Friday, December 31, 2010
To use history to it's potential, one has to know what was actually recorded. Never rely on the the main stream media for historically accurate reporting.
Balancing the budget will be the only way for us to secure our future. Everyone will have to make some sacrifices in their personal lives to make this happen. The information in this article is solid. History is a clear sign post for us to use. As the saying goes, 'if you ignore history, you are bound to repeat it's mistakes'.
The Right Way to Balance the Budget
Source: Andrew G. Biggs, Kevin Hassett and Matt Jensen, "The Right Way to Balance the Budget," Wall Street Journal, December 29, 2010
The federal debt is at its highest level since the aftermath of World War II -- and it's projected to rise further, says Andrew G. Biggs, resident scholar, Kevin Hassett, director of economic policy studies, and Matt Jensen, research assistant, at the American Enterprise Institute.
Stabilizing debt levels would require an immediate and permanent 23 percent increase in all federal tax revenues or equivalent cuts in government expenditures, according to Congressional Budget Office forecasts.
In new research Biggs, et al., analyzed the history of fiscal consolidations in 21 countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development over 37 years. If the United States were to copy past consolidations that succeeded, what would it do? This is an important question, because failed consolidations are more the rule than the exception.
To be blunt, countries in fiscal trouble generally get there by making years of concessions to their left wing, and their fiscal consolidations tend to make too many as well. As a result, successful consolidations are rare: In only around one-fifth of cases do countries reduce their debt-to-GDP ratios by the relatively modest sum of 4.5 percentage points three years following the beginning of a consolidation. Finland from 1996 to 1998 and the United Kingdom in 1997 are two examples of successful consolidations.
The data also clearly indicate that successful attempts to balance budgets rely almost entirely on reduced government expenditures, while unsuccessful ones rely heavily on tax increases. On average, the typical unsuccessful consolidation consisted of 53 percent tax increases and 47 percent spending cuts. By contrast, the typical successful fiscal consolidation consisted, on average, of 85 percent spending cuts.
Any attempt to address the federal government's budget shortfall that relies on less than 85 percent spending cuts runs too large a risk of failure. The experience of so many other countries shows that it's crucial for the U.S. to get this right.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
It won't be long before the liberal progressives will find new tools to coral the fleeing rich and steal everything they have for their own use. This isn't about providing for the poor or middle class, debt reduction, education or 'the children', this is getting and keeping power. Nothing else matters.
Ducking Higher Taxes
Source: "Ducking Higher Taxes," Wall Street Journal, December 21, 2010.
Oregon raised its income tax on the richest 2 percent of its residents last year to fix its budget hole, but now the state treasury admits it collected nearly one-third less revenue than projected, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In 2009 the state legislature raised the tax rate to 10.8 percent on joint-filer income of between $250,000 and $500,000, and to 11 percent on income above $500,000.
Only New York City's rate is higher.
Instead of $180 million collected last year from the new tax, the state received $130 million.
The Eugene Register-Guard newspaper reports that after the tax was raised "income tax and other revenue collections began plunging so steeply that any gains from the two measures seemed trivial."
One reason revenues are so low is that about one-quarter of the rich tax filers seem to have gone missing.
The state expected 38,000 Oregonians to pay the higher tax, but only 28,000 did.
These numbers are in line with a Cascade Policy Institute study, based on interstate migration patterns, predicting that the tax surcharge would lead to 80,000 fewer wealthy tax filers in Oregon over the next decade.
The biggest loss of revenues came from capital gains receipts, says the Journal.
The new 11 percent top tax rate applies to stock and asset sales. Instead of $3.5 billion of capital gains in 2009, there was only $2 billion to tax -- 43 percent less.
All of this is an instant replay of what happened in Maryland in 2008 when the legislature in Annapolis instituted a millionaire tax. There roughly one-third of the state's millionaire households vanished from the tax rolls after rates went up.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Now, with all the new conservative governors coming on board, this new thinking might have a chance. This is long over due and makes sense. Maybe that's why it hasn't gone anywhere in the past as most state were controlled by liberals.
Loser Pays, Everyone Wins
Source: "Loser Pays, Everyone Wins," Wall Street Journal, December 15, 2010.
Republicans picked up 16 governorships and at least 675 state legislative seats in November, and some of them are using this new running room to get creative. One governor out of the gate early is Texan Rick Perry, who wants to extend his state's impressive tort reform record, says the Wall Street Journal.
Most notably, Mr. Perry is proposing a British-style "loser pays" rule, which would require plaintiffs to pick up the legal costs of their targets if they lose their suits. Almost all of America's economic competitors follow a similar standard, but trial lawyers blocked states from making this revolutionary improvement to U.S. civil justice.
A procedural reform like loser pays to deter junk lawsuits would make the legal system less of a drag on the economy and less of a political tool for redistributing wealth. Mr. Perry's proposal isn't the pure version of loser pays, in which the losing party -- plaintiff or defendant -- is responsible for the winner's attorneys fees, says the Journal. Instead, it adds an extra disincentive for the tort industry to bring suits that Texas law already defines as "groundless."
The lawyers and firms that file such claims would in almost all cases pay the penalty, a downside they'd have to weigh against their chances of personal enrichment.
At the same time, to speed compensation to genuine victims, Mr. Perry would create new legal channels to expedite smaller claims (below $100,000). Judges would also be barred from creating causes of action from the bench that haven't been approved by the state legislature.
This Texas upgrade would build on reforms in 2003 and 2005 that have vastly improved the legal climate.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Lessons to be learned and applied. The days of free lancing are over, and if the public can't see this or understand you can't spend more than you make, then suffer the consequences. The consequences are, of course, no tax dollars from all the rest of us on a budget.
Question - where were the taxpayers all this time? Why didn't anyone stand up and say what are you doing to this mayor? Was everyone sound asleep?
When the child is told not to touch the hot stove but does anyway and gets burned, the child has to live with the pain. It is very likely the child will not touch the hot stove again.
The Man That Bankrupted Harrisburg
Source: Steven Malanga, "The Man That Bankrupted Harrisburg," City Journal, December 2010.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, has teetered on the edge of fiscal ruin for over a year. Its debt crisis stems from a long borrowing spree by its recently retired mayor, Stephen Reed, who governed the city for 28 years, says Steven Malanga, the senior editor of City Journal and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
Reed borrowed liberally to invest in projects that the private sector wouldn't finance on its own: building parking garages downtown; constructing and later renovating a baseball stadium; and then buying the minor-league baseball team, the Harrisburg Senators.
Over the last decade, Reed began to spend borrowed cash in ever-riskier ways, says Malanga.
In 2003, the local newspaper, the Patriot-News, discovered that he had used public debt to buy nearly $5 million in American historical artifacts, including a $125,000 pistol once owned by Doc Holliday, in anticipation of opening a Wild West museum in Harrisburg. Neither the museum nor the purchases had city council approval. Then Reed put together the incinerator project, seeking to upgrade a local plant with speculative new technology.
Design flaws and delays plagued the project, burdening the city with nearly $288 million in debt and $70 million in bond payments this year alone.
In September, Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell announced that the state would help the city meet its general-obligation bond payments, fearing that a default would make it impossible for other state municipalities to borrow. But Harrisburg remains deeply indebted.
The city's predicament ought to be a warning to other cities that use borrowing to finance projects of questionable economic value, says Malanga.
Monday, December 27, 2010
And where does most of the money come from that supports these members of congress, the unions, so nothing gets done. Did you ever wonder why the union pension funds are broke?
Now, with changing of guard in the house of Representatives, maybe someone will step forward to make the hard decisions to fix the Postal Service problem, but I won't hold my breath.
A Bailout for the U.S. Postal Service?
Source: Angela Greiling Keane, "A Bailout for the U.S. Postal Service?" BusinessWeek, December 9, 2010.
Imagine a company that reported losses in 14 of the past 16 quarters, has too many retail outlets by its own admission, and relies heavily on work done for its two biggest competitors for revenue. Any management consultant would recommend the obvious: Close unnecessary offices, lay off workers, expand into new lines of business and raise prices. But this is the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), says Angela Greiling Keane.
Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe is charged with fixing the mess. Donahoe told bulk mail customers on Nov. 18 that the service's costs will exceed revenue by $2.7 billion, even after borrowing $3 billion from the U.S. Treasury, the annual legal limit.
