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The Conservative Reform Network
The Newsletter for Independent, Conservative Political Activists

In This Issue
Conservative Reform Network

Lower Merion Debt

Greed, Self Interest, Angels

Secret Retreat

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Dear Lowman,

The Lower Merion Board of Commissioners ( LMBOC) are considering some substantial spending issues:

1) Spending for the Ludington Renovation priced from a high of $11.1 million to a low of $8.8 million. I blogged on "opportunity costs", facetiously, comparing Kindle to Ludington Expansion to make a point that there is no evidence that the expenditure will accomplish the intended and stated purpose of libraries, that is, to give incentives for more people to read more books

2) Spending $16.7 million for 319 Parking Spaces in Ardmore for which there is no analysis of the return on investment nor to The Forgotten Taxpayer nor any commitment to The Forgotten Taxpayers of Lower Merion that the "funding gap" for the Parking Garage and Mini Main Street project will not be closed by assessing The Forgotten Taxpayer to pay the costs of construction to a private developer

3) Lower Merion's Debt Burden, debt being deferred taxation, on The Forgotten Taxpayers (municipal debt reduces the amount of money available for consumer spending and business investment) which is more detailed by Lower Merion Commissioner Jenny Brown.

4) "Full Cost Recovery" for trash pickup, the radical concept that that who use the service pay for the service. The Forgotten Taxpayer subsidizes about 25% of the cost of other people's trash pickup which subsidy falls on businesses, apartment house owners and condo owners.

The government is expanding its reach in Lower Merion. There is a difference between Free Community and Coerced Collectivism and I am afraid some in leadership positions at LMBOC do not make that distinction.
You can view more posts on my blog.

Lower Merion Debt

Lower Merion: The Forgotten Taxpayer

There are 58,740 residents and 23,699 households in Lower Merion and the Lower Merion Citizens for Responsible Budget calculates the total LOWER MERION TOWNSHIP DEBT at $492,775.765.

This calculates to debt of $8,389.10 per Lower Merion resident and debt of $20,793.10 per Lower Merion Household. This does not include LOWER MERION SCHOOL DISTRICT DEBT or PENNSYLVANIA STATE DEBT or US FEDERAL DEBT.

(note LMCRB calculates per person debt at $8,496.81- obviously, it is using a different population number and does not calculate the per household debt)

Read more

Greed, Self Interest and Angels

Choice and competition lead to lower prices for goods and services we need and want. That seems to be in the public interest.

As Milton Friedman said to Phil Donohue , "Is it really true that political self interest nobler than economic self interest? "

The Lower Merion BOC may think we spend our own money unwisely so they may have to intervene on behalf of "the public good" in the decisions of citizens and consumers, sometimes called the Free Market.

Is the Lower Merion BOC the "angels who will organize society" ?
Scare resources must be allocated, the key issues is who does the rationing, a centralized decision-maker or a decentralized system of individual and independent diverse citizen consumers. Centralized decision makers influenced by political pressure inevitably ration badly. Decentralized systems can potentially avoid the problem of political pressure. The choice in allocating scarce resources is between government coercive rationing or free markets pricing system, containing information, inexact and complex, of the decisions of individual citizen consumers.

Is rational rationing better achieved by command and control elite expertly centralized decision making or consumer citizen driven decentralized market of individuals deciding what his best for themselves and their families.

"I want more rationing with less control where power is dispersed. The "reformers" want more rationing with more control and more power. They scare me." Russell Roberts at Café Hayek

The Secret Retreat

Main Line Times Cheryl Allison competently journals the Lower Merion Board of Commissioners secret retreat:

LM Board retreat to go on, in private, changed location

Self-styled Reaganite Commissioner Phil Rosenzweig's comments were disappointing. It seems all the Democrats support secrecy at the Board of Commissioner retreat. It does not appear that any recording of this meeting will be made. I thought the Sunshine Law and the new Right to Know Law prohibited government business to be conducted in secrecy. Not surprisingly, the compliant, long time Township Solicitor Gil High, Esq. agreed with the Democratic Majority advising secrecy is permitted.

Commissioner Rogers and Commissioner Brown and Commissioner Zelov seem on target to me. There is no reason that Democratic Majority gives for the necessity of secrecy. Are there secret government staff reports secret that public cannot know about?

"Commissioner Lance Rogers:"I personally believe these meetings should be open to the public," he added, making a motion to do just that. Commissioner Jenny Brown seconded the motion, adding that the topic had been discussed at a pre-board meeting.

{Commissioner Jenny]Brown noted that an agenda for the retreat had not been given. Since the items to be presented were not known, she suggested, "We should err on the side of open[ing] the meeting. We don't have an agenda that would lead me to believe it should be in private."
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