and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

Barbara's Column
July #3

Summer thoughts:  Day lilies, daisies and Deval
© by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Thursday, July 19 2007

So here we are, smack in the middle of summer as defined by our bookend holidays, Memorial Day and Labor Day. Daisies, day lilies and diascia fill the garden: it's time to sit there, turn off, tune out, finish my latest Nevada Barr mystery so I'm ready to begin the final Harry Potter.

But no. Politicians are still running around with their bright ideas that require us to pay attention or be surprised come fall - just as New Hampshire residents were surprised when they awoke from the fantasy that they could elect Democrats on the war issue without affecting their own "Live free or die" state culture. Thomas Jefferson wasn't kidding when he warned us that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. So setting aside the mystery novel, reading the newspapers and my e-mail. ...

Let's start with the most ridiculous, the beyond-absurd. The anti-melting pot activists are demanding that Boston ballots be printed in Chinese characters. Yes, it's been fun to see the literal translations of some politicians' names, reminding me of when the Chevy Nova didn't sell in Mexico because "Nova" translates to "it doesn't go." But if it's a bad idea to have ballots in any language but English, and it is, then this new proposed policy carries a bad idea to the level of utter nonsense. Thank you, Secretary of State Bill Galvin, for resisting this. You are hereby dubbed "public servant of the month."

Never let it be said that I don't show visiting relatives a good time. Took my grandtwins, with their parents, to Revere Beach; the sand sculpture competition was amazing art. But I will never take anyone to a casino at Suffolk Downs. Didn't even want to take the family to downtown Boston, through leaking tunnels, into the unsolved-crime capital, for the Museum of Science and the ducklings in the public garden.

I suppose, in a country that once bailed out the savings and loan industry, it was inevitable that some politicians would want to bail out subprime borrowers, who are perceived as lower-income people desperate to find affordable housing in a difficult housing market. ... Bad as that idea is, here's another inevitability: they will also want to bail out other foolish homeowners who overextended themselves with McMansions to impress somebody. Those of us who carefully borrowed only what we thought we could afford, furnishing it from yard sales, salute the long-standing policy called "let the buyer beware and read the contract" and, let the spoiled suffer, and rent a room or two to the poor.

Gov. Deval Patrick wants the sub-prime bailout, and, he wants to let public employees take a paid day to "volunteer" for "community causes." I can't even wrap my brain around this one, which is wrong on so many levels that it begins to resemble Dante's circles of hell. On level one, public employees who apparently, according to the governor, don't have enough to do to keep them busy. Level two, public employees who will be neglecting their real job to do fun volunteer things. Choose a lower level for the governor, who should volunteer to just go away, back to the planet from which he came.

And no, the private sector shouldn't be forced to give its employees Paid Family Leave. Here's an idea: Let's return to the concept that the reason we have a job in either the public or private sector is to get the job done to earn the paycheck. Let's remove all other obligations of employers: to provide time for parenting, health insurance, pensions, money for the unemployed, volunteer work, or a place to practice political correctness. Let's give working people a tax break if we pay for our health insurance and retirement ourselves.

Speaking of political correctness, here's an amusing piece from Watertown. Apparently the City Council was discussing a program called "No Place to Hate" in reference to "immigrants." A local resident sought clarification about the word, wondering if it referred to just legal immigrants, or to "illegal immigrants" as well. The council president scolded the resident for using the word "illegal" and ruled him out of order.

Local activist John DiMascio responded: "I've gotten caught up in the 'spirit' of the No Place to Hate" program. So I would like to propose a change in the council rules.

"When a member of the public rises to speak, he should be receive instructions along these lines.

"To be ruled out of order, receive a patronizing lecture on politically correct language, or otherwise have your freedom of speech violated in English say 'one.' Para espa-ol diga 'dos'. Para Portugese 'trĘs.' Per italiano 'quattro,' etc. " Good one, John!

I agree with the general premise: there is no place to hate in America, where we can walk away from truly hateful people like Saddam Hussein, whom everyone seems to be forgetting so soon. But surely we can deplore lawbreaking, dislike political correctness, and be less than fond of the politicians who encourage both -- and whose silly ideas interfere with our summer chill-out.

Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her column appears weekly in the Salem News and Eagle Tribune, and often in the Newburyport Times, Gloucester Times, and Lowell Sun; bi-weekly in the Tinytown Gazette; and occasionally in the Providence (RI) Journal and other newspapers.