Friday, March 4, 2011

$105 billion in appropriations hidden in the bill

What is collective bargaining?

What’s collective bargaining, and why are they saying those things about it? - neoneocon discusses this Wall Street Journal article.
Unions vs. the Right to Work - Collective bargaining on a broad scale is more similar to an antitrust violation than to a civil liberty.

Eric Cantor Statement on February Jobs Report

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) today issued the following statement on the February jobs report:
“Today’s jobs report showing 192,000 new jobs is an encouraging sign that businesses are beginning to hire and people are getting back to work. However, an unemployment rate of 8.9% is still too high and we need to continue our efforts to make sure private sector employers have sure footing to invest in new employees and expand their businesses.

“House Republicans are taking decisive action to foster a pro-growth environment in this country. Our Committee Chairmen are engaged in a top to bottom review of job-destroying federal regulations and working on important pro-growth policies like tax reform and trade agreements. This week, we passed a bill to keep the government running while cutting spending by $4 billion. We also repealed the onerous 1099 provision from the ObamaCare law so that businesses aren’t bogged down in paperwork by a needless tax mandate. Interestingly enough, both of these items were passed with significant support from our Democrat colleagues. Hopefully this means they will join us in supporting further measures to fund our government responsibly and ensure that Washington begins to live within its means, but I remain concerned that their only proposals to date have been more status-quo, stimulus-style spending.

“Republicans are responding to voters’ calls in the last election to change the culture in Washington. To put it simply: less government spending equals more private sector jobs. We will continue our efforts to cut spending, overreaching regulations and government waste so that businesses have certainty to grow and create jobs and more people can get back to work.”
You can also check in on the progress of ◼ YouCut - remember, YouCut – a first-of-its-kind project - is designed to defeat the permissive culture of runaway spending in Congress. It allows you to vote, both online and on your cell phone, on spending cuts that you want to see the House enact. Each week that the House is in session, they will take the winning item and offer it to the full House for an up-or-down vote, so that you can see where your representative stands on your priorities.

On the table this week:
Terminate the Neighborhood Stabilization Program?
Approximate $1 billion in savings - Created in 2008, this program provides funding to state and local government to buy and rehabilitate foreclosed homes. Congress has appropriated $7 billion for the program, including $2 billion in the Obama Administration’s stimulus bill. This program encourages government purchase of private homes and some critics have argued that it does not benefit at-risk homeowners facing foreclosure, and may instead create perverse incentives for banks and other lenders to foreclose on troubled borrowers – arguably worsening the housing crisis. This proposal would terminate the last installment of funding which was included in the financial regulation bill in the last Congress, savings taxpayers up to $1 billion.

Terminate the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)?

The Obama Administration’s signature anti-foreclosure effort, the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), has failed to help a sufficient number of distressed homeowners to justify the program’s cost. According to the Administration, HAMP was supposed to help 4 million homeowners. Instead, only 521,630 loans have been permanently modified under this program and the re-default rate is high. Far from helping at-risk homeowners, HAMP has actually made many worse off, according to the non-partisan Inspector General’s report. The Inspector General also concluded that the program “"continues to fall dramatically short of any meaningful standard of success."

To date, the Administration has spent approximately $840 million of the $29 billion earmarked for HAMP from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). This proposal would prohibit the government from incurring any additional obligations under this program, thus generating significant savings for taxpayers.

Terminate the Emergency Mortgage Relief Program?

Last year, Congress reauthorized the long-expired Emergency Homeowners’ Relief Act of 1975 and provided $1 billion to authorize the Department of Housing and Urban Development to make emergency mortgage relief payments to homeowners facing foreclosure for up to 12 months, with a possible extension of another 12 months. These loans will serve to increase the amount of the borrower’s indebtedness, so a borrower who is unable to pay back either the original amount of principal or the additional loans made under the program will be worse off in the long run. This proposal would terminate this program generating savings for taxpayers.

Weigh in.

Progress report: 112th Congress YouCut Votes - a list of winning items from the 111th Congress.
Week One: End Duplicative Government Printing
Week Two: End the Presidential Election Fund ($520 Million Savings)
Week Three: Obtain Refund of U.N. Tax Equalization Fund ($180 Million Savings)
House Republicans have passed a Continuing Resolution that will reduce spending by at least $100 billion in the next seven months – a historic effort to get our fiscal house in order and restore certainty to the economy.

Delay of WI Bill PLANNED by Madison Mayor and Unions?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bankruptcy is not the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Bankruptcy, Don’t Go There - CA - The Flash Report

Bankruptcy is not the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But to read some of the advocacy in behalf of allowing states to go bankrupt you might think so. Want to break a labor contract why then go bankrupt. Want to reduce pension benefits why then go bankrupt....

For those who honor the federal Constitution there is a big reason that states do not file for bankruptcy. They are sovereign entities who cannot cede their sovereignty to the Federal government. It is disappointing to hear so many conservatives ignoring the consequences of a state submitting its powers to a federal judge. If states are admitted under federal bankruptcy laws then America becomes a united state and no longer is the United States. ...

