeat of a federal
compensation program for health care
workers harmed by the smallpox vaccine; and
Europe’s move toward competition and
choice in health care. . Managing Editor
Conrad F. Meier and Dr. Sydney Smith,
publisher of MedPundit, take up the pros and
cons of the smallpox vaccine. Meier reports
the heart problems recently experienced by
vaccine recipients, and Smith warns that
without vaccinating health care workers, the
U.S. might have another SARS on its hands.
“[SARS] has been difficult to control in
Hong Kong,” he notes, “because so many
health care workers have been infected.
Shortly after the outbreak started there,
emergency rooms and hospital wards were
full of doctors and nurses…as patients.” . The
issue also features Meier’s report from the
13th Annual Capitol Conference of the
National Association of Health Underwriters;
Sally Pipes’ assessment of the costly,
counterproductive, and dangerous “Health
Care for All Californians Act”; Chris
Middleton’s discussion of the importance of
free-market health care reforms. plus Greg
Scandlen’s column on consumer-driven
health care; a state update (report activity in
your state to Managing Editor Meier at; the Galen Report; and
Meier’s “MyTurn” commentary on “lying
with statistics” about the uninsured.

– School Reform News
The Heartland Institute

“Horace Mann’s concerns were not with
providing schooling but with making
schooling an effective instrument for social
reform,” notes education historian Charles L.
Glenn Jr. in this month’s issue. “The issue
with Horace Mann wasn’t having public
schools, it was having the state control public
schools. It’s a fundamental difference.”
Glenn-author of The Myth of the Common
School, The Ambiguous Embrace: Government
and Faith-based Schools and Social Agencies,
and, Finding the Right Balance: Freedom,
Autonomy and Accountability in Education-
offers lessons from history and advice for
private schools today. “I think schools that are
very clear about what it is they stand for have
a very good chance of maintaining their
distinctive identity,” says Glenn. “It really
depends on what the school does, not on what
the government does.” . Page 1 of the May
issue reports Colorado’s March 31 approval of
a voucher program for students in roughly a
dozen poorly performing districts in the state.
Governor Bill Owens issued a statement
praising the bill and saying he would sign the
measure. . Page 1 also reports D.C. parents’
support for school choice, including President
George W. Bush’s Choice Incentive Fund for
the District of Columbia; and the difficulties
Florida will have funding a voter-approved
mandate to reduce class sizes in the state.
Lexington Institute analyst Robert Holland
notes Florida may have “one way to comply
without drastic spending cuts or a tax hike:
expanded school choice.” . A four-page
Friedman Report profiles Cornelius “Con”
Chapman, co-founder of the Coalition for
Parental Choice in Massachusetts, and
highlights school choice-related legislative
activity in Arizona, California, Connecticut,
D.C., Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New
Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania,
Utah, and Vermont.

Above articles are quoted from the Heritage Foundation, The Insider May

”Evergreen (Today’s Quote)”

“It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate,
tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.” — Sam

”’Edited by Richard O. Rowland, president of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, 1314 S. King Street, Suite 1163, Honolulu, HI 96814. Phone/fax is 808-591-9193, cell phone is 808-864-1776. Send him an email at:”’ ”’See the Web site at:”’