Obama’s “Rule by Elites” enforced by “Union Thugs” is failing

Those of us who actually understand a few things about politics could see the writing on the wall when Obama left rural Pennsylvania to travel to a San Francisco fundraiser and say that all of us regular folk cling to our gun and God because, dog gonnit, we are just too stupid to cling to pointy headed “intallectshuls” like Barack and his fund him.

That was the predictor of his entire presidency, and I, for one, am enjoying its implosion. I hope it continues.

Obama’s Middle-Class Meltdown

By cozying up to Wall Street and pushing climate change, the president is playing to the coasts—and losing middle America. Joel Kotkin on the Dems’ disconnect—and the GOP’s problems exploiting it.

The rapid decline in public support for Democrats and President Obama represents one of the most breathtaking political collapses in modern times. Little over a year from a huge electoral triumph, President Obama’s level of support has dropped from around 65% to under 50%. The Democrats in Congress, who held as much as a 10% edge over the Republicans last spring, actually are losing a “generic” vote.

As President, Barack Obama’s Great Disconnect seems most obvious. Although he occasionally uses populist middle-class rhetoric, both Obama’s priorities and body language suggest his inspiration comes largely from the rarified world of the universities and Democratic Party contributors.

Not surprising then that he started with a stimulus package that, although one was needed, offered little to private sector Main Street businesses. Instead, the primary beneficiaries turned out to be Wall Street grandees, whose high salaries he variously denounces and excuses, and public employee unions.

Obama’s move was encouraged by the aging leadership of the Democratic Party, shaped by places like Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco and Henry Waxman’s lushly affluent Beverly Hills. It has little to do with the views of the middle class who reside generally in smaller towns and less-than-tony suburbs—but some of the wealthiest, and most privileged, populations on earth.

President Obama’s other key constituency lies in the public sector unions, whose power in his home state of Illinois now rivals and perhaps surpasses that of Daley machine. Even as middle-class voters see their pensions dwindle along with their housing prices and jobs, the public sector has waxed into something resembling the Blue Meanie in Yellow Submarine who consumes everything in sight, and ultimately itself.

Perhaps nothing so illustrates the Great Disconnect than the president and the congressional lions embrace of the radical green climate green climate change agenda. Still popular in upper-class urban areas and university towns, this agenda is notably less well-supported in middle and working class communities, particularly in the middle of the country.

It’s time to get active and help provide the final push to this Administration. They could have been much more dangerous, but they walked up to the edge of the cliff with their hubris and extreme left ideology.

Call your friends, get active, get to the polls, and push them off the edge. They deserve it.

Extreme Wisdom on Beyond the Beltway tonight!!

Hey all,

Yours Truly will be on Bruce Dumont’s excellent “Beyond the Beltway” program tonight from 6 – 8 PM Central Time.

The topics will be national, with a likely extensive focus on Health Care.

Tune in. You can get WLS streaming live everywhere right here.

“Obscene Profits” require an “Obscene Profits Tax”

Let’s just tax public retirees benefits away from them. We could call it a “Windfall Profits Tax.”

The Shape of Things to Come

Newly minted Republican Governor Chris Christie, facing a fiscal disaster, is doing the unthinkable: slashing spending and pushing for tax cuts as a way to revive New Jersey’s moribund economy.

Last month Christie told the Democrat-dominated legislature that he was impounding more than $2 billion of this year’s budget. The scythe is wide-sweeping. “I am cutting spending in 375 different state programs, from every corner of state government. I will use my executive authority to implement [these cuts] now. [They] will eliminate our $2 billion budget gap,” Christie asserted to stunned lawmakers. His cuts are even bigger than they sound. “Upon arrival my administration had $6 billion of balances from which to find $2 billion of savings. We had to cut one-third of our available funds with only four and a half months to go in the fiscal year.”

The biggest push will be on pensions. “Pensions and benefits are the major drivers of our spending increases at all levels of government–state, county, municipal and school board,” the governor declared. “The special interests have already begun to scream their favorite word–which, coincidentally, is my 9-year-old son’s favorite word when we are making him do something he knows is right but does not want to do–’unfair.’ One state retiree, 49 years old, paid, over the course of his entire career, a total of $124,000 toward his retirement pension and health benefits. What will we pay him? $3.3 million in pension payments over his life and nearly $500,000 for health care benefits–a total of $3.8 million on a $120,000 investment. Is that fair?

