The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit
Friday, April 29, 2011
From the right, from the sophisticated right, there is an attempt to engage the Liberals. Budget Chairman Paul Ryan just did it by presenting a budget that cried out for intelligent response. President Barack Obama's response was to invite Chairman Ryan to sit in the front row for Obama's "fiscal policy" speech at George Washington University. There, Obama heaped scorn on an astonished Ryan and his work. He did not even mention Ryan's name. This is what Obama calls an "adult" debate?
I remember when Rich made the statement after the 2008 election that the adults were now in charge. So this is how adults present their budget response? When is the "I voted present President" going to actually become Presidential? The so called recovery is appearing to have already lost it's steam based on first quarter numbers. The Fed has now showed that it is nothing more than another policy arm of this administration. We are watching a Nero like President play golf and party while the nation continues to wallow. he has yet to present a realistic budget and when the so called adults had huge majorities they couldn't even pass a budget. The Democratic party has become the party of incompetence, plain and simple.
The proof is in the results and they are not even close to a passing grade.
The new Keynes vs. Hayek video by 2010 Sammies winners John Papola and Russ Roberts was just released.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
• Why, if Obama was born on August 4, 1961, was the “Date Accepted by Reg. General” four days later on August 8, 1961? I say, plenty of time to return from Keyna.
• What is the significance of the smudges in the box containing the name of the reported attendant? I’d make smudges too if someone was holding a gun to my head.
• In the “This Birth” box there are two mysterious Xs above “Twin” and “Triplet.” Is there a sibling or two unaccounted for? Clearly, they are planning for triplets to show up in succession, each able to serve two more presidential terms.
• What is the significance of the mysterious numbers, seen vertically, on the document’s right side? Everyone knows that “299” is the internationally recognized symbol of conspiracy.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Zakaria is repeated all day on CNN - I recommend TIVO or "appointment television" today so you don't miss it.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Senator Tom Coburn, a conservative Republican from Oklahoma, has had the good sense to demand an end to the $5 billion annual tax credit to makers of corn ethanol, a wasteful subsidy to farm states that is also dubious environmental policy. For his outspokenness, Senator Coburn was pilloried by anti-government activists of his own party who cannot stand the idea of more revenues flowing into the federal Treasury. But he and a few others in the Senate are holding fast, suggesting that at least some Republicans are willing to break with party orthodoxy to reduce the long-term budget deficit.
The loudest criticism came from Grover Norquist, whose group, Americans for Tax Reform, is the author of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge that has become a sacred covenant for virtually anyone wishing to run as a Republican. More than 95 percent of the Republicans in Congress have signed it (including Senator Coburn), as have many Republican governors and state lawmakers.
The pledge is often thought of as an agreement never to vote for raising taxes for any reason, but it goes even further than that. Those who sign it also vow never to eliminate any tax deductions or credits (like the handout to ethanol makers), unless the resulting increase in revenues is offset, dollar for dollar, by further tax cuts.
The pledge is really less about keeping taxes low than it is about holding down government revenues, which prevent the growth of government services. Mr. Norquist has famously said his goal is to shrink government “down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”
Mr. Norquist can afford to be candid about his fierce aversion to government services, since he does not have to run for office with the votes of people who like those services. The Republican lawmakers who have joined his congregation, however, are less forthright about the effect of their policies. They go around lulling constituents with phony mantras like “Washington doesn’t have a revenue problem; it has a spending problem,” as if cutting spending is the only conceivable solution to lowering the deficit.
This purity finally ran into a tough-minded pragmatist in Senator Coburn. Though his zeal to eliminate many worthy government programs is still excessive, he is right to see the wastefulness in the ethanol giveaway — and the extremism of Mr. Norquist’s position. Senator Coburn’s spokesman has even described Mr. Norquist as “the chief cleric of Sharia tax law.”
Senator Coburn is also a member of the “gang of six” senators that has been trying to find a bipartisan way to reduce the nation’s debt. He and the two other Republicans in the group, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Michael Crapo of Idaho, say they are opposed to raising tax rates but hope to rewrite the tax code in a way that brings in more revenue by eliminating many unnecessary tax breaks and broadening the tax base.
