Repeal the income tax and provide quality education

By Professor Murray Sabrin

In a recent Star Ledger column conservative pundit Paul Mulshine argues that Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposal to increase the income tax to 10.75% for individuals making more than $1 million a year so he can hike property tax rebates is terribly flawed.  Right on. 

The property tax rebate would only available to a senior homeowner or a disabled citizen making no more than $75,000 annually.  In New Jersey that would exclude a substantial number of homeowners, even those who make $75,001. 

New Jersey's income tax, which was enacted at the end of Gov. Brendan Byrne’s first term in 1976, although politically unpopular, set the stage for the governor to send out property tax rebates in 1977 just before his reelection.  In short, the governor deftly used homeowners’ own money to bribe them to win a second term. This is a classic example of democracy in action – – fooling people that they're getting something from the state, when in fact what the state was doing was taking money from the people’s one pocket and putting it in their other pocket.

The current debate over hiking income taxes on millionaire earners and increasing property tax rebates underscores the fundamental issue that both political parties are unwilling to address, namely how education should be funded and who should pay for it.

Although the state Supreme Court effectively imposed the income tax on the people of New Jersey, because the New Jersey Constitution calls for the state to provide a "thorough and efficient education" to all students especially in urban school districts, with the promise of property tax relief, the more than four decade experiment in the income tax has been a colossal failure. 

The first question that needs to be tackled is who is responsible for a child's education?  In a free society that means parents using all the skills and tools and resources at their disposal would educate children up to a certain point, when schooling would become more appropriate. 

The current model of public—compulsory--education is nearly 200 years old.  At one time public schools did a relatively outstanding job of teaching youngsters the 3Rs so they could become productive and financially independent individuals.  Under the auspices of so-called educational experts, social justice cultural warriors and massive political interference, especially from the federal government, public schools have become “politically correct” institutions for the past several decades.  In addition, the cost of public education in New Jersey has skyrocketed well above the rate of inflation since the income tax was enacted more than four decades ago.

The results in New Jersey urban school districts, where the cost of education rivals that of elite private schools, have been abysmal. Unfortunately, the clamor for more taxpayer dollars to prop up the expensive and relatively ineffective urban school systems needs to be questioned.

The lessons of the past four decades regarding funding New Jersey public schools should be obvious to any objective observer. First, the income tax should be repealed.  Two, teachers and parents should create nonprofit educational organizations in their communities to provide high-quality education to youngsters from K-12.  In addition, school property taxes should be repealed as well. There is absolutely no compelling reason for taxes to fund education.  Funding would come from fees, tuition, grants and other voluntary means.

The assertion that education is a "collective" responsibility is a bogus proposition. If this assertion is true, then the state should not stop at education but provide healthcare, housing, transportation, supermarkets, entertainment, and all other goods and services that people want.  In other words, is socialism the answer as Bernie Sanders and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez assert? 

Socialism is not the answer whether in education, housing, transportation, medical care and the dozens of other programs that all levels of government currently fund.  In a free market both the nonprofit and profit sectors would provide all the goods and services the public wants. That has been the history of America for more than 200 years.  But government has co-opted the free market for decades. 

Gimmicks like property tax rebates to soothe the pain of income taxes are counterproductive. The state income tax has become a political football and avoids the most important question in our society: what is the role of government in a free society?

With another financial crisis on the horizon as the current "everything bubble" will burst in the not-too-distant future, it is imperative that we look at the big picture, how can we create a free and prosperous society with an educated young generation without an income tax?  This is the debate that should be front and center in Trenton.   

Murray Sabrin is professor of finance at Ramapo College and author of the forthcoming, Why the Federal Reserve Sucks: It Causes Inflation, Recessions, Bubbles and Enriches the One Percent.  Sabrin was recently interviewed about his new book, http://www.sanfranciscoreviewofbooks.com/2019/05/cottogottfried-does-federal-reserve.html#more

Bill Hayden: On 2nd Amendment, Lesniak is “laughable”.

By Bill Hayden

Former State Senator Ray Lesniak believes the AR15 is an assault weapon, only owned by white supremacists....laughable.

There are several things wrong with his assumptions.

First, he is already assuming a certain class of people own a product, hence profiling.  A form of racism from the Left?

Secondly, and AR15 assaults nothing, only a person can assault. My rifle can sit peacefully in the corner and not bother anyone for days. The Left’s assumption that you can legislate evil away is insane.

Think of this, the new craze is red flag laws. They come because they believe you have a defect that would prohibit you from owning a weapon. Yet, once gone with your guns, they leave you with the most dangerous weapon known to man, your car.

But let's get to the core of the Second Amendment, freedom. Because at the time of its writing, Americans had just won a revolution against tyranny, using the same exact weapon the tyrants had. Take a look at Venezuela for instance, a country that had all private guns taken away in 2012, and you see that an unarmed citizenry loses its voice, and freedom slips away. The Second is all that keeps the Leftists from really screwing life here in America up. It's the great equalizer.

