Grassroot Perspective – Feb. 10, 2003-Dynamic Scoring; The Next Step for Tax Relief and Reform; Freedom's Answer to So-called Smart Growth; The Prairie Dogs That Weren't There

article top

“Dick Rowland Image”

”Shoots (News, Views and Quotes)”


– Dynamic Scoring

By Kevin A. Hasset

Congressional Testimony, May 2, 2002, American Enterprise Institute

Pundits and politicians are calling for a new way of estimating
government revenue and the cost of spending programs. Those estimates are currently calculated using a method known as static scoring. But some economists argue that static scoring may not fully account for key economic variables and can create biases toward greater government spending and against tax cuts. A new method, know as dynamic scoring, could resolve those problems.

AEI scholar Kevin A. Hasset testified on dynamic scoring before the House Budget Committee.

Above article is quoted from

– The Next Step for Tax Relief and Reform

By Daniel J. Mitchell

President Bush’s tax relief package, by reducing tax rates on work,
saving, and investment, will boost economic growth and reduce the burden of government for all taxpayers; but it should also be viewed only as a first step. Lawmakers should remember that simply handing money to people (for example, through rebates and credits) does not stimulate additional economic activity. To generate economic benefits, tax reform should focus on three goals: lower rates; less double taxation of savings and investments; and simplicity. Lower tax rates on productive behavior lead to a stronger economy because workers, investors, and entrepreneurs are not penalized for creating wealth. Good tax policy also helps control the size of government by reducing tax revenues and keeping resources in the productive sector of the economy. Tax cuts will improve the economy’s performance only if they increase incentives to
work, save, and invest. This, in turn, will help to generate at least
some additional revenue and thereby create a virtuous cycle that will allow for further tax reductions.

Above article is quoted from

– Freedom’s Answer to So-called Smart Growth

Smart Growth aims to destroy the American Dream of homeownership and mobility.

It advocates believe Americans should ride mass transit instead of drive cars and live in high-density apartments instead of low-density suburbs. To achieve these goals, smart growth planners deliberately increase traffic congestion and make housing unaffordable.

The Vanishing Automobile and Other Urban Myths dispels smart-growth fantasies and presents free-market solutions to urban problems. The American Planning Association says The Vanishing Auto is “compelling and well documented” and “marshals a formidable array of facts” to “lambaste planners’ attempts to limit personal freedom.”

If you live in a city, town, or suburb, then smart growth is coming to
you and you need The Vanishing Automobile.

The Vanishing Automobile is written by Randal O’Toole, senior economist with the Thoreau Institute, adjunct scholar with the Cato Institute, and frequent contributor to Environment & Climate News.

”Roots (Food for Thoughts)”

– The Prairie Dogs That Weren’t There

By William Perry Pendley

There is no evidence that Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) employees who charged Lin Drake of Cedar City, Utah with violating the Endangered Species Act (ESA) ever heard this poem: “Yesterday upon the stair, I met a man who wasn’t there. He wasn’t there again today, I wish that man would go away.”

Nonetheless, the poem encapsulates their case against Drake. For it was those employees who saw prairie dogs on Drake’s property … prairie dogs that were never there and that have, mysteriously, gone away.

Blame it on the Camera

In January 1995, Drake bought property in nearby Enoch, Utah, intending to develop a subdivision containing affordable, single-family homes. Later that year, aware that land in the area was home to prairie dogs protected by the ESA, Drake sought to verify his belief that there were no prairie dogs on his property.

Using a Utah Division of Wildlife map, Drake learned of a prairie dog
colony to the west, although the map showed no prairie dogs were there in 1992, 1993, and 1994. Just to be sure, Drake hired an engineer to determine the precise relationship between his property and the colony; it was then clear that no part of the colony was on Drake’s land. Thereupon, Drake recorded a subdivision with Iron County.

On October 2, 1995, state and federal wildlife employees received an
“anonymous tip” that prairie dogs were on Drake’s land. Two employees visited the area and, though they did not have a map of Drake’s subdivision and were admittedly unaware of its exact boundaries, which were difficult to determine because of the absence of landmarks, said they observed between 74 and 78 prairie dogs on Drake’s land. Amazingly, only two were filmed, because the FWS employee had “a new camera. It was the first time I used it!”

The next day both employees physically entered upon Drake’s property; they saw no prairie dogs and no prairie dog mounds or holes, active or inactive.

Nonetheless, that day they notified Drake that prairie dogs were on his land and that he could be fined $200,000 and imprisoned for a year. The next day, one of the FWS employees revisited Drake’s property; again he saw no prairie dogs.

“No Direct Evidence” of Prairie Dog Mortality

Over the next six months, Drake beseeched FWS employees to visit his property to learn what he knew: there were no prairie dogs there. From Oct. 11, 1995, until March 26, 1996, FWS employees made numerous visits to Drake’s property. At no time did they see prairie dogs or active prairie dog mounds or holes upon his property.

Drake’s engineer did find “an old inactive prairie dog colony” on the
northern corner of Drake’s land, but it had long been abandoned.
Unsurprisingly, prairie dogs were observed west of Drake’s land, in the known colony.

There was one exception to all of these failed prairie dog sightings:
The original FWS employee said that on March 17, 1996 he alone saw two prairie dogs on Drake’s land; again, he was unable to film them.

Two years later, when Drake was fined $15,000 for violating the ESA by “harming” prairie dogs by disturbing their habitat, he asked for a
hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ).

Because the U.S. Supreme Court limits “harm” violations “to significant habitat modifications that actually cause death or injury, as opposed to hypothetical or speculative death or injury,” Drake demanded evidence of “death or injury.” None was produced; even the ALJ admitted, “there is no direct evidence of mortality or injury resulting from [Drake’s] activities.”

Instead, the FWS relied on its employees’ testimony that the elusive
prairie dogs whose presence on Drake’s land was never filmed and whose habitat there was never found, had disappeared. They must be dead, killed by Drake’s actions.

Remarkably, the ALJ upheld Drake’s fine because these were federal
employees who had no reason to lie and must, therefore, be believed.

William Perry Pendley is president and chief legal officer of the
Mountain States Legal Foundation.

Above article is quoted from Environment & Climate News July 2002

”Evergreen (Today’s Quote)”

“Self-interest is that indomitable individualistic force within us that urges us on to progress and discovery, but at the same time disposes us to monopolize our discoveries. Competition is that no less indomitable humanitarian force that wrests progress, as fast as it is made, from the hands of the individual and places it as the disposal of all mankind.” — Frederick Bastiat

”’See Web site”’ ”’for further information. Join its efforts at “Nurturing the rights and responsibilities of the individual in a civil society. …” or email or call Grassroot of Hawaii Institute President Richard O. Rowland at or (808) 487-4959.”’