Total debt, now $12 billion, by law can't exceed $15 billion.
Revenues in fiscal 2010 were $67 billion.
The USPS's problems are well known: More customers are paying bills online and choosing FedEx and United Parcel Service (UPS) to send overnight packages. Labor and retiree health care costs are exploding -- the service has a $50 billion obligation to its retiree health fund and is in a dispute with Congress about who should pay that balance.
The service spends 78 percent of its budget on salaries and benefits, higher than either FedEx's 43 percent or UPS's 61 percent. The American Postal Workers Union, the larger of the postal unions, is resisting further cutbacks and instead wants to "restore work that has been outsourced or given to supervisory personnel," union President Cliff Guffey said in a Dec. 1 statement.
The best hope may be that volume climbs for the USPS's two biggest customers, FedEx and UPS, which use the service for last-mile delivery, since mail carriers go to all 151 million U.S. addresses six days a week -- at least for now, says Keane.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
HAVE A GREAT SAFE AND FUN NEW YEAR. The Slickster!
As we approach the end of the year 2010, I want to thank each of you for your educational emails youu have sent me over the past 12 months. I have recently been advised by my psychologist am totally screwed and have very little chance of ever recovering. Here are just some of the reasons:
I no longer can open a bathroom door without using a paper towel; or let the waitress put lemon slices in my ice water without worrying about the bacteria on them.
I can't ever sit down on a hotel bedspread because I can only imagine what has happened on it since it was last washed.
I have trouble shaking hands with someone who has been driving because I now know the number one pastime while driving alone is picking one's nose.
Eating a little snack sends me on a guilt trip because I can only imagine how many gallons of trans fats I have consumed over the years.
I can never touch any woman's purse for fear she has placed it on the floor of a public restroom.
I must send special thanks to whoever sent me the email about the rat poop in the glue on envelopes, because I now have to use a wet sponge with every envelope that needs sealing.
Also, now I have to scrub the top of every can I open for the same reason!
I no longer have any savings because I could not help myself but give to the sick girl (Penny Brown) who is about to die for the 1,387,258th time. While I no longer have any money, all that will change once I receive the $15,000 that Bill Gates/Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in their special email program, and the $2.75 million U.S. Dollars that I am waiting to have transfrered any time now into my checking account from a Christaian benefactor in Nigeria.
I no longer worry about my soul anymore because I have 363,214 angels looking over me and St. Theresa's Novena has granted my every wish.
I can't have a drink in a bar now because I may wake up in a bathtub full of ice with my kidneys gone.
I can't eat at KFC because their poor chickens are actually horrible mutant freaks, with no eyes, feet or feathers.
I can't use cancer causing deodorants even though I now smell like a water buffalo on a really, really hot day.
And thanks to you I have learned that my prayers only get answered if I forward an email to at least seven of my best friends and then make a wish within five minutes.
I can't do any gardening anymore because I'm afraid I will get bitten by the dredded Violin Spider and my hand will fall off.
Because of your concern I can no longer drink a Coca Cola, because I now know it is very good to use to remove toilet stains.
I no longer stop and buy gas without someone along to watch my car so that a serial killer doesn't crawl into my back seat as I'm filling up.
I no longer use Cling Wrap in my microwave because it causes seven different types of cancer.
And thank you for letting me know that I can't boil a cup of water in the microwave anymore because it will blow up in my face, disfiguring me for life.
I can no longer go to the movies because I could be pricked with a needle hidden in the seat when I sit down and instantly become infected with AIDS.
I can no longer go to shopping malls because someone will drug me with a perfume sample and then rob me.
I no longer answer my home telephone because someone will ask me to dial a number, and then I will get a huge phone bill with calls to Jamaica, Uganda, Singapore, Uzbekistan or even Nigeria!I no longer need to buy cookies from Neiman Marcus since I now have their "original" recipe.
And thanks to you I can't use anyone's toilet but my own because; a big black snake could well be lurking under the seat and I could suffer instant death when it bites me on my butt.
And thanks to you your wonderful advice I can never pick up $1.00 I see dropped in a parking lot, because it probably was placed there by a sex molester just waiting to grab me as I bend over.
And finally, if you don't send this email to at least 144,000 people in the next 20 minutes, a large dove with terrible diarrhea will land on your head tomorrow afternoon and the fleas from a thousand camels will infest your back causing you great pain and to grow a huge hump!
And you are probably wondering how do I know all this will occur; well it actually happened to a friend of my next door neighbor's ex-mother-in-law's second husband's cousin's best friend's beautician just last week!PS - I just learned this week to start keeping my toothbrush in my living room, because I was told by an email that water can splash over 6 ft. out of the toilet when one uses it!
Thursday, December 23, 2010
The progressive Marxist left liberals know they can't win in a debate of ideas, so they have to resort to deception, misinformation, managed and manufactured research. Little wonder they want to stop the internet and talk radio from have an opinion on issues of the day.
After reading this great article, think about what it will be like with no conservative radio to expose liberal Democrats 'fundamentally' wanting to change America, and everything you see and say on the Internet that might be counter to liberal Democrat agendas will be watched and regulated by a socialist. Think about the first amendment to the Constitution, freedom of speech, and visualize this amendment being rewritten by a avoid Marxist.
Should we care that freedom of speech ends with the stroke of the pen or from the barrel of gun? Always remember, and history proves, this has happened before with catastrophic results.
The Net Neutrality Coup
The campaign to regulate the Internet was funded by a who's who of left-liberal foundations.
By JOHN FUND Mr. Fund is a columnist for WSJ.com.
The Federal Communications Commission's new "net neutrality" rules, passed on a partisan 3-2 vote yesterday, represent a huge win for a slick lobbying campaign run by liberal activist groups and foundations. The losers are likely to be consumers who will see innovation and investment chilled by regulations that treat the Internet like a public utility.
There's little evidence the public is demanding these rules, which purport to stop the non-problem of phone and cable companies blocking access to websites and interfering with Internet traffic. Over 300 House and Senate members have signed a letter opposing FCC Internet regulation, and there will undoubtedly be even less support in the next Congress.
The FCC has approved rules that would give the federal government authority to regulate Internet traffic and prevent broadband providers from selectively blocking web traffic. WSJ's Amy Schatz explains what the new rules really mean.
Yet President Obama, long an ardent backer of net neutrality, is ignoring both Congress and adverse court rulings, especially by a federal appeals court in April that the agency doesn't have the power to enforce net neutrality. He is seeking to impose his will on the Internet through the executive branch. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, a former law school friend of Mr. Obama, has worked closely with the White House on the issue. Official visitor logs show he's had at least 11 personal meetings with the president.
The net neutrality vision for government regulation of the Internet began with the work of Robert McChesney, a University of Illinois communications professor who founded the liberal lobby Free Press in 2002. Mr. McChesney's agenda? "At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies," he told the website SocialistProject in 2009. "But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control."
A year earlier, Mr. McChesney wrote in the Marxist journal Monthly Review that "any serious effort to reform the media system would have to necessarily be part of a revolutionary program to overthrow the capitalist system itself." Mr. McChesney told me in an interview that some of his comments have been "taken out of context."
He acknowledged that he is a socialist and said he was "hesitant to say I'm not a Marxist."
For a man with such radical views, Mr. McChesney and his Free Press group have had astonishing influence. Mr. Genachowski's press secretary at the FCC, Jen Howard, used to handle media relations at Free Press. The FCC's chief diversity officer, Mark Lloyd, co-authored a Free Press report calling for regulation of political talk radio.
Free Press has been funded by a network of liberal foundations that helped the lobby invent the purported problem that net neutrality is supposed to solve. They then fashioned a political strategy similar to the one employed by activists behind the political speech restrictions of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign-finance reform bill. The methods of that earlier campaign were discussed in 2004 by Sean Treglia, a former program officer for the Pew Charitable Trusts, during a talk at the University of Southern California. Far from being the efforts of genuine grass-roots activists, Mr. Treglia noted, the campaign-finance reform lobby was controlled and funded by foundations like Pew.
"The idea was to create an impression that a mass movement was afoot," he told his audience. He noted that "If Congress thought this was a Pew effort, it'd be worthless." A study by the Political Money Line, a nonpartisan website dealing with issues of campaign funding, found that of the $140 million spent to directly promote campaign-finance reform in the last decade, $123 million came from eight liberal foundations.
