Where’s the ‘elf been?

This has been a tremendously busy time of year for my businesses — largely unexpected. I have been over at Blog Moon Rising throwing out a post or two here and there.  The ‘elf needs to evolve to suit more my sense of humor, and keep the serious stuff at BMR.  See you there.

Power grab?

The news has been abuzz about the battle in Wisconsin over the budget. The budget. But notice that this has become about more. Why?

The State of Wisconsin has a budget shortfall of over $100 million. This is huge for any state, especially a smaller one like Wisconsin. The governor has rightly attempted to look to reduce or end this deficit through a series of cuts. One way he’s sought to cut was through negotiation with state workers. In order to avoid laying off as many as 1500 of them, he’s looked to them to increase their contributions to health and retirement accounts. This began the outrage.

Was it a powerplay by the governor to use the economic situation as a way to break the union stranglehold on government workers’ negotiations, or was it a desperate move by a governor to just keep his state afloat. The opposing sides on the issue would have you believe their respective sides, and discount the other. But what if it’s both?

In the Rahm Emanuel playbook, you never waste a good crisis. In Alinsky’s methodology, you demonize the opponents. I see this all playing out at once. Here is the perfect storm for the governor: He conveniently has a legislative majority behind him during a down time, and during a budget short-fall. The country has just watched the opposing party play ram-it-down-your-throat politics with the US congress. He is in a state where the state workers make more than the average people that pay taxes to support them. The perfect storm. Take advantage of a situation for a powergrab. Now, I’m not saying that this won’t be better for the state, but you don’t get to be governor without surrounding yourself with political chess players that can make this happen. But I am saying that some advantage has been taken, and instead of being completely above-board, he’s hiding behind the budget… much like his cowardly counterparts are hiding behind state lines.

Deficit Intoxication

This covers three things I pay attention to:  Jack Daniels, the Federal Deficit, and posts by Political Math:

 

Letter to the GOP – Drop Healthcare Repeal

Dear GOP,

 

The American people gave you control of the House of Representatives and nearly half of the Senate due to the bungling of your opponents.  I don’t think this was just because the voters felt you were a better option, but because you were the only other choice in most cases.  Please don’t lose site of this.

 

I understand you ran on several things:  The Democrats had really messed things up, you were better at economics and jobs, and yes, you were going to try to repeal the healthcare bill that the Democrats rammed through congress.  It is completely understandable that you are excited about your newfound power and want to quickly start backing up your campaign promises.  However, I don’t feel you’re serving the American public well with the time and energy you spend on this effort.

 

As you are no doubt aware, 14 states’ Attorneys General have joined a suit disputing the constitutionality of this healthcare bill, and its measures on the people.  This is more than 1 in 4 states already disputing the federal government’s right to mandate people purchase anything.  This is a suit that will gain some serious traction, as healthcare insurance is not necessary to receive healthcare, and therefore forcing someone to buy an unnecessary product to get what they could get on their own violates the commerce clause and state sovereignty.

 

Why do I bring this up?  Two reasons:  One, you will not have the votes to not only repeal the healthcare bill, but override a veto.  Two, you may not need to – especially at a time when the people want you focused on the economy.  If the 14 states (and maybe more to join) succeed in their effort, they will be able to dismantle the bill, and have it thrown out, thus eliminating the need for your posturing.

 

While I may not disagree with every portion of the healthcare (Obamacare) bill, I do believe you do not pass a problematic, ill-conceived, and damaging bill ever, especially at this price tag.  But instead of spending time in the current congress striking down a bill that can’t be stricken down, why don’t you focus on the other parts of your campaign promises?  Why not expose some troubling parts of the bill, especially the parts that have nothing to do with healthcare?  Focus on cutting spending in other areas — including your own staff – if nothing else than to prove your serious about your words, and not just looking to spew more rhetoric like your predecessors.  Please?

 

‘elf

 

GOP, don’t fail us now.

We The People righted the ship at the end of 2010.  Not by handing the GOP one of the most sweeping wins in history, but by removing the single-party domination of Congress and the White House of the past 2 years.  While those of us who do not subscribe to the two large parties would like to see other outcomes, the feeling among most was that we needed diversity between the Legislative and Executive branches in terms of party and ideology, and this was mostly accomplished in 2010.

 

So now what?  It’s one thing to have theory and talk, but I want action.  That means you GOP.  And I’m not talking about lots of bills and rhetoric.  I’m talking about backing up your words.  No more earmarks.  Reduce spending.  Leave the money in the hands of the people that put you there.  Transparency?  The Dems promised it, and we got the largest bill in history with behind-closed-doors and back room dealings.  Can you do better?  I’ll believe it when I see it.  But please, prove my cynicism and gut wrong.  You’ve survived for the last 2 years as Monday morning quarterbacks, taking shots and dragging your feet.  I may not have disagreed with many of your points or obstructions, but you had the easy road.  The tough road is to lead, and this is your chance (in the House anyway), so do it.  Prove the Dems wrong.  Prove We The Cynics wrong.  Prove historians wrong.