The Senator also forgets that more people are killed every year with a hammer, than all rifles combined (FBI data), and I haven’t seen a hammer buyback yet.

Maybe the good Senator should read several Supreme Court cases that codify the AR15, as a protected weapon as it is in common use. Heller, and Miller come to mind.

Ray Lesniak should pick a battle he has some level of knowledge on.

 

Bill Hayden is President of the Skylands Tea Party in Sussex County.  Bill is a leader in the petition drive to Recall Governor Murphy.  On Saturday, May 11th, at 11am, there will be a rally to Recall Murphy on the Newton Green, Newton, Sussex County.

Don’t they teach about the Scottsboro Boys case?

Is Jeff Van Drew a racist?  Does he not understand that every lynching in America involving a white woman started with an unquestioning belief in the accuser or, if he prefers, the “survivor”.   There was a lot of “solidarity” going around then.

Are these two young women so much different from the two who, in 1931, accused nine Black men of raping them?  They too were absolutely certain.

The case was investigated and brought to trial.  Based simply on the testimony of the women, all but one of the accused was convicted of rape and sentenced to death.  The last was spared simply because of his age (he was 12).  Medical evidence suggested that the nine had not raped the women, but that was dismissed in light of their testimony, which was considered very credible.

The case was appealed to the state Supreme Court, which affirmed seven of the eight convictions (in the eighth case, granting a 13 year-old a new trial).  The dissenting judge questioned the impartiality of the process.  The case was appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which ordered a new trial and led to a landmark decision on the conduct of trials.

The case was returned for trial to a lower court, with a change of venue.  During the retrials, one of the alleged victims (who would today be called a “survivor”) admitted to fabricating the rape story and testified that none of the accused touched either woman.  The other woman continued to claim that she was 100% absolutely certain that she had been raped by the men. 

At the new trial, the jury found that second woman to be a compelling witness and adopting the motto “believe women” they found the Black men guilty of rape once again.  Fortunately, the trial judge set aside that verdict and ordered yet another trial.  After a public outcry, that judge was replaced by another judge who tended to be more favorable to the prosecution.  For a third time, the jury believed the now lone “survivor” – adopting the iron-clad assertion to “believe women” – and returned a guilty verdict against the Black men.

The case was sent back to the United States Supreme Court on appeal and the Court again ordered retrials.  The state finally dropped charges against four of the nine accused.  Sentences for those remaining ranged from 75 years imprisonment to death.  All but two served prison sentences.  One was shot while being escorted to prison by a Sheriff’s deputy.  Two escaped, were captured, and then sent back to prison.  Clarence Norris, the oldest of the accused (and the only one sentenced to death in the final trial) jumped parole in 1946 and went into hiding.  He was found in 1976 and given a pardon by the Governor.  At that point the case had been thoroughly examined and shown to be a farce.

The last of those accused died in 1989.  On November 21, 2013, after an exhaustive review process, the state parole board formally cleared their names.  They were innocent, but had spent their lives under the shadow of a gross accusation.

What this sad lesson in our history should teach us is that an unproven accusation should not be treated as “fact” and that an accusation alone should not be the basis of a criminal conviction.  It should also teach us that blanket assertions about truth or guilt based upon gender or race (or anything else), are the beginnings of a lynch mob and should be avoided.

Do you get that, Senator Van Drew?  Or are you down with a fashionable lynch mob?

Booker’s “Spartapuss moment”. It was all a fake.

The philosopher Christopher Lasch predicted this.  Way back in 1978, Lasch wrote a book called “The Culture of Narcissism” in which he predicted what would come from “the dotage of bourgeois society.”  Lasch saw the coming man-child, the “narcissistic personality” of our time… “their emotional shallowness, their fear of intimacy, their hypochondria, their pseudo-self-insight, their promiscuous pansexuality, their dread of old age and death.”  People who had lost their memory, without history… “a culture that has lost interest in the future.” 

Even before social media made it possible for anyone/everyone to become an overly self-regarding, self-celebrating, living-in-the-moment celebrity – Lasch saw it coming – and he saw “leaders” like Cory Booker, once himself king of the Twitter realm, a politician who offers his childish “feelings” and a false intimacy in place of rational discourse.  A Peter Pan. 

Forty-years ago, Lasch wrote that the cultural Narcissists’ outlook on life was revealed in “the new consciousness movements and therapeutic culture; in pseudo-confessional autobiography and fiction; in the replacement of Horatio Alger by the happy hooker as the symbol of success; in the theater of the absurd and the absurdist theater of everyday life; in the degradation of sport; in the collapse of authority; in the escalating war between men and women…” 

Last week Senator Booker contrived an “I am Spartacus” moment, as a juvenile would, not to teach but in order to attract a moment’s satisfying attention.  His ego sated, to boost celebrity his acolytes sent record of the moment to the four corners of the globe.  But it was all play-acting, make-believe, false, fake… more like playing dress-up, as children do.

