Friday, February 25, 2011

What happened to democracy?

The news is largely focused on Wisconsin and the circus that union supporters have made of the Capitol is getting most of the press but another, more troubling situation is happening in my state. What is going on in Indiana goes way beyond what is happening in Wisconsin. Instead of just one bill regarding public school teacher unions, Indiana Democrats are demanding that Republicans (who by the vote of the people control both houses and the Governorship) basically abandon their entire legislative agenda. From the IndyStar:

The Republicans already have relented on one piece of legislation Democrats called unacceptably anti-union and anti-worker: the so-called "right to work" bill.

"In many cases, that would have been enough," Gov. Mitch Daniels said. "I'm not sure why it isn't right now."

Democrats, however, produced their list of 11 bills they want dead, including education reform bills that are a priority for Daniels -- issues that at least appear to have the least opportunity for compromise on either side.

So the message from Democrats is, forget democracy. We are running away and not coming back unless you completely abandon your entire agenda even though the people of the state of Indiana voted you into the majority.

This all is a microcosm of what is happening in D.C. with yet another government shutdown imminent and a Democratic party that pays lip-service to deficit reduction but seems completely unwilling to cut spending, which begs the question of how exactly we reduce the deficit. They know the GOP house is not going to permit any tax increases and all but the most crazed Left wing loonies in the Senate know that raising taxes now is a bad idea. So the Democrats won’t cut spending, can’t raise taxes and expect the deficit to magically disappear….how?

Democrats across the country are either so beholden to union campaign dollars or so delusional (or both) that they have ceased to effectively function as a part of our republic. I think the Left needs to start a new party because the donkeys need to be put out to pasture.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Forced tax-payer funding of the Democratic Party

Michael Barone put out a great essay, Public unions force taxpayers to fund Democrats. What is at stake here goes way beyond the issues in management-labor strife in private sector organizations. This fight is one that will determine whether states can get their financial houses in order or if we are inevitably going to see states resort to massive tax hikes, mass layoffs or defaulting on financial obligations. Barone writes:

Unions, most of whose members are public employees, gave Democrats some $400 million in the 2008 election cycle. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the biggest public employee union, gave Democrats $90 million in the 2010 cycle.

Follow the money, Washington reporters like to say. The money in this case comes from taxpayers, present and future, who are the source of every penny of dues paid to public employee unions, who in turn spend much of that money on politics, almost all of it for Democrats. In effect, public employee unions are a mechanism by which every taxpayer is forced to fund the Democratic Party.

That is a great way of putting it. I love that he points out that the money in question is not coming from some magic pot of money. It isn't like Governor Walker and Governor Kasich are just meanies who have plenty of money to burn and are just out to hurt "working families" (as if non-union families are not "working families"). There simply is no money left and every nickle that goes to a public sector employee comes out of the pocket of taxpayers and their children who will inherit the debt. We need to get smart about how we spend and tighten our collective belts.

The public sector union-Democratic party link gives Democrats a means to pick the pocket of every tax payer in a given state to fund their campaigns. If I don't like GM, I don't have to buy a car from them. If I live in Indiana, I have to pay Indiana taxes. I don't have a choice other than leaving the state. We don't get to shop for cops, teachers, bureaucrats, prison guards, etc. to see who has the best product at the best price. We get what we get. and what we get are highly compensated public union workers that provide steady stream of campaign funds almost exclusively to Democrats.

In the private sector, while I believe unions usefulness is long gone and they largely are the reason so much manufacturing has left the country, at least I can see the reasoning. A corporation makes a profit and the different parties seek to divide that up. On one hand is management, representing the owners/shareholders and on the other is labor representing the workers. Not a perfect system but it makes some sense. In the public sector there are no profits, only expenses. It is high time we cut back on the size and scope of the public sector, at the Federal, state and local level. We simply can't afford to spend and borrow to feed the bloated public sector.

Our government is supposed to serve the taxpayers but today the taxpayers are the ones who are serving.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The case against public unions

I think this summarizes why public unions are bad idea (a reality being lived out in Wisconsin and Ohio right now). From the Journal:

Public unions have a monopoly position that gives them undue bargaining power. Their campaign cash—collected via mandatory dues—also helps to elect the politicians who are then supposed to represent taxpayers in negotiations with those same unions. The unions sit, in effect, on both sides of the bargaining table. This is why such famous political friends of the working man as Franklin Roosevelt and Fiorello La Guardia opposed collective bargaining for government workers, even as they championed private unions.

