Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Let's face it - the real reason the DNC and Obama's OfA are freaking out over and attempting to organize and expand the Wisconsin budget protests isn't just because of the fact that if Gov. Walker has his way he will end collective bargaining.   There is a much deeper issue at stake, and it's something that isn't getting much play in the media, because it's not a sympathetic position ("It's for the kids!"™).  Walker's budget will also force unions to collect their own dues and, most importantly of all, have an annual membership vote.  That is the union buster, right there.  If Walker's plan goes through, union membership in the public sector will sink like a stone. 

This is, after all, a forced unionization state - if you work for the state of Wisconsin, you are a union member.  Period.  The dues are automatically garnished from your wages by the state; you have no choice.  The thing Walker is attempting to allow, which the unions and the DNC are desperate to stop, is employee choice over whether they want to be in the union or not.  According to this poll, there's a good chance that a healthy majority will choose "not".  Especially when those dues no longer magically disappear from their paychecks, sight unseen, and they have to cut a check themselves every month.  People tend to stop and think, to assess something more closely, when they are the ones writing the check for it - especially in a recession.

The most dangerous development in Madison is the annual membership vote. On a personal note, years ago I started working at a large corporation.  While I was going through the orientation process I was heavily pressured to join the union.  I did, as did most new hires.  But as I went through my first year, I realized that, being in a right to work state, union and non-union members had the same contracts - with the exception that non-union didn't have the pressure of a threat to strike every time the contract was up for renewal.  And I mean every time.  And so, like a large majority of my fellow employees, on my one year anniversary I dropped out of the union.  Wisconsin state employees don't have this luxury, but Walker wants to change all that.  It's not so much that he is trying to bust the unions as make the conditions possible for them to bust themselves.

Make no mistake, though - the DNC and OfA aren't coming to the rescue because this is an "assault on unions"; they are charging into the fray because it's an assault on the their campaign contributions.

The potential drop in membership in turn robs some of the DNC's biggest contributors of their forced dues, which they so generously donate to their pet politicians.  President Obama himself owes a huge debt to unions, and no doubt was counting on their support come 2012.  So the reason why the DNC and OfA have thrust themselves into a state issue is certainly no mystery.  The only thing under debate, really, is the appropriateness of their actions.

This isn't about "the little people", this isn't really even about collective bargaining.  It's about keeping forced membership, which will allow the government/union circle jerk to continue unchecked.  It's just amazing how hysterical some people become over corporate cronyism, and yet shout "power to the people" when it comes to union cronyism.  The problem is, public union cronyism is even more dangerous, because while a corporation greases palms and buys politicians to help create or prevent legislation/regulation that might enable their companies to have an edge in the marketplace (which might have the happy result of job creation/economic growth), unions grease the palms and buy the politicians with whom they negotiate their salaries and benefits.  It's like having union bosses on both sides of the table, only the "corporation" they are nailing to the wall is the American taxpayer (who is, at least according to Paul Krugman, the new mortal enemy of democracy). 

So don't be fooled by the DNC and unions (but I repeat myself) lamenting "worker's rights".  In the end, all they care about is the bottom line.  Ultimately the bottom line Walker is offering could be potentially crippling for them in the upcoming election cycle.  And that's all that really matters - the next election cycle.

Let's hope the gravy train has left the station by then.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Today is the 100th birthday of Ronald Wilson Reagan. He was a man who loved his country deeply and unabashedly. He was optimistic, witty, and sharp as a tack. He was a consummate diplomat who was able to negotiate the treacherous waters of the Cold War with skill and aplomb. He believed that the country, when it's free markets are left unfettered, could overcome just about anything.

His dislike of big government was legendary. My favorite saying of his was what he described as the nine scariest words in the english language - "I'm from the government and I'm here to help". Here are some more words of wisdom from the Gipper.

On government:

Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it

Concentrated power has always been the enemy of liberty.

Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them.

Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.

Man is not free unless government is limited.

How do you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin.

No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!

The problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that government spends too much.

On politics:

Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, but the democrats believe every day is April 15.

I've never been able to understand why a Republican contributor is a 'fat cat' and a Democratic contributor of the same amount of money is a 'public-spirited philanthropist'.

It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.

On his age:

Thomas Jefferson once said, 'We should never judge a president by his age, only by his works.' And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying.

"I will not make age an issue in this campaign. I'm not going to exploit for political purposes my opponents youth and inexperience."

On social issues:

We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.

We should measure welfare's success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added.

On freedom:

We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we will always be free.

There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect.

Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today's world do not have.

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.

On politics and religion:

If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.

I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the US Congress.

If the federal government had been around when the Creator was putting His hand to this state, Indiana wouldn't be here. It'd still be waiting for an environmental impact statement.

Ronald Reagan ushered in a twenty year period of prosperity.  His increased militarization during the Cold War helped bring down the Soviet Union, whose command economy simply could not keep up.  His unapologetic love of country inspired an entire generation - even ultra-liberal Bruce Springsteen wasn't ashamed to say he was born in the USA. 

