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Indiana’s proposed union legislation is a little too ‘big govt.’ for me

February 22, 2011 2 comments
The Great Seal of the State of Indiana

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You know, maybe I’m missing something here (which is entirely possible), but I don’t think I like what’s happening in Indiana.  According to the Wall Street Journal, there is a bill making its way through the Indiana House of Representatives which would, reportedly, bar a private union from requiring that a worker belong to the union before the union has to bargain on behalf of the worker.  This would change Indiana law rather significantly for unions:

In Indiana currently, if a union bargains for a group of employees at a workplace, all workers covered by the contract must belong to the union.

As a conservative, this proposed legislation sounds like one of the worst ideas ever.  A union, like a country club, is a private organization with operating costs and limited resources, right?  Why would it use its own resources to bargain on behalf of a non-member?  More importantly, where does the government get off telling private organizations – and private businesses – what they can and can’t do?

Look, if someone wants to be in a union, he should be able to.  If he doesn’t want to be in a union, he shouldn’t have to.  If a private company wants to hire only union members, it should be able to.  If the private company doesn’t want to hire any union members, it shouldn’t have to.  This seems like a no-brainer.  Of course, I’m the guy who thinks an owner should be able to hire and/or serve whomever he wants at his restaurant, for whatever reason, since it’s his restaurant; others, including the Supreme Court, disagree.  So what do I know?

When I said private and public unions are different animals, I meant it.  When I said private unions, as opposed to public unions, should be able to exist and bargain for better pay and benefits, I meant it.  The entire point of being a conservative is advocating for small government.  When the government is telling private citizens, groups, and companies what they can and can’t do, the government is no longer small. 

If the Indiana bill proposes to do what the Wall Street Journal says it does, then conservatives everywhere should be with the unions in defeating it.  Just because legislation is offered by a Republican doesn’t make it any less instrusive.

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Krugman chimes in on Wisconsin

February 21, 2011 2 comments
Paul Krugman Talk

Image by Taekwonweirdo via Flickr

Why am I continuing with this?  Because it is, without question, the most important event out there right now.  In fact, it’s approaching “day of reckoning”  status for the left.  Whether you believe it or not, we’re in a financial mess that can’t simply be kicked down the road anymore.  The Republicans in Congress lack the political will to do what is necessary.  They will follow the lead of the states, where Republicans are far more likely to get things done, simply because they can’t print their own money.

It’s pretty rare to see a local budgetary issue become the national phenomenon that is now Wisconsin.  And the liberals are out in force.  A good summary of their position is offered by Paul Krugman in the New York Times.  Because it’s full of unsupported nonsense, we will address it.

For what’s happening in Wisconsin isn’t about the state budget, despite Mr. Walker’s pretense that he’s just trying to be fiscally responsible. It is, instead, about power.

Krugman is right.  It is about power.  But not the kind he’s referring to. 

What Mr. Walker and his backers are trying to do is to make Wisconsin — and eventually, America — less of a functioning democracy and more of a third-world-style oligarchy. 

Krugman asserts a common liberal theme here–that big corporations bought the most recent election for the Republicans, and are now attempting to take over America by destroying the middle class.  Except what’s happening in Wisconsin has nothing to do with big business.  It has to do with the people of Wisconsin deciding that they are the ones who pay the bills, which include the salaries and benefits of the public employees who are massing in Madison.  And those bills are continuing to increase.  Krugman’s response: it has nothing to do with the budget.

Why bust the unions? As I said, it has nothing to do with helping Wisconsin deal with its current fiscal crisis. Nor is it likely to help the state’s budget prospects even in the long run: contrary to what you may have heard, public-sector workers in Wisconsin and elsewhere are paid somewhat less than private-sector workers with comparable qualifications, so there’s not much room for further pay squeezes.

Note Krugman’s use of vague phrases like “comparable qualifications” and his failure to cite to any authority for his general assertion.  Those are the signs of fibbers.  Well, others have done the research, and not surprisingly, Krugman is full of beans.  According to the MacIver Institute for Public Policy, a Wisconsin-based think tank, the median income of a Milwaukee Public School teacher is $56,500.00.  With benefits, the total income goes up to $100,005.00/year.  The Milwaukee per capita income is just over $19,000.00, and the median family income is $43,000.00.  With these figures  in mind, and the attitude of the Wisconsin people, it’s little wonder that the public employee unions have recently offered concessions.  The Governor isn’t interested.  Krugman’s view:

But Mr. Walker isn’t interested in making a deal. Partly that’s because he doesn’t want to share the sacrifice: even as he proclaims that Wisconsin faces a terrible fiscal crisis, he has been pushing through tax cuts that make the deficit worse. Mainly, however, he has made it clear that rather than bargaining with workers, he wants to end workers’ ability to bargain.

