Archive | June, 2011

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In Support of Tom Friedman

Posted on 27 June 2011 by Jason Hart

Fair readers, mark your calendars: this is the day I prove what a warm, fuzzy moderate I am. This is the day I agree with Thomas Friedman.

Because he’s such an impeccable centrist, Friedman opened Tuesday’s column by criticizing politicians in both parties:

There is something crazy about what is going on in our country today. Our fiscal condition continues on an unsustainable path, the European currency is heading for a crackup, the Arab world is in the midst of a crackup, unemployment is creeping upward and basically our two parties are telling us that they will not make the reforms that we know are necessary because it would involve too much pain and could imperil their chances of winning the presidency in 2012.

Now, if you’re wondering which of Tom’s ideas I agree with… we’ll get there. First I wanted to let Friedman’s own words illustrate that he has never heard of Congressman Paul Ryan, and is oblivious to unified Republican support for Ryan’s budget proposal. Strange things for a New York Times columnist to be in the dark about, given the fit Paul Krugman pitches at the mention of Ryan’s name.

Since friends have to be brutally honest in this flat, hot, crowded, crazy world, I’d also like to ask my new pal Tom whether this is what an unemployment rate “creeping upward” looks like -

Enough senseless bickering over a few hundred billion dollars and a few million measly jobs! Let’s hear Tom’s solution to the partisan divide in America today.

That’s right. We need to do four things at once: spend, cut, tax and invest. And unless we do all four at once we’re not going to break out of our slow decline. But to do all four at once will require a new hybrid politics, which does not conform to the political agenda of either major party.

A new hybrid politics! Like all Friedman readers, I am on board for anything that is both new and hybrid!

Maybe it is just my friends, but I find more and more people completely disgusted by this situation and looking for a serious Third Party candidate who could run in 2012 and deliver the shock therapy to the corrupt, encrusted, two-party duopoly now running the show in America.

Such a Third Party would have a simple agenda: 1) Inject a short-term stimulus. 2) Enact Simpson-Bowles. 3) Shrink our presence in Afghanistan. 4) Raise automobile mileage standards. 5) Impose a gasoline tax to pay for a massive increase in government-supported scientific research and a carbon tax to pay for new infrastructure and stimulate clean-power innovation.

Yes, Thomas Friedman! Please convince the Democrats who take you seriously that America’s troubles could be solved by – to use your numbering:

  1. More failed deficit spending
  2. Modest entitlement cuts and not-so-modest tax hikes
  3. Something President Obama is already doing with widespread support, given our leaders’ disinterest in defining any sort of “mission” or “goals”
  4. Government-increased car prices
  5. Government-increased fuel prices for new government energy boondoggles

I give this plan a five out of five for getting America on the right track! Not because any of Friedman’s ideas are especially new or good, but because a monied far-left candidate hawking what Friedman suggests would pull away enough Obama supporters to ensure a Republican landslide in 2012. More than at any point in my brief memory (I wasn’t quite old enough to vote in 2000 – do the math) the GOP, led by Paul Ryan, is taking the side of freedom over the sort of European statism Thomas Friedman endorses.

In a way, it’s impressive that Friedman managed to write an entire article about the need for a Progressive third party without once mentioning the tea party movement. In another way, it’s sad that one of the left’s allegedly great thinkers is so invested in his own spunky originality that he can’t give credit where it’s due.

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart

Cross-posted from that hero.

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Westerville June Meeting

Posted on 21 June 2011 by admin

Westerville Patriots – a.k.a. Tax Payers…

Your support is needed June 27th!

As I have relayed at our meetings and via e-mail, the Westerville City School District has forecasted that they will spend more than $90M than they take in taxes by the end of the 2015 fiscal year. The take from us taxpayers must increase 30% in the next 4 years – a major increase considering personal incomes were down 7% from 2007 to 2009 (2010 number not yet available), and a ridiculous amount more considering the school has already had a 58% spending increase (compared to a 27% CPI increase) from 2001 to 2010. OR, they must cut spending!

Ladies and gentlemen, IT IS TIME FOR THIS OVER SPEDNING TO END…

On Monday night, June 27th, a group of concerned citizens is presenting a plan to the Westerville Board of Education that brings spending under control, fixes some of the mis-management problems and even allows the school to operate with a surplus for many years to come – all of this without laying off one teacher, without touching bussing, without touching sports and without touching special education.

