Shoot higher, try harder (E - 36)

SAFE is an advocacy group with limited resources, which must offer fact-based, logical arguments to have any hope of making a difference. This point was made a decade ago, in an entry prompted by a comment of a long-time SAFE member, and it holds true today. Better days ahead: fiscal visionaries should persevere, 2/25/08.

“I continue to support the overall goal of our organization,” says SAFE member Harry Kenton, “but realistically I believe we are ‘tilting at windmills’ because no Congress will ever accept our agenda.” Is he right?

“Not necessarily,” we would answer, with all due respect for a man who is still writing well-reasoned letters to the editor (keep it up, Harry!) at the age of 92.

To our knowledge, here’s Harry’s last letter to the editor – clear and to the point as usual. [Susan Stamper] Brown exposes “fallacies,”

Harry passed
last year at the age of 101. Rest in peace, comrade, you fought the good fight!

The battle for smaller, more focused, less costly government goes on, and this week’s entry reports action on several fronts. It’s quite short, but there is plenty of underlying material for those who want to pursue these subjects in depth. Enjoy!

A. Constitution Day – The annual News Journal/ Delaware Law School series to celebrate the Constitution (this year including state constitutions in the mix) focused primarily on the progressive empowerment of certain segments of the population. Very little was said about (a) limits the Constitution places on federal power (enumerated powers, checks and balances between the three branches, federal vs. state jurisdiction), or (b) the often fascinating debates about interpreting and applying said limits. Constitution Day essays are a mixed bag, Delaware Chatter, 9/16/18 et seq.

The essays are generally divided between historical nostalgia and the expression of a progressive agenda (recognize more rights for designated segments of the population and ratify continual expansion of the government).

In contrast, SAFE’s essay this year focused on controversies that have arisen regarding the US immigration laws. Are these laws appropriate? Why aren’t they being enforced? Are state authorities obliged to comply with them, or can they make up their own rules? Ultimately, we believe this is an area in which federal law must be supreme and widespread, habitual flouting of the law is dangerous. Midterm issues: Immigration,

B. Public Service Commission – Many people have talked about the “qualified fuel cell provider” (Bloom Energy) tariff on their Delmarva Power bills, but few ever tried to do anything about it. (Shades of the famous saying about the weather, commonly attributed to Mark Twain). The legal paperwork put in place in 2011 is air tight, it is rationalized, so ratepayers will just have to accept being overcharged for the electric power involved until the 21-year term expires in 2033.

Civic activist John Nichols wasn’t satisfied with this answer, so he filed a petition for relief with the Delaware Public Service Commission that, in essence, asks the PSC, Delmarva Power and Bloom Energy to ensure – legal paperwork be damned - that the ratepayers are being treated fairly. Petition for PSC to review the Delaware QFCP Tariff, John Nichols,

This petition asks the PSC to review how the QFCP tariff came to be approved in 2011, what effects for Delmarva Power ratepayers it has had to date, and what the future penalty will be through the 21-year term of this contract. It would be unconscionable to conclude that no options for mitigating the burden on ratepayers are available without undertaking such a review.

Nichols’ petition will be placed on the PSC’s 10/9/18 agenda (starting at 1:00 PM), 861 Silver Lake Boulevard, Cannon Building, Suite 100, Dover, DE 19904. It would be helpful to have a lot of people at the meeting. For those who plan to attend, please bring copies of your electric bills.

C. Senator Tom Carper – Jim Thomen and Bill Whipple met with Senator Carper last week to compare notes on the deficits and debt. This session built on a 10/23/16 meeting on the same topic.

The discussion lasted about 45 minutes and covered several aspects of the current fiscal situation. There are some notable similarities between our views and those of Senator Carper, e.g., mutual agreement that it’s vitally important to get the budget balanced and this goal can’t and won’t be achieved without strong presidential leadership. Annotated handouts,

D. Midterm issues – The current political conversation is abysmal, e.g., nonstop coverage of the confirmation process for Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy. With all this static, it’s hard to envision a meaningful debate about policy issues on the campaign trail.

And it our political leaders don’t address the issues while they are running for office, what are the odds that they will level with us about these issues after they get elected? Slim to none!

Hopeful as always, SAFE has posted a series of blog entries about major policy issues. And the highlights (updated as appropriate) of these reviews are presented in the SAFE newsletter,
fall 2018.

Mid-term election campaigns don’t typically shed much light on policy issues, but perhaps things will work differently this year. In the spirit of promoting rational debate, we present a series of policy issues – deficits & debt, taxes, healthcare, renewable energy [at both the federal and state level], and immigration – noting conflicting views and offering SAFE's perspective. Also, be sure to watch the American Flag video by Robin Williams.

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