One of the brightest lights for liberty is Mr. Lawrence W. Reed, President of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) and you can read his common sense columns almost every week in the Times-Herald in Newman, Georgia here…
Here are direct links to a couple of his most recent columns:
Mr. Brave Davis (PLP), Deputy Prime Minister says “The way the roads have been constructed, it will be a challenge changing them. It would be a nightmare to fix that...At the end of the day, it will come down to what we can afford at this time.” (The Nassau Guardian Business, November 27, 2012)
The PLP campaigned mighty heavily on this subject promising heaven and all its accoutrements if the people put them in power. As the old expression goes, how he could fix his mouth to say that?
Mind you, there were several people saying that it would not be possible to change the roads without great expense, yet the crescendo grew louder with each press statement, radio interview and rally.
More false hope was taken to new heights.
Of course there’s lots of blame to go around for failure to coordinate the works properly etc. However, we all know what goes wrong in our small businesses each day, imagine with a mammoth project like that.
Add to that the issues faced from undocumented or badly placed water mains, telephone lines and electricity wires that had to be corrected, loss of sales for businesses and more, it must have been a nightmare for everyone involved.
Let’s hope some valuable lessons were learned so these matters are handled differently going forward.
However, there must be a different level of accountability placed on the PLP government for Bahamians. After being enticed with campaign rhetoric that they would change things and sort it all out, only to be told, Ingraham dem was right all along.
When will we learn not to hang our hopes on the political class?
Do you hear that laugh? Yeah that contagious one! The laugh that gets under the skin of some MP’s and other people?
Well that's Mr. Hubert Ingraham (FNM), former prime minister laughing at the ever changing gambling “referendum” and now the proposed Constitutional Amendment to give women equal rights as men.
While I really don’t see the need for a referendum on the gambling issue, it’s like marijuana, just legalise it, but now it's changed to include the right of Bahamians to enter local casinos.
As for the Constitutional amendment making Bahamian women equal to men, it was only a few short years ago that the PLP Government, then opposition, voted in favour of this same amendment in the House of Assembly then campaigned bitterly against it.
Funny how the more things change, the more they remain the same.
And while I disagreed with many of policies pursued by Mr. Ingraham and the FNM, he sure was right on these two issues.
Enjoy it Mr. Ingraham. You deserve the vindication on these two matters in particular.
"This fall, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Geographic are bringing the Birds-of-Paradise Project to the public with a gorgeous coffee-table book (published October 23, 2012), a major exhibit at the National Geographic Museum (opening November 1), a documentary on the National Geographic Channel (airing at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT November 22), articles in the Cornell Lab's Living Bird magazine and National Geographic magazine, and National Geographic Live lectures across the country. Get an advance look now...and witness diverse strategies of evolution at work and experience one of nature's extraordinary wonders - up close."
After six months in office, the current administration seems to be doing things ‘by the book’ and on course to include the Bahamian people at every decision point. A National Symposium on Tax Reform was called last month ‘to expand and deepen a national discourse on fiscal reform amongst all relevant stakeholders’ and on 01st November, Prime Minister Christie announced a referendum on the ‘legalization and regulation of webshops’ (which later, was postponed to 28th January 2013, after consultation). No advocate of democracy could argue with an approach that includes the electorate in questions that impact upon the nation. To scratch below the surface, however, yields a different picture.
Previously, I argued that the symposium was essentially a waste of time because the conversation should have culminated long ago and that a general sales tax for the country is a 'no-brainer'. For detailed comments on the National Symposium, please refer to my earlier Blog:
With regard to the upcoming referendum (the main focus of this Blog), we can review the Government’s actions with reference to the type and content of the question and the terminology being used:
‘Do you support the legalization and regulation of webshops?’
This question is ridiculously narrow for at least four reasons. It is a ‘Yes/No’ question (some would argue that this is the simplest type of question to put to voters so as not to confuse them). The use of such polar questioning, however, suggests that only one answer is correct. What if I supported legalization without regulation, not unusual in today’s political climate?
Second, we note that Bahamians are being asked to consider whether a heretofore legal enterprise (according to former Minister Grant) that later evolved into an illegal enterprise should be legalised and regulated. You might argue that they already have a license so the issue is about illegal activities, namely the sale and purchase of ‘numbers’. Would any reasonable and law-abiding Bahamian vote ‘no’ to making legal something which is not, particularly when as many as one in three are involved?
On the surface, this seems a reasonable and democratic decision to put to the electorate but the question has wider implications. Are legislation and regulation not the job of legislators, i.e. Politicians, who are paid by the electorate to make laws and penalise lawbreakers? In fact, legislation and regulation are one of the main functions of government, yet here, it is being delegated to the voters.
