I recently received a color pamphlet from my state senator (or is it State Senator? I prefer lower case.) Mark Wagoner who is, according to the pamphlet, our STATE SENATOR (yes, the our is italicized). He is also A STRONG VOICE Speaking Up For Us. This is all done with the standard red, white, and blue patriotic theme, along with a couple of pictures of him talking with individuals, plus a family shot. Looks like a nice man: clean-cut, clean-shaven. He may even whiten his teeth.
The real substance of the pamphlet has four issues that Mark Wagoner is focused on: 1. Building Our Economy. 2. Lowering Taxes for Working Families and Seniors. 3. Investing in Our Schools. 4. Making College More Affordable. There’s a short blurb after each one of these headings.
Three of the four, “Building Our Economy,” “Investing in Our Schools,” and “Making College More Affordable” all sound like increases in government spending, not decreases. But Mark Wagoner is a Republican. He mentions “Lowering Taxes for Working Families and Seniors” but to me, it is unclear whether the state government get scaled back (hooray!) or whether deficit spending will occur (boo!)?
Notice he is not in favor of deregulating schools, or giving homeschoolers or private schoolers a tax credit. According to the pamphlet, “He has fought to ensure that Northwest Ohio state schools receive their fair share of state dollars and has supported record levels of state funding for our schools.” Record levels? Yikes! For me, the best way to improve education is to improve flexibility and options for local school districts and families. I would rather see something about scaling back the role of the state government in education, allowing cities and counties to run schools based more on local needs and resources rather than state mandates.
Regarding “Making College More Affordable,” he favors to “freeze tuition rates at all state colleges and universities to keep costs in check.” Imposing a price ceiling could result in a couple of problems: one would be a funding shortfall. Another potential effect would be a shortage of educational resources. Lowering costs (imposing a price ceiling does the same thing) usually translates to an increase in usage. But how does the state know how many resources to allocate? How do they balance the books?
Ultimately, just like all forms of central planning, it comes down to guessing. The market by its very nature balances the books and uses resources only that it has, with prices that reflect the resource scarcity. To do otherwise is not sustainable, and asking for trouble. In other words, companies that do this usually go out of business. Of course, state-sponsored universities are hardly market-based. So resource distribution largely comes down to guesswork.
There’s also a card to fill out and submit regarding my opinion on the top three issues in Ohio today. Top three, eh? I’ll just talk about one.
My problem is a weak dollar, related to our overseas expenditures, deficit spending habits, inflationary policies, and penchant for borrowing from foreigners to fund our government. The best solution here is to slash government spending, to avoid deficit spending, reduce inflation significantly, and lower taxes. But to lower taxes without spending usually translates to an increase in foreign borrowing or inflationary spending: the long term effects of neither are really great. So my plea: please slash government spending. Where? Anywhere and everywhere. Of course, care should be taken to make sure that cronyism or corporatism does not result. Well publicized public auctions can help prevent this, rather than back room deals. And of course no one wants to be thrown out into the street. A good place to start may be to look at regulations and permits and licenses which act as barriers to starting and maintaining small businesses. With these reduced or removed altogether, the market will be able to provide more jobs, so that once the revenue cutting gets ugly, private sector jobs will be available. Reducing tarrifs or other trade barriers would also help Ohioans by lowering the cost of living. To prevent consumer prices from growing, inflation and foreign borrowing should be minimized or eliminated. As inflation increases, prices increase, and the the value of the dollar declines. The result is more expensive goods at the grocery store and less real money saved in the bank account.
Changing the culture of deficit spending (I’m talking about government deficit spending) will likely restore confidence in the dollar. Thus, foreign investors are less likely to dump their assets, resulting in a possible collapse of the dollar. Another way to restore confidence in the dollar is to restore its historical commodity-backing. Most commonly, this is done with silver or gold. It is probably not feasible to do this all at once. But a commodity-backed currency could be legalized, which legalizing of competing currencies in the United States would help significantly.
And so, Senator Wagoner, my biggest priority is restoring value to the dollar through reductions in government spending and a complete reversal in the habitual deficit spending government budgets are afflicted with. Please do all you can to restore value to the dollar by scaling back the role of government in our lives, and scaling up the role of the individual to control his own life.