Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Red Light Cameras

More and more places around the country are installing cameras that take pictures of motorists who run red lights. The owner of the vehicle is then sent a summons and forced to pay a fine. Running red lights has caused untold number of accidents, injuries and fatalities throughout the country and ways should be pursued to stop the carnage. Unfortunately, the motivation for the red light cameras is merely to try and raise more money for government programs.

Proponents for the new kind of “red light tax” describe how awful red light violations are and sometimes have family members of those killed in accidents come and speak at public events to promote the new technology. However, they cannot resist adding that there is much revenue to be made from these cameras as well. One must question the true motivation of these politicians.

Recently, in Suffolk County, New York, County Executive Steve Levy announced his new budget for the next fiscal year. According to his plan, the new budget relies on a certain dollar amount that will be generated from the new cameras recently installed throughout the county. Some critics have said that Mr. Levy has overestimated the amount that will be generated.  It is immediately apparent that if Mr. Levy’s projections fall short, then the County will not have enough money to pay the bills. In other words, the County of Suffolk is planning and hoping that there will be plenty of red light violators next year so that the bills can be paid.

I find it troubling that a politician will condemn a particular act such as red light violations and proclaim the importance of ending such behavior while at the same time, rely on continued and perhaps increased violations as a means to pay the bills and balance the budget. Call it a conflict of interest.

So it goes with alcohol and cigarettes as well. Big Government spends Big Bucks on educating the masses on the dangers of these vices but at the same time, hopes for the continued use and abuse of them in order to reap the tax revenues.

My question is – what will you do if these red light cameras work and red light violations are greatly reduced? Literally millions of dollars have been spent on these cameras and what will you do if nobody runs red lights anymore? Now, not only is your budget not balanced, but you (we) are also out the millions that were spent on the cameras in the first place. Similarly, what will Big Government do if people heed the advice and stop smoking and drinking? These cash cows cannot be let go!

In addition, there are the legal aspects of the red light cameras as well. A former judge from Nassau County New York filed a lawsuit against the use of the cameras since it violates the legal principle of being able to face your accuser. You cannot cross examine a camera that has accused you of violating a law. Not surprisingly, the lawsuit was dismissed on the basis that a red light violation is not a criminal charge, it is merely a civil penalty that is charged to the registered owner of the car. In other words, stop making trouble and just pay the tax, er.. fine.

And for the sake of the financial future of the government, please continue to run red lights and encourage others to do it as well – we need the money!

Halloween – Election Day

Next week is Halloween. That is the night where kids go around to all of their neighbors dressed in costumes seeking handouts — or “treats” — from everybody. The houses of those neighbors that refuse to pay up with a treat are often given a “trick” in the form of some sort of vandalism. The young kids that might still be considered cute are usually done with their rounds by dinner time. When the door bell rings around 9 or 10 PM though, I have found older teenagers, usually without a costume, continuing their rounds of collecting their handouts as if they are in some sort of indoctrination program for future “socially conscious” voters.

I have long ago outgrown this ritual. But for many adult Americans nowadays who should have learned that such tradition is just for kids, they continue to seek handouts from their neighbors. What these grown-ups have learned unfortunately, is that you no longer have to be the one who goes around doing the dirty work – and there’s no need for a costume either. That is what we now have Big Government for. Now, if you elect the right people, your neighbor will be forced into coughing up a payout (“treat”) for you. For those who refuse to pay up, they have the force of law now to coerce them. The “trick” that people now get is either a fine, imprisonment – or even just getting called names like “greedy extremists” by high ranking politicians.

So now, really every day is Halloween for too many voters who rationalize why someone else should give them something while they don’t even have to go and work for it. Sort of a Halloween-by-proxy where elected officials make laws forcing you to always have a candy dish ready by your front door. Bringing this topic up in conversation will often lead to red faces and bulging neck veins in those who cry for “social justice”.

Ironically, Halloween is quite close to election day. Plenty of electioneering junk mail arrives in my mailbox daily these days. I am sure that I am not the only one who notices that the campaign promises all focus on the same core issue. Whatever subject in particular that the person claims to care about, what it boils down to is one thing. They promise to give you something. They claim that their opponent is planning on taking some benefit or handout away from you. If you want to continue getting something, or if you want something new, vote for this candidate. If you vote for that candidate, they will take away something from you. Don’t worry, as a politician, they assure you that it is their job to do the dirty work for you — to go trick-or-treating to all of your neighbors for you. As voters, too many have been fooled into thinking that this is the way that it should be. Big Government is now really just the “Dispenser of Stuff”, every day finding some new entitlement much to the delight of so many voters who feel deserving.

Election Day is coming quickly and so many have correctly reported how this particular election may be the most important one in our lifetime. I believe that this is true. But if things were the way that our founding fathers had originally planned – and then required in our Constitution, no election should really be that important to our citizens. That is because government – in this country anyway – was never intended to be as big a part of our lives as it has become. A small and limited government in a free-market society should not really affect John Q. Public much at all.

An otherwise-rational friend of mine has been brainwashed into thinking that there is nothing that you can do to change this climate of dependence on Big Government programs and handouts.

“All politicians are that way. You will never be able to change that because it has been going on for too long now, ” he claims. I however, am not ready to give up so easily. This Halloween, I am not going trick-or-treating. Nor am I answering the door to anyone who chooses to do so. That is a small symbolic start. But more importantly, I am also voting on Election Day.

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