By Seth Grossman, Political Columnist
Last week I discussed some general principles of liberty, and why liberty brings prosperity. But what specific things should government officials do to bring liberty back to New?Jersey? Why not start with these?
Post all government salaries, contracts and campaign contributions online, so everyone, not just insiders, can follow the money. Newspapers and TV networks rarely report that information these days.
Cut our electric bills almost in half by ending the ?societal benefits fee? and 400 percent extra charges for all electricity that comes from windmills and solar panels.
Cut taxes by cutting the salaries of our public ?servants.? For more than 40 years we raised their salaries and benefits each year more than double the rate of inflation. Now we still pay them more each year even though property values are falling, and most taxpayers are earning less.
When there is a single government job opening, hundreds of people (including many lawyers) usually apply. This means we are paying way too much. Change the laws to again give elected representatives of the people ? not unelected arbitrators and union bosses ? the power to decide how much to pay our government employees.
Repudiate (refuse to pay) unconstitutional state government debt. The New Jersey Constitution says that taxpayers can?t be forced to repay any debt or other ?liability? not approved by voters.??New Jerseyhas roughly $170 billion in debt and unfunded pension liabilities ? roughly $53,000 per household ($100,000 perNew Jerseyhousehold that pays taxes). Only about $3 billion of that debt was approved by voters pursuant to our state Constitution. We must elect state senators and Assembly representatives who do not spend one penny to repay any debt not approved by voters.
Repudiate any of the $16 trillion ofU.S.government debt not incurred for purposes specified in Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. That also comes to roughly $53,000 per household or roughly $100,000 for every household that pays taxes. Article I, Section 8 states that Congress can only borrow money for certain limited purposes, such as the military, the post office, postal roads, the patent and copyright office, etc. Congress had no right to borrow money for Wall Street bailouts, ?Cash for Clunkers,? ?stimulus? money, or pumping sand to protect private homes on local beaches.Greeceis paying less than 50 percent of its government debt. Sooner or later, we will do the same thing. Why not do it now?
Eliminate all independent authorities and agencies. The state highway department should run the Turnpike, Parkway and Expressway. Elected Atlantic County officials should run the dump, the sewage system, the airport and Convention Center. Elected city and township officials should run all local utilities and fire districts. These agencies were set up as gimmicks to avoid legal limits on how much elected officials could borrow. That was a big mistake. Let?s fix it.
Enforce our immigration laws by removing from this country anybody who is in this country in violation of the law. Since our current laws permit 2 million legal immigrants per year, we should give top priority to legally readmitting those with ?hardship? situations, such as foreign-born children of illegal immigrants who grew up as Americans. But we should not admit millions of new legal immigrants on top of 20 million illegal immigrants already here.
Make all tax and zoning laws fair, simple and equally applied to everyone. Whenever a developer with ?juice? gets a variance to ignore a zoning law, the law should quickly be changed to give every other property owner in that district the same deal.
Most people agree with most of these proposals. But I don?t know a single Republican or Democratic official who would consider any of them.
We don?t need a new party to change that. Every June, there is a primary election where you can choose the candidates for either party, or be a candidate yourself.
You can also be a candidate for one of the two county committee representatives elected from each neighborhood to run the Democratic and Republican party organizations. Less than 10 percent of voters participate in primary elections. Just a few organized voters can have a big impact ? without spending lots of money.
To be a candidate in the June 5 primary election, you must file your nominating petition by April 2 this year. If you want to switch your registration from one party to another, you must do so by April 15.
(Reprinted from Feburary 29, 2012 Current-Gazette Newspapers of Atlantic and Cape May Counties, http://www.shorenewstoday.com/snt/news/index.php/politics/21692-returning-to-the-principles-of-liberty-can-restore-america-to-prosperity.html)
Somers Point attorney Seth Grossman appears on 92.1FM 8-9 a.m. Saturday. For information see www.libertyandprosperity.org, email
or call (609) 927-7333. Breakfast discussions are held 9:30-10:30 a.m. every Saturday at the Shore Diner on Fire and Tilton roads in Egg Harbor Township.