Greenspan Says Surge in Government `Activism' Is Hampering U.S. Recovery

Greenspan Says Surge in Government `Activism' Is Hampering U.S. Recovery - bloomberg
...At least half of the shortfall in companies’ capital spending “can be explained by the shock of vastly greater government- created uncertainties embedded in the competitive, regulatory and financial environments...”

Seals and Crofts / Unborn Child / 1974 California Jam

Video of the day at legalinsurrection Lyrics HERE

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ohio state Senate passes bill to curtail collective bargaining

Ohio state Senate passes bill to curtail collective bargaining
(CNN) -- The Ohio state Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would curb the collective bargaining rights of public workers and strip away their power to strike.
Lawmakers approved the measure by a count of 17 to 16, with six Republicans voting in opposition.
The bill, known as Senate Bill 5, is supported by Republican Governor John Kasich. It would curb a 1983 Ohio state law that affords collective bargaining rights to public employees....

Modifications include new measures to settle workplace arbitration, limits on worker vacation and an end to their ability to negotiate health care and automatic pay raises based on seniority.
The amended legislation would also restore collective bargaining rights on wages but ban strikes by all public-sector workers, imposing fines and terminating employment contracts for those who defy the ban.
Democratic lawmakers described the proposal as union-busting. Their GOP counterparts argued that it's needed to tackle an overreach of union influence they regard as an impediment to fiscal reform....

The bill now moves onto the Republican-controlled House where lawmakers are expected to take up the measure on March 10.

Resolution Passed To Fine 'Wisconsin 14'

Resolution Passed To Fine 'Wisconsin 14' -
MADISON - The 14 Wisconsin state Senate Democrats who left the state two weeks ago will now face fines of $100 for each day they miss, if they miss two or more days.

Republicans remaining in the Senate approved the daily fine on Wednesday morning with none of the Democrats present.

The Democrats left Wisconsin in order to delay indefinitely a Republican-backed bill taking away collective bargaining rights from public employees.

The resolution passed on Wednesday also requires the missing Democrats to reimburse the Senate for any costs incurred during attempts to force them to return. Their salary and other per diem payments can be withheld until they pay back the penalties and costs.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

RIP Jane Russell

One of the Hollywood icons... Jane Russell, has died at 89.

Russell was by all reports that rarity in the movie world: down-to-earth, level-headed, Republican, and religious. - neoneocon has more

Transcript: Gov. Scott Walker's budget address as prepared for delivery

Gov. Scott Walker's budget address, given Tuesday at the State Capitol.
Part 1: Opening (shown here) | Part 2: Deficit | Part 3: Local revenue | Part 4: K-12 education | Part 5: Higher education | Part 6: Public safety | Part 7: Jobs | Part 8: Closing

Speaker Fitzgerald, Speaker Pro Tem Kramer, President Ellis, Majority Leader Fitzgerald, Minority Leader Barca, Supreme Court Justices, Constitutional Officers, tribal leaders, members of the Cabinet, distinguished guests, members of the Legislature, and most importantly, fellow citizens of Wisconsin.

Each and every one of us gathered in the chamber today hold a diverse set of beliefs — beliefs that we are passionate about sharing — and that serve to guide our actions. Each of us has a vision for a better tomorrow in Wisconsin.

Unverified, Twitter: BREAKING: Dem Senator Timothy Cullen has just returned to #WI tonight.

Mandy Nagy
BREAKING: Dem Senator Timothy Cullen has just returned to #WI tonight. WI-14 is now WI-13 #teaparty #wiunion #tcot
1 hour ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply
Unverified Report: Dem Senator Headed Back to Wisconsin; UPDATE: Sounds Solid To Me at Patterico
Mob rule video: Unhinged crowd corners Wisconsin GOP senator shouting “F**k you,” “Shame!”; Update: A Fleebagger returns? - Michelle Malkin picks it up... still unverified.

◼ Meanwhile, from Althouse: "This afternoon, at the Wisconsin State Capitol, I witnessed what at times appeared to be the greatest governor in the history of this or any other state..."
"... showered with affection as he announced a bold new plan to rescue Wisconsin from the brink of otherwise certain economic ruin."

"There's six, seven, eight, nine of them that are starting to say, ‘Listen, we're starting to look like we're out of touch with what's going on in Madison, and it's time to get back.'" - Althouse, where the real reporting is coming from.

Senate Dems agree to GOP bill to cut spending

House nears passage of GOP spending bill to avert gov't shutdown; Senate Dems will go along - yahoofinance
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Republican-controlled House is on course to pass legislation cutting federal spending by $4 billion and averting a government shutdown for two weeks. And Senate Democrats say they will go along.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters he expects the bill to go to President Barack Obama for his signature in the next 48 hours.