Pigs get fat, Hogs get Slaughtered. Let’s slaughter the Hogs. Here’s how. Enact a “Pension Windfall Tax” that taxes away 90% of everything over $100K/year in value from these greedy people. There will be 2 potential outcomes.

If the tax is ruled constitutional, it will basically return to state coffers the ill-gotten gains from the piggish people bankrupting Illinois. The more likely outcome is that the tax will be ruled an unconstitutional cut in “pension benefits”, which are protected from “diminution” in the Illinois Constitution.

Once the Supreme Court rules it unconstitutional, use that ruling as club to beat Democrats to a pulp while simultaneously using it to cut and cap every non-pension expenditure. Spend the next 10 years reminding the electorate that “you can’t fund the education of a child if you are funding a bloated class of greedy retirees.”

Either way, it’s a pathway for an intellectually honest Republican Party to regain a majority. For the crew running the ILL GOP, it probably cuts into their own, taxpayer-funded retirement plans.

Everything I’ve been predicting is starting to happen…

In a long ago Star Trek episode, Spock stated that a truly successful parasite lives in harmony with its host. The parasites, Public Sector Unions, are killing the host.

Unions are destroying entire sectors of the economy by simultaneously fighting for unsustainable benefits AND for the right to provide substandard services (see education). They are also destroying the ability of Government to meet the needs of the citizenry.

Fairfax faces choice: Raise taxes to fund teacher pensions, or tame local spending

Fairfax County officials are about to run head-on into the same public sector pension funding crisis that is spreading across the entire country, as detailed by the Pew Center on the States’ recent report about the “trillion-dollar funding gap.”

The issue is being drawn with razor-sharpness in Fairfax in the choice now facing local school board officials: They can either ask the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to raise taxes to fund lavish teacher pensions and other retirement benefits properly, or they can reduce current teacher and administrator salaries by eight percent and use the money saved instead.

The Fairfax County Taxpayers Association explained the choice and what led up to it in a recent email alert to its members:
“The FCTA asked why the school board is urging the supervisors to raise taxes by $81.9M although only $9M is needed to pay for next year’s expected increase in student enrollment.

“The school superintendent acknowledged that the reason is the increased cost in employee benefits, especially pensions. According to the schools’ proposed FY2011 budget, employee benefits costs are increasing by $98M, of which $71M is for pensions and another $15M is for retiree medical benefits.
“The school board has been less than straightforward with the community about this. During her opening remarks at the forum, school board chairman Kathy Smith talked about cuts to band and sports, and bigger class sizes, but never acknowledged that the cuts were being made to pay for increased benefits costs. School board members urged the audience to ask the supervisors to raise taxes. If taxes are not raised, then the board will cut band and sports and increase class size to make the pension payments.

“The problem is that while unionized county employees have pensions, most private-sector taxpayers do not. Is it fair to raise taxes to fully fund county pensions when taxpayers rely on 401Ks and those have lost value?

If you support these taxes, you are supporting the destruction of your state and local economy. It’s that simple. People, jobs, companies, and your kids, will just start to leave.

When you take the strange mentality of the public employees into account (i.e 50-50 on whether to keep their jobs or their benefits) you begin to see the scope of the problem. They lack the ability to reason, and they are imbued with an absurd (and obscene) sense of entitlement.

Fire them all. Hire people who have a sense of reality.

Lastly, if you lack the intestinal fortitude to aggressively take these people to task, you better get some. They are killing your town, your state, and your country.

What have I been predicting, you ask.

For about 5 years now, I’ve been saying “You can’t fund a child’s education if you are funding a bloated bureaucracy and padded workforce.”

I’ve also said that the coming financial conflagration would give us an opportunity to successfully attack, and defeat, public employee greed and corruption. I argued that it was only a matter of time before they would start to lose political support.

I was right about that too.

Mitch Daniels for President

I thought it was great news yesterday, when I read that Daniels may actually be considering a run for the Presidency. Earlier (at and event here in Chicago, actually) he stated that he wasn’t interested.

It’s good to hear he is reconsidering. Here is why.

Mitch Daniels’ Rules for Republicans

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has a few ideas – pretty good ones, actually – about how a Republican candidate should run a campaign for the presidency. But guess what? He says he doesn’t intend to run. “I don’t plan to do it, don’t expect to do it, and I really don’t want to do it.” Daniels says.