Krugman, like all liberals, believes tax increases are the first and last line of defense against, well, everything.  The problem is, the often-used, but never defined, “vulnerable” masses always seem to be exempted from the shared sacrifice of tax increases. 

Is this an attack on unions, as Krugman argues?  Certainly.  More specifically though, it’s an attack on public-sector unions.  Some ask why the Governor isn’t simply going after benefits and pensions, but also the union’s ability to collectively-bargain.  The likely answer is found in the significant difference between private-sector unions and public-sector unions when it comes to collective bargaining.  In a private-union scenario, there are actually two separate parties with competing interests entering into negotiations.  This relationship usually results in a mutually-beneficial result (ignoring the government bail-outs for the auto industry of course).  The same isn’t true in the public-sector scenario though.

Oftentimes, the public sector union ends up negotiating with the very same politicians it just helped get elected by way of significant campaign contributions.  At a time when the politicians are supposed to be negotiating on behalf of the taxpayer, they are instead negotiating on behalf of their political futures.  Because this relationship can never change, such negotiations should no longer exist.  A public-sector group wants a raise?  Ask the people of Wisconsin to give it to you.  It’s that simple.

Krugman then completes his piece by trying to scare you:

On paper, we’re a one-person-one-vote nation; in reality, we’re more than a bit of an oligarchy, in which a handful of wealthy people dominate.

Obviously, corporations have more sway with politicians than the average Joe.  Why?  Because they contribute more money.  This works with both parties though, despite the left’s “we’re the people party” mantra, and largely cancels each other out.  Regardless of how much money is spent though, we continue to be a country where individuals vote.  And Microsoft doesn’t get any more votes than I do. 

Look, I have no problem with private-sector unions, and I would be against any effort to eliminate their opportunity to collectively-bargain.  Public-sector unions are a different animal though, for the reasons set forth above.  At the end of the day, I would be more concerned with my elected officials leaving the state to avoid a vote while talking about upholding democracy, than I would be about America becoming a third-world oligarchy.

“South Carolina Republicans are Racist…

June 23, 2010 Leave a comment

…I mean, seriously.  All those white crackers sure did it this time.  They nominated a, wait hold on…they nominated who?  A black Republican? What!?  And they picked him over Strom Thurmond’s kid?  That’s a big f-in deal.”  Joe Biden overheard talking to an attractive staffer late last night.*

*Disclaimer: He probably said it, because he’s Joe “f-in” Biden.  He wasn’t necessarily overheard saying it though.

Issa hopes to actually investigate stuff

June 18, 2010 1 comment

California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa has big plans for the Obama Administration in the event the Republicans win back the House in November.  Issa would likely become the head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee should the House turn red this fall.  His plan?  Air the President’s dirty laundry:

“I won’t use it to have corporate America live in fear that we’re going to subpoena everything. I will use it to get the very information that today the White House is either shredding or not producing.”

By taking over the Oversight Committee, Rep. Issa would then have authority to issue subpoenas to the White House (since the Committee is currently in Democratic hands, the Obama Administration obviously isn’t being asked to produce anything that could be potentially damaging).  Rep. Issa has been particularly boisterous with respect to the job offered to Pennsylvania Democrat Joe Sestak, in exchange for him not running against Arlen Specter in the Senate primary.

After calling the White House “corrupt” and Obama’s presidency “failed,” Issa reiterated his claims that — despite a contrary assessment from most experts — the administration violated federal law with the Sestak imbroglio.

The Politico is wrong here.  I have yet to hear anyone outside of the Administration argue the Sestak job offer didn’t violate federal law.  In fact, offering Sestak anything in exchange for him dropping out of the race clearly ran afoul of the express language of the law.  Now, I’ve heard lots of people in Washington say things like it happen all the time, it’s no big deal, yada yada yada.  That it happens all the time doesn’t make it any less illegal however.
The Committee, as the investigative arm of the House of Representatives, has broad discretion to investigate, well, just about anything.  Included within the list of “just about anything,” is the propriety of the Sestak issue.  In fact, the Committee should be investigating it now.  With Issa in charge, the investigation would certainly heat up.
Who knows?  If the Republicans win the House, maybe the inquiries won’t stop at Sestak.  Perhaps we’ll even get answers to why this president refuses to release basic information that practically every other major political candidate has released to date, like his college transcripts, for example.