Unfortunately, the school board will NOT give us the appropriate time needed to present the plan. We have to present it in the 5 minute individual time slots allotted for public comment. That’s OK, we can and will do it. We shall be heard!

The Board, though, thinks the tax payer is on their side because we don’t show up or voice our dissenting opinion. We now need your presence to send that message. If “our side” only has 5 to 10 people there, the message will not be heard. We need each and every one of you to attend and bring your friends. When the plan is presented, you must applaud for the plan to let the board know we aren’t 1 or 2 voices but hundreds. You can sign up to speak, but that is not required – we just need you to be there to support the presentation of this plan.

Join us at the Board of Education meeting, Monday June 27th @ 6 PM. The meeting will be held at Whittier Elementary School – 130 E. Walnut St.

Here are some of the suggested reductions we are presenting – just so you know some of the items in the plan (these are some of the basic ideas, I will get a completed version out once it is finalized)…

- Convert healthcare plan to the New Albany school district plan – savings of $4.4 MILLION

- Have employees pay for half of their dental plan – savings of $738,000

- Have the administrators pay their portion of their retirement plan like the teachers do – savings of $699,000

There are multiple ideas and cost savings presented in the plan and now is the time for action. With personal incomes are dropping, home are being devalued and debt is ever increasing, it is tough to support and feed the BOE’s spending problem when school Librarians (a.k.a. Education Media) make $75K/year (average), gym teachers make $100K and guidance counselors make $100K – PLUS BENEFITS. (visit www.levyfacts.org/payroll.asp to see salary details).

Ladies and Gentlemen, WE NEED YOU THERE! Please join us at the meeting on the 27th!

If you have any questions or concerns in the meantime, please contact me at director@westervilleteaparty.com.

See you there!

Jim Burges
Director
Westerville TEA Party

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I-P-A-B spells “Death Panel”

Posted on 17 June 2011 by Jason Hart

Sarah Palin’s reportedly ignorant belief that Obamacare cuts cost by way of a “death panel” of bureaucrats passing down coverage decrees is nearly as notorious as Palin herself. Mind you, Palin was being ridiculed for this long before The Krugman, a bearded novelty act who does a traveling show for The New York Times, sung the praises of government-rationed care in an ABC appearance:

Here’s the infamous paragraph from Palin’s 08/07/2009 Facebook post:

The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

Palin was responding, in part, to a statement by Rep. Michelle Bachmann, another crazed right-wing nut. If you have a memory or possess the power of Google, it’s not hard to recall the dinosaur media’s response. Smarmy leftists at The New York Times and MSNBC ranted and raved about lies and incited mobs, while slightly-better-hinged commentators settled for dismissing Palin’s thoughts as partisan nonsense.

Conservative pundits continue working to inform the public that Obamacare – sorry, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – relies exclusively on rationed care for the only cost savings that aren’t fabrications. As George Will details in a Washington Post op-ed, death panels by any other name are still terrible policy:

The point of PPACA is cost containment. This supposedly depends on the Independent Payment Advisory Board. The IPAB, which is a perfect expression of the progressive mind, is to be composed of 15 presidential appointees empowered to reduce Medicare spending – which is 13 percent of federal spending – to certain stipulated targets. IPAB is to do this by making “proposals” or “recommendations” to limit costs by limiting reimbursements to doctors. This, inevitably, will limit available treatments – and access to care when physicians leave the Medicare system.

Will’s closing line is brilliant:

The essence of progressivism, and of the administrative state that is progressivism’s project, is this doctrine: Modern society is too complex for popular sovereignty, so government of, by and for supposedly disinterested experts must not perish from the earth.

So, Ohioans – have you signed a petition supporting the Health Care Freedom Amendment yet?

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart

Cross-posted at that hero and Third Base Politics.

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Sherrod Finds Space to Obama’s Left

Posted on 16 June 2011 by Jason Hart

Good news for the registered Socialists who wish President Obama were a little further left on the political spectrum – Sherrod Brown’s got your back.