After McCain-Feingold passed, several of the foundations involved in the effort began shifting their attention to "media reform"—a movement to impose government controls on Internet companies somewhat related to the long-defunct "Fairness Doctrine" that used to regulate TV and radio companies. In a 2005 interview with the progressive website Buzzflash, Mr. McChesney said that campaign-finance reform advocate Josh Silver approached him and "said let's get to work on getting popular involvement in media policy making." Together the two founded Free Press.
Free Press and allied groups such as MoveOn.org quickly got funding. Of the eight major foundations that provided the vast bulk of money for campaign-finance reform, six became major funders of the media-reform movement. (They are the Pew Charitable Trusts, Bill Moyers's Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, the Joyce Foundation, George Soros's Open Society Institute, the Ford Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.)
Free Press today has 40 staffers and an annual budget of $4 million.
These wealthy funders pay for more than publicity and conferences. In 2009, Free Press commissioned a poll, released by the Harmony Institute, on net neutrality. Harmony reported that "more than 50% of the public argued that, as a private resource, the Internet should not be regulated by the federal government." The poll went on to say that since "currently the public likes the way the Internet works . . . messaging should target supporters by asking them to act vigilantly" to prevent a "centrally controlled Internet."
To that end, Free Press and other groups helped manufacture "research" on net neutrality. In 2009, for example, the FCC commissioned Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society to conduct an "independent review of existing information" for the agency in order to "lay the foundation for enlightened, data-driven decision making."
Considering how openly activist the Berkman Center has been on these issues, it was an odd decision for the FCC to delegate its broadband research to this outfit. Unless, of course, the FCC already knew the answer it wanted to get.
The Berkman Center's FCC- commissioned report, "Next Generation Connectivity," wound up being funded in large part by the Ford and MacArthur foundations. So some of the same foundations that have spent years funding net neutrality advocacy research ended up funding the FCC-commissioned study that evaluated net neutrality research.
The FCC's "National Broadband Plan," released last spring, included only five citations of respected think tanks such as the International Technology and Innovation Foundation or the Brookings Institution. But the report cited research from liberal groups such as Free Press, Public Knowledge, Pew and the New America Foundation more than 50 times.
So the "media reform" movement paid for research that backed its views, paid activists to promote the research, saw its allies installed in the FCC and other key agencies, and paid for the FCC research that evaluated the research they had already paid for. Now they have their policy. That's quite a coup.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
One of the leaders at the UN said it really wasn't about the earth warming, it's about forming a world government to control events that are going out of control. After all, what better place to control world events then from the UN - Oh wait, who's in control of the UN, tyrants and mass killers? Who knew?
The UN control of all aspects of the United States. What a great idea.
The Current Wisdom
Source: Patrick J. Michaels, "The Current Wisdom," Cato-at-Liberty.org, December 13, 2010.
This year's installment of the United Nations' annual climate summit has come and gone in Cancun. Nothing substantial came of it policywise; just the usual attempts by the developing world to shake down our already shaky economy in the name of climate change, says Patrick J. Michaels, a senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute.
And, of course, no one bothered to mention a blockbuster paper appearing in Nature the day before the end of the Cancun confab, which reassures us that Greenland's ice cap and glaciers are a lot more stable than alarmists would have us believe.
The disaster scenario goes like this:
Summer temperatures in Greenland are warming, leading to increased melting and the formation of ephemeral lakes on the ice surface. This water eventually finds a crevasse and then a way down thousands of feet to the bottom of a glacier, where it lubricates the underlying surface, accelerating the seaward march of the ice. Increase the temperature even more and massive amounts deposit into the ocean by the year 2100, catastrophically raising sea levels.
According to Christian Schoof of the University of British Columbia (UBC), "The conventional view has been that meltwater permeates the ice from the surface and pools under the base of the ice sheet....This water then serves as a lubricant between the glacier and the earth underneath it...." And, according to Schoof, that's just not the way things work. A UBC press release about his Nature article noted that he found that "a steady meltwater supply from gradual warming may in fact slow down the glacier flow, while sudden water input could cause glaciers to speed up and spread."
Indeed, Schoof finds that sudden water inputs, such as would occur with heavy rain, are responsible for glacial accelerations, but these last only one or a few days.
The bottom line? A warming climate has very little to do with accelerating ice flow, but weather events do, says Michaels.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Yeah, this little note below seems harsh as we all have been bombarded by the 'political correct' addition of how we all should act toward those of us that aren't as fortunate, still this is how America was born. Take responsibility for your own actions and live within your means.
The new agenda is 'we will take care of you as long as you always vote for us' mentality has been instrumental in creating more poverty. That is taking from the productive and give to the unproductive as a political strategy.
Rewarding bad behavior with money is a losing proposition. History has proved this as the trillions that have been spent on poverty over the last forty years hasn't worked. Why do continue to the same thing over and over and expect different results?
What? hmmm - this is the definition of insanity.
Put me in charge...
Alfred W. Evans, Gatesville
Put me in charge of food stamps.
I’d get rid of Lone Star cards; no cash for Ding Dongs or Ho Ho’s, just money for 50-pound bags of rice and beans, blocks of cheese and all the powdered milk you can haul away. If you want steak and frozen pizza, then get a job.
Put me in charge of Medicaid.
The first thing I’d do is to get women Norplant birth control implants or tubal ligations. Then, we’ll test recipients for drugs, alcohol, and nicotine and document all tattoos and piercings. If you want to reproduce or use drugs, alcohol, smoke or get tats and piercings, then get a job.
Put me in charge of government housing.
Ever live in a military barracks? You will maintain our property in a clean and good state of repair. Your “home” will be subject to inspections anytime and possessions will be inventoried. If you want a plasma TV or Xbox 360, then get a job and your own place. In addition, you will either present a check stub from a job each week or you will report to a “government” job. It may be cleaning the roadways of trash, painting and repairing public housing, whatever we find for you.
We will sell your 22 inch rims and low profile tires and your blasting stereo and speakers and put that money toward the “common good.”
Before you write that I’ve violated someone’s rights, realize that all of the above is voluntary. If you want our money, accept our rules. Before you say that this would be “demeaning” and ruin their “self esteem,” consider that it wasn’t that long ago that taking someone else’s money for doing absolutely nothing was demeaning and lowered self esteem.
If we are expected to pay for other people’s mistakes we should at least attempt to make them learn from their bad choices. The current system rewards them for continuing to make bad choices.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Here is great article that brings this into clear focus.
The Wind Subsidy Bubble
Green pork should be a GOP budget target.
Ethanol isn't the only heavily subsidized energy source that won a multibillion dollar jackpot in last week's tax deal. The other big winner was the wind industry, which received a one year extension of a $3 billion grant program for renewable energy projects. Talk about throwing good money after bad. Despite more than $30 billion in subsidies for "clean energy" in the 2009 stimulus bill, Big Wind still can't make it in the marketplace.
Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, had warned that without last week's extension of the federal 1603 investment credit, the outlook for the wind industry would be "flatline or down." Some 20,000 wind energy jobs, about one-quarter of the industry's total, could have been lost, the wind lobby concedes. For most industries that would be an admission of failure, but in Washington this kind of forecast is used to justify more subsidies.
But what have these subsidies bought taxpayers? According to AWEA, in the first half of 2010 wind power installations "dropped by 57% and 71% from 2008 and 2009 levels." In the third quarter, the industry says it "added just 395 megawatts (MW) of wind-powered electric generating capacity," making it the lowest quarter since 2007. New wind installations are down 72% from last year to their lowest level since 2006. And this is supposed to be the miracle electricity source of the future?
The coal industry, which Mr. Obama's Environmental Protection Agency and Interior Department have done everything possible to curtail, added almost three times more to the nation's electric power capacity in the first nine months of 2010 (39%) than did wind (14%), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The grant program that Congress has extended was created in the 2008 stimulus bill. It forces taxpayers to pay 30% of a renewable energy project's costs. Big Wind insisted on these grants because wind energy producers don't make enough net income to take advantage of the generous renewable energy tax credit.