That, at least, represents the beginning of a useful conversation. It could very well mean that the rich would pay more in taxes. Which is why Mr. Norquist, in full grand-inquisitor style, has demanded that Senator Coburn drop out of the gang.
His influence, happily, seems to be on the wane. The three senators have reminded Mr. Norquist that their highest oath is not to him or some abstract pledge, but to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
S&P is simply connecting the political dots after last week's un-Presidential tirade against the GOP.
S&P's analysis also discussed fiscal conditions, most notably the scale of the deficit problem before and after 2008: "[I]n 2003-2008, the U.S.'s general (total) government deficit fluctuated between 2% and 5% of GDP. Already larger than that of most 'AAA' rated sovereigns, it ballooned to more than 11% in 2009 and has yet to recover." This surely is one Bush comparison that the Obama team wishes to bury.
The S&P outlook also says its baseline scenario for the U.S. economy is "near 3% annual real growth." But "near" 3% growth will not revive tax revenue enough to shrink the growing U.S. debt burden, which is heading toward 80% of GDP.
Notably, there was no call in the S&P note for closing the deficit with tax increases, a staple of ratings-agency fiscal fixes. We hope this neutrality reflects some recognition of the way countries like Greece, pressed to cut spending while raising taxes, descend into an endless downward growth spiral. That's how a nation's outlook becomes truly "negative."
The Obama fiscal policy since 2009 has been to explode the U.S. balance sheet with ever-greater spending financed by monetary reflation—which the President in his speech euphemized as "emergency steps." The result after more than two years is what scares S&P and more than a few Americans: a historically subpar recovery, unprecedented deficits, persistently high unemployment, commodity inflation and now growing anxiety over U.S. creditworthiness.
The Ryan budget has been criticized as heartless and cruel. But its purpose is to address the rising U.S. debt problem without tanking the U.S. economy, and to do so before a truly heartless and cruel credit downgrade of the sort S&P gave Japan in January. Mr. Obama's response was simply to mock the GOP proposal.
The ratings agencies are hardly the last word on U.S. economic health. But the S&P outlook is a warning to the White House that financial markets have noticed that this President seems to have decided that his path to re-election lies in demonizing his opponents rather than seeing to the nation's fiscal well-being.
McClatchy Washington Bureau
Poll: Best way to fight deficits: Raise taxes on the rich
Steven Thomma | McClatchy Newspapers
last updated: April 19, 2011 09:15:44 PM
WASHINGTON — Alarmed by rising national debt and increasingly downbeat about their country's course, Americans are clear about how they want to attack the government's runway budget deficits: raise taxes on the wealthy and keep hands off of Medicare and Medicaid.
At the same time, they say that the government should not raise the legal debt ceiling, which the government must do soon to borrow more money, despite warnings that failing to do so would force the government into default, credit markets into turmoil and the economy into a tailspin.
Those are among the findings of a national McClatchy-Marist poll taking the country's pulse just as President Barack Obama and Congress launch what could be a multi-year debate on the role of government and how to finance it.
Obama heads to northern Virginia on Tuesday and California on Wednesday to pitch his long-term budget proposals, as lawmakers from Congress are taking a spring recess, with most in their home districts.
On tackling the deficit, voters by a margin of 2-to-1 support raising taxes on incomes above $250,000, with 64 percent in favor and 33 percent opposed.
Independents supported higher taxes on the wealthy by 63-34 percent; Democrats by 83-15 percent; and Republicans opposed by 43-54 percent.
Support for higher taxes rose by 5 percentage points after Obama called for that as one element of his deficit-reduction strategy last week. Opposition dropped by 6 points. The poll was conducted before and after the speech.
Americans clearly don't want the government to cut Medicare, the government health program for the elderly, or Medicaid, the program for the poor. Republicans in the House of Representatives voted last week to drastically restructure and reduce those programs, while Obama calls for trimming their costs but leaving them essentially intact.
Voters oppose cuts to those programs by 80-18 percent. Even among conservatives, only 29 percent supported cuts, and 68 percent opposed them.
Public views are more mixed on cutting defense spending, with 44 percent supporting cuts and 54 percent opposed.
One dividing line is education: College graduates want to cut defense spending by 63-36 percent. Non-college graduates oppose cutting the Pentagon by 61-36 percent.