The media's incessant attempts since the midterm election rout to make President Obama into the reincarnation of the Gipper are laughable, at best.  No doubt Reagan himself would have a few choice words of his own for the comparison.  It's impossible to say what he would think of the current administration, but here are two speeches that might shed some light on the subject:

On the economy, from Feb. 5, 1981

On the dangers of socialized medicine, from a radio address in 1961:

Like many great leaders, his words still inspire.  Celebrating his centennial has reminded the country of his wisdom and leadership at a time when both seem to be in scarce supply.  Happy birthday, Gipper.  Hope you're enjoying your mansion in heaven!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


A Florida federal district judge found Obamacare's individual mandate to be unconstitutional, and argued that since the mandate was an integral part of the legislation, the entire bill should be declared void:

"While the individual mandate was clearly 'necessary and essential' to the act as drafted, it is not 'necessary and essential' to health care reform in general," he continued. "Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire act must be declared void."

The best part, though, is that Judge Vinson used then-candidate Obama's own words against his signature legislation (via the Washington Times):

“I note that in 2008, then-Senator Obama supported a health care reform proposal that did not include an individual mandate because he was at that time strongly opposed to the idea, stating that, ‘If a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house,’” Judge Vinson wrote in a footnote toward the end of his 78-page ruling Monday.

As the kids say, 'aw, snap!'.

The feds have sworn to appeal the ruling (no doubt that isn't the only swearing going on), and so it is on to the 11th Circuit.  There have been requests to skip the appeals and take it directly to the Supreme Court, but the Dept. of Justice refuses to fast track the process.  Why skip to the final authority when we can spend millions of taxpayer and state dollars dragging this thing through the appeals process?   

A DoJ mouthpiece stated that:

"We are analyzing this opinion to determine what steps, if any -- including seeking a stay -- are necessary while the appeal is pending to continue our progress toward ensuring that Americans do not lose out on the important protections this law provides, that the millions of children and adults who depend on Medicaid programs receive the care the law requires, and that the millions of seniors on Medicare receive the benefits they need," she added.

Well imagine that.  Repealing Obamacare will somehow stop SCHIP, Medicaid and Medicare from serving the people who need it.  How did that happen?  Or could it be that it's yet another straw man argument from the left in a desperate ploy to gin up support?  You know, scare all those old and poor people and parents into thinking they will lose SCHIP or Medicare/aid if Obamacare is repealed.   Well, it's time to call BS on this ridiculous line of thinking right now.  If this nightmare of a bill is struck down, those programs will continue on as usual - which still isn't good in the case of Medicare, but isn't as bad as with Obamacare.  Actually, repeal will save having $177 billion stripped from the Medicare Advantage program alone, which would have effectively done away with the popular program's perks.

Let's also address the spin about Obamacare "saving" over $200 billion in it's first decade, while we're at it. What a load of bunk.   Now technically speaking, it's true, because the law will be taxing us to death $800+ billion over the next 10 years, while the actual cost of Obamacare for those first 10 years will be about $600 billion - thus $200 billion in "savings".  Unfortunately, those $800+ billion in taxes will only be covering 6 years of the decade.  So how much will we be "saving" in the next decade and beyond?  Or will we only be offering 6 years of coverage per decade of taxation from here on out?

This law is a terrible thing for our country.  The few things that are good about it - no more preexisting conditions, for instance (which is easily regulated, no 'comprehensive overhaul' required) - are far outweighed by the things that are bad about it, like, well, $800 billion of new taxes, for starters, as well as the fact that the bill will now be forcing people to buy a good or service (not to mention it is so convoluted and byzantine that it will take years - and lots of lawsuits, no doubt - to figure out).  It would be far easier to repeal and replace than "fix" Obamacare.

What seems to have been lost in the debate is the fact that we are forgetting how we were originally sold the need for health care "reform".  Let's not forget that the original argument for comprehensive reform was because there were so many people uninsured namely because they couldn't afford it.  Well, all that has happened is that those same people still can't afford insurance, but now they face fines and penalties if they don't comply - enforced by the dreaded IRS, no less.  Not to mention the increase in rates since Obamacare passed means even more people can't afford insurance now.  Way to legislate, 111th Congress! 

Above and beyond all that, how good can the bill possibly be if over 700 companies, unions and even states have received waivers protecting them from it?  Many of those companies and unions were big supporters of the law while it was being shoved down our throats working it's way through Congress.  Now that they have to live under it and are seeing the real numbers involved, suddenly it's waiver city.  It's no surprise the unions got waivers - there was talk back during the making of this mess of a law to waive them from certain responsibilities.    Since they couldn't do it by the front door, they just snuck around the back. 

This decision was big, for a few reasons.  First, not only does Judge Vinson say that the mandate is unconstitutional, he also says the necessary removal of that unconstitutional clause makes the entire bill collapse, and as such, the entire bill should be struck down.  Second, his 78 page decision will be closely scrutinized by future appeals courts as well as the Supreme Court.   It is well reasoned and very thorough, and will present quite an obstacle for the DoJ in future appeals.  Third, this gives those in opposition to the law a second wind and affirmation that their argument is sound.  Oh, and the professional left is trying to say that the score is 2-2, which apparently in their world means it's some sort of judicial draw.  Unfortunately for them, the two findings in their favor are from lower courts, which means this finding, as well as the one preceeding it, both overrule the two earlier findings.  It's not about how many decisions go your way, it is the standing of the court that counts. 
Ultimately it is up to the Supreme Court.  Unfortunately, that could be years away.  In the meantime, this is a strong victory for supporters of repeal, and a big blow to the DoJ's case.  Good job, Bill McCollum, Pam Bondi, et al!