The industry also wants a federal renewable energy standard, which would require utilities to buy power from green energy projects regardless of price. Without that additional subsidy, AWEA concedes that wind power will "stall out." It is lobbying for billions of dollars of subsidies to cover the cost of hooking off-shore wind projects to the electricity transmission grid. And now that the cap-and-tax scheme on coal and oil and gas has failed in Congress, the windmillers want the EPA to use regulation to raise costs on carbon sources of power.
Big Wind also has lobbying operations in state capitals, where it has been pushing state renewable energy standards. More than half the states—mostly in the West and Northeast—have enacted these mandates, which are already inflating home and business electricity bills.
According to an analysis by Chris Horner, an energy expert at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the stimulus bill's subsidies for renewable energy cost taxpayers about $475,000 for every job generated. That's at least four times what it costs a nonsubsidized private firm to create a job—a lousy return on investment even for government.
The wind industry claims to employ 85,000 Americans. That's almost certainly an exaggeration, but if it is true it compares with roughly 140,000 miners and others directly employed by the coal industry. Wind accounts for a little more than 1% of electricity generation and coal almost 50%. So it takes at least 25 times more workers to produce a kilowatt of electricity from wind as from coal.
Given this level of inefficiency, it's no wonder that wind and solar energy require at least 20 times more in government subsidies per unit of electricity generated than the average for coal and natural gas, according to a 2007 study by the Energy Information Administration.
The wind industry gave the vast majority of its campaign contributions this election cycle to Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Democrats. If Republicans are serious about shrinking the federal budget and ending corporate welfare, a very good target would be green pork, starting with wind.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Research into green energy is a must as part of an energy policy but not subsidised as we are doing now with wind and solar at the expense of all other sources of energy. Green energy will not be a viable source of power for at least 25 or more years. Energy demand will not wait that long as our economy depends on yearly increases to fuel expansion.
No, You Can't
Source: Bjørn Lomborg, "No, You Can't," Project Syndicate, December 10, 2010.
For years now, climate activists have argued that individual actions like driving more economical cars and using more efficient light bulbs are a crucial element in the effort to address global warming, says Bjørn Lomborg, head of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, and adjunct professor at Copenhagen Business School. But is this really true?
Back in the early 1970's, the average American expended roughly 70 million British thermal units (BTUs) per year to heat, cool and power his home. Since then we have made great strides in energy efficiency. So how much energy do Americans use in their homes today?
On a per capita basis, the figure is roughly what it was 40 years ago: 70 million BTUs.
This surprising lack of change is the result of something economists call the "rebound effect." The underlying principle is a decidedly counterintuitive fact of life, says Lomborg.
You might think that learning to use something more efficiently will result in your using less of it, but the opposite is true: the more efficient we get at using something, the more of it we are likely to use.
Efficiency doesn't reduce consumption; it increases it.
For example, energy economist Harry Saunders and four colleagues from the U.S. Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories, drawing on "300 years of evidence," found that, "as lighting becomes more energy efficient, and thus cheaper, we use ever-more of it."For this reason, the proportion of resources that we expend on lighting has remained virtually unchanged for the past three centuries, at about 0.72 percent of gross domestic product.
In a nutshell, they tell us that, while increasing energy efficiency is undoubtedly a good thing, it is most assuredly not a remedy for global warming.
We shouldn't fool ourselves into thinking that swapping our current car for a Prius, or replacing our incandescent lights with energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs, will strike a meaningful blow against climate change. The real fix to this problem will come when governments focus on research and development aimed at boosting the proportion of green energy sources in overall consumption, says Lomborg.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
I was glad he didn't refer to Cuba as one of the best medical system in the world as this seems to be the common thinking among the 'single payer' group. Still he did believe we have to provide medical assistance to everyone, no matter the cost.
This sounds good but reality sheds a different light on what is possible. Just to feel about something isn't enough.
Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada 2010 Report
Source: Bacchus Barua, Mark Rovere and Brett J. Skinner, "Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada 2010 Report," Fraser Institute, December 2010.
The Fraser Institute's 20th annual waiting list survey finds that province-wide wait times for surgical and other therapeutic treatments in Canada have increased in 2010:
Specialist physicians surveyed across 12 special ties and 10 Canadian provinces report a total waiting time of 18.2 weeks between referral from a general practitioner and elective treatment in 2010.
Patients in Ontario experience the shortest wait (14 weeks) followed by Manitoba (17.5 weeks), and British Columbia and Quebec (18.8 weeks).
Patients wait longest to undergo orthopedic surgery (35.6 weeks) and wait least for medical oncology treatment (4.9 weeks).
Canadians wait nearly 3 weeks longer than what physicians believe is "reasonable" for elective treatment after an appointment with a specialist. Throughout the provinces, in 2010 people are waiting for an estimated 825,827 procedures. Assuming that each person waits for only one procedure, 2.45 percent of Canadians are waiting for treatment.
Only 9 percent of patients are on waiting lists because they requested a delay or postponement.
From an economic standpoint, a study by Stokes and Somerville (2008) found that the cumulative total lost economic output that represents the cost of waiting for treatment for total joint replacement surgery, cataract surgery, coronary artery bypass graft surgery and MRI scans in 2007 was an estimated $14.8 billion.
More recently, Esmail (2009) estimated the cost of waiting per patient in Canada to be approximately $859 in 2009 if only hours during the normal working week were considered "lost," and as much as $2,628 if all hours of the week (minus 8 hours per night sleeping) were considered "lost."
"My administration will be the most transparent in modern times". What?
Obama's GM Numbers Are Not Adding Up
Source: John Berlau, "Obama's GM Numbers Are Not Adding Up," Competitive Enterprise Institute, December 13, 2010.
National Public Radio's Mara Liasson reported that President Obama "said that since [General Motors] GM and Chrysler have emerged from bankruptcy, they've created more than 75,000 new jobs." But if you listen closely, this is not exactly what the president says, according to John Berlau, director of the Center for Investors and Entrepreneurs at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Obama actually said, "Since GM and Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy, the industry has created more than 75,000 new jobs." Just what did the president mean by "the industry?"
An earlier White House "fact sheet" touting this job growth cited the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
And indeed, if one were to look at BLS's industry category of "motor vehicles and parts" and measure from its low point in May 2009, when there were 626,000 jobs, to July 2010, when 705,000 jobs, this would be a growth of 79,000.
The problem for Obama, though, is whether we're talking about 60,000 or 80,000 additional jobs, this figure includes U.S. jobs created by all manufacturers -- foreign and domestic.
In fact, despite the $82 billion from taxpayers and despite GM's successful initial public offering, a look at GM and Chrysler alone still shows a huge net job loss from the bankruptcy. And this does not even count the losses from the rapid closure of car dealers, as well as the likely loss of jobs due to the higher cost of capital as a result of the disparate treatment of "old GM" bondholders in the bankruptcy in favor of the United Auto Workers, says Berlau.
Friday, December 17, 2010
This is not to say the new congress will smash all this nonsense that has taken place in congress for the last four years under the control of the progressive liberal left Democrats, that sought to establish a 'kingdom' type environment meant to rule, as it were, all aspects of our lives.
They, the new conservative members of congress, won't be able to stop all the craziness as there are so many problems to fix after the nightmare that is the liberal Democrats in power, concentrating on just the environment and energy is not feasible.
I could go on and on but I think you get the idea - learn to walk before you start running.
Reject All Energy Mandates: It's Just another Subsidy
Source: Nicolas Loris, "Reject All Energy Mandates: It's Just another Subsidy," Heritage Foundation, December 7, 2010.
With cap and trade out of the realm of possibilities, Congress has turned its attention to mandating so-called clean energy, says Nicholas Loris, a research associate at the Heritage Foundation's Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies.
Some members hoped for a lame duck vote on a renewable electricity standard (RES), which would require that a certain percentage of our nation's electricity production come from wind, solar, biomass and other government-picked renewable energies. With that looking less likely, Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu mentioned a clean energy standard that includes other carbon-free sources of energy as a possible compromise between Democrats and Republicans next year.
Chu proposes a mandate for utilities to use 25 percent clean energy by 2025 and 50 percent by 2050. While a more flexible clean energy standard is less onerous than a specified renewable one, it's still a subsidy that carves out a guaranteed share of the market for certain energy industries.
The mandate may reward certain energy producers in the short term but will hurt both producers and consumers in the long run because it eliminates competition, drives prices higher and encourages government dependence, says Loris.
