Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Jonah Goldberg on Wisconsin's union battle: Public sector unions must go


Private sector unions fight with management over an equitable distribution of profits. Government unions negotiate with politicians over taxpayer money, putting the public interest at odds with union interests and, as we've seen in states such as California and Wisconsin, exploding the cost of government. The labor-politician negotiations can't be fair when the unions can put so much money into campaign spending. Victor Gotbaum, a leader in the New York City chapter of AFSCME, summed up the problem in 1975 when he boasted, "We have the ability, in a sense, to elect our own boss."

This is why FDR believed that "the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service," and why even George Meany, the first head of the AFL-CIO, held that it was "impossible to bargain collectively with the government."

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

“Badger 14″ Wanted Poster


We need to bring these state senators from Wisconsin home safely.  According to press reports, they were taken across state lines and are being held in Illinois.  I think it's time to get the FBI involved.  If we can save even one Senator, it's worth it.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

The case against public sector unionism


Even President Franklin Roosevelt, a friend of private-sector unionism, drew a line when it came to government workers: "Meticulous attention," the president insisted in 1937, "should be paid to the special relations and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government....The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service." The reason? F.D.R. believed that "[a] strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied. Such action looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it is unthinkable and intolerable." Roosevelt was hardly alone in holding these views, even among the champions of organized labor. Indeed, the first president of the AFL-CIO, George Meany, believed it was "impossible to bargain collectively with the government."

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WSJ: A showdown between public unions and taxpayers

Read the whole thing.  Here are a few excerpts:


Mr. Walker's very modest proposal would take away the ability of most government employees to collectively bargain for benefits. They could still bargain for higher wages, but future wage increases would be capped at the federal Consumer Price Index, unless otherwise specified by a voter referendum. The bill would also require union members to contribute 5.8% of salary toward their pensions and chip in 12.6% of the cost of their health insurance premiums.

If those numbers don't sound outrageous, you probably work in the private economy. The comparable nationwide employee health-care contribution is 20% for private industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average employee contribution from take-home pay for retirement was 7.5% in 2009, according to the Employee Benefits Research Institute.

The protests have an orchestrated quality, and sure enough, the Politico website reported yesterday that the Democratic Party's Organizing for America arm is helping to gin them up. The outfit is a remnant of President Obama's 2008 election campaign, so it's also no surprise that Mr. Obama said yesterday that while he knows nothing about the bill, he supports protesters occupying the Capitol building.

The reality is that the unions are trying to trump the will of the voters as overwhelmingly rendered in November when they elected Mr. Walker and a new legislature.

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.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Jim DeMint tells The Muppet Lobby "No"


Shows like Sesame Street are multi-million dollar enterprises capable of thriving in the private market. According to the 990 tax form all nonprofits are required to file, Sesame Workshop President and CEO Gary Knell received $956,513 -- nearly a million dollars -- in compensation in 2008. And, from 2003 to 2006, "Sesame Street" made more than $211 million from toy and consumer product sales.  

 When taxpayer funding for public broadcasting ends, rest assured, Cookie Monster will still be fed.

 Saving the country from crushing debt and taxes is going to require hard choices. Telling the Muppet lobby “no” should be one of the easy ones.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

U.S. Government Shuts Down 84,000 Websites, ‘By Mistake’


The US Government has yet again shuttered several domain names this week. The Department of Justice and Homeland Security’s ICE office proudly announced that they had seized domains related to counterfeit goods and child pornography. What they failed to mention, however, is that one of the targeted domains belongs to a free DNS provider, and that 84,000 websites were wrongfully accused of links to child pornography crimes.

If it saves one child, I guess it's worth it.  Right?  I mean who needs another 84,000 web sites on the internet.  Better safe than sorry.  (Just kidding :-)

I can't wait until the Feds take over health care and start pulling the plug when it really counts.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The President’s budget: whistling past the graveyard


With his State of the Union address and this budget, President Obama  is trying to define a new problem to be solved.  He thinks Americans are at a long-term competitive disadvantage relative to the Chinese because our government isn’t spending enough on infrastructure, innovation, and education.  Suppose you think he’s right (I don’t).  Is this problem more urgent than restoring short-term economic growth?  Is it more important than addressing unsustainable deficits and a federal government expansion that will leave fewer resources for the private sector?  The President apparently thinks it is.  I strongly disagree.

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TaxProf Blog: Rasmusen Presents The Lawlessness of the GM NOL Ruling


After the government joined private parties in purchasing most of General Motors’s property, the Secretary of the Treasury issued “the EESA Notices” which said that the usual tax rules would not apply and the purchasers could deduct $45 billion from their future corporate income, a tax asset worth an estimated $16 billion. The notice gave no justification for the exception, except that the TARP act gives the Secretary authority to do what is “necessary or appropriate to carry out the purposes of EESA.”

