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Senate Poised to Vote on Huge Land Grab [re: S. 476, "Faith-based Initiative]
CNSNews.com ^ | March 20, 2003 | Tom DeWeese

Posted on 03/20/2003 5:12:36 AM PST by Stand Watch Listen

Choosing a time when the attention of all Americans is on our conflict with Iraq, the Senate is poised to vote on a bill that would unleash a major attack on private property rights. It would empower environmental groups and government agencies to use taxpayer funds to purchase land.

The bill, S. 476, called the "Faith-based Initiative," has two insidious sections, 106 and 107, that call for a 25% tax cut on capital gains of land sales, but only if the land is sold to an "environmental group" or a government agency.

This legislation is a classic Trojan horse. No other "faith-based" groups would benefit, but all Americans would suffer the economic losses as more and more land is taken off the tax rolls and all access and use of that land would be restricted. The proposed legislation would create a huge potential for government-funded land grabs.

The legislation is a roadmap to economic disaster. It is a sneak attack by environmentalists to line their pockets and grab more land from private property owners. Only this time they will have access to taxpayers' dollars to undermine the ability to extract natural energy and mining resources, expand our agricultural base, harvest timber, or use such lands for any form of recreation.

The Nature Conservancy would be the largest beneficiary. It is the richest, most powerful environmental colossus in the nation. It claims more than 700,000 individual members and 405 corporate members operating out of eight regional offices and fifty chapter offices across the nation. The Nature Conservancy has assets of over $2.6 billion, with an annual income of $785 million, and an annual operating budget of over $400 million. The Nature Conservancy has 274 employees who are paid more than $50,000 per year.

The scam is Real Estate. The hook is "conservation through private action." According to the party line, The Nature Conservancy simply buys land with private money and sets up nature reserves, thereby helping the environment without infringing on anybody. It sounds like a wonderful, charitable idea, if only it were true.

In truth, The Nature Conservancy buys private land from owners (usually at drastically reduced, land-grab prices) who think it will remain in private hands and then sells it to the government! In fact, The Nature Conservancy has sold more than 9 million acres to the government at a nice profit.

The victims are unsuspecting property owners, often elderly. The methods utilized include hiding behind phony corporations; serving as a shill for government agencies; and working behind the scenes with more visible environmental groups to intimidate property owners into selling. The goal is money and power.

The Nature Conservancy frequently uses phony front companies to get land from owners who wouldn't knowingly sell to an environmental group. It used this tactic to purchase most of the islands off the coast of Virginia, containing 40,000 acres and sixty miles of coastline. In doing so, The Nature Conservancy was able to stop all private development and control the use of the land, damaging the tax base, killing thousands of jobs, and severely curbing the locals from hunting, fishing, camping and joy riding on the islands.

Don't think the purpose was to preserve these beautiful, pristine islands for nature. The Nature Conservancy did bar others from developing the land, but not itself. Far from it. At a huge profit, the Conservancy developed upscale homes for the rich.

The problem is that The Nature Conservancy is a non-profit organization with tax-exempt status and they maintain that status because of their tightly protected image as benevolent conservationists. This is far from the truth.

For example, property owners on the islands wanted to invest in development and thought they were selling their land to developers. They were aware of and frightened by The Nature Conservancy and would never have sold to the group. That's why the Conservancy hid behind a phony land company, grabbed power, foiled the development, and made a huge profit on tax-exempt money. Today much of the coast of Virginia is off-limits to tourists and other development.

Other times, The Nature Conservancy acts as a shill to a government agency to acquire land cheaply and sell it to the government at a huge profit. One of its favorite scams goes something like this. Your grandmother owns land close to a historic site or a wilderness area. The government wants the land to expand a park, but grandmother won't sell.

One day a representative of the Nature Conservancy shows up, well dressed, smiling, but concerned. He tells your grandmother that he's just learned that the government intends to take her land after she passes away. She won't be able to sell it or give it to her children. However, he can offer a solution. If Grandmother will sell her land to The Nature Conservancy he can assure her that the land will stay in private hands and not be taken by the government.

Well, a relieved grandmother is much happier and she agrees to sell. However, because the government has threatened to take the land, its value is now only about half its reported market value. That's all he'll be able to pay her. Well, thinks grandmother, half is better than nothing, so she sells.

