The corruption of public "service"
"The Boston Globe recently reported that retirements are suddenly spiking at the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority. Why? Because a new law taking effect in 2009 slightly reduces benefits for workers who retire before age 65. The major change: As of next year, retirees will have to pay 15 percent of their health insurance premium. Current retirees get free healthcare for life. That's in addition to their pensions, of course. MBTA workers can retire with a full pension after just 23 years on the job, at which point they are perfectly free to find another government job and get right back on the public payroll.
Such double-dipping is common in the public sector, as are so many other lucrative perks that government employees take for granted and most private employees can only dream about. "The nation is dividing into two classes of workers: those who have government benefits and those who don't," USA Today noted in 2007. "The gap is accelerating in every way -- pensions, medical benefits, retirement ages." According to the Congressional Research Service, the pension collected by the average private-sector retiree is worth less than half of what a typical government retiree can expect. If you don't have your snout in the government trough, you can expect to work ever-longer hours and pay ever-higher taxes and fees to support those who do.
Those, to mention just a single example, like Michael Mulhern. He is the 40-something former MBTA general manager who "retired" in 2005, began collecting a $130,000 annual pension, then hired on as head of the MBTA retirement fund, a job that pays about $225,000 annually. Mulhern's total take: more than $350,000 a year. He is just one illustration of a huge problem growing more urgent by the day -- the staggering sums that taxpayers are shelling out for the care and feeding of avaricious public employees. In Massachusetts and nationwide, a backlash is coming.
NEW REPORT: 'CHOOSE ECONOMIC GROWTH OR ACCEPT POVERTY FOR BILLIONS'
An official advisory body walks in the real world for once, sees gloabalization as a major factor in making poor countries rich
The world will contain 4 billion people living in abject poverty by 2050 unless the poorest countries adopt policies to deliver rapid and sustained growth over the coming decades, a report backed by the World Bank and the British government said yesterday.
After a two-year investigation, a group of policymakers and economists published a blueprint designed to allow the least developed nations to emulate the 13 countries that have expanded at an average rate of at least 7% a year for 25 years or longer since the second world war.
Professor Mike Spence, chairman of the Commission on Growth and Development, said there was no prospect of meeting the Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations - which include halving of the number of people living in poverty by 2015 - without faster growth. Two billion of the 6 billion people in the world live in countries with stagnating or declining incomes, but the report said this figure would rise to 4 billion if they continued to suffer from low growth.
"The Growth Report kills off once and for all the misguided notion that you can lift people out of poverty in the absence of growth," Spence said. "It is impossible for poor countries to lift large populations out of poverty without growth. Equality of opportunity and a focus on individuals and families, gender inequalities and economic security, however, is critical to maintaining the support for growth-oriented policies."
The report said that the 13 countries that had grown rapidly in the post-war era were diverse, including Indonesia, Oman, Malta, Brazil, Botswana and China, but all had made the most of the global economy. "This is their most important shared characteristic and the central lesson of this report. Sustained growth at this pace was not possible before 1950. It became feasible only because the global economy became more open and more tightly integrated. The global economy is still a work in progress, of course, but its effects have already been dramatic.
The study acknowledged that faster growth might worsen climate change but said the onus was on rich countries to promote technologies for cutting carbon and saving energy....
Muslim English teacher admits to plot to blow up mall : "A Muslim English teacher yesterday today pleaded guilty to threatening to blow up the giant Bluewater shopping centre. Saeed Ghafoor said he was going to bomb Europe's largest shopping complex using three limousines with gas canister explosives. But when questioned further, the former English teacher said Bluewater was in Exeter, the Old Bailey heard. When told it was near the Dartford tunnel in Kent, Ghafoor said he had not 'finalised' his plans, the Old Bailey was told. Ghafoor, 33, of Southampton, pleaded guilty to threatening to cause criminal damage".
McCain could win big in November: "It sounds crazy at first. Amid dire reports about the toxic political environment for Republican candidates and the challenges facing John McCain, many top GOP strategists believe he can defeat Barack Obama - and by a margin exceeding President Bush's Electoral College victory in 2004. At first blush, McCain's recent rough patch and the considerable financial disadvantage confronting him make such predictions seem absurd. Indeed, as Republicans experience their worst days since Watergate, those same GOP strategists are reticent to publicly tout the prospect of a sizable McCain victory for fear of looking foolish. But the contours of the electoral map, combined with McCain's unique strengths and the nature of Obama's possible vulnerabilities, have led to a cautious and muted optimism that McCain could actually surpass Bush's 35-electoral-vote victory in 2004. Though they expect he would finish far closer to Obama in the popular vote, the thinking is that he could win by as many 50 electoral votes."
McCain has nationwide edge over Obama, poll shows: "Rasmussen Reports' Daily Tracking Poll has John McCain leading Barack Obama 46% to 42% nationally, the first time in weeks that either candidate has had a lead of four points or more. McCain leads Hillary Clinton 47%-44% in the poll; Rasmussen's daily tracking results are reported on a four-day rolling average based on interviews with 1,600 likely voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points. Pollsters say McCain's lead "can be traced directly to the fact that just 66% of Democrats say they will vote for Obama at this time" and 23% of Democrats say if the election were held now, they'd vote for McCain. Another 11% say they'd go for some other candidate or remain undecided... "The numbers for Florida and Ohio are good news for Sen. John McCain and should be worrisome for Sen. Barack Obama. That is especially true about Ohio, which decided the 2004 election. Ohio's economy is worse than the rest of the country and the Republican brand there is in disrepute. McCain's Buckeye lead may be a sign that nationally this may not be the easy Democratic walk to the White House that many expected," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute."
For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)