During the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Senator Booker threatened to release confidential documents relating to Judge Kavanaugh's service as a lawyer in the Bush administration.  "I understand the penalty comes with potential ousting from the Senate," our brave Booker said, "This is about the closest I'll probably ever have in my life to an ‘I am Spartacus' moment."

For his “I am Spartacus” moment, Senator Booker posed that he was in real danger – that he could be prosecuted for revealing confidential correspondence that had been provided to a Senate Committee by someone facing confirmation hearings.  Booker was acting against the kind of basic confidences most small town council members understand when they enter into “executive session” to discuss a personnel issue.  Booker called another Senator a “bully” (shades of the school yard again?) for suggesting otherwise.

Except that it wasn’t even that, because Senator Booker had sought and received permission from committee counsel of both parties.  There was never a “Spartacus moment” because – like a true Narcissist, Booker loves himself so much that he would never place himself in such danger.  He just likes the celebrity that comes with pretending to do so… and so he made it all up.

No less than the Washington Post reported that the so-called "confidential" correspondence was already cleared for public release before Booker's floor show, confirming the fact with both Democratic and Republican aides on the judiciary committee.

"We cleared the documents last night shortly after Senator Booker's staff asked us to," confirmed Bill Burck, Bush's presidential records representative. "We were surprised to learn about Senator Booker's histrionics this morning because we had already told him he could use the documents publicly. In fact, we have said yes to every request made by the Senate Democrats to make documents public."

A confirmed narcissist never likes to be called out, and when Wall Street Journal reporter Byron Tau questioned Senator Booker’s actions and suggested it was a stunt, Booker accused him of violating the U.S. Constitution and threatened the reporter with prosecution.  Yes, Booker probably is a few bricks short of a full load. 

spartapuss.png

What this all shows is that someone on his staff needs to provide the Senator with new reading material.  This way, when he is dreaming about the kind of super hero he would like to pretend to the world he is (and that he would like the world to celebrate that he is), he’ll get it right, and keep it closer to reality.

So no more “Spartacus” by Howard Fast for Senator Booker.  There are too many words for a start.

From now on, his staff should have him read “I am Spartapuss” by Robin Price.  It is something a Peter Pan will understand.

Hasn't Sen. Lesniak ever heard of a jury?

Senator Ray "Lord of Ass" Lesniak is preening and posturing again.  His lordship is preparing to run against a couple of heavyweights and a self-funder for the Democrat Party nomination for Governor next year.  He's worried, because the pay-to-play that once feathered his nest, the unethical practices that he once defended as business as usual, don't produce what they once did.  For him anyway.  Ray's snout has been squeezed out by a lot of newer, more aggressive snouts.  It happens, Ray.

So now Ray has gone the reformer route, playing the "good government" routine.  And there is nothing wrong in this.  In fact, his lordship has come up with an interesting cost-saving measure.  Ray wants to replace the $120,000-per-year members of the State Parole Board, with $300-a-day part-timers.  So far, so good.

The problem we have is who he wants to give those part-time jobs to.  Yep, you guessed it.  Ray wants those part-time jobs to go to scumbag lawyers. Worse still, he wants those jobs to go to the politically connected scumbag lawyers who score judgeships.  Like the one they approved a year or so ago while the organization he ran was under federal investigation and the FBI were crawling up its arse.

Ray argues that men like Labor Commissioner Hal Wirths are "not qualified" to sit on the Parole Board to determine whether or not a convicted criminal has owned up to what he or she has done and is ready to re-enter society.  In Ray's world, you need a law degree to make judgments like that.

Well hell, if that's the case, then juries should be lawyers only.  What "qualifications" do the average members of a jury have to determine the guilt or innocence of someone in the first place?

Either Ray didn't think this one through, or someone's taken a dump in his brain and forgot to flush it.

Have you ever read the crimes of those people the highest judges in the state have allowed back to the bar to practice law in New Jersey?  Have you read the b.s. excuses that the state's top court gave when they voted against disbarring a convicted sex criminal?  Yeah, we know, he was a well-connected former legislator -- but that still didn't make it cool. 

Nah, let's not let have judges making those moral judgments.  We're even squeamish about allowing anyone with a law degree near it.  Let's just go with regular people.

Besides, our government is already too lawyered-up.  Attorneys hold a majority in both houses of Congress.  They have the White House and, of course, the entire Supreme Court.  This trade association owns our federal government and most of the nation's state legislatures too. That's too much power for any group.  Imagine the outrage if the insurance industry or medical association held all those elected positions? 

So on top of all this, Ray Lesniak wants to provide $300-a-day part-time gigs to legal retirees so they can top-off their earnings while maintaining their lifestyles.  Screw that.  A homeless veteran with PTSD would provide better insight than most in the legal game.  At least he or she would be a human being.

As for Hal Wirths.  Well, he's a pretty regular guy.  And nobody has ever questioned his humanity, his honesty, or his decency.  On that score, Ray Lesniak can't hold a candle to him.