The President would not approve, Nancy.

June 8, 2010 2 comments

Hecklers disrupt Nancy Pelosi speech

Ah Nancy.  This is not in keeping with what President Obama said to those graduating seniors in my hometown yesterday.  Barry looked into the eyes of those young adults at Kalamazoo Central High School in Michigan, and told them,

Don’t make excuses. Take responsibility not just for your successes, but for your failures as well.

Today, while speaking to a crowd of progressives, Ms. Pelosi spent the majority of times blaming others for her failures.

“President Obama and the Democratic Caucus have saved this country from a financial crisis created under the Bush administration,” she said.

I beg to differ.  First of all, when it comes to any of the questionable legislation of the past three years (and there’s been a lot), only TARP has ever been argued to have “rescued the country from a financial crisis.”  While I don’t necessarily agree, since TARP didn’t even do what it was passed to do, many economists believe it helped to some unquantifiable extent.  Bush signed TARP into law, so President Obama had nothing to do with it.

More importantly, it’s difficult to argue that President Obama and the Congressional Democrats have rescued this country from a financial crisis.  Instead, the legislation passed by Barry and Nancy, such as the stimulus, have only increased the deficit, while unemployment went on to exceed 10%.

She blamed Republicans for deregulating big oil, assuring the receptive crowd that BP would be held accountable for its handling of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

What deregulation?  I keep hearing that George Bush and Republicans deregulated the oil industry and because of said deregulation, we have the BP spill.  What I never hear is what deregulation was ever actually passed.  What I do hear a a lot about is along the lines of “America doesn’t require BP to use this certain piece of technology that country X does.”  O.k., but that’s not deregulation.  “Deregulation” means taking away regulations that used to exist.  Congress does that, and they haven’t done it lately.  Have government regulators failed to do their jobs because of their cozy relationships with big oil?  Maybe.  But the Democrats controlling Congress for the last two years of Bush’s presidency didn’t seem to think it was a problem, and no one has found it to be a problem during Obama’s presidency.  Also, none of the above have ever said ‘no’ to a big oil campaign contribution.  So Nancy, stop spinning lies about “deregulation” and point that bony finger right back at yourself.

More from the Speaker,

“No longer will recklessness on Wall Street be able to cause joblessness on Main Street,” she said. “No longer will those on Wall Street be able to privatize the gain and nationalize the risk, send the bill to the taxpayer if things don’t go their way,” she said.

Once again, Nancy is placing the blame on others that she should be, at least partially, directing at herself.  Wall Street didn’t “privatize the gain and nationalize the risk,” Congress did.  When Pelosi, Congress, and President Bush bailed out Wall Street, they allowed Wall Street to privatize the gain while nationalizing the risk.  Also, the Bush Administration didn’t deregulate the big banks, President Clinton did that.

She concluded,

“It seems to me the choice is clear,” she said. “Democrats want to rein in Big Oil, the Republicans say no. Democrats wanted to rein in health insurance costs, the Republicans said no. The Democrats are reining in Big Banks and the Republicans are saying no.”

Nancy’s hands are as dirty as anyone’s.  She had no interest in reining in big oil until the BP spill, although she had ample opportunity.  So far, any efforts to “rein in big oil” so far have consisted of increasing their taxes; no additional regulations have been proposed.  The health care bill doesn’t rein in health care costs.  Instead, the CBO has concluded that they will only increase.  Finally, the financial overhaul bill won’t rein in the big banks in any meaningful way.

Before you blame others Nancy, you should take a lesson from the late Michael Jackson, and look at the man in the mirror.

Boehner You’re Killing Me!

June 4, 2010 Leave a comment

Boehner to Bashing Beatle: Apologize!

Ugh.  Nothing bothers me more than good conservatives losing credibility over something stupid.  So Paul McCartney is receiving some lame award at the White House, and what does he do?  He says nice things about our current President, while taking a shot at our ex-President.  Big deal.  Does anyone really care what McCartney thinks about anything?  Moreover, does it shock anybody that he doesn’t like President Bush?  Instead of letting it go though, John Boehner feels the inexplicable need to comment:

“Like millions of other Americans, I have always had a good impression of Paul McCartney and thought of him as a classy guy, but I was surprised and disappointed by the lack of grace and respect he displayed at the White House,” Boehner told HUMAN EVENTS.  “I hope he’ll apologize to the American people for his conduct which demeaned him, the White House and President Obama.”