No matter how the government tackles its deficits and debt, Americans don't want it to borrow any more. By 69-24 percent, voters oppose raising the legal ceiling for debt. That includes Democrats, who oppose it by 53-36 percent, independents, who oppose it by 74-22 percent, and Republicans, who oppose it by 79-16 percent.
Only 44 percent of voters approve of Obama's job performance, while 49 percent disapprove. That was down from 48 percent approval in January, and marked the 17th straight month that his approval has been below 50 percent;
Only 34 percent of voters approve, and 61 percent disapprove, of the way he's handling the budget deficit, projected to total about $1.6 trillion this year;
Only 30 percent approve of the way Republicans in Congress are doing their job, while 63 percent disapprove.
Underlying it all, Americans are in a pessimistic mood. Fewer than one in three — 32 percent of registered voters — think the country's headed in the right direction, while 63 percent think it's headed in the wrong direction.
Among all adults, including non-voters, the tally is 31-64 percent, the poorest since November 2007 at the onset of the Great Recession.
"We're going through a period of partisan bickering in Washington, lots of posturing and an economy that has not taken hold the way people want," said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion at Marist College in New York, which conducted the poll.
Like every president, Obama is a lightning rod for public sentiments.
"I think he's doing the best he can with very little help," said Lynn King, a retired public school teacher in the town of Pelzer, S. C. "He needs a chance to develop his programs."
"He's got our country in the biggest debt that we can ever get in," countered Jack Millwood, a retired insurance agent in Gaffney, S.C. "I just think he's overspent on too much."
The survey suggested a disconnect between the country and the mood in Washington, where Obama and House Republicans congratulated themselves for their recent hard-fought agreement to cut spending. That fight took the government to the brink of a shutdown and produced spending cuts of $38.5 billion, or about 1 percent of the annual federal budget.
"Just because they came together in the 11th hour, that doesn't impress people right now," said Miringoff.
(James Rosen of the Washington Bureau contributed.)
Tell me where in Europe are you going to invest and be sure it's safe? America is still the best most honest place to place your money.
S&P get your own house in order before you issue statements, that we can believe in. Tell me again about those triple AAA mortgages.
Obama used the occasion to blast Ryan's own 10-year budget, mischaracterizing it as about Scrooge-like cuts to the poor instead of saving money so that there would always be funds for the poor.
"Their vision is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America," Obama said. And, in a stunning bit of mendacity, he warned that "children with autism or Down's syndrome" would suffer against "every millionaire and billionaire in our society."
These are divisive words, favorites of Marxist-Leninist class warfare — the kind that drove nations like the Soviet Union to the verge of bankruptcy.
In the end, that's what it comes down to: calling for tax hikes against an ever-dwindling number of taxpayers, as the White House demonizes any objectors as evil "millionaires and billionaires."
That's what passes for "fairness" and "unity" with this bunch.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Suppose we get tougher on the very rich. One proposal would raise rates to 45% on incomes from $1 million to $10million, with rates increasing to 49% on incomes of $1 billion. Over a decade, tax revenues would grow about $900 billion, says the advocacy group Citizens for Tax Justice. Assuming the money materialized, it's a lot — but only a 10th of the decade's deficits.
Another liberal villain: the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They've cost $1.26 trillion from 2001 to 2011, reckons the CBO. Again, a lot of money. But it, too, pales next to all spending ($29.8 trillion) or deficits ($6.2 trillion) over the same period. Here, too, Obama's budget assumes big cuts.
The president is not ignorant of the challenges that $1.65 trillion in deficits present. From the very start of his presidency, he has made it clear that "we cannot simply spend as we please." He has presided over bipartisan congressional forums on the deficit; he empanelled a bipartisan commission; he made clear his concerns about deficits in his past State of the Union speech; and, now, he has responded to Republican ideas for deficit reduction with thoughts of his own in an oration that rocked poor Vice President Joe Biden into unconsciousness.
And after each declaration of grave concern, including his speech last week, Obama just sort of went ahead with plans to spend as he pleased. It was as though he knows there are untapped bins of bullion out there underneath the mansions of the rich that will pay the country's bills, like thousands of Scrooge McDucks. As though tapping them, which is his primary answer to sealing the deficits, won't have any adverse consequences at all.
