Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Reactions II

Chapter 4
"State constitutional provisions that permanently reserve to the state the rights to mineral resources on any land it transfers to private individuals are the cornerstones of socialism within Alaska."

I get that Mr. Randolph is trying to reduce government and allow private parties to generate wealth.  However, I think that in a land that is as abundant and productive as Alaska, the price of a parcel of land should reflect the resources contained within the land.  I don't think there is any way the government can foot the bill of evaluating the value of the entirety of Alaska accurately.  Thus, the government retains the rights of the mineral resources.  Further, I'd argue that the mineral wealth of Alaska belongs to all Alaskans, just as the salmon in the streams are a collective property.  I shouldn't be able to string a net across a waterway because someone was so short-sighted that they sold the mouth of the river to me.  I understand that Mr. Randolph states that my purchase of property shouldn't interfere with the use of land that other individuals purchased, but that just seems to me that I get in early and I pick the best spots.  I don't understand how Mr. Randolph's ideology allows for management of common resources and how he defines where the line between "utilize" and "over-utilize" exists.

"The term public interest has been used to permit state government to classify much of the best land in Alaska as unsuitable for private ownership...  ...After flying over hundreds of miles of vacant line suitable for recreational and other uses, we finally arrived at the remote and inaccessible disposal area.  One passenger was appalled to find that the parcel he had paid to have a chance to obtain was virtually useless...  ...As a starter, I will, through the Tundra Rebellion and other efforts, do my best to see that more federal lands in Alaska are transferred to state control so that Alaskans can have the power to set up a land disposal system that meets their needs."

I do support the idea that more land should be made available to private citizens.  I found Mr. Randolph's comments on improving land interesting, although the idea of "improvement" seems pretty subjective.  How do we define it?  Is it based on putting up a structure or clearing it?  That said, I do believe it's within the public interest to define some lands as unsuitable for private ownership.  I don't think that selling off the mouths or sources of rivers is a good idea.  I don't think selling off through ways are a good idea.  I don't think that parceling up Denali National Park is a good idea.  Further, why am I supposed to be outraged that a man sight-unseen puts money down to try to get a piece of property?  Seems to me that the person who put down that money should have gone to the site before he put down that money.  As far as the transfer of federal lands to Alaska, it does seem that a substantial portion of federal lands have transferred hands, although I'd argue that the federal government's retention of 60% of Alaska is still way, way too much.

"In Houston, Texas, there is no government planning of zoning.  Even dyed-in-the-wool government planners have to admit that the beauty and efficiency of land usage in Houston is no worse than elsewhere and that it has created much individual wealth and happiness."

What looks, smells and sounds like zoning is zoning.  Houston does have de facto zoning laws.  That is why it has residential, industrial and commercial zones that resemble everywhere else in Texas.

Chapter 5
"First, the only economic entities that are true monopolies (meaning they have a corner on a market and can eliminate any competition) are those created, protected and maintained by government."

Standard Oil was not created by government.  It was created by John D. Rockerfeller.  While later on in Standard Oil's life, it was clear that Standard Oil had dozens of politicians in its pocket, early on, this was not the case.

In fact, the vast majority of what Standard Oil did was legal.  Standard Oil made deals and was absolutely merciless in its drive to command market share and improve profits.  This led to Standard Oil both actively destroying and working with railroads to divide out markets.  Much of this concerned the use of railroads.  If a railroad refused to adopt a system of rebates and drawbacks to Standard Oil, it would lose all of of Standard Oil's business to competitors.  Standard Oil demanded that railroads discount their shipping.  Not only that, it also put into place drawbacks, a system where Standard Oil's competitors were charged higher prices, a portion of the difference between the competitor and Standard Oil's rates being paid to Standard Oil.  Not only was Standard profiting from its massive size, a portion of its costs were being paid for by its competitors.  This allowed Standard Oil to eventually gobble up its less efficient competition.  It allowed Standard Oil to control its competition unfairly.  At the point that Standard Oil was purchasing politicians, it was already too late for most of their competitors.  The damage had already been done.

Further, speaking on monopolies, how does Mr. Randolph regard things like tariffs, copyrights and patents?

Chapter 6
"It's time for Alaskans to realize that their government has become a self-serving, self-perpetuating monster that lives primarily for its own well-being, not for that of the Alaskan people."

You will find no argument here.  People do look out for their self-interest, and they will more often place that above the common good.  There aren't many people who are telling their bosses that they need to be laid off.

"One of the most important, and underestimated, powers of the governor concerns the use of the media to lead Alaska."

The media and government should not be in bed together.  Unfortunately, they are.  Access demands compliance at some level.  As far as I am concerned, this is, at minimum, objectionable and at worst, wholesale lying propagated by the people who have a obligation to be telling the truth.

