Welcome to my Blog!

Better late than never....it's after the election, and I finally started my blog. I hope you enjoy what you read as the blog progresses. Please add comments or e-mail me at rossputin@aol.com. Also, if you have something specific on your mind that might be an interesting subject for a note, please let me know.

When In Doubt, Vote "NO"

(published in Colorado Daily, late October 2004. Note that every tax increase mentioned passed on election day.) To the Editors: “When In Doubt, Vote NO” From the tobacco tax increase to FasTracks to renewable energy, all this years ballot propsals (except Referendum B deleting obsolete provisions from the State Constitution) deserve to be defeated by voters who read and understand the details. However, many voters go to the polls without having fully read the details, yet still must make a choice. For that situation I have this advice: “When In Doubt, Vote NO”. Most ballot measures are nothing more than attempts to use the government to transfer money from one group to another: smokers to non-smokers (Amendment 35), non-commuters to commuters (Boulder County Issue 4A), business owners to home owners (Amendment 37), homebodys, outdoorsmen and many Broncos fans to museum-and-theater-goers (Issue 4b). We do not live in Sherwood Forest, and we should not permit or encourage our government to act like Robin Hood. Theft in the guise of a good deed is still theft. Voters should not support the use of the ballot box to steal from their fellow citizens lest they one day become part of a disfavored group. Ross G. Kaminsky Boulder, CO

To Buy Or Not To Buy (land in Namibia)

Note: This letter is 10 months old, but I just found it online, not having realized they printed it! After leaving it here for some time for anyone who might read it I will adjust the date on the entry.... To Buy Or Not To Buy (in The Namibian newspaper in Windhoek, Namibia, Friday, March 12, 2004 - Web posted at 10:09:35 GMT) http://www.namibian.com.na/2004/march/letters/042DF09B39.html I AM an American living in Australia, and recently visited Namibia on my honeymoon. I found it to be a wonderful country, full of fascinating and beautiful people and places. This led me to thinking about investing in land or a small guesthouse in Namibia, as I think there is tremendous tourist potential in the country. I am in fact very close to a deal to buy a small amount of land with some rental camp sites and bungalows, which would employ a couple of local people, as well as bringing more tourism to Namibia through my marketing, leading indirectly to more employment and income. However, I am inclined not to finish the transaction now that I am reading about your new land confiscation policy. I realise that the type of small non-farm property I am buying is not subject to confiscation, but the policy itself cannot help but conjure up images of Mugabe's disastrous policies in Zimbabwe. There is nothing more important in long-term economic development than stable property rights and rules which citizens can expect will not be changed in the middle of the game. In other words, uncertainty prevents progress and growth. Frustration with the slow pace of land resettlement is understandable, but addressing it with a policy that is very likely to damage current productivity and incentive for investment is a recipe for disaster. You have taken the first step down an extremely dangerous road, a step which I think is most ill-advised, is likely to create serious trouble for the country, and is not likely to achieve your stated goals. Rather, the uncertainty you create will put brakes on economic productivity that you can not afford to diminish, especially with Namibia's high population growth rate. I urge you to reconsider the policy you have recently proposed, or at least to go out of your way to make sure that land owners and potential investors, and even tourists, understand that any policy has very strict standards which will be adhered to, and that any policy is strictly used for its stated economic or demographic goals and not for political purposes. I urge you to retract the decision and come out with a policy much more clearly aimed at stability and rule of law. Ross G. Kaminsky Sydney, Australia