The next day our friend from The Nature Conservancy makes a call to the Department of the Interior (or some other appropriate federal agency) informing them that their plan has worked. The whole thing had been pre-arranged between them before anyone ever knocked on Grandmother's door. As arranged, The Nature Conservancy then sells the land to the Interior Department for full market value, plus overhead, financing, and handling charges.

The truth is The Nature Conservancy is little more than a massive, ruthless real estate machine using its tax-exempt status and ties to the government to create wealth for itself.

The entire concept of the faith-based initiative is ill conceived. Its virtually hidden exemptions will benefit The Nature Conservancy and land-hungry government agencies. Americans must contact their Senators today to insure that the hidden sections of S.476 are removed. It may come up for a vote at any time.

(Tom DeWeese is the publisher/editor of The DeWeese Report and president of the American Policy Center, an activist think tank headquartered in Warrenton, Va.)


Tom DeWeese




TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: New York; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: conservacy; conservancy; environmental; faithbased; grab; initiative; interior; land; landgrab; nature; realestate; s476; senate; virginia

1 posted on 03/20/2003 5:12:36 AM PST by Stand Watch Listen
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To: Stand Watch Listen
SEC. 106. MODIFICATIONS TO ENCOURAGE CONTRIBUTIONS OF CAPITAL GAIN REAL PROPERTY MADE FOR CONSERVATION PURPOSES.

(a) IN GENERAL- Section 170(h) (relating to qualified conservation contribution) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

`(7) ADDITIONAL INCENTIVES FOR QUALIFIED CONSERVATION CONTRIBUTIONS-

`(A) IN GENERAL- In the case of any qualified conservation contribution (as defined in paragraph (1)) made by an individual--

`(i) subparagraph (C) of subsection (b)(1) shall not apply,

`(ii) except as provided in subparagraph (B)(i), subsections (b)(1)(A) and (d)(1) shall be applied separately with respect to such contributions by treating references to 50 percent of the taxpayer's contribution base as references to the amount of such base reduced by the amount of other contributions allowable under subsection (b)(1)(A), and

`(iii) subparagraph (A) of subsection (d)(1) shall be applied--

`(I) by substituting `15 succeeding taxable years' for `5 succeeding taxable years', and

`(II) by applying clause (ii) to each of the 15 succeeding taxable years.

`(B) SPECIAL RULES FOR ELIGIBLE FARMERS AND RANCHERS-

`(i) IN GENERAL- In the case of any such contributions made by an eligible farmer or rancher--

`(I) if the taxpayer is an individual, subsections (b)(1)(A) and (d)(1) shall be applied separately with respect to such contributions by substituting `the taxpayer's contribution base reduced by the amount of other contributions allowable under subsection (b)(1)(A)' for `50 percent of the taxpayer's contribution base' each place it appears, and

`(II) if the taxpayer is a corporation, subsections (b)(2) and (d)(2) shall be applied separately with respect to such contributions, subsection (b)(2) shall be applied with respect to such contributions as if such subsection did not contain the words `10 percent of' and as if subparagraph (A) thereof read `the deduction under this section for qualified conservation contributions', and rules similar to the rules of subparagraph (A)(iii) shall apply for purposes of subsection (d)(2).

`(ii) DEFINITION- For purposes of clause (i), the term `eligible farmer or rancher' means a taxpayer whose gross income from the trade or business of farming (within the meaning of section 2032A(e)(5)) is at least 51 percent of the taxpayer's gross income for the taxable year, and, in the case of a C corporation, the stock of which is not publicly traded on a recognized exchange.'.

(b) EFFECTIVE DATE- The amendment made by this section shall apply to contributions made after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 107. EXCLUSION OF 25 PERCENT OF GAIN ON SALES OR EXCHANGES OF LAND OR WATER INTERESTS TO ELIGIBLE ENTITIES FOR CONSERVATION PURPOSES.

(a) IN GENERAL- Part III of subchapter B of chapter 1 (relating to items specifically excluded from gross income) is amended by inserting after section 121 the following new section:
2 posted on 03/20/2003 5:25:44 AM PST by HuntsvilleTxVeteran (chIRAQ & sadDAM are bedfellows & clinton is a raping traitor!)
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To: Stand Watch Listen; madfly; AuntB; editor-surveyor; blackie; Jeff Head
The truth is The Nature Conservancy is little more than a massive, ruthless real estate machine using its tax-exempt status and ties to the government to create wealth for itself.
===========================
Guys, THAT bears repitition far and wide! The "conservancy" is one of if not THE biggest landowner in the WORLD excepting governments, and few of them even. Peace and love, George.
3 posted on 03/20/2003 5:29:03 AM PST by George Frm Br00klyn Park (FREEDOM!!!!!!!!!)
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To: HuntsvilleTxVeteran
Thanks for providing the language of Sections 106, 107 of this proposed S.476...appreciate it.