Why?  What purpose does this serve?  We’re talking about a comment made by a guy who has been irrelevant for, well, as long as I can remember.  We’re talking about a statement made during a ceremony attended by the Jonas Brothers.  Let it go!

Demanding an apology from a foreign musician irritates me for the same reason criticizing Obama for the Fed’s oil spill response irritates me.  It doesn’t make a legitimate point.  You can’t argue that Obama’s response to the oil spill was slow after arguing that the Dems unfairly attacked Bush’s response to Katrina.  Instead, just concede that the federal government’s response to anything is slow.  When there are so many legitimate criticisms to launch at the opposition, why add to the nonsense?

As Obama Flounders, the Story Remains the Same

June 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Obama faults GOP, BP as he defends agenda

Trust Me.

President Obama’s approval rating has hit a new low of 46%. Some of his biggest supporters, like Maureen Dowd and James Carville for example, are now criticizing him.  A recent CBO report has the healthcare bill failing to achieve  its primary purpose of reducing healthcare costs. The jobless rate still lingers just south of 10%.  The bloom is off the rose.  President Obama has proved himself to be the shockingly inexperienced community organizer that far too few Americans realized when they voted for him. His presidency has been such a disaster in fact, that his illegally offering Joe Sestak a job in exchange for his dropping out of the Pennsylvania Senate race has been largely swept under the rug.

So, in light of the foregoing, what does the President do?  He continues the same tired act of lying and blaming.  In a speech he is scheduled to give in Pittsburgh, PA today, Mr. Obama will say the following:

We must build a new, stronger foundation for growth and prosperity – and that’s exactly what we’ve been doing for the last 16 months.

This new foundation is also based on reforms that will make our economy stronger and our businesses more competitive – reforms that will make healthcare cheaper, our financial system more secure, and our government less burdened with debt.

Every single assertion made by the President here is wrong.  And they’re not those “gray area” or “give it time” sort of assertions.  They’re simply wrong.  And at this point, most people know it.  The interesting thing is: Obama knows it too.  The problem is, he went all in a while ago on his “transformational” agenda, and he can’t back peddle now.  So what does he do?  Well, first he calls out the Republicans, who, before the election of Scott Brown, were in such a minority that they barely existed.

Some of you may have noticed that we have been building this foundation without much help from our friends in the other party. From our efforts to rescue the economy to health insurance reform to financial reform, most have sat on the sidelines and shouted from the bleachers. They said no to tax cuts for small businesses; no to tax credits for college tuition; no to investments in clean energy. They said no to protecting patients from insurance companies and consumers from big banks.

Mr. Obama hasn’t “rescued the economy.”  The “health insurance reform” hasn’t cut costs, controlled premiums, or improved medical care.  “Financial reform?”  Would that mean the bill that doesn’t even address the cause of the collapse: the government compelling banks to lend to risky borrowers?  “Tax cuts for small business?”  Are those the cuts that haven’t passed yet because they’re part of a proposed 2011 budget that would increase the deficit to a record $1.56 trillion?  “Tax credits for college tuition?”  Meaningless.  “Investment in clean energy?”  This must be referring to cap and trade, that would further kill the economy.

Then the President does what he does best: he passes the buck.

For much of the last 10 years, we tried it their way. They gave tax cuts that weren’t paid for to millionaires who didn’t need them. They gutted regulations, and put industry insiders in charge of industry oversight. They shortchanged investments in clean energy and education; in research and technology. And despite all their current moralizing about the need to curb spending, this is the same crowd who took the record $237-billion surplus that President Clinton left them and turned it into a record $1.3 trillion deficit.

Yep, the Republicans and Bush spent big.  No denying that.  But Mr. President, you’re in charge now, and have been for 16 months, and every single thing you’ve done has only resulted in spending more than Bush.  And the “lack of regulation” that the President presumably asserts lead to the largest oil spill in American history?  That’s the same lack of regulation that existed for 16 months under his watch.  That’s the same lack of regulation that lead to the firing of the MMS Director that he appointed in the first place.

The President’s arrogance is becoming legendary.  In the face of unmitigated failure, he keeps pushing distortion.  Fortunately, with every day that passes, it appears the American people are ignoring the form and seeing the substance.

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