Saturday, April 16, 2011

If Only I Could Clean Out The Clutter of Laws Too

HARBESON: Debbie de-clutters

COLUMN NOTES: A commenter on the newspaper's site said "The same argument you make for libraries, could just as easily be made for the existence of National Public Radio, Public TV, and for that matter, the National Endowment for the Arts." I agree.

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — The file I use to collect material for possible columns is growing kind of thick which means it’s time to de-clutter. So today let’s take a quick look at a few of these topics before I throw out the trash.

The first item is an article about the Jeffersonville Canal. The government has started purchasing homes in the areas affected but at least one property owner, Fred Collins, says he isn’t interested in selling. When asked how they will handle such situations, government officials said they’d be as fair as they can.

What does this mean? If those in government were truly concerned about being fair, all they have to do is respect his wishes as a legitimate property owner and simply leave him alone. If you have any respect for the principle of individual property ownership, please join me in supporting Mr. Collins as he struggles to keep his home. Don’t let the government treat him as if he’s a bothersome piece of clutter.

Next up in my pile is a letter State Senator Ron Grooms wrote bemoaning the property tax circuit breaker because it affects the funding of one of his most beloved coercively funded institutions: government libraries.

To make his case for increasing the library’s options for additional coercive funding, he points out how many people love the library and gives statistics on local library usage. Grooms wants us to believe this is a valid argument for coercion, but it’s just as valid to argue that popularity proves there is no need to coerce. Such beloved institutions can surely be self-supporting because the many people who use the library and/or claim to love its purpose, as Grooms does, will act to close the funding gap with no need for government force.

For example, according to the numbers Grooms gave in the letter, if the Jeffersonville Township Library only made one change and charged a fee to check out materials, the cost would be less than 60 cents to use an item for several weeks. What library-loving patrons holding their daily $2 cup of coffee or 89 cent big swig of soda would object to this?

Finally, I have several pieces in my file dealing with the crazy clutter of laws we have concerning alcohol. Indiana’s oh-so-wise politicians discovered that elderly people get irritated if asked to show identification when they want to buy a six-pack and have a lot of time on their hands to bug their legislators about the problem. So, to de-clutter their lives, i.e., get the old people off their backs, legislators are messing with this law again, hoping to find that sweet spot, the age where people are desperately clinging to the illusion that they still look young, but are much too busy to complain to their legislators when they realize that’s not why they were carded.

Let’s add one more alcohol-related item to this de-cluttering column. Did you know that wineries need special government permission to sell their product at festivals and can currently only engage in such business activity for 30 days a year? Well, thanks in part to the work of Representatives Rhonda Rhoads and Ed Clere, they might now be allowed to have festival permits for 45 days a year. Shall we all have a drink to celebrate this amazing freedom?

I just don’t get it. I’m sitting here looking at another item I’m about to discard, a postcard from Rhoads’ campaign that says she is for smarter government. Wouldn’t smarter government best be defined by the repeal of such idiotic laws rather than adding to them?

I guess I can understand why politicians love legislative clutter. It gives them work to do because there’s always something for them to “clean-up.”

Sellersburg resident Debbie Harbeson de-clutters so thoroughly that she’s accidentally pitched her husband into the trash several times. No, really, they were accidents.

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