July 2, 2006

Kelo Map for Pundit Review Interview on WRKO

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:09 pm

NOTE: Go to this link (“Kelo New London: It’s Over) to see the details that are known of the settlement with the holdouts that was announced Friday afternoon.

Welcome to WRKO Listeners! (and thanks to Kevin and Gregg at Pundit Review for having me on).

Here is a map of the New London, CT area that was the subject of the Kelo v. New London eminent domain case just before the settlement occurred:


(Note: The Google Earth map is dated, as most of the properties in the area have been razed, but the placement of the remaining properties is accurate.)

New Jersey Tax and Spenders Gone Wild

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:01 pm

New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine has shut down New Jersey’s government. You won’t believe what the argument is over.

Here is part of The Wall Street Journal’s reax yesterday in a subscription-only editorial:

Nearly every state in the nation is celebrating the new fiscal year that begins on Monday with record tax revenues. The big exception is New Jersey, which is headed instead for what could be a government shutdown.

The political showdown isn’t between Republicans and Democrats, but is between Governor Jon Corzine and his fellow Democrats who control the state legislature. On Wednesday, Democrats cursed each other and, according to our eyewitness sources, came close to blows inside the capitol in Trenton. Mr. Corzine is now threatening a government shutdown if his own party doesn’t bend to his proposal for a $1.5 billion tax increase.

Remarkably, all of this intra-party feuding isn’t over whether to raise taxes, merely over how. Mr. Corzine wants to raise the state sales tax to 7% from an already high 6%. Many Democrats in the legislature believe this is political suicide, especially with the Governor low in the polls. But somehow they’ve convinced themselves that voters will happily swallow new levies on payroll, tobacco, computer services and car rentals instead. Meanwhile, the one promise that Democrats made to voters in last year’s election campaign — lowering what are some of the highest property taxes in the country — remains conspicuously unfulfilled.

….. The Garden State has raised taxes nearly every year since 2000 and nearly twice as much per resident as the next highest tax state. Yet, no surprise, Trenton still has the biggest budget crisis outside of the states ruined by Hurricane Katrina. This taxing binge hasn’t balanced the budget because state expenditures have ballooned by $8 billion, or about 45%, in six years. Mr. Corzine is nonetheless sticking to his story that state schools and services are underfunded.

The real New Jersey story is that a rising cost of living and taxes have spurred an exodus of businesses, high net worth individuals and working families. U.S. Census Bureau data indicate that, in 2004 alone, 60,000 more people left New Jersey than moved in. This outmigration led to a loss of $1 billion per year in the state’s personal income, according to IRS statistics analyzed by the Manhattan Institute. Thus New Jersey finds itself in a spiral down: Taxes are raised, more taxpayers flee so the tax base shrinks, the politicians raise taxes again, and the cycle repeats itself.

Tax and spenders can only wish that people wouldn’t vote with their feet when conditions become intolerable, be it taxes, crime, or lousy schools. But they do. Governors and lawmakers who don’t take that into account are doomed to a downward spiral.

Weekend Question 3: Who Will Look Bad When Asked Dennis Prager’s Question?

Filed under: Quotes, Etc. of the Day,TWUQs — Tom @ 10:03 am

Dennis Prager has this tremendous paragraph at the end of his June 20 Jewish World Review column (HT Big Red Lance, who saw this at Townhall, which was temporarily not available at the time of this post):

One day, our grandchildren may ask us what we did when Islamic fascism threatened the free world. Some of us will say we were preoccupied with fighting that threat wherever possible; others will be able to say they fought carbon dioxide emissions. One of us will look bad.

Positivity: Recalling the Heroism of a Man Who Saved Hundreds of Jews in WWII

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:04 am

Jaap Penraat passed away a week ago. His heroism had a lasting impact so great its true extent cannot be fully appreciated unless you trace the lineage of all those he saved:

Designer who rescued 406 Jews in Nazi-occupied Netherlands dies
July 2, 2006

Jaap Penraat, an architect and industrial designer who helped 406 Jews sneak out of Nazi-occupied Netherlands and withstood torture to protect fellow members of the resistance, has died, his daughter said.

The 88-year-old died June 25 at his home in Catskill, New York. The cause was esophageal cancer, his daughter Noelle Penraat told The New York Times for its Sunday editions.

Born in Amsterdam in 1918, Penraat was in his 20s when he began forging identity cards for Jews. After being discovered, he was imprisoned for several months and tortured, but refused to tell his captors anything.

After his release from prison, Penraat and other resistance members began disguising Jews as construction workers hired to work on a wall Hitler was building along France’s Atlantic Coast. He made 20 trips, accompanying about 20 Jews each time to Lille, France. There they were met by the French underground and transported to neutral Spain.

Years later, when he began speaking about his wartime experiences, Penraat said he had simply done what seemed necessary.

“You do these things because in your mind there is no other way of doing it,” he told The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2000.