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Hayek’s Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts in a Recession


In a new essay, Bruce Caldwell, the editor of The Collected Works of F.A. Hayek (19 volumes), distills the key Hayekian insights on what to do—and not do—during a recession. The short of it: “We usually don’t have the necessary knowledge to intervene effectively in the economy, and the political process is such that, even if we did, we still likely would get bad policy, coupled with an ever-growing government sector.” 

The full essay is worth reading:

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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

When States Go Bust


It’s a solution of apparent Alexandrian elegance and simplicity: Empower America’s cash-strapped states to slice cleanly through a strangling knot of debilitating debt and government union cronyism by letting them file for bankruptcy. Long-term liabilities could be restructured, unaffordable labor contracts rewritten, fiscal health restored. No federal bailouts necessary.

Original article from November:

My comments: I still see constitutional issues with State bankruptcy.  However, the original article says you can avoid problems by making sure that only the State can decide to enter bankruptcy (no one can force a State into bankruptcy) and the State government must be allowed to continue to exercise their normal political control of the State (so, for example, the bankruptcy judge can't force them to raise taxes, and the Federal government could not appoint military governors as they did after the Civil War.)  So that's a weaker form of voluntary State bankruptcy, which may in fact be useful as a negotiating ploy.  In the end, I still think the State constitutions will get in the way of the State government reneging on debts and public employee pensions.  I wish it would work, but I don't think it will happen.

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Sunday, February 06, 2011

If Godzilla Appeared on National Mall Gore Would Say It’s Global Warming


Charles Krauthmammer on Friday said if Godzilla appeared on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Al Gore would blame it on global warming.

In a religion, everything is explicable. In science, you can actually deny or falsify a proposition with evidence. You find me a single piece of evidence that Al Gore would ever admit would contradict global warming and I’ll be surprised.

Follow the link for a video clip

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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

I Can Balance the Budget - John Stossel

John Stossel suggests that we have more government than we need.  Let's cut a few departments...


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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

A Sputnik Moment? - Taylor Dinerman

Some interesting history regarding Sputnik.


After Sputnik was launched on Oct. 4, 1957, President Eisenhower reacted calmly; he knew that by not complaining about the overflight of U.S. territory by the Soviet spacecraft, he was setting a precedent. He understood the significance of Sputnik in large part because in 1953, almost immediately after taking office, he had ordered work to begin on America’s first spy satellite, the WS-117. As the Russians were basking in the glow of their space triumph, Deputy Secretary of Defense Donald Quarles said that the Soviets “might have done us a good turn unintentionally, in establishing the concept of international freedom of space.” Three years later, when the first U.S. spy satellites successfully delivered pictures from deep inside the USSR, no one in Moscow denounced the Americans for violations of the sacred airspace of Mother Russia. The U.S. no longer needed to fly U-2 missions in order to look inside their borders.

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Caught on Tape Planned Parenthood Aids Pimp’s Underage Sex Ring

A Planned Parenthood manager in New Jersey coaches a man and a woman posing as sex traffickers how to secure secret abortions, STD testing, and contraception for their female underage sex slaves, and make their whole operation “look as legit as possible” in an undercover video released this morning.

Clinic manager Amy Woodruff, LPN, of Planned Parenthood Central New Jersey’s Perth Amboy center, warns the pimp and his prostitute to have their trafficked underage girls lie about their age to avoid mandatory reporting laws, promising, “even if they lie, just say, ‘Oh he's the same age as me, 15,’…it's just that mainly 14 and under we have to, doesn't matter if their partner's the same age, younger, whatever, 14 and under we have to report.” She says, “For the most part, we want as little information as possible.”

Video at the link.

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Round up of links on Obamacare ruling

A judicial drubbing for Obamacare | Washington Examiner


In a rigorously reasoned decision that seemed to delight in turning the government's arguments on their head, U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson on Monday struck down as unconstitutional President Obama's signature legislative achievement, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. In the suit brought by 26 states, Vinson found that "Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority" by including the individual mandate and held the entire act unconstitutional "because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable" from the rest of the law. Vinson, who was appointed by President Reagan to the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Florida in Pensacola, even tweaked Obama, pointing out in a concluding footnote that the president whose name is forever linked to the measure had backed a health care reform bill without an individual mandate when he was in the Senate. Vinson quoted then-Senator Obama as saying in 2008 that "if a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody buy a house."

Vinson said the government even conceded that its interpretation of the Commerce Clause to support the individual mandate "breaks new legal ground" and is "unprecedented." He concluded, "If it has the power to compel an otherwise passive individual into a commercial transaction with a third party ... it is not hyperbolizing to suggest that Congress could do almost anything it wanted. It is difficult to imagine that a nation which began, at least in part, as the result of opposition to a British mandate giving the East India Company a monopoly and imposing a nominal tax on all tea sold in America would have set out to create a government with the power to force people to buy tea in the first place."

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