Finally, to analyse the question further, the subject of the question is ‘webshops’, which if taken as its every day meaning, mean ‘online shops or stores’ or which could ‘otherwise be referred to as an online shop, eshop, e-store, internet shop, webstore, online store’ or even ‘an ecommerce application’. To an outsider, this misuse of terminology would be totally confusing because even if we stretch the meaning to include ‘Internet Cafes’ (perhaps the most appropriate description of these business premises), it would be difficult to link the normal activities of an internet cafe (at least in this context) with the sale and purchase of ‘numbers’. As the former Minister Grant stated and as subsequently cited in a most recent Blog it appears these ventures were indeed Internet Cafes, " … to provide computers and access to the Internet for persons who for one reason or the other did not have computers in their homes’ and which is the normal use to which these properties are put.
Why ask a question that appears simple on the surface, but on further review, does not offer voters the chance it purports to offer? Why conflate legalization and regulation when they are clearly separate (though related) governmental functions? Why leave the referendum open to terminological confusion that has the potential to confuse everyone else (I expect the Dixon Wilson consultants would have been thoroughly flummoxed when they first read the remit for the job)? Why limit the consideration to 'webshops' when numbers are sold from other venues as well? Or exclude sports betting, which is also very prevalent? Most importantly, why delegate such a difficult issue to the voters?
Could this be because the Government is afraid of ending up on the wrong side of popular opinion or simply fearful of alienating the powerful numbers racket lobby or the Christian Council? If for either of these reasons, we should not be misled by what seems an eminently democratic action by the Government to delegate this important function. It is merely a smokescreen to mask timidity and fear of a powerful economic lobby to delegate the decision to the Bahamian people. Webshops are reportedly advertising heavily; what other expenses might they be inclined to incur in order to persuade the people?
To my mind, the referendum is not a genuine democratic act, borne in love for democracy or the desire to include the Bahamian people, but one of political cowardice. Before the referendum, we should know which Politicians support the proposition (‘Yes’) and which do not (‘No’). The Government should show chutzpah and make the decision themselves, then stand by whatever decision they make ….. End of …. !
Rev Dr. CB Moss is correct when he said in The Tribune recently that:
“There are so many things that require fixing in our beloved nation that if our political leaders were to fully apply themselves to this challenging task there would be precious little time, or desire, to be at each others throats,”…
“The question is, are they listening? Do they really care?”
His "list of problems is extremely long, and includes crime, unemployment, poverty, illegal immigration, poor housing, decaying communities, staggering national deficits, crushing energy costs, teenage pregnancy, national debt and the failing education system."
What strikes me about his statement is most of the problems he outlines are a direct result of poor public policy. In other words they are exacerbated by government itself.
So it begs the question that is the "theatre" (read spectacle), being created over the gambling issue intentional or just a by product of them knowing no other possible way to solve the problems they themselves have created?
When Dr. Moss connects the dots about where the problems commence and how we might get to solutions he'll get that third cheer. And very loudly at that.
"Each fancies that no harm will come to his neglect..." (Thucydides)
Everyone has an incentive to use resources freely available to all...but none has a corresponding incentive to conserve or replenish the resources. Parcels privately held are better cared for. The resource that ends up ravaged will be freedom itself.
"The tragedy of the commons," a phrase coined by Garrett Hardin, in a famous 1968 article, refers to the cumulative depletion or spoliation of natural resources to which no one holds deed but to which everyone may use. The commons in question might be a pasture in which every herdsman's cattle can graze, a lake every fisherman can trawl, a park every tourist can trash or the atmosphere. Because people pursue their goals with the means available to them, perhaps perfectly innocently, everyone has an incentive to use resources that are freely available to all, but none has a corresponding incentive to conserve or replenish the resources.
"Picture a pasture open to all," Hardin notes. "It is to be expected that each herdsman will try to keep as many cattle as possible on the commons. Such an arrangement may work reasonably satisfactorily for centuries because tribal wars, poaching, and disease keep the numbers of both man and beast well below the carrying capacity of the land. Finally, however, comes the day of reckoning, that is, the day when the long-desired goal of social stability becomes a reality. At this point, the inherent logic of the commons remorselessly generates tragedy."
Hardin's principle was known as early as the ancient Greeks (as well as to Thucydides ). "That all persons call the same thing mine in the sense in which each does so may be a fine thing, but it is impracticable," explained Aristotle in his Politics. "For that which is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it…. For besides other considerations, everybody is more inclined to neglect the duty which he expects another to fulfill; as in families many attendants are often less useful than a few."
When parcels are privately held, owners have good reason to ensure that the resources of their lands are properly cared for. They may, for example, charge users in proportion to the amount of usage. They may plant seeds. They may send in cleaning crews. Because they receive definite benefits as a result of paying the cost of maintenance, they will most likely pay it. So, many agree now that extensive privatization of what are now treated as public properties -- certainly all public enterprises, as well as lakes, rivers, beaches, forests, and even the air mass -- will help sustain those resources and lead to more efficient development and exploitation of them.