The House is acting first, with a vote expected this afternoon.

Passage of the measure will set a two-week time frame for negotiations on a bill to keep the government running through the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year...

Republicans want to slash more than $60 billion from agency budgets over the coming months as a down payment on larger reductions later in the year, but are settling for just $4 billion in especially easy cuts as the price for the two-week stopgap bill...

The $4 billion would hit some programs that Obama has sought to terminate and others that have billions of dollars set aside for pet projects sought by lawmakers. That money's not needed since Republicans have banned earmarks for at least two years.

Carney also said Obama made a call to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to discuss the stopgap legislation.

Earlier on Tuesday, Boehner rebuffed suggestions by the White House and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., for a month-long measure.

"If there had been a conversation about this 10 days ago or two days ago, we might have had something to talk about." Boehner said. "But the fact is we were forced to move on our own."

The Illinois attorney general says state police must release the name of everyone in the state who is authorized to own a gun.

Atty. general: Ill. should release FOID card list -
The Associated Press had requested the list of FOID cardholders but state police said that would violate the privacy of gun owners. The attorney general's office ruled that argument invalid...State police officials have not said whether they will comply with the ruling.

There are Republican-sponsored bills in the Illinois House and Senate that would prohibit disclosure of the information.

Soap Operas Are Not Documentaries (and ‘Feminism’ Is a Word With a Definition)

Soap Operas Are Not Documentaries (and ‘Feminism’ Is a Word With a Definition) - The other McCain

A thought-provoking piece, with lots of links to other equally thought-provoking links.

Monday, February 28, 2011

From Humboldt to San Marcos

Return of the 1910 San Marcos School Bell

What Percent of California’s State AND Local Budgets are Employee Compensation?

What Percent of California’s State Budget is Employee Compensation? -
An influential liberal blogger in Orange County, Chris Prevatt, made the following claim on January 25, 2011 in his post “Busting The Myths About Public Employee Pension Costs,” “For California’s budget, salaries represent 7.5 percent of the total state budget. The costs for healthcare and pension benefits are another 3.7 percent.” If only this were true.

...When you add this all up, personnel costs for California’s state government are not somewhere barely above 10% of their total expenditures, as Prevatt asserts, but, doing the math, $41.9 (direct employees) + $18.1 (K-12 employees) = $59.96 / $89.6 = 67%. That is, using data taken directly from the state’s payroll records, combined with overhead calculations courtesy of an exhaustive study commissioned by an (arguably) sympathetic academic institute, along with very reasonable assumptions regarding transfer payments – not even considering transfer payments to localities for line items other than K-12 education – taxpayers are seeing at least 2/3rds of California’s state budget used to pay employee compensation.
They got so much flak on this one they went back and did a more thorough analysis - it's even worse - 84%
Editor’s Note: Given the sensitive nature of the conclusions herein, and based on informed criticism from many who commented and emailed in response to this post, a 2nd, more in-depth analysis was posted on this topic on Feb. 11th, entitled “What Percent of California’s State AND Local Budgets Are Employee Compensation.” In that more thorough analysis, state worker compensation as a percentage of state government revenues (not passed through to local governments and agencies) was actually found to be higher, 84%, than in this analysis, 67%.
What Percent of California’s State AND Local Budgets are Employee Compensation?

VDH: The Rise of the Adolescent Mind

The Rise of the Adolescent Mind - Victor Davis Hanson
We live in a therapeutic age, one in which the old tragic view of our ancestors has been replaced by prolonged adolescence. Adolescents hold adult notions of consumption: they understand the comfort of a pricey car; they appreciate the status conveyed by a particular sort of handbag or sunglasses; they sense how outward consumption and refined tastes can translate into popularity and envy; and they appreciate how a slogan or world view can win acceptance among peers without worry over its validity. But they have no adult sense of acquisition, themselves not paying taxes, balancing the family budget, or worrying about household insurance, maintenance, or debt. Theirs is a world view of today or tomorrow, not of next year — or even of next week.... - read the rest

58% Favor Government Shutdown Until Spending Cuts Are Agreed Upon

58% Favor Government Shutdown Until Spending Cuts Are Agreed Upon - rasmussenreports
As Republicans and Democrats in Congress haggle over the budget, most voters would rather have a partial shutdown of the federal government than keep its spending at current levels.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 33% of Likely U.S. Voters would rather have Congress avoid a government shutdown by authorizing spending at the same levels as last year. Fifty-eight percent (58%) says it’s better to have a partial shutdown until Democrats and Republicans can agree on what spending to cut. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

The partisan differences are striking. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of Democrats prefer avoiding a shutdown by going with current spending levels. But 80% of Republicans -- and 59% of voters not affiliated with either major party -- think a shutdown is a better option until the two sides can agree on spending cuts....

67% Disapprove of Legislators Fleeing Wisconsin to Avoid Vote
48% Back GOP Governor in Wisconsin Spat, 38% Side With Unions