Monday, December 17, 2012
Proof that U.S. liberals don't care about the lives of children, whether born or unborn
Despite Obama's crocodile tears
California and the harm caused by its union parasites
Violent crime may be down in much of the United States, but it is on the rise in California. Ever since the state passed a court-mandated law that eased overcrowding in state prisons, thousands of inmates have been released early -- and violent crime has skyrocketed.
It's up 49 percent in places like Kern County. The murder rate has soared 45 percent in Fresno. "This misinformation that's out there that the downsizing of the prison population only impacts those that are nonviolent, nonserious is not serious. We've already had three murders over the past two months that are individuals under realignment," Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer told ABC News.
California was forced to open its prison doors thanks in large part to the oversized wage and pension packages secured by one of the state's most powerful unions -- the California Correctional Peace Officers Association. And it's not the only "public safety" union that's making the public unsafe.
According to the latest numbers from Oakland, more than 11,000 homes, cars or businesses have been broken into so far this year. That is about 33 burglaries a day and a 43 percent increase over last year.
But Oakland residents should not expect any help from police anytime soon. The city has 200 fewer police officers today than it did in 2008, despite the fact that almost 75 percent of the city's budget goes to police and fire personnel compensation. During the last budget negotiations, the Oakland Police Officers' Association demanded higher salary and pension benefits for veteran officers instead of more money to make new hires.
A similar story is also playing out in San Bernardino. City Attorney Jim Penman, who is guiding that jurisdiction through bankruptcy, recently told residents to "lock their doors and load their guns." "Let's be honest," he told CBS News, "we don't have enough police officers."
And don't think for a second that any of California's government workers are underpaid. According to a Bloomberg News report released this week, California public workers earned more wages, overtime and other benefits than their counterparts in any of the next 12 most populous states. "State revenues are up more than 50 percent over the past 10 years, but still we've had to cut spending on services because so much of that revenue increase went to increases in compensation and benefits," former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, those same California state employees are misusing hundreds of thousands of tax dollars through bribery schemes, mail fraud, waste, and improper billings for travel and pay, according to a new Franchise Tax Board report released this week.
Unable to defeat government unions and their Democratic Party patrons at the polls, Californians are voting with their feet instead, according to new census numbers released Monday. More than 100,000 Americans left California in 2011. Their number one destination: Republican-controlled, right-to-work Texas.
There's a lesson there, if California and other spendthrift states are willing to learn it.
America’s Growing Government Class
The latest unemployment figures are again depressing, but not for the usual reasons. They provide further confirmation of Barack Obama’s fundamental transformation of America, specifically through his creation of a growing government class.
The numbers show a massive increase in government jobs created over the last five months—621,000, to be exact, dwarfing private-sector job growth. Those new government jobs account for a staggering 73 percent of overall job growth. In all, 21 million citizens now work for government, out of 143 million employed in America, or one in seven Americans.
The vision and policies and programs of President Obama and “progressives”/liberals are rapidly generating a new government class. The current class—the one that re-elected Obama—is comprised of federal workers; of state, county, and municipal workers; of employees in public-sector unions; of Americans collecting food stamps, welfare, and unemployment benefits; of those looking to government for healthcare; and more. They don’t all vote Democrat, of course, but many do. And Democrats desperately hope many more will. Incredibly, there is even a rising group of young women suddenly demanding that Uncle Sam (i.e., taxpayers) pay for their contraception and abortions.
Most remarkable, this new class of Americans constitutes a huge and expanding segment of the population (and voters) who are becoming not merely dependent upon government but dependent upon Democrats. The more dependent this group becomes, and the more it enlarges, the more it redounds to the political enshrinement of liberal-Democrat politicians.
All of these segments of the citizenry—or, perhaps, constituencies—have steadily expanded over the last 100 years of progressivism/liberalism, and have surged under Barack Obama. Under Obama, there are a record 48 million Americans on food stamps, up from 32 million at the start of his presidency. The welfare rolls have exploded. Unemployment has not only increased but remains stuck and stagnant, with the actual unemployed around 15 percent and rising. Not only do federal workers continue to balloon, but so do employees joining public-sector unions beholden to Democrats: SEIU, AFSCME, teachers organized through the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association.
Writing on this phenomenon, my colleague, Dr. Marvin Folkertsma, observes that roughly half the population receives some form of aid from the federal government, a figure that will utterly explode once Obamacare takes full force.
It goes without saying that this is disastrous for the literal solvency of the republic, but it’s good news for those hoping to expand the boundaries (and collective dependency net) of progressivism/liberalism.
So, where does this leave us as a republic? Well, in very deep trouble. Most of those in the new government class become rapidly conditioned to their reality. Easily lured into their situation, they will be easily prompted into vociferously defending their position—especially those in unions. They will defend their status with ferocious loyalty when the right buttons are pushed by liberal-Democrat organizers and agitators (and their media allies) who benefit from their votes.
Ronald Reagan said the only guarantee of eternal life in this world is a government bureaucracy. He was correct, especially once the bureaucracy is unionized; ditto for the bureaucracy’s programs and goodies. You will not be able to undo Obamacare; trying to do so will be like unscrambling eggs. Look at Britain’s National Health Service; it is the third-rail of British politics. Even Margaret Thatcher couldn’t touch it.
Ironically, Margaret Thatcher might offer the lone glimmer of hope. America four years from now will look increasingly like Britain circa 1978-79, when the electorate had enough and somehow awakened and hired the Iron Lady, who took on the government class. In the United States, however, it will not be easy