Furthermore, a clean energy standard wouldn't significantly reduce emissions.
The Energy Information Administration estimates that mandating that 25 percent of our energy come from renewables would reduce emissions by only 4.9 percent by 2030.
To put this in perspective, the cap-and-trade target was to reduce carbon 80 percent by 2050.
To put that number in perspective, climatologist Paul C. Knappenberger says that an 80 percent reduction would moderate temperatures by only hundredths of a degree in 2050 and no more than two-tenths of a degree by the end of the century.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Who else will stand up for freedom if America is 'just another disarmed socialist states among many'? Who are these people anyway to tell us how to live of lives? Take your liberal socialist fascism someplace else.
United States Should Shoot Down U.N. Small Arms Treaty
Source: H. Sterling Burnett, "United States Should Shoot Down U.N. Small Arms Treaty," National Center for Policy Analysis, December 15, 2010.
The Obama administration recently appointed a negotiator to work with the United Nations on a treaty to regulate international trade in small arms. The ostensible goal is to staunch the flow of illegal weapons to drug cartels, terrorists and guerillas, according to H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis. This is a reversal of Bush administration policy, which opposed U.S. participation in such a treaty as a matter of principle and policy.
Secretary of State Hilary Clinton cited the rising drug-fueled violence in Mexico as a motivation for the change in policy. The administration echoed the claims of Mexico's President Felipe Calderon that more than 90 percent of the guns used in crime in Mexico come from the United States.
This is a misleading interpretation of the facts, however. Consider:
From 2007 to 2008, more than 29,000 firearms (and more than 2,000 grenades) were picked up at crime scenes in Mexico. Approximately 38 percent of guns seized (11,000), were submitted to the United States for tracing.
Of those, approximately 6,000 were successfully traced, and 5,114 (less than 18 percent) were found to come from the United States.
A later report from the Department of Homeland Security indicated that only 3,480 guns could be traced to the United States.
If the United Nations is put in charge of U.S. gun policy, American sovereignty will be reduced with no corresponding decrease in international violence. The biggest killers of people have been governments and their surrogate militias, not individual citizens. Indeed, before every attempted or successful genocide, those in power disarm the group targeted for extinction, aided by laws requiring firearm licensing and registration, says Burnett.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Taking money from one pocket and transferring it into the other will make the nation prosperous? What in God's good name is she taking about? She really has no clue.
Benefits' Effect on Unemployment
Source: Kelly Evans, "Jobless Benefits' Effect on Unemployment," Wall Street Journal, December 9, 2010.
A likely rise in the U.S. jobless rate is the unfortunate reality of the government's move to fund extended unemployment benefits for another 13 months, says Kelly Evans.
A recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco found the unemployment rate at the end of 2009 would have been nearly half a percentage point lower -- 9.6 percent, instead of 10 percent -- if jobless benefits hadn't been extended beyond their usual 26 weeks to as much as 99 weeks.
Lately, the weekly tally of new applications for such benefits has trended down:
An average 431,000 applications were filed in the four weeks through Nov. 27, which, while high by historical standards, is the lowest level in more than two years. Yet that hasn't been accompanied by a similar improvement in the unemployment rate. It rose to 9.8 percent in November from a recent low of 9.5 percent over the summer.
That is largely because the sluggish pace of job creation hasn't been strong enough to absorb growth of the labor force. The extension of jobless benefits is likely to worsen that trend for at least several months. For one, individuals not actively searching for work or willing to take available jobs may claim they are unemployed in order to receive benefits.
Another concern, as the San Francisco Fed notes, is that the extension of jobless benefits may "reduce the intensity" with which the unemployed search for work. Longer term, this could lead to a higher level of structural unemployment in the economy as workers' skills erode.
Regardless, policy makers are hoping that extending benefits -- along with other tax breaks -- will generate enough short-term strength in spending and growth to overshadow any rise in the unemployment rate. That may prove wishful thinking, says Evans.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
And now our great leader and his wife signed into law regulations to tell people what they can or can not eat because people aren't strong enough on their own to control their eating habits?!
STOP!!! Enough! Where does all this insanity end? This is crazy. What's happened to our country that we half to have someone tell us how and what to eat!!! Who voted for these people?
That this article came from the Los Angles Times, a far left rag like the New York Times, could mean there's a change in thinking about the direction of this administration. hmmmm - Maybe that's almost to much to hope for given media's past history of distorted, mismanaged or outright managed information about the present government's agenda.
The McVictim Syndrome Could Kill Us
Source: David Gratzer, "The McVictim Syndrome Could Kill Us," Los Angeles Times, December 8, 2010.
Call it the McVictim syndrome. Too many pundits, public health experts and politicians are working overtime to find scapegoats for America's obesity epidemic, says David Gratzer, a physician and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
In his latest book, former FDA Commissioner David A. Kessler argues that modern food is addictive; in it, he recounts how he was once helpless to stop himself from eating a cookie.
In a paper in this month's Journal of Health Economics, University of Illinois researchers join a long list of analysts who blame urban sprawl for obesity.
In November, former Carter administration advisor Amitai Etzioni argued that it's so hard for Americans to keep weight off that adults should simply give up and focus attention on the young instead.
The peak of the trend: A recently released Ohio study, using mice, suggests "fine-particulate air pollution" could be causing a rise in obesity rates.
How long before we're told that the devil made us eat it?
The McVictim syndrome spins a convenient -- and unhealthy -- narrative on America's emerging preventable disease crisis. McVictimization teaches Americans to think that obesity is someone else's fault -- and therefore, someone else's problem to solve, says Gratzer.
The syndrome is far too prevalent, which promotes the notion that regulations and laws are the primary solution to the problem. But governments can't micromanage your waistline for you. Even if governments could magically walk you to work, ban food advertising, regulate sugar out of food and suck those fat particles out of the air, in a free society you would still have the power to drive to the nearest restaurant, shake your salt shaker and order a second piece of pie.
That's why understanding -- and rejecting -- the McVictim culture is crucial to obesity reduction policy. And the first step in that process is to reject the temptation to find an easy scapegoat.
Monday, December 13, 2010
ISRAEL'S SECRET WAR
By DICK MORRIS & EILEEN MCGANN
Published on DickMorris.com on December 13, 2010
The big question in the Middle East these days is: Who has time on their side?As Iran races to develop its nuclear bomb-making capacity, we have always assumed that time was on the Ayatollah's side. The Iranian strategy of delay and obfuscation in its negotiations with the West seems to have succeeded in buying Teheran the time it needs for its spinning Centrifuges to produce enough highly enriched uranium for a bomb. The possibility that Iran may acquire advanced anti-aircraft systems from Russia - even though the Kremlin denies it - seems to make the military option of an air strike on Iranian nuclear plants harder and harder for Israel.
But on the West Bank and Gaza, time has always seemed to be on Israel's side. Time to build settlements, time to expand those already there, and - most important - time to wait out Obama's four year term in office all work for Netanyahu. Then the worm turned!
The Stuxnet worm, a Windows-specific computer worm that spies on and reprograms industrial systems. Iran has acknowledged that its nuclear program - the target of the worm - has been damaged significantly. In fact, some speculate that the worm may take a year for Iran to work through. But, since this is the most important use of cyber warfare thus far in history, nobody can really know its full impact.When one considers the worm in the context of a cruder form of secret war - the targeted assassination of three Iranian nuclear scientists in recent weeks, the agents of the Mossad may have been very busy! And effective! Who knows?
And the United States has finally gotten focused on real sanctions against Iran. Doing what Bush should have done but didn't, Obama and Hillary (yes - words of praise) have gotten the international community to sanction Iran where it hurts by undermining their capacity to produce oil, reducing their access to gasoline, and curtailing their ability to borrow money.
When we worked for Netanyahu as he approached his election as prime minister last year, we were both deeply impressed by his understanding of the danger an Iranian nuclear weapon would pose to Israel. "It is 1938," were his prophetic first words when we met in a Manhattan hotel to begin our work. 1938. The war, the holocaust, the slaughter of the Jews seemed to be approaching. That's why Bibi's seeming willingness to play the clock has been puzzling.
By waltzing Hillary and Obama around the dance floor of Middle East negotiations, an on-again, off-again settlement building policy, and making noises about peace without actually giving anything up, he appears to be playing for time. And, given Obama's and Hillary's inexperience and incompetence in first demanding a settlement freeze and then deciding it had been a mistake to do so, Netanyahu is dancing rings around the pair. But wasn't time on Iran's side? Maybe not.