Daniels, however, has dropped his Shermanesque stance of refusing to consider a presidential bid. Instead, he told the Washington Post recently that he’s been persuaded to leave open the option of running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

Daniels has two basic ideas for the next Republican presidential candidate. One, the candidate should have a plan for solving the spending, deficit and debt crisis that has “intellectual credibility” and “holds water.” This mean the candidate would “campaign to govern, not merely to win” on what Daniels calls a “survival” issue for the country.

The second idea: The candidate should “speak to Americans in a tone a voice that is unifying and friendly and therefore gives you a chance of unifying around some action.” In his campaigns for governor, Daniels never ran a single negative TV commercial attacking an opponent.

The article is short, and does not provide much information on policy, but Daniels is a policy heavyweight. He’s best shot, given the fewest negatives and the most positives. My second, and quite close, 2nd choice is Pawlenty.

The remaining wannabees are unelectable for one reason or another, and we ought not waste our time on them.

Fire this guy!!

I can’t stand these self-important losers. Give the guy 4 weeks to straighten up and fly right, and fire him if he doesn’t. If the GOP allows this to become an “affirmative action” hire that they can’t get rid of, they lack credibility as a party.

Steele’s spending spree angers donors

Republican National Chairman Michael Steele is spending twice as much as his recent predecessors on private planes and paying more for limousines, catering and flowers – expenses that are infuriating the party’s major donors who say Republicans need every penny they can get for the fight to win back Congress.

Most recently, donors grumbled when Steele hired renowned chef Wolfgang Puck’s local crew to cater the RNC’s Christmas party inside the trendy Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue, and then moved its annual winter meeting from Washington to Hawaii.

For some major GOP donors, both decisions were symbolic of the kind of wasteful spending habits they claim has become endemic to his tenure at the RNC. When Ken Mehlman served as the committee chairman during the critical 2006 midterm elections, the holiday party was held in a headquarters conference room and Chic-fil-A was the caterer.

A POLITICO analysis of expenses found that compared with 2005, the last comparable year preceding a midterm election, the committee’s payments for charter flights doubled; the number of sedan contractors tripled, and meal expenses jumped from $306,000 to $599,000.

“Michael Steele is an imperial chairman,” said one longtime Republican fundraiser. “He flies in private aircraft. He drives in private cars. He has private consultants that are paid ridiculous retainers. He fancies himself a presidential candidate and wants all of the trappings and gets them by using other people’s money.”

Shoving it down our throats…

I don’t know what they are banking on, but the arrogance of the Administration is beginning to reach epic proportions. I hope and pray that their defeat will be just as epic.

ObamaCare at Ramming Speed

“The President’s Proposal,” as the 11-page White House document is headlined, is in one sense a notable achievement: It manages to take the worst of both the House and Senate bills and combine them into something more destructive. It includes more taxes, more subsidies and even less cost control than the Senate bill. And it purports to fix the special-interest favors in the Senate bill not by eliminating them—but by expanding them to everyone.

The bill’s one new inspiration is a powerful federal board that would regulate premiums in the individual insurance market. In all 50 states, insurers are already required to justify premium increases to insurance commissioners, who generally have the power to give a regulatory go-ahead, or not. But their primary concern is actuarial soundness and capital standards, making sure that companies have enough cash to pay claims.

It is almost insane adherence to ideology, and a failed ideology at that. Barring some super-secret plan to rig all the elections anyway – Chavez style – these folks are toasting themselves.

Unions = Stagnant

Unions exist because of past exploitation and the formerly unequal power relationship with their employers. Today, with only a little help from an expert, virtually every employee can bargain for themselves to arrange better working conditions and pay. To be sure, transitioning to such a system would be difficult for the people unwilling or unable to shed the union model.

They better learn how anyway, because the market is shrinking unionism on its own. Hard working individuals are better off de-unionizing themselves and cutting the best deal they can with their employers.

Unions out of step with dynamic U.S. private sector

In America last year, a mere 7.2 percent of private-sector workers were members of a labor union, the lowest “union density” since 1900, and far below the peak of more than 30 percent in the 1950s. Labor leaders blame union-busting tactics by employers and expanding trade and globalization, and there is some truth to both those causes. But a more fundamental reason for the decline is that unions have proven to be a liability in a more open, dynamic and competitive economy.

The story spun by labor leaders is that foreign competition has caused manufacturing and other, more unionized sectors of the economy to shrink, shifting the weight of our economy to less-unionized service sectors.