Monday, February 14, 2011

$5000 in deficit spending for every single citizen in America

Deficit spending as far as the eye can see

President Obama is proposing a budget of $3,730,000,000,000 for the next fiscal year. Of that enormous number, deficit spending that increases our national debt makes up over $1,000,000,000,000 of it. In the 2011 fiscal year, deficit spending is going to be a new record of $1,650,000,000,000 or approximately $5344 in deficit spending for every man, woman and child (based on the 2010 census numbers). That means that my family alone is on the hook for of $53,000 in deficit spending this year.

That is what President Obama proposes after the “shellacking” they got in November? That is what he interpreted the message from the people to be? We are supposed to be encouraged that trillions of dollars later we are “only” going to be spending in deficit $627,000,000,000 in 2017. That is the good news in all of this!

The Republican party needs to ride this day and night from now until 2012. They need to hammer President Obama on a daily basis about this and put forth a serious, adult candidate who will actually cut government spending in this country. A business as usual Republican who will talk a big game in the campaign and then keep spending like a drunken sailor in office is no help at all. Everything needs to be cut. EVERYTHING. Defense, “education”, agriculture and most especially entitlements. This needs to happen right now before it is too late.

In fact, I think it is already too late.

Monday, February 7, 2011

How the GOP can lose in 2012

The upcoming 2012 elections look overwhelmingly positive for Republicans. Lots of vulnerable Democrats have Senate seats to defend, several of which have already been left open due to retirement. The economy is still in the toilet and President Obama has no plan to even appear to be trying to solve the problem other than vague talk of “strategic investment” which everyone knows is code for “more stimulus spending”. So all conservatives need to do is sit back and coast to a win in 2012. Right?

Not so fast. We are dealing with politicians and we are also already seeing the Right start to splinter. The recent blow-up at CPAC is a prime example where a homosexual Republican group, GOProud, was allowed to co-sponsor the event leading to a number of social conservatives sitting it out. The latest salvo comes this morning from David Boaz, executive VP of the libertarian Cato Institute, writing in the Los Angeles times and taking shots at “social conservatives” in his essay Phony solutions for real social ills. Mr. Boaz seems miffed that people are letting issues like abortion and gay marriage interfere with the quest to lower taxes and spending. He had this to say regarding abortion….

Abortion may be a moral crime, but it isn't the cause of high government spending or intergenerational poverty.

That is very true (although it is instructive to see that Mr. Boaz hedges his statement by saying that abortion “may” be a moral crime). Of course, murder is a moral crime but it is also isn't the cause of high government spending or intergenerational poverty. Rape is a moral crime but it isn't the cause of high government spending or intergenerational poverty. So why worry about those issues? Lets just worry about lowering taxes and spending. He goes on to say….

And one thing gay couples are not doing is filling the world with fatherless children. Indeed, it's hard to imagine that allowing more people to make the emotional and financial commitments of marriage could cause family breakdown or welfare spending.

Also true but that misses the point and ignores a fact. What makes Mr. Boaz think that homosexuals are going to be more prone to stay married than heterosexual couples? That is simply insane. We live in a morally permissive society and there is nothing to indicate that homosexuals would be better marriage partners than heterosexuals. So you would seek to complicate the already muddled waters of marriage, divorce, adoption and child custody by adding a new dimension and a new pool of people who could legally marry and adopt and who could also legally divorce. Certainly Mr. Boaz must realize that a stable family of a mother and father who are married and stay married is the best environment for raising children all else being equal. The socially conservative stance against homosexual relationships being solemnized as “marriage” is that it further dilutes the meaning of marriage and is a major step on the road to delegitimizing marriage as an institution. This is not merely conservative rhetoric and hyperbole, one simply needs to look to Europe to see the results.

This splintering might just be the beginning. The question is going to come down to who the GOP nominee in 2012 is. Will it be a combo social and fiscal conservative like Mike Pence (who isn’t running) or will it be a polarizing individual focused on libertarian “pocketbook first” issues or a social conservative only candidate? The GOP needs to tread carefully here because following the playbook of Mr. Boaz is a sure way to alienate social conservatives and ensure a second Obama term. Libertarians need social conservative votes a lot more than the social conservatives need libertarians. A secoond Obama term is an outcome nobody on the Right wants but that we certainly will get if the various wings of the GOP spend the next year and a half attacking one another.