We are at the closing of the circle that started in the 2008 campaign with that conversation with "Joe the Plumber" about spreading the wealth around, and traversed the candidate's observation that enacting higher taxes on the rich is the right thing to do even if lowering capital-gains taxes spikes tax revenue. It is, he told ABC-TV's Charlie Gibson, the right thing to do, regardless, "for purposes of fairness."
Wednesday's address, a response to Rep. Paul Ryan's Republican outline for controlling spending, was a campaign speech, not a serious budget address. In six separate occasions, he complained about the tax cuts going "to every millionaire and billionaire in the country" and about not paying one's fair share. That is not a plan for resolving anything but an election outcome. Even his supporters, who would be happy to see higher taxes, were disappointed.
Obama's 2012 attack plan: Vilify the tax-dodging rich, cast the Republicans as their abettors and cast yourself as the defender of the entitlements your opponents wish to dismantle. It is a campaign strategy that has worked consistently for demagogues on both sides of the aisle down through the decades. And, considering a third of Republicans polled are saying entitlements should remain as currently constituted, it may work political magic for Obama yet again.
But it doesn't resolve either the deficit issue short term or the long-term madhouse shortfalls in entitlements, which approach an estimated $100 trillion.
The budget Obama presented earlier this year - the one that completely ignored the concept of historic deficits being problematic - would have pushed federal debt to almost $21 trillion by 2011, according to the Congressional Budget Office, representing 87 percent of gross domestic product. Achtung! Achtung! You now are approaching the Greek-Portuguese-Spanish frontier, with all its end-of-welfare-state landmines.
Just how important to the president is it to stick it to the rich, you wonder? The CBO looked at the deficits locked into the 2008 budget and concluded that to soak up that red ink, both the corporate-tax rate and the top individual rate would have to go up from the current 35 percent to 88 percent; the 25 percent rate for middle-class taxpayers would have to go to 63 percent. And even the poor would have to see a 10 percent tax hike to 25 percent. And, as the Cato Institute's Michael Tanner points out, that was before the additional costs of "Obamacare" were factored in. Or the stimulus spending. Still want to ignore spending?
So goes the "fairness" meme: Tax increases on rich people, somehow, will pay for the entitlements the president refuses to reform in any significant way. And they won't affect business and jobs much at all. The economy will just sort of continue to happen. And I'm going to wish really hard and become Arnold Palmer.
But it doesn't just happen. There is reason to believe that some sort of "revenue enhancements" should be part of the tax and financial reforms needed to stave off the impending crisis. But that is not even close to the vision set out by the president on Wednesday. What we heard (and, alas, what sleepy Joe Biden missed) from George Washington University was the beginning of the 2012 campaign. And, maybe, the beginning of the end of precisely what the president so dearly wishes to defend.
Friday, April 15, 2011
It looks to me as though Obama will win reelection because we have yet to see the candidate that can beat him. The polls show that the country believes we are going very much in the wrong direction, which I presume means they want a change in that direction. But Ryan's proposal is too easily demagogued and Obama loves class warfare so, as his speech showed, he will use fear and distortion to win the day. And it will probably work.
The Dems are almost certain to lose control of the Senate, however, simply because they must defend 22 incumbent seats in 2012 as opposed to the Republicans who must defend only 11.
That will set up the chance for a deal similar to that achieved on welfare reform between Clinton and a Republican Congress.
Obama won't want to be the guy tagged with fundamental changes to the Entitlement State, but he might want the chance to appear historic for some reason other than being the first President born outside the borders (just kidding!). We won't get a deal now, but the next election cycle may create the opening for some meaningful progress.
All the best,
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
All he is doing is engaging in demagoguery, attacking the "rich" and NOT addressing the real problem.
Just liberal pablum, attack the rich, cut defense, blame tax cuts. We spend too much Mr. Obama
What a Jerk
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
The Republicans say..."Let's cut the budget" They, the idiots, reply, why bother, the budget for PBS (for example) is too small to make a difference, we need entitlement reform and higher taxes! But, the Conservatives say, in a time of massive deficit, let's cut a little of the budget, you know like $31 B of a $3.5 budget with a $1.6 T deficit, let's start looking at the size and scope of what government offers, since, WE ARE IN DEBT EACH YEAR 40% over what we take in! Let's cut a little.
