Grassroot Perspective – Feb. 3, 2003-Best Defense; Evolution Joke; Union Snubs Reason Survey; Dividend and Conquer: Why the Bush Tax Plan Included the Dividend Tax Repeal

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“Dick Rowland Image”

”Shoots (News, Views and Quotes)”


– Best Defense

Book Review

By Jim O’Keefe, Hilo, Hawaii, who can be reached by email at:

The reasons to not be defenseless keep presenting themselves, even
though the mainstream press fails to report it. A book titled “THE
BEST DEFENSE” by Robert A. Waters is a stinging rebuke to those who
tell us to give up our guns and just dial 911. The book lists case
after case where honest citizens used firearms to defend themselves,
their families, employees and students. (Did you know that two of the school shootings were stopped by citizens with firearms? The press sort of glossed over that, didn’t they?) In all of the cases presented in Waters’ book, there wasn’t time for police to respond. The events were over long before the police could arrive.

In too many of the cases the police, or more accurately, the criminal
justice system, had punted some career criminal back into the
community to prey on the weak and defenseless. This book is NOT the lament of crime victims: it is a strong telling of case after case of
a would-have-been victim who fought back and won, and won only because they were prepared to take responsibility for the protection of themselves and those around them.

It is a little too late to give this book as a Christmas gift, but if
you know someone who thinks guns never help and only hurt, show them this eye-opener. This is the second of Waters’ two books on the
subject, and the more comprehensive. It is published by Palladin Press and available through and other bookstores.

– Evolution Joke

Source undisclosed

A story that the Evolution teacher told in class. He said that while
he was in Costa Rica last week, he visited the zoo to see the
Chimpanzees. One of them was reading two books. In one hand he had a Bible and in the other The Origin of the Species. Upon asking the zoo attendant what the chimpanzee was doing with the books, he was told that he was trying to decide whether he was his brother’s keeper or his keeper’s brother.

– Union Snubs Reason Survey

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), a labor union
of firefighters throughout the U.S. and Canada, is blocking Reason’s
efforts to conduct an efficiency and quality analysis of emergency
medical service (EMS) delivery in 200 major urban areas.

Some performance-related data suggest that private EMS offers better quality and more efficient service than does EMS provided by fire departments. Reason set out to analyze the performance of each
delivery method and promote best practices across the country.

The Reason survey requested data on provider type, area covered,
utilization rates and cost information. In a letter to its membership, the IAFF asks members to ignore the survey and accuses Reason of being a “shadow promoter of privatization of public services” and notes that our goal is to support the widespread privatization of EMS.

Reason takes seriously any attempt by government to expand into
privately provided services. We believe that services ought to be
provided in competitive private markets, where choice will drive
performance, accountability, innovations, and efficiency.

Reason’s request for transparency and accountability from both fire
departments and private providers is an opportunity for objective
analysis of EMS data. By refusing to participate in the survey, the
IAFF showed that it does not have the confidence to compete with
private companies on the basis of performance.

Above article is quoted from Reason Report Winter 2003

”Roots (Food for Thought)”

Dividend and Conquer

Why the Bush Tax Plan Included the Dividend Tax Repeal

By Chris Kinnan

The big dog of the legislative calendar this year is President Bush’s
new economic growth and jobs package. And, at the center of this tax
relief plan is the repeal of the dividend tax, which will return over
$300 billion to Americans over the next 10 years.

It’s big, and it’s bold, and news that President Bush wants to
completely repeal the tax on dividend income came as something of a
shock. People asked, what the heck is the dividend tax anyway?

Good question. Currently, dividends are taxed once as part of
corporate earnings, and again as the personal income of the investor
who receives the dividend. This double taxation creates an effective
tax rate that can approach 60 percent. No wonder that as a result,
firms paying dividends have dropped from 66 percent in 1978 to 21
percent in 1999, according to the American Shareholder Association.
This double taxation also punishes investment and discourages capital formation and jobs creation.

Double taxation is clearly bad policy, but other observers were
surprised Bush went for total repeal. But, Bush was right on target.
Proposing only a 50 percent repeal, as we originally heard might
happened, would be a feeble half measure. A 50 percent repeal leaves plenty of room for Congress to play games and sock it certain groups of dividend earners. The result of a 50 percent repeal: a tax code that is ”’more”’ complicated than before, and less fair. So, completely repealing the dividend tax is therefore excellent public policy and represents the first tax reform since 1986. Bush seems in control, focusing on the principles and benefits of repeal to the economy, while everyone else seems confused and defensive and lacking their own ideas. That’s why the initial response from the Washington interest groups is all over the map. Of course, among Democrats, the response was predictable: class warfare and general hysteria. The Democrats immediately began hollering about favoring the rich, and Nancy Pelosi said the Bush tax plan sent America “careening off the road recklessly.”

Many state governments also hate the repeal of the dividend tax,
because it undermines their tax revenues, which track the federal
dividend tax in 37 states. The National Association of Governors
whines that dividend repeal will cost states a total of $4 billion
annually in lost taxes. That’s a problem as states continue to
overspend like it’s 1999. Greedy states might even add surcharge taxes on dividends, undermining the positive benefits of the Bush plan. But, all governments like taxes, so the state response is fairly

More unusual is that even the business lobby is pretty lukewarm on the plan. What corporate America really wants is more breaks on new investment, or an end to taxes on money earned overseas. These are good policies, too, but Bush had to make some choices. After Enron and Worldcom, the corporate community isn’t exactly getting a lot of sympathy from the American public. Thus, Bush focused on the dividend repeal, because dividends are taxed on individuals’ tax returns.

Another reason CSE likes the dividend repeal is because it moves
towards fundamental tax reform. The tax code has a lot of unusual
creatures roaming through its pages. For instance, chances are the new mall in your town was financed by a Real Estate Investment Trust, or REIT. REITs are special real estate investment vehicles that don’t pay income taxes, but their dividend distribution is taxed. Because REITs don’t pay income taxes, under the Bush plan REIT investors still have to pay dividend taxes. That’s fair-because there’s no REIT income tax, the tax on REIT dividends is not double taxation.

”Evergreen (Today’s Quote)”

“The citizen of today, even in the most civilized states, is not only
secured but defectively against other citizens who aspire to exploit
and injure him … he is also exploited and injured almost without
measure by the government itself — in other words, by the very agency which professes to protect him. … But he can no more escape the tax-gatherer and the policemen, in all their protean and multitudinous guises, than he can escape the ultimate mortician.”
– H.L. Mencken

”’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.”’