Perhaps what Bibi is doing - we have had no contact with him since his election - is influenced by the progress he sees in undermining Iran's nuclear program on the one hand and in keeping Obama to a single term on the other.
Netanyahu watches American politics very, very closely. He probably understands that Obama is inimical to Israel's interests and likely fully grasps his pro-Arab tendencies. But he also realizes the magnitude of the defeat inflicted upon the president in the midterm elections and sees the probability of his replacement by a staunch Republican friend of Israel in the offing.
So between the worm and the Tea Party, he may figure that time is on his side, after all. And it may be!
Obama doesn't really care what the trains will do to the economies of the states or if they will even serve a purpose, what he cares about is destroying petroleum industry even though we get more than 60% of all our energy from oil and will for the foreseeable future.
Where's the common sense here? Mass transportation or mass insanity from the progressive left liberal Democrats. You decide!
Slow Death for High-Speed Rail
Source: Randal O'Toole, "Slow Death for High-Speed Rail," Cato-at-Liberty.org, December 6, 2010.
Tea party victories in November likely signal the beginning of the end for President Obama's ambitious and expensive high-speed rail plans. Republican governors-elect of both Ohio and Wisconsin have vowed to return federal high-speed rail funds that had been granted to those states. The governor-elect of Florida is also a rail skeptic, and more and more obstacles are being thrown in front of California's rail plans, says Randal O'Toole, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.
Although California voters approved $9 billion in bonds for the rail project, the approval was conditional on getting matching funds. So far, the state has received only about $2 billion from the federal government, which means it only has about $4 billion to spend on construction -- less than 10 percent of the amount needed to build from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
Given the improbability of finding the other 90 percent, and the fact that Republicans in Congress hope to take back some of the money that has already been granted for high-speed rail, the California rail project seems all but dead.
The Ohio and Wisconsin projects aren't even worthy of being called high-speed rail, as
Wisconsin's average speed was projected to be just 59 miles per hour (mph) and Ohio's an even more lethargic 38.5 mph. Yet the Wisconsin project was going to cost nearly $1 billion, nearly all of which the feds agreed to fund, while Ohio's would be more than half a billion, about $400 million of which was initially funded by the feds.
Secretary of Immobility Transportation Ray LaHood vowed that these lines would be built no matter what the incoming governors said, then said that if they cancelled the projects he would just give the money to other states.
New transportation technologies are successful when they are faster, more convenient and less expensive than the technologies they replace. High-speed rail is slower than flying, less convenient than driving and at least five times more expensive than either one.
It is only feasible with heavy taxpayer subsidies and even then it will only serve a tiny portion of the nation's population, says O'Toole.
Who knows, this might catch on.
Most people nowadays think it improper to discipline children, so I have tried other methods to control my kids when they have had one of 'those moments.'
Since I'm a pilot, one that I have found very effective is for me to just take the child for a flight during which I say nothing and give the child the opportunity to reflect on his or her behavior.
I don't know whether it's the steady vibration from the engines, or just the time away from any distractions such as TV, video games, computer, iPod, etc Either way, my kids usually calm down and stop misbehaving after our flight together.
I believe that eye to eye contact during these sessions is an important element in achieving the desired results. I've included a photo of one of my sessions with a neighbor kid, in case you would like to use the technique... WORKS WITH GRANDKIDS ALSO...
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Teachers, for the most part, want to do a good job but they seem to have limits to which they will go to complete the job. They want to balance effort with personal returns. That is, money and time off. If the money isn't enough, and it never is, then the effort is modified to reflect what they see as the taxpayer doesn't care enough to pay a decent wage. Of course, what is a decent wage?
If the community decides to extend the school year, the teachers and the unions, howl as this cuts into their summers off time which is never long enough. And this is understandable in that once you give something to someone and then want to take it away, conflict arises.
With the country out of money and states going bankrupt, hard decisions must be made. One of the most important decisions to solve educational problems in public schools that is coming, some states already are applying, if schools don't preform, they are shut down or handed over to private corporations that have proved they can make education of the young work. Go figure!
Of course, if the corporation fails in this task, they are fired. And as we all know, this can't happen when unions control outcomes.
How to Get Good Grades
Source: "How to Get Good Grades," The Economist, November 25, 2010.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) PISA study details and ranks the reading, mathematics and science skills of 15 year olds in each member country every three years. But even more important than ranking school systems is knowing how to make them better, says the Economist.
That is the aim of another new study by the consulting group McKinsey. The consultancy selected school systems where it has seen standards rise and identified what they had in common.
For starters, McKinsey says, throwing money at education does not seem to do much good, at least in those countries that already send all their young people to school. America, for example, increased its spending on schools by 21 percent between 2000 and 2007, while Britain pumped in 37 percent more funds. Yet in this period, according to PISA, standards in both countries slipped.
What separates the big spenders from the improvers, McKinsey found, is the awareness that different types of school systems respond to radically different types of reform. In countries where schools mainly seek to teach pupils to read, write and grasp some basic math, centralization seems to work. All teachers should be directed to teach the same lessons from the same textbooks.
Once the school system can teach to basic standards, it should pay more attention to collecting detailed data on examination results. This serves not just to make schools accountable, but helps to identify the best teaching methods. Countries where schools have already attained a higher standard should become pickier in choosing teachers -- making teaching a high-status profession boosts standards.
At the very top of the global educational league table -- where only a handful of countries or systems within them manage to attain really high standards -- decentralization is the name of the game. The authorities hand control over to teachers, most of whom are highly educated and motivated, so they can learn from each other and follow the best practices.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
The Little Red Hen in Farmer Jackson’s Barnyard.
(or why taking from the productive to feed the unproductive fails)
Once upon a time, there lived a little red hen. One day she found some grains of wheat. She gathered her neighbors and said, “ If we work together and plant this wheat we can eventually share some fine bread. Who will help me sow the wheat?”
“Not I” said the cow. “Not I” said the Pig. “Not I” said the duck. “Not I” said the goose.
“Okay” said the little red hen, “I will” and she did. The wheat flourished and was ripe with golden grain, and then the time came to grind the wheat into flour. “I’m not risking my unemployment compensation,” said the cow. “That’s out of my job classification said the pig”. “I’ll loses my aid to dependent children”, said the goose.
Then it was time to bake the bread. “I’ve got some food stamps lift over”, said the cow. “Sounds like overtime to me”, said the pig. “I’m a drop-out and can’t learn new things”, said the duck. “Well, If I’m the only one to help, that’s discrimination”, said the goose.
Frustrated, the little red hen fired the oven and mixed the dough and baked five loaves of fine bread. “I want some”, said the. “Where’s mine”? said the pig. “Share and share alike”, quacked the duck. “I demand some”, squawked the goose.
“No”, said the little red hen. “I’ll just keep the bread for myself. After all, I did all the work. These five loaves will do me just fine”.
“Excess profits!” cried the cow. “Company fink!” threatened the pig. “Capitalist profit taker!” wailed the duck. “Equal rights!” screamed the goose. Without losing further time, they hastily painted picket signs and marched around the little red hen’s coop singing “we shall over come!”
Farmer Jackson, hearing the ruckus, hurried to restore order. You must not be greedy, little red hen,” he said. “Look at the oppressed cow. See the unfortunate pig. Look at he oppressed duck. Have you no compassion for the minorities?
“But, but”, sputtered the little red hen. “I planted the wheat, harvested the grain and ground the flour. I made the dough and baked the bread”.
“True”, said farmer Jackson, “that’s the wonderful free enterprise system. Anybody in the barnyard is free to earn as much as he can. You should appreciate this freedom. In other barnyards, you would have to give the five loaves to the farmer. Here you can share. Just give the four loaves to your less fortunate friends. You keep one and count your blessings, and next time we must think of those less able to labor or toil for their keep.
And they all lived happily ever after. But the neighbors wondered why the little red hen never baked any more bread.
And just what is the lesson to be learned here – Everyone must take responsibility for themselves, live lives with grateful giving – understand nothing is free, everything has a cost, including freedom itself.
Progressives believe there is no end to the amount of money that can be taken from all aspects of production. But as the unemployment figures show, that this not the case.
