HELPFUL GRAPHIC: Political Left and Right Properly Defined

While I don’t agree with all of its characterizations, The Objective Standard offers an interesting illustration of the political spectrum.

…the terms “left” and “right” are already widely used to denote the basic political alternative, and because that alternative is in fact binary, the best approach for advocates of freedom is not to reject the prevalent terminology but to clarify it—by defining the relevant terms.

The problem with conventional approaches to the left-right political spectrum is that they either fail to define the alternatives in question, or proceed to define them in terms of non-essentials…

…fascism, far from having anything in common with capitalism, is essentially the same atrocity as communism and socialism—the only difference being that whereas communism and socialism openly call for state ownership of all property, fascism holds that some property may be “private”—so long as government can dictate how such property may be used. Sure, you own the factory, but here’s what you may and may not produce in it; here’s the minimum wage you must pay employees; here’s the kind of accounting system you must use; here are the specifications your machinery must meet; and so on…

….The essential issue in politics is not the size but the function of government; it’s not whether government is big or small but whether it protects or violates rights…

The proper purpose of government is to protect individual rights by banning the use of physical force from social relationships and by using force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use. A properly conceived political spectrum must reflect this fact. Whatever terms are used to identify the positions of political ideologies or systems must be defined with regard to the fundamental political alternative: force vs. freedom—or, more specifically, rights-protecting vs. rights-violating institutions.

Whether you are an objectivist or a Constitutionalist in the mold of the Framers, on this we can agree: those who paint the right as “Nazis” are either ignorant or lying.

‘I am a Socialist,’ Hitler told Otto Strasser in 1930, ‘and a very different kind of Socialist from your rich friend, Count Reventlow’.

No one at the time would have regarded it as a controversial statement. The Nazis could hardly have been more open in their socialism, describing themselves with the same terminology as our own SWP: National Socialist German Workers’ Party.

Almost everyone in those days accepted that fascism had emerged from the revolutionary Left. Its militants marched on May Day under red flags. Its leaders stood for collectivism, state control of industry, high tariffs, workers’ councils. Around Europe, fascists were convinced that, as Hitler told an enthusiastic Mussolini in 1934, ‘capitalism has run its course’.

One of the most stunning achievements of the modern Left is to have created a cultural climate where simply to recite these facts is jarring. History is reinterpreted, and it is taken as axiomatic that fascism must have been Right-wing, the logic seemingly being that Left-wing means compassionate and Right-wing means nasty and fascists were nasty. You expect this level of analysis from Twitter mobs; you shouldn’t expect it from mainstream commentators.

…I just hope that Lefties who have read this far will have a sense of how conservatives feel when fascism is declared to be simply a point further along the spectrum from them. Whenever anyone points to the socialist roots of fascism, there are howls of outrage. Yet the people howling the loudest are often the first to claim some ideological link between fascism and conservatism.

Simply listen to Democrats like the unhinged progressive Tom Harkin, who says that income and wealth needs to be “reallocated” — by force, presumably — and you can hear the echoes of fascists past.

Doug Ross @ Journal

Fire Truck Financing – How to Properly Use FEMA Grants

There is nothing like the excitement of getting a new fire truck.  Better yet, you received a grant that will pay for most or all of the cost of your new truck.  While grants appear to be free money, they do come with strings attached.  It’s essential to know all the facts when accepting grant funds and obligating yourself to a new truck contract.

This article will guide you through the 3 key factors to be aware when using grants to buy new fire apparatus.

Key Factor #1:  Learn the strings attached to the grant

Each grant has specific requirements and prohibitions that will influence what you can and can not do in buying your new apparatus.  For example, FEMA rules prohibit using the truck being purchased with the grant as collateral.  That means if you need to borrow your share, you’ll need to find another way to borrow the funds and not use the new truck as collateral.  In fact, when you read the fine print, FEMA actually considers itself the owner of the vehicle purchased with an AFG grant and even requires you to obtain permission from FEMA to dispose of the truck before you place it out of service.

Some grants require special reporting or auditing which can cost your department money.  Regardless, it’s essential to understand that free money is rarely free.  The grantee has expectations about the transaction that can cost money and time and potentially affect your operation of the vehicle.

Key Factor #2:  Have the entire funding plan in place before you apply

Most grants require some participation from the grantee when obtaining the funds.  It’s important to build upon the knowledge of the strings attached and develop a comprehensive plan for your entire purchase.  Failure to have a plan in place upfront often leads to very poor financial decisions.

For example, if you are not allowed to use the new truck for collateral and don’t have your share in reserve, you may be forced to borrow funds against another asset, such as your fire station, to pay your small share of the new truck.  This means if something dramatically goes wrong, you may lose your station because you received a “free” truck. 

The best financial plans involving grants I’ve seen include matching grants.  This is where a department has approached outside parties such as local governments or businesses or individuals and exacts a commitment to help pay some or all of the grantee share if the grant is received.  Another good plan is to keep some funds in reserve for such a grant share.

Regardless of your plan, it’s important to have a plan before you apply.  Otherwise, you may become forced to take some drastic financial measures to get your new apparatus.

Key Factor #3: Planned for the unexpected

A very frequent mistake I see is that departments rarely plan for unexpected events such as significant truck price increases during the grant selection period or for change orders.  Another frequent mistake is asking for a grant that is too small because the department thinks they will improve their chances by lowering their request.

I’ve seen many instances where a department will request a grant for their $ 300,000 price (the price they were ballparked last year) only to find that the truck is now $ 350,000 this year.  So, the department is forced to contribute $ 80,000 instead of the expected $ 30,000 (10% share, for example).  Or, incurring significant change orders during construction that increases the department’s contribution.

Finally, if you need $ 350,000 for the truck, apply for a grant that will buy a $ 350,000 truck.  By shortchanging the request, the department will increase its other funding needs.

In Summary

Grants are an effective way to acquire new fire apparatus.  However, grants are not free money and they are rarely simple.  It’s important to use grant funding as part of a comprehensive plan to get the new apparatus you need.

Stay safe! John Hill, Apparatus Budgeting Consultant
Envizion Financial
Toll-free (877) 368-4946

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