4 posted on 03/20/2003 5:37:25 AM PST by Stand Watch Listen
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To: George Frm Br00klyn Park
The Conservancy has been particularly vicious in continental New York. One of its favorite tactics is to browbeat landowners into selling their acreage for peanuts, by threatening them with condemnation proceedings, or by making circumlocuitous statements that invite the landowner to infer that such proceedings are already under way. This is a form of extortion for which no adequate condemnation exists.

If a government official were to do this, it would be felonious malfeasance -- abuse of power under color of law. Why the Nature Conservancy is allowed to do it, with tacit cooperation from Albany, simply eludes me.

Freedom, Wealth, and Peace,
Francis W. Porretto
Visit The Palace Of Reason:
http://palaceofreason.com

5 posted on 03/20/2003 5:37:53 AM PST by fporretto (Curmudgeon Emeritus, Palace of Reason)
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To: Stand Watch Listen
Choosing a time when the attention of all Americans is on our conflict with Iraq, the Senate is poised to vote...

Instead of voting on anything, what Frist and Company should be doing now is making the RATS do a Jimmy Stewart filibuster on Estrada.

6 posted on 03/20/2003 5:48:28 AM PST by Dahoser (Saddam's last job...capacity testing Depends.)
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To: Stand Watch Listen
The environmental groups tie up large chunks of land that would make wonderful development property by opposing permitting applications using the myriad governmental regulations they sponsored or initiated. By making development prohibitively expensive through regulation, they then come back and buy the property for pennies on the dollar. Then they deed restrict it, and then sell it to government, thereby theoretically locking it up forever.

This bill must be opposed and not allowed to become law. But that is not sufficient. The key to breaking the backs of these groups is the flat tax or the fair. Once the charitable deduction that even most conservatives believe is important is eliminated, real organizations worthy of true charitable support will continue to thrive and prosper. But these anti-capitalist front organizations posing as friends of the environment will be economically castrated.

We don't just want tax cuts; we demand meaningful tax reform. And meaningful tax reform is the flat tax or the fair tax or a combination of the two.

Americans will never be free as long as government controls its taxing authority independent of the taxpayers. Most Americans do not pay income tax at all. And the lion's share of income tax paying Americans pay only a token portion of the tax. The graduated income tax is an abomination to free people. And Americans will never be free as long as government controls our currency. A free people must force their government back on the gold standard.

Defeating this bill is important, but do not lose sight of the truly important goals.

7 posted on 03/20/2003 5:53:57 AM PST by B. A. Conservative
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To: fporretto
FP, IMHO, The "conservancy" and many other "conservation" groups could be prosecuted under the RICO statute. But, their "Partners" in governments from city through county, state, and federal would be found to be liable too. And, finding a prosecutor who holds the law above his/her office will be HARD to find. "Public Private Partnerships" of the WORST sort. It's like railroads and law{?} enforcement of the 1800s. EVIL!! Peace and love, George.
8 posted on 03/20/2003 5:54:28 AM PST by George Frm Br00klyn Park (FREEDOM!!!!!!!!!)
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To: Dahoser
Instead of voting on anything, what Frist and Company should be doing now is making the RATS do a Jimmy Stewart filibuster on Estrada.

Why would they do something like that?

9 posted on 03/20/2003 6:17:48 AM PST by templar
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To: Stand Watch Listen
bttt
10 posted on 03/20/2003 6:21:07 AM PST by SuperLuminal
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To: templar
Because you want to tag them with holding up business during wartime.
11 posted on 03/20/2003 6:21:55 AM PST by Dahoser (Saddam's last job...capacity testing Depends...he overflowed it.)
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To: Dahoser
Because you want to tag them with holding up business during wartime.

But, wouldn't that defeat the purpose of the Republicans?

