Thursday, August 17, 2006

laboratories of democracy




This week is dominated by my attendance at the National Conference of State Legislatures, http://www.ncsl.org, annual convention in Nashville, Tennessee as a guest of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), www.atr.org. I am not certain where to begin since a large conference of state legislators like this one generates numerous blogging topics so for today's post I am going to highlight just a few observations from yesterday:

  • During the debate regarding ATR's "Tax Pledge" a "public employee and state legislator" from Montana challenged ATR's president to use his influence with legislators to call on them to quit "accepting campaign contributions from lobbyists.........I don't accept such contributions myself, instead I get my support from labor unions........." Amazing!!! Most of the attendees at this debate laughed at this woman's completely biased and ignorant statement -- as if labor unions don't lobby or perhaps they are pure and above politics?? I am still amazed at her statement. If this is the kind of person serving in public office I am concerned for the taxpayers of Montana.
  • Amtrak -- I stopped by their booth having been attracted by the great map they had showing Amtrak's train and bus routes across the USA and Canada. I asked their lobbyist working at this booth -- "what is your major policy issue?" -- to which he replied "we need more money" . Then I asked him if airline safety issues affected their passenger numbers and he said, "yes we had 25 million passengers last year which is our highest yet!!" Stop and think about this now -- Amtrak needs more tax dollars to stay in business at a time when their passenger traffic is at its highest levels!!?? Clearly this is a broken business ruined either by poor management or restrictive labor union agreements or a potent combination of both.
  • Athletic Trainers -- I also visited the National Athletic Trainers Association, www.nata.org, (NATA) to discuss a health care issue with them. To my great surprised the two women working at this booth were clearly obese thus not a great advertisement for NATA's membership. This would be the same as visiting a Catholic priest while he was getting a lap dance from a stripper!!!

Overall the NCSL conference exhibitors are essentially here to lobby/promote the need for regulation -- massage therapists calling for state certification/regulation are but one example I noticed. If anyone thinks that government needs to grow they should attend this conference someday to get a better sense of how LARGE government already is today before they call for new programs to be created. Seeing conferences like this one are rather disturbing if you appreciate the concepts of economic liberty and individualism.

Off to the show,

Todd

1 comment:

jdsqrd said...

How does your attending a conference dominate our week? (1st sentence)