 

Get it right… please?

 

Move on already.

If you don’t know by now about the shooting of nearly two dozen people in Tuczon, Arizona by a crazed lunatic, you probably ought to crawl back under your rock.  This, like any mass-murder captures the nations’ attention and sympathy.  But we need to move on, and quickly.  Not because Americans have such a short attention span that they will resent this event from permeating their minds for too long.  Not because healing needs to focus on the future.  But because our politicians will turn this into a circus of political football.

 

Before I begin, I hope people know that six people were needlessly killed on January 8, 2011… not a one of them was a member of Congress.  Yet, our media and politicians give an “oh yeah, and these too” section to their coverage.  Because of this, we need to put the whole thing behind us quickly as it’s already been mishandled, and was mishandled from the first utterance of using this as the battle cry to limit political speech and rail against “extremism”.

 

One thing you learn as a parent is that you can scold all you want, or even physically punish, but to protect the safety of a child, the best solution is to remove them from the situation.  Why haven’t we learned this from our politicians yet?  In this case, the best way to fix the political football game is to move on.  Shed our tears for those who were lost, care for those that are living, but move on.  Assess what happened by this and other mentally deranged people, to see if there is real prevention steps to be taken in the future, but move on.  Let the Giffords family move on.  Let Tucson move on.  Tell our politicians to move on.

 

You can’t have a deficit without spending, kids.

I hear much ado lately from the Democrats about the deal to extend part of the Bush tax cuts, and how this will raise the deficit.  But I think they’ve forgotten a very simple rule:  If you don’t spend money, you can’t go into debt.  Under Bush, we watched some of the most damaging rises in federal spending, and federal debt in our nation’s history.  This was only topped by his successor who not only increased spending, but opened the flood gates on spending by ramming through all sorts of bills under the guise of rescuing our economy.

Obama’s insistence that his “healthcare reform bill” would not increase the deficit was based on very preliminary CBO estimates, which by the time the bill went into law, had already been changed to show that it was going to be very costly and inflate the deficit.  This was the same as Bush finding out that there was no purchase of yellow cake uranium by Saddam Hussein, yet he still invaded.  Not like, but the same.  Willfully dishonest, and massively costly to the American people.

Yet, here they are, now trying to stick the deficit bill to a sliver of the population that is already taxed at the highest percentage on their wages under the flag of deficit reduction.  But let’s take politics out of this equation… what happens when you increase taxes (lower net pay) on the top 5% of income earners which is responsible for a whopping 37% of the disposable income spent into the economy each year?  If you guessed anything other than that they would have less to spend, and therefor we would see a dip in the economy, you really need to take a basic economics course (or re-take it).

I’ve made my point on a flat tax in the past over and over, as that’s the only fair tax available.  Better yet, a consumption tax with no income tax would be even better.  But this is not my point here in this post.  What my point is, is that the blowhards on Capitol Hill — especially the Democrats — don’t seem to understand that if you want to reduce the deficit, step one is reducing federal spending.  This is a short- and long-term fix.  I believe Glenn Beck said it best, when he said “One party will tax and spend; one party won’t tax but will spend: It’s both of them”.  But here’s where I side a little (read little in the smallest font possible) bit with the GOP, when I believe you do not raise taxes.  First, the federal government has given massive pay increases to many of its employees over the last two years.  Why?  I’m sure we can all speculate.  Second, we have added billions if not trillions to our spending while the economy is down, setting the tone to ask for more money.  But when a drug addict goes on a bender, then says he needs more coke to keep his high, do you then give him more?  No.  So why are we giving more to these people who misspend our money?  Third, these huge spending programs are nothing other than payments in advance for votes later.  Bribery.  I believe that’s illegal last time I checked.  But these guys and gals do this under the guise of “programs” and “incentives”.  I’ve found the best incentive the government can give is to leave me alone, and let me figure out how to use my money… I seem to be able to balance my checkbook just fine.

About 275 years ago, we fought a war against tyranny from afar.  We had a government that was thousands of miles away trying to dictate how we operated, and what we could/couldn’t do is some of the minutia of life.  In order to finance wars, building, etc, they claimed they should add to the tax burden of the people.  Sound familiar in today’s America?  It should.  People are jumping mad about the people in Washington who believe they know better how you should treat your children, how you can spend money, how you can express yourself.  Yet, there are still enough boneheads out there that re-elect these jokers that continue with their bad behavior.  We too can revolt in a modern and civil American way — vote.  All citizens above 18 can do this.  We’re two years away from the next major cycle, but that gives us 2 years to make notes on everyone’s performance that wants to run.  We’ve got a president who was not qualified to serve and has proven that on-the-job-training is useless — he needs to go.  We’ve got Senators that sign a pledge to reject earmarks (and those who refused), and then go insert them into bills — time to go.  Same with Representatives.  Don’t think that it’s too far away.  It’s right here, right now.  Make your voice heard:  You can’t have debt without spending… so stop the spending.

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