12 posted on 03/20/2003 6:35:44 AM PST by templar
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To: George Frm Br00klyn Park
FP, IMHO, The "conservancy" and many other "conservation" groups could be prosecuted under the RICO statute. ... And, finding a prosecutor who holds the law above his/her office will be HARD to find

In this instance, YOU are the prosecutor. RICO is civil law that was designed and intended to allow the common man to sue the mob out of existance. This is why people like Planned Parenthood have used it against pro-life groups, and other people have sued Insurance companies and such. Of course, no one actually seems foolhardy enough to actually sue the Mob bosses with it.

13 posted on 03/20/2003 6:43:48 AM PST by templar
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To: Carry_Okie; backhoe; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Libertarianize the GOP; freefly; 2sheep; expose; ...

Organizations such as the Nature Conservancy do not need more corporate welfare, which this bill provides by giving them an advantage as a buyer that is not available to other bidders. The Nature Conservancy pays no income taxes at all, as do other bidders in the private sector. The Nature Conservancy's income is directly enhanced by grants from government ($147 million between 1997 and 2001) and another $142 million in 2000 alone), from contracts, and the sale of land to the government.

According to a recent report in Range magazine, the Nature Conservancy owns more than 90-million acres of land around the world, about 12-million acres – a chunk the size of Switzerland – of which is in the United States. Along with the World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace and two other environmental organizations, the Nature Conservancy is listed as "executing agency," or "collaborating organization," on more than $800 million in annual grants from the U.N.'s Global Environment Facility. There is no justification for these subsidies.

Governments already own more than 40 percent of the total land area in America. The total additional acreage owned by the more than 1,200 "conservancy" organizations is not known. These organizations, in "public/private" partnerships with government, are taking control of the foundation of our free-market economy. This objective is not expressed publicly by either government, or by environmental organizations. Nevertheless, the expansion of public ownership of land is the objective, and the transformation of our economic system is the inevitable consequence. It is the objective set forth by the United Nations in 1976:

    "Land ... cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice. ... The provision of decent dwellings and healthy conditions for the people can only be achieved if land is used in the interests of society as a whole. Public control of land use is therefore indispensable. ..."

The CARE Act of 2003 subsidizes these giant green corporations in order to expedite the removal of land from private individuals, and the "inefficiencies of the market." Since socialism is defined to be "public ownership of the sources of production," every sale of land to the government, or to an environmental organization acting as a surrogate government partner, moves the nations closer to a socialist economy.

Henry Lamb


14 posted on 03/20/2003 6:49:53 AM PST by madfly (AZFIRE.org)
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To: templar
Of course, no one actually seems foolhardy enough to actually sue the Mob bosses with it.

Who wants to sleep with the fishes? :)

Actually, I feel some of these green groups are no more moral than the mob - the only difference is a tax exempt status.

15 posted on 03/20/2003 6:55:40 AM PST by Hacksaw (She's not that kind of girl, Booger.)
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To: templar
Eventually, you've got to make them hold up all traffic to shine a rather bright light on what they're doing or they'll have succeeded in remaking the Constitution by requiring more than a simple majority to confirm judicial appointments.
16 posted on 03/20/2003 7:00:23 AM PST by Dahoser (Saddam's last job...capacity testing Depends...he overflowed it.)
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To: Hacksaw
...I feel some of these green groups are no more moral than the mob

I agree. They're just smarter. Like the three guys that like to cut flesh. One becomes a butcher, one a surgeon and one a homicidal maniac. Same basic motivation, just different ways and different social status for how they do it.

17 posted on 03/20/2003 7:14:15 AM PST by templar
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To: B. A. Conservative; yall
Agreed  It's always, I repeat always most effective to "attack" the root of the problem. Else wise it is putting band-aids on the sores/symptoms while the cancer is allowed spread further. Cure the cancer/disease and the symptoms will also be eliminated.

I definitely favor the fair tax. Also keep in mind that the U.S. constitution does not grant the federal government the power to buy land except for specific purposes. And rightly so.

Article. I.
Section. 8.

Clause 17: To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;

Replacing the graduated/progressive income tax with a consumption tax such as the NRST would set off a chain reaction of benefits.

1. Boom the economy because productivity is not taxed; no tax on profits or hidden taxes/fees.

2. IRS threats and coercion eliminated and replaced with, if you don't want to pay the tax, don't buy the item.

3. 20% to 30% decrease in retail prices that facilitates spending and partially offsets the retail tax. Which will also...

3a. Make U.S. made products more competitive when sold within the USA against foreign imports.

3b. Make U.S. made products more competitive in the World market.