It appears unless we stop the insanity of the liberal left in our country from demand more of everything from all of us, we will not survive. This is reality. Wishful thinking is over.
Unemployment Insurance Kills Small Business
Source: Michelle Malkin, "Unemployment Insurance Kills Small Business," Washington Examiner, December 8, 2010.
While politicians in Washington negotiate a deal to provide welcome temporary payroll, income and estate tax relief to America's workers, struggling employers wonder how long they'll have to pay for the compassion of others -- and whether they can survive, says Michelle Malkin.
The Beltway deal hinges on extending federal unemployment insurance (UI) for another 13 months. This would mark the sixth time that the deadline has been extended since June 2008.
The cost of the joint federal-state program is borne by employers who pay state and federal taxes on a portion of wages paid to each employee in a calendar year. (At the federal level, employers must pay 6.2 percent of the first $7,000 of income to keep the system afloat.)
The combined burden of these hidden state and federal payroll taxes has exploded during the recession as economic recovery interventions backfire and the jobless rate remains stuck near double-digits. State UI funds have gone broke in nearly half the states.
As of April 2010, 35 states and jurisdictions had unemployment fund-related debts worth $39.5 billion, says Malkin.
In an interminable money shuffle, these bankrupt state UI funds are now borrowing money from the feds, whose own regular unemployment benefits account and extended benefits account are both in the red.In Colorado, small and midsize firms have been saddled with eye-popping unemployment insurance bills that have doubled, tripled and more in the past year.
Greg Howard, owner of McCabe's Tavern in Colorado Springs, told the Colorado Springs Gazette his bill spiked a whopping 600 percent.
A small commercial painting contractor say that her nine-person company's first quarter UI bill has gone from $1,000 to more than $6,500 over the past three years.
So chill out and enjoy some good humor at the expense of the nut jobs.
A woman from Los Angeles, CA who was a tree hugger, a liberal Democrat, and an anti-hunter, purchased a piece of timberland, near Colville, WA .
There was a large tree on one of the highest points in the tract. She wanted a good view of the natural splendor of her land so she started to climb the big tree As she neared the top she encountered a spotted owl that attacked her. In her haste to escape, the woman slid down the tree to the ground and got many splinters in her crotch.
In considerable pain, she hurried to Mt. Carmel ER to see a doctor. She told him she was an environmentalist, a democrat, and an anti-hunter and how she came to get all the splinters.
The doctor listened to her story with great patience and then told her to go wait in the examining room and he would see if he could help her. She sat and waited three hours before the doctor reappeared. The angry woman demanded, "What took you so long?"
He smiled and then told her, "Well, I had to get permits from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management before I could remove old-growth timber from a recreational area. I'm sorry, but they turned me down."
GOD BLESS AMERICA !
Friday, December 10, 2010
It's clearly a problem that the unions refused to handle, but then it really wasn't about education, again, union agenda is based on the precepts of the left progressives, it about getting and keeping control over the lives of all concerned. It's about getting and keeping power. Look no further.
California's Parent Revolution
Source: "California's Parent Revolution," Wall Street Journal, December 7, 2010.
In Compton, California, more than 260 parents will pull the first ever "parent trigger" in a bid to transform a failing public school, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Under a California law passed in January, parents can trigger a change in governance at some 1,300 schools that have failed to make "adequate yearly progress" for four consecutive years.
If at least 51 percent of the parents sign a petition, they can shut the school down, shake up its administration or invite a charter operator to take over. Charters that open as a result of parent triggers must accept all students from the original school.
Compton's McKinley Elementary School has made adequate progress only once since 2003, and it is in the bottom 10 percent of schools statewide and when compared to schools with students of similar backgrounds. More than 60 percent of McKinley parents have signed the petition to free the school from the Compton Unified bureaucracy and install charter school operator Celerity Educational Group to run it instead, says the Journal.
Celerity already runs three Los Angeles-area charters that serve students similar to those at McKinley with far greater success. In 2009, one Celerity school was in the 40th percentile statewide and in the 90th compared to schools with similar demographics.
Another was in the 50th percentile statewide and in the top 10 percent compared to its peers.
The law says that the district must comply with a petition unless it "makes a finding in writing stating the reason it cannot." Since Celerity is ready and waiting to take over McKinley, the district has no legitimate reason not to facilitate the switch.
The biggest obstacle to education reform has long been overcoming the inertial forces of unionized bureaucracy. Parent trigger is a revolutionary shortcut, and bravo to the parents in Compton for making the leap, says the Journal.
But as this article points out, the raises will continue despite the so called freeze.
Federal Pay Freeze Plan Wouldn't Stop Raises
Source: Stephen Losey, "Federal Pay Freeze Plan Wouldn't Stop Raises," Federal Times, December 6, 2010
President Obama spoke of the need for sacrifice last week when he announced a two-year pay freeze for federal employees. But feds won't be too terribly deprived in 2011 and 2012. Despite the freeze, some 1.1 million employees will receive more than $2.5 billion in raises during that period, according to the Federal Times. Congress is expected to approve Obama's proposal, which cancels only cost-of-living adjustments for two years.
Regularly scheduled step increases for the 1.4 million General Schedule (GS) employees -- who make up two-thirds of the civilian work force -- will continue. The size of those increases ranges from 2.6 percent to 3.3 percent and by law kick in every one, two or three years, depending on an employee's time in grade.
In addition to General Schedule employees receiving step increases, some of the government's roughly 187,000 wage-grade employees also will receive step increases. And many employees will receive promotions, which also come with salary increases, Jeffrey Zients, the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) deputy director for management, said last week.
Many senior employees won't get raises, but will receive bonuses for good performance, although OMB and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) are telling agencies to cap bonuses at 2010 levels. OPM said it does not yet have information on fiscal 2010 bonuses, but the Asbury Park Press of New Jersey reported in June that the government paid $408 million in bonuses to 359,400 people, an average $1,135 each, in fiscal 2009.
Obama's proposal was swiftly denounced by federal unions and employee groups, who cited data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that suggest private-sector salaries grew last year faster than federal wages, says the Times.
Federal Times calculated the $2.5 billion cost of step increases using OPM data on the number of employees at each GS grade level and step, and the within-grade increases those employees will receive over the next two years by advancing to the next step.
Thursday, December 09, 2010
What ObamaCare is all about is bringing the population under the total control of the government. Remember what our leader said during the campaign, " I want to fundamental change America". Sadly, many in our midst didn't care what he said as long as he was elected.
As so many have said in past elections, 'elections have consequences' - we are living the nightmare of that saying.
Reform Fails to Fix Uninsured Problem
Source: Sally C. Pipes, "Reform Fails To Fix Uninsured Problem," Investor's Business Daily, November 24, 2010.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just announced that 59.1 million Americans went without health insurance for at least part of this year -- an all-time high. The CDC estimate comes on the heels of a report from the Census Bureau that arrived at a similar conclusion. Supporters of ObamaCare have seized on these findings to make their case for the law to an increasingly skeptical American public, says Sally C. Pipes, president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute.
Unfortunately, there's far more to this story than meets the eye.
The data gathered by the CDC survey more closely approximate "the number of people who were uninsured at a specific point in time during the year than the number of people uninsured for the entire year."
The Census and CDC figures also fail to account for the millions of uninsured who are eligible for existing government insurance programs but haven't signed up -- roughly one in four Americans without coverage qualify for government-provided care.
Many other uninsured Americans voluntarily go without insurance -- some 10.6 million people with household incomes of more than $75,000 lack coverage. Even if the uninsured problem is exaggerated, won't ObamaCare help the country achieve universal coverage?
Sadly, the trillion-dollar answer is no. The new law, according to the Congressional Budget Office, will still leave 23 million Americans without coverage by 2019. That's because ObamaCare does nothing to address the fundamental problem with health care in the United States -- our employer-based health insurance system, says Pipes.
The new law actually strengthens the link between employment and insurance. In fact, by requiring plans to offer expensive benefits that most people don't need, ObamaCare makes it even more difficult for individuals who can't get coverage through work to find affordable insurance.
If Americans -- rather than their employers -- owned their insurance policies, then they could take them from job to job and remain insured if they lost their jobs, says Pipes.
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
We have to be their largest trading partner and they own a huge part of our debt, so why do this? What is their motivation? How can they gain from helping to destroy the world economy?