No! Says the Liberal/Socialists, those cuts would be draconian (my God, life without government sponsored Cowboy Poetry).
2007 Federal deficit $160 B. 2008 deficit, after TARP and Stimulus One Financial Crisis $1.5 T. Unemployment rate about 5%
2010 deficit after a Trillion dollar (not enough?) 1.6 T and growing, March 2011 lowest revenue to debt ever recorded, unemployment rate about 8%
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
The debt-ceiling fight could be the Big One. Hopefully, both parties will use the next month to find common ground to raise the ceiling and outline the 2012 budget. With the bipartisan Debt Commission recommendations right there on the shelf, it won’t be too hard to find solutions if that is the genuine objective.
It depends on whether (a) President Obama counters with a deficit-reduction plan of equal seriousness, rather than just demagoguing the Ryan plan till next Election Day, (b) there are any Republicans beyond the measured, superwonky Ryan who can explain and defend a plan of such daunting scope and complexity, and (c) Americans are serious people.
The conventional line of attack on Ryan's plan is already taking shape: It cuts poverty programs and "privatizes" Medicare in order to cut taxes for the rich. Major demagoguery on all three counts:
(1) The reforms of the poverty programs are meant to change an incentive structure that today perversely encourages states to inflate the number of dependents (because the states then get more "free" federal matching money) and also encourages individuals to stay on the dole.
The 1996 welfare reform was similarly designed to reverse that entitlement's powerful incentives to dependency. Ryan's idea is to extend the same logic of rewarding work to the noncash parts of the poverty program — from food stamps to public housing.
When you hear this being denounced as throwing the poor in the snow, remember these same charges were hurled with equal fury in 1996. President Clinton's own assistant health and human services secretary, Peter Edelman, resigned in protest, predicting that abolishing welfare would throw a million children into poverty.
On the contrary. Within five years child poverty declined by more than 2.5 million — one of the reasons the 1996 welfare reform is considered one of the social policy successes of our time.
(2) Critics are describing Ryan's Medicare reform as privatization, a deliberately loaded term designed to instantly discredit the idea. Yet the idea is essentially to apply to all of Medicare the system under which Medicare Part D has been such a success: a guaranteed insurance subsidy.
Thus instead of paying the health provider directly (fee-for-service), Medicare would give seniors about $15,000 of "premium support," letting the recipient choose among a menu of approved health insurance plans
Call this privatization if you like, but then would you call the Part D prescription benefit "privatized"? If so, there's a lot to be said for it. Part D is both popular and successful. It actually beat its cost projections — a near miraculous exception to just about every health care program known to man.
Under Ryan's plan, everyone 55 and over is unaffected. Younger workers get the insurance subsidy starting in 2022. By eventually ending the current fee-for-service system that drives up demand and therefore prices, this reform is far more likely to ensure the survival of Medicare than the current near-insolvent system.
(3) The final charge — cutting taxes for the rich — is the most scurrilous. That would be the same as calling the Reagan-Bradley 1986 reform "cutting taxes for the rich." In fact, it was designed for revenue neutrality.
It cut rates — and for everyone — by eliminating loopholes, including corrupt exemptions and economically counterproductive tax expenditures, to yield what is generally considered by left and right an extraordinarily successful piece of economic legislation.
Ryan's plan is classic tax reform — which even Obama says the country needs: It broadens the tax base by eliminating loopholes that, in turn, provide the revenues for reducing rates.
Tax reform is one of those rare policies that produce social fairness and economic efficiency at the same time. For both corporate and personal taxes, Ryan's plan performs the desperately needed task of cleaning out the many accumulated cutouts and loopholes that have choked the tax code since 1986.
Ryan's overall plan tilts at every windmill imaginable, including corporate welfare and agricultural subsidies. The only thing left out is Social Security. Which proves only that Ryan is not completely suicidal.
But the blueprint is brave and profoundly forward-looking. It seeks nothing less than to adapt the currently unsustainable welfare state to the demographic realities of the 21st century. Will it survive the inevitable barrage of mindless, election-driven, 30-second attack ads (see above)? Alternate question: Does Obama have half of Ryan's courage?