4. People will know how much leviathan government is really costing them, resulting in...

5. Shrinking government to it's constitutional function to protect synonymous private-property rights and individual rights from domestic and foreign criminals while upholding the sanctity of private contracts.

6. Creates jobs in the USA.

7. Freedom in United States leads to other countries doing similar or risk its citizens fleeing to United States to increase productivity here while enjoying the fruits/prosperity of their labor.

The reader can get more information at Americans for Fair Tax on the fairtax.org Web site.

18 posted on 03/20/2003 7:30:02 AM PST by Zon
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To: meadsjn; babble-on
ping
19 posted on 03/20/2003 7:37:59 AM PST by madfly (AZFIRE.org)
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To: madfly; *landgrab; farmfriend
http://www.freerepublic.com/perl/bump-list
20 posted on 03/20/2003 7:58:10 AM PST by Free the USA (Stooge for the Rich)
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To: Stand Watch Listen; marsh2; dixiechick2000; Helen; Mama_Bear; poet; Grampa Dave; ...
ping
21 posted on 03/20/2003 8:14:07 AM PST by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: farmfriend
BTTT!!!!!
22 posted on 03/20/2003 8:52:20 AM PST by E.G.C.
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To: George Frm Br00klyn Park; 1Old Pro; 68-69TonkinGulfYatchClub; a_federalist; abner; aculeus; ...
Great - Just what we need: another enviro tax scam.
23 posted on 03/20/2003 9:53:21 AM PST by editor-surveyor ( . Best policy RE: Environmentalists, - ZERO TOLERANCE !!)
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To: editor-surveyor
BTTT!!!!!!
24 posted on 03/20/2003 10:05:25 AM PST by E.G.C.
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To: editor-surveyor
It's only money ... :)

Let's Roll!
25 posted on 03/20/2003 11:22:31 AM PST by blackie
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To: madfly
Thanks for the ping. The abuse of non-profit status has rendered the concept worse than useless.

The shorter list would be those non-profit outfits who are NOT blatant criminal enterprizes.

26 posted on 03/20/2003 11:46:04 AM PST by meadsjn
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To: farmfriend
BUMP
27 posted on 03/20/2003 3:21:54 PM PST by dcwusmc ("The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself.")
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To: Stand Watch Listen
Unbelievable!, they are so sneaky.

Thanks for the ping.
28 posted on 03/20/2003 3:34:22 PM PST by Delphinium
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To: farmfriend
How can the government consider Nature Conservancy a "faith-based" organization. Probably because the elderly put their "faith" in the Conservancy. How sad......
29 posted on 03/20/2003 3:46:27 PM PST by Harleys Mom
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To: Stand Watch Listen
bump for later read
30 posted on 03/20/2003 5:36:13 PM PST by Spangler
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To: editor-surveyor
The truth is The Nature Conservancy is little more than a massive, ruthless real estate machine using its tax-exempt status and ties to the government to create wealth for itself.

Bumpity, bumpity, bump.

31 posted on 03/20/2003 6:07:54 PM PST by Victoria Delsoul
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To: editor-surveyor
Same old, same old out of DC...you'd think they'd learn that the gig is up, but noooooo...
same old, same old out of DC...you'd think they'd learn that the gig is up, but noooooo...
32 posted on 03/21/2003 3:17:54 AM PST by philman_36
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To: Stand Watch Listen
bump
33 posted on 03/21/2003 3:24:42 PM PST by tomakaze
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To: editor-surveyor
S.476

Title: An original bill to provide incentives for charitable contributions by individuals and businesses, to improve the public disclosure of activities of exempt organizations, and to enhance the ability of low-income Americans to gain financial security by building assets, and for other purposes
Sponsor: Sen Grassley, Charles E. [IA] (introduced 2/27/2003)
Cosponsors: (none)
Latest Major Action: 2/27/2003 Senate preparation for floor. Status: Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 22.

Not to mention the incredible competitive advantage the fed accrues over the public by tossing in the 25% reduction in capital gains. I don't see how that enhances the ability of any Americans to build assets.

Allard, Campbell, and McInnis have heard from me. Best chance to stop this is in the House, I believe.

34 posted on 03/22/2003 10:25:22 PM PST by kitchen
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To: Stand Watch Listen
BTTT! Constant Vigilance, on all fronts, of all foes, foreign and domestic...
35 posted on 03/25/2003 9:54:31 AM PST by JFoxbear
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