China Joins the Axis of Evil
Pyongyang's nuclear program would have been impossible without Beijing.
· By BRET STEPHENS WSJ 12-7-10
Last month, U.S. nuclear scientist Siegfried Hecker paid his fourth visit to North Korea, where he was granted a tour of some of the hermit kingdom's nuclear facilities. Think WikiLeaks is bad? Compared to what the former director of the Los Alamos lab saw, it's nothing.
Mr. Hecker was given a tour of a construction site where Pyongyang intends to build a 100-megawatt reactor. Next he was taken to a uranium enrichment facility. "The first look through the windows of the observation deck into the two long high-bay areas was stunning," relates Mr. Hecker. "Instead of seeing a few small cascades of centrifuges, which I believed to exist in North Korea, we saw a modern, clean centrifuge plant of more than a thousand centrifuges all neatly aligned and plumbed below us."
Nor was that all. Mr. Hecker also writes that "The control room was astonishingly modern. Unlike the reprocessing facility and reactor control room, which looked like 1950s U.S. or 1980s Soviet instrumentation, this control room would fit into any modern American processing facility."
The North Koreans told Mr. Hecker they had developed all of this indigenously. I asked Thomas Reed and Danny Stillman, both former nuclear-weapons designers and authors of "The Nuclear Express," an excellent history of nuclear proliferation, what they thought were the chances of that. Answer: "Zero."
What does this mean? For starters, it means that Pyongyang's nuclear efforts are not, or not merely, of the what-else-do-you-expect-from-these-nutcases variety. Some other entity—or regime—has made a considered decision to actively support the North's efforts to field an ambitious nuclear program. So who is it?
China's Gao Boxiong (left) and North Korea's Kim Jong Il celebrate their 60-year alliance against "imperialism."
Messrs. Reed and Stillman have their suspicions. Could it be Iran? Tehran, Damascus and Pyongyang have such a flourishing trade in nuclear know-how that it seems a good possibility, Various news outlets have noted the resemblance of the North's enrichment facility to the Iranian one in Natanz. But the authors are doubtful. "Not likely," they say. "[The Iranians] can't even make their own machines work."
What about Pakistan? "A possibility." The nuclear and ballistic missile trade between Pakistan and North Korea dates to the early 1990s, when Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan was perfecting his import-export model. Then, too, the centrifuges Mr. Hecker observed appeared to be of the second-generation, P-2 variety used by Pakistan.
Global View Columnist Bret Stephens explains why Iran's foreign minister doesn't want to talk to the US Secretary of State.
Yet the Islamabad-Pyongyang express was shut down years ago, while the North Korean facility appears to be brand new. It's unlikely that Pakistan would have been able to supply the large numbers of centrifuges the North has assembled. And then there's that state-of-the-art control room, probably not a Pakistani specialty. Which leaves China, the "most likely" provider of the North's new toys, according to the authors. "There is no possibility," they say, "of North Korea achieving what nuclear capability it has without Chinese help."
Mr. Stillman in particular knows whereof he speaks: He was among the first foreigners ever to visit China's nuclear-test base at Malan. In "The Nuclear Express," he and Mr. Reed note that beginning in 1982, the Chinese "decided to actively support nuclear proliferation in the Third World, specifically the Muslim and Marxist worlds. In the decade that followed, Deng's government then trained scientists, transferred technology, sold delivery systems, and built infrastructure in furtherance of that policy."
Why the government of Deng Xiaoping embarked on that very Maoist course remains a bit of a mystery. Yet embark it did: A.Q. Khan almost certainly obtained his first bomb blueprint from China, and China may also have been the site of Pakistan's first nuclear test in May 1990. In 1997, the CIA testified that "China was the most significant supplier of WMD-related technology to foreign countries."
In 2002 came news that Chinese experts had worked on Iran's nuclear facility in Isfahan. That same year, the Washington Times reported that a Chinese company had sold North Korea 20 tons of tributyl phosphate, a key ingredient for extracting plutonium from spent fuel rods. And thanks to WikiLeaks, we know that China facilitates North Korean weapons exports—over insistent U.S. protests—to sundry foreign destinations.
It's time the U.S. drew appropriate conclusions from this. Every effort to negotiate with the North has failed. Yesterday, President Obama called Hu Jintao to ask for help with Pyongyang. But as proliferation expert Henry Sokolski notes, what's the point of urging Beijing to be part of the solution when it's so willfully part of the problem? China has signed on to nearly every nonproliferation agreement around. Yet it continues to flout all of them.
This is not the behavior of a status quo power, but of a revolutionary one supporting activities and regimes that represent the most acute threat to global security. If it continues unchecked, it is China that should be sanctioned—and the North's facilities destroyed.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org
I seem to remember the progressive left news media going nuts about Connie Rice shopping for shoes while people in New Orleans were suffering - hmmmm
I wonder if this will get any traction? 8 million unemployed in our country, supposedly 1 in 5 are hungry - hmmmm I wonder if the media will be outraged?
From Lindsey Williams12-6-10
These shoes are worth $635?? I wouldn't pay that if I was a millionaire!
Barack Obama enjoys living like a king, so why shouldn't Michelle Obama live like a queen?
The First Lady was photographed last night in Hawaii wearing $635 per pair designer shoes by Maison Martin Margiela.
A woman lucky enough to have a job in this economy and working for the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour would have to work 88 hours (without taxes taken out) to make enough to pay for Michelle Obama's shoes.
The Obama's are staying at an $8.9 million estate for an estimated $4000 per night. To cover the Obama's ten night stay, the minimum wage worker would have to work two-and-a-half years (before taxes) to come up with the $40,000 Obama is reportedly laying out.
Obama has lectured Americans about how they can not expect to live their lives as indulgently as they have in the past. He has lectured businesses about their travel and pay. Yet Obama and his wife live like kings and queens.
The news media has yet to call him out on his extravagance when there is 10% unemployment with no sign of the employment picture improving this coming year.
The way they spend OUR MONEY is an insult to every hard working citizen of this country. GREED is their CREED.
Please send this to everyone, including Politicians, to see if any of them has the guts to start an investigation into the extravagance they show daily.
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
This story illustrates what is headed our way, a clash between taxpayers and taxtakers. Teachers unions will not be the only unions to demand they have to do the work or the job will go unfilled, not even by volunteers.
You decide what is right here - either unions begin to change their 'all or nothing' attitude, or they will be eliminated from the work force. Times have changed and the union have to change with the times.
No Volunteers, Please, We're Unionized
Source: Pete Peterson, "No Volunteers, Please, We're Unionized," City Journal, November 30, 2010.
Petaluma is one of those idyllic small cities that dot Route 101 on the way north from the Golden Gate Bridge through the wine country. But Petaluma, struggling like most municipalities in California under the current fiscal crisis, has found delivering public services -- from education to public safety -- anything but pleasant, says Pete Peterson, executive director of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy.
The Petaluma City Schools district has trimmed millions from its budget over the last two years, as the deficit-ridden California state government has decreased its local support by 25 percent.
The cuts have meant layoffs for district employees at all levels, from teachers to playground supervisors. In response, parents and concerned Petalumans have stepped forward to try to fill the nonteaching gaps, volunteering their time to maintain school services.
The volunteers have worked in new roles identified by the school administration, but they've also stepped in to perform jobs eliminated by budget cuts. But those positions are unionized by the California School Employees' Association (CSEA) -- and that's where the problems started, says Peterson.
When volunteers began to help answer phones in the office and support the school librarian at Petaluma Junior High School, CSEA Local 212 president Loretta Kruusmagi immediately objected.
Representing 350 clerical and janitorial staff in the Petaluma school district, Kruusmagi betrays not the least concern for the kids her union supposedly serves when she glowers: "As far as I'm concerned, they never should have started this thing...Our stand is you can't have volunteers, they can't do our work."
Like so many other public-sector unions across the country, the CSEA has proven unwilling to accept the new reality that budget shortfalls are imposing on local governments. The Petaluma clash and others around the state are illustrating how public-sector unions work against citizens in budget-ravaged times.
What happens in Petaluma will provide a glimpse of whether public sector unions have learned anything from the nation's ongoing fiscal difficulties. Are they willing to be part of a collaborative solution, or does their self-interest trump all?