Sen. Sherrod Brown officially broke with President Barack Obama today on the issue of trade, saying the president “is wrong’’ by supporting free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia.

Though President Obama agrees with Senator Brown that the best way to create jobs is to take a pile of money from job creators and dump it into a special-interest pit, Obama’s belief in big government may have found a limit. Unlike Sherrod Brown, President Obama seems willing to admit the global economy is beyond his control.

The White House says it won’t send the deals to Capitol Hill for approval unless Congress renews a 2009 expansion to the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, which retrains workers displaced by trade. President Obama wants $1 billion more.

Ok, the president seems willing to admit the global economy is beyond his control if Republicans will concede to even more deficit spending to benefit the unions. Sadly, this is the sort of little $1,000,000,000 footnote that goes without saying in the Age of Obama.

Sadder still, Sherrod Brown’s fix for American job loss in the union-rigged manufacturing industry is to apply comparable layers of rigging overseas:

Workers and manufacturers have found it increasingly difficult to compete in today’s global markets when the deck is stacked against them because of unfair trading practices. Yet manufacturing has helped to lead us out of past recessions, and must again be an essential part of our economic strategy.

Foreign workers could truly benefit from some of the 19th- and 20th-century rules won by American unions. However, when Sherrod Brown complains of “unfair trading practices” he doesn’t mean basic human rights; he’s promoting the same union demands that ran American manufacturing businesses overseas or into the ground.

Since the reality is that no free country would allow unions to control the price and terms of labor, the AFL-CIO wants protectionist policies so they can keep their racket going here in the States. However he dresses it up in the usual class warfare garb, Brown’s stance is great for the unions but not so good for opening new markets to American products and the job creation that would result.

Even in the face of President Obama’s far-left pandering, Sherrod Brown continues populist posturing against any trade agreement that wasn’t written by the unions. My fellow conservative loons, let’s share a round of applause for Sherrod Brown: with all the odds stacked against him, he has reminded us that President Obama could be more destructive to America’s economy!

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart

Cross-posted at that hero and Third Base Politics.

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Good News for Wisconsin Taxpayers

Posted on 15 June 2011 by Jason Hart

As expected following Justice David Prosser’s narrow reelection, Wisconsin’s highest court has decided in favor of Governor Walker’s union-reform bill:

Tuesday’s opinion, signed by three of the Supreme Court’s seven justices, said the circuit-court judge, Maryann Sumi, exceeded her authority. The justices wrote, “One of the courts that we are charged with supervising has usurped the legislative power which the Wisconsin Constitution grants exclusively to the legislature.”

The union bosses’ last, best hope was the ruling of a leftist appeals judge who tried to camouflage her decision with an inapplicable technicality:

The senate chief clerk, a nonpartisan official who advises the senate on parliamentary and legal issues, advised the senate majority leader that no notice was required to be given for the March 9 meeting other than a bulletin board posting because the senate was in special session. The open meetings law does not apply to special sessions, under which the legislature was convened on March 9.

However weak the union case, smart money is on Wisconsin leftists keeping their melodramatic shrieking at a consistent pitch:

Union leaders blasted the court’s decision. Phil Neuenfeldt, president of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, called it “an affront to our democracy.”

An affront to whose democracy? The Wisconsin voters who elected Republican representatives, Republican senators, and a Republican governor? Or the slim percentage of Wisconsin voters dependent on union influence for their unsustainable pay and benefits?

Let’s not forget the environment in which Republicans passed Walker’s reform bill: the unions took over Wisconsin’s capital while elected Democrats fled the state. Despite the highly-organized commotion, limiting the power of public unions and requiring public employees to pay a minimum portion of their pension & health insurance costs never matched union rhetoric. But then, reality tends not to match union rhetoric as a rule.

The Associated Press version of the story includes a line that could compete for Understatement of the Year -

Democrats saw it as an attack on public employee unions, which usually back their party’s candidates.

Senate Bill 5 is framed the same way by the Ohio Democratic Party, occasional backers of the public unions who give Democrats millions each election cycle. Nonetheless, I’m optimistic that Ohio taxpayers will see a similar victory in November, giving the public a little say in how public workers are managed.

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart

Cross-posted at that hero and Third Base Politics.

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