One of my favorite shows is Top Gear.  This show is by far the most popular automobile show in the world.  However, rarely, if ever, do they give a completely bad review.  This is so that they maintain the ability to get cars and review them for the show.  This is especially the case with Ferrari.  Ferraris are magnificent cars, but they are well-known to send multiple tuned cars to a review.  Many times, these specially-tuned cars are not truly production models.  For the 0-60 mph sprint, Ferrari will use one particular car which has special tires and tuning to minimize its sprint time.  This same car will not be used on the skid plate to determine maximum cornering g-force.  Ferrari will have a completely different car, tires and set-up for this measurement.  In the end, Ferrari will force the reviewers to use only the best numbers from specifically job-tuned examples of a particular model.  The reviewers will present the number as if it came from a regular factory-fresh vehicle.  To do otherwise would result in that publication or show losing their ability to review Ferrari vehicles.  In essence, Ferrari has developed a system that allows it to lie to the public with the collusion of reviewers, the very people who are supposed to educate the public about vehicles.  In this, Ferrari profits immensely off the difference in information that the paying public and it has.  It also leverages its reputation and sex appeal to ensure that it can continue to do so.

There is little difference between the system that Ferrari and the government uses.  Media outlets which can not access political figures/sources are not nearly as attractive to viewers.  This is not to say that this is how it should be, but I don't see how we resolve this issue without the use of more rules/government.

"Tax regulations specify what worship qualifies as "religion" and how that status may be achieved.  Federal regulations classify and control the types of allowable sexual behavior."

First, there are too many preachers who have Gulfstream G650s.  I think it's pretty disgusting for a preacher to be actively taking money from the elderly and desperate for a private jet.  Frankly, I don't think there is enough the IRS is doing to look into these sorts of "churches".  There absolutely must be some sort of government regulation concerning religion or Donald Trump would be running his own church to the tune of millions in tax write-offs.

Second, is it animal cruelty or not?  While the sexual conduct between two (or more) consenting adults is most often best left to the bedroom, dining room table, dungeon, etc. of the individuals and shouldn't be something that the government is involved in, there is deviant sexual behavior.  Should the government come in to protect a chicken?

"As a result of judicial 'wisdom,' the state is now spending millions of dollars to build throughout rural Alaska schools which will serve, at great expense, only a handful of students."

I am conflicted on this issue.  I understand the need to be efficient with public funds.  However, I do believe that young children should be near their parents, and boarding school shouldn't be something we force down the throats of those who live and have children in rural areas.

"I will always trust the common sense of the people more than the unrestrained power in the hands of then elite few."
Again, Mr. Randolph dates himself a bit here.  My rebuttal: Kardashians.

Chapter 7
"A good answer to the question 'What will we do when oil revenues run out?' is simple: cut spending-now!"

Agreed!  The problem here is that we may be past this (peak oil) point.  The pressure to cut spending is an order of magnitude more than it was in 1982.

"We should not accept any federal shared revenue."

I like relatively maintained roads.  I like not paying $25,000 a semester for an education at UAF.  If it means that I can't smoke at UAF, I'm cool with that.

"And every time government invests in more infrastructure through the capital budget, it also creates continuing operational and maintenance expenses and misallocates huge amounts of production."

But the government did put together the highway system.  And it helped mobilize America.  And the government did pay for military bases and border crossings/security and levees and putting a man in space.  And we did benefit from it.  I don't argue with the fact that it probably wasn't incredibly efficient, but it happened and we benefited from it.  It smacks of some level of arrogance to receive the gifts of this sort of investment and then state that you want more or that you wanted it a different way.  If you think that your taxes are going to pay for that, you take your 5,000 dollars and see how far you get with it.

Yes, it's expensive and most probably there was waste, but, as a society, we do benefit from any number of large infrastructure projects.  In fact, there is a very strong argument being made that we need to be investing trillions of dollars in our basic transportation infrastructure in the next decade.

"In dollars, we went from $45 million in 1960 to $5.8 billion in 1981...  ...State spending has increased about a hundred twenty-five times during the last twenty years."

Inflation between 1981 and 2012 was 161.49%.  A budget of $5.8 billion in 1981 would be $15.2 billion in 2012.  Our budget in 2012 was 13 billion.  Alaska's population in 1981 was 498,493.  The population as of July, 2013 was 736,399.  It is not only clear that the budget has not gone up, but that it has actually gone down in 1981 dollars while the population has gone up nearly by nearly 50%.

This is not to say that there isn't too much money in government coffers.  Just that the end-times are not here yet.

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