The reality is more sobering for the union movement. The decline in union density in the United States has not been driven by a shift of employment from unionized sectors to non-unionized sectors, but by a broad economy-wide decline of unionization across sectors and regions. Private-sector unionization rates have fallen in virtually every manufacturing sector and most service sectors in the past three decades and across all regions of the country.

The weight of evidence indicates that, for most firms in most sectors, unionization leaves companies less able to compete successfully. The core problem is that unions cause compensation to rise faster than productivity, eroding profits while at the same time reducing the ability of firms to remain price-competitive. The result over time is that unionized firms have tended to lose market share to nonunionized firms, in domestic as well as international markets.

Growing and Vibrant Economies need people…

America’s immigration policy is bad, but not as bad as Europe’s. The answer for America is to assimilate, not restrict.

The Incredible Shrinking Continent

For decades most European countries have consigned immigrants to the margins: in Germany, some professions were restricted to German citizens well into the 1990s, while eligibility for citizenship itself was based on bloodlines until a landmark reform in 2001. Millions of refugees were legally barred from working, which forced them into squalid welfare dependency. Muslims especially remain unintegrated and ghettoized in many European countries, including France, Britain, and the Netherlands. Now many European countries have tabled important policy reforms such as the drafting of a continentwide asylum policy and the formulation of smarter immigration criteria based on education and skills. Others, like Spain and the Czech Re-public, are actually paying migrants to go away. The danger is that Europe’s worsening hostility toward foreigners will halt or even reverse efforts to assimilate those who are already there, spawning a fast–growing, permanent underclass. According to the OECD, immigrants have been losing jobs at almost twice the rate of native-born citizens during the current crisis, and in many countries the socioeconomic gap between immigrants and natives has begun to grow again.
All this comes at a critical moment for the global economy. Economists predict that global GDP will double in the next 20 years, and as many as 1 billion new, skilled jobs will be created. To avoid being left behind, Europe will need to upgrade its workforce to compete in knowledge-intensive sectors. It can’t afford to neglect the education of its immigrant populations or to give up competing for its share of the global talent pool. If it makes the wrong choice, Europe will become smaller, poorer, and angrier. Instead of attracting newcomers, the continent will watch its own best and brightest decamp for better opportunities in the growing economies of China, India, and Brazil. (The economic booms in Poland and Romania have already been slowed by a severe dearth of skilled workers.)
As Europe fiddles, some countries aren’t standing still. At the onset of the global crisis, the Canadian government briefly considered slashing immigration quotas to protect its labor market. It then decided to keep its borders open and even to speed up acceptance procedures for some highly skilled arrivals. While migrants have lost some ground recently, they’re still twice as likely as native Canadians to hold doctorates or master’s degrees. Even within Europe, there are a few countries doing it right. Sweden wasn’t satisfied with merely implementing a new, skills-based immigration policy; it actually upgraded its integration efforts, including language and vocational training for existing immigrants, right in the middle of the crisis. But much more can be done to attract skilled migrants—raising the number of visas available in professions where shortages already exist, for example, or cutting the red tape that can make it all but impossible to get non–European diplomas recognized. Nations and companies could also do a much better job of recruiting more of the -estimated 1.4 million foreign students currently enrolled at European universities.

At the rate Sweden is going, it will be a more conservative nation than the US in a decade or so.

The Manchurian Candidate

What gives here? One need not be a “birther” (and I’m not) to question the motivations of this administration.

Holder admits nine Obama Dept. of Justice officials worked for terrorist detainees, offers no details

Attorney General Eric Holder says nine Obama appointees in the Justice Department have represented or advocated for terrorist detainees before joining the Justice Department. But he does not reveal any names beyond the two officials whose work has already been publicly reported. And all the lawyers, according to Holder, are eligible to work on general detainee matters, even if there are specific parts of some cases they cannot be involved in.
Holder’s admission comes in the form of an answer to a question posed last November by Republican Sen. Charles Grassley. Noting that one Obama appointee, Principal Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal, formerly represented Osama bin Laden’s driver, and another appointee, Jennifer Daskal, previously advocated for detainees at Human Rights Watch, Grassley asked Holder to give the Senate Judiciary Committee “the names of political appointees in your department who represent detainees or who work for organizations advocating on their behalf…the cases or projects that these appointees work with respect to detainee prior to joining the Justice Department…and the cases or projects relating to detainees that have worked on since joining the Justice Department.”