Thursday, April 7, 2011
I think even Baxter will have difficulty excusing such behavior, he won't
Reid, of course, belongs to the party that couldn’t produce a budget despite years of total control in both houses of Congress. Is he out of his mind to suggest the Republicans are somehow “procrastinating” because they haven’t corrected The Democrat's dereliction of duty yet?
What a total joke! Total lack of leadership from the Democratic party. From Obammessiah through Harry Reid through Nancy Pelosi. They had complete control of both houses of Congress and the Presidency and they couldn't pass a budget. Now it is up to the Republicans to clean up their gigantic mess?
Shame on them and shame on anyone who votes for these incompetent politicians. This country is in huge trouble because there are enough entitlement vampires sucking the marrow out of the bones of this countries economy to weaken us to the point that we will never overcome the hole that this President is digging. Yet these people who live to suck more out of the system aren't intelligent enough to see what this behavior is going to lead to. Just kick the can down the road and let our young fall on the sword.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
And he is not even talking about the failed Keynesian economic policies that the promised one has buried this country with.
Remember he is also responsible for all the ground work for when Clinton pardoned Marc Rich.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Representative Ryan deserves credit for specifying significant spending cuts. He is a serious pol and his party needs more like him. But with all of his efforts, the problem is not nearly solved. President Obama's plans don't balance the budget either, even if his Debt Commission recommendations were adopted in full.
So, where to from here? Hopefully, as the proposals are fleshed out and our problems are etched in high relief, the electorate will recognize the obvious. We need a lot more revenue as well as entitlement reform and spending cuts. Perhaps the parties should call President Clinton for advice. If federal revenues matched the Clinton era 20%+/GDP, Ryan's budget would balance in about eight years, rather than thirty...
Saturday, April 2, 2011
The earliest 100-degree day is March 26, 1988, according to the National Weather Service. The temperature also broke a record for April 1. The previous record for Phoenix was 96 degrees in 1966.
By JOHN FUND
Three weeks ago, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill restricting the power of public-employee unions and increasing what their members pay for health and pension benefits. But the law hasn't yet taken effect—and its opponents have found a judge to issue a highly questionable ruling threatening sanctions against any official who implements it.
It began in February, when 14 Democratic senators left the state in order to avoid giving Republicans the quorum they needed to pass Mr. Walker's bill. After four weeks, Republicans finally passed the bill after amending it so it required a smaller quorum. The Democratic senators returned, but promptly backed a blizzard of lawsuits to block the bill from taking effect.
They found an ally in Judge Maryann Sumi of Dane County. She issued a restraining order against publication of the law, arguing that it was likely that plaintiffs would prove it was passed without the required notice in the state's Open Meetings Law. On Thursday, she followed up with an order declaring the law "not in effect."
Legal analysts say it's preposterous for a judge to enjoin publication of a law before it has even taken effect, as citizens don't have standing to challenge a law until they are subject to it.
The case will ultimately be decided by the state Supreme Court. That's why unions and liberal groups are now pouring millions into TV ads to try to oust Justice David Prosser—a member of the court's 4-to-3 conservative majority—in an election next Tuesday.
Victory would mean a seat on the court for JoAnne Kloppenburg, an assistant state attorney general—and a court with a liberal majority that may well uphold Judge Sumi's decision.
Why are the unions and their liberal allies so desperate to block Mr. Walker's reforms? It's all about the money. Unions can't abide the loss of political clout that will result from ending the state's practice of automatically deducting union dues from employee paychecks. For most Wisconsin public employees, union dues total between $700 and $1,000 a year, much of which is funneled into political spending to elect the officials who negotiate their contracts.
Union officials recognize what can happen if dues payments become voluntary. Robert Chanin, who was general counsel of the National Education Association from 1968 to 2009, said in a U.S. District Court oral argument in 1978 that "it is well-recognized that if you take away the mechanism of payroll deduction, you won't collect a penny from these people, and it has nothing to do with voluntary or involuntary. I think it has to do with the nature of the beast, and the beasts who are our teachers . . . simply don't come up with the money regardless of the purpose."
Some union supporters recognize the problems with coercive dues payments. Tom Geoghegan, a noted union lawyer, wrote in the Nation magazine last November that it should be "a civil right to join, or not to join, a labor union." He said it was time to "repackage labor law reform, even over the protest of organized labor itself." He noted that workers in countries "like Germany are free not to pay [their dues]—and many don't." Indeed, the U.S. is filled with powerful groups, such as the American Association of Retired Persons, that thrive on voluntary payments because they are seen as providing genuine services to members.
In an interview on Friday, Gov. Walker told me that dues money and union power is "the real issue" in opposition to his reform. "After it became clear we were serious, they couldn't wait to throw their members under the bus by saying they could live with higher contributions for health and pension benefits," he said. "The issue they wouldn't bend on was the power collective bargaining gives them on dues."
Friday, April 1, 2011
Why are we really in Libya? You think it's because they have lots of OIL? Remember all of the Left ranting about Blood for OIL! What hypocrisy. The left is so intellectually dishonest that it is mind blowing.
Now they are discussing sending weapons in to help the rebels. Will we never learn? How many of those weapons will be turned against our young men and women in the future? On top of it this administration might be about to commit a criminal act by sending arms to terrorists.
I am not afraid to admit that we might of made a mistake in going into Iraq. Now we are engaged in spending even more money in another venture that is already starting to smell. We just cannot afford to do this at this time. Obama's reasons are just BS as far as I am concerned. The humanitarian reason just doesn't cut it because there are Dictators slaughtering their own people in many different countries and we are not involved there. Then I heard this garbage about a UN resolution. The same people who were criticizing Bush for Iraq when there were tons of UN resolutions are now using this to defend Obama. Hypocrites. They must have forgotten that there is an internet where all of their hypocrisies are memorialized.
Jobs Report Signals Improving Economy
By LUCA DI LEO And JEFF BATER
WASHINGTON—The U.S. economy continued to add jobs in March, pushing the unemployment rate to its lowest level in two years and offering the latest signs of an improving economy.
The U.S. employment report indicated 216,000 job were added in March, bringing the nation's unemployment rate down to 8.8% and further pointing to a continued recovery.
Nonfarm payrolls rose by 216,000 last month as the private sector added 230,000 jobs, the Labor Department said Friday in its survey of employers. The February number was revised to show an increase of 194,000 jobs from a previously estimated gain of 192,000.
The unemployment rate, which is obtained from a separate household survey, edged down to 8.8% last month, the lowest level since March 2009 (Baxter reminder - Obama took office in January, 2009). Since November 2010, the jobless rate has declined by a full percentage point. Still, there are about 13.5 million people who would like to work but can't get a job.
The data were better than expected. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast payrolls would rise by 195,000 and that the jobless rate would remain unchanged at 8.9%.
Despite the improvements, Federal Reserve officials expect unemployment to remain high throughout the year as the economy struggles to regain the many jobs lost in the recession of 2008 and 2009. Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Narayana Kocherlakota said in an interview Thursday that he would be surprised if it were below 8.5% at the end of 2011. Even so, he suggested the Fed may need to raise interest rates late in the year to keep inflation under control.
The Labor Department Friday said private-sector employers, which account for about 70% of the work force, added 230,000 jobs in March. The February number was revised upward to show a 240,000 gain.
The private sector has been adding jobs for about a year, though the pace hasn't been enough to return the unemployment rate close to prerecession levels. The Fed forecasts it will take another three years before the unemployment rate reaches the 5%-to-6% range.
The March breakdown showed continued gains in manufacturing, which added 17,000 jobs. In the services sector, education and health, leisure and hospitality showed gains. Employment in the battered construction sector was flat after adding 37,000 jobs in February.
Total government employment, meantime, fell by 14,000 as local governments, struggling with budget shortfalls, trimmed payrolls.
In a sign of the challenges still faced by the labor market, the report showed 45.5% of unemployed Americans, or 6.1 million people, were out of work for more than six months in March, up from 43.9% in February. The longer someone is without a job, the harder it is to find work.
Average hourly earnings of all employees were unchanged at $22.87. Over the past year, earnings have increased by 1.7%. Higher income helps support consumer spending, which has strengthened recently, but remains weak compared with previous recoveries.
Meanwhile, the average workweek for all employees on private payrolls was unchanged at 34.3 hours in March.
Baxter note - these results should be welcomed by all so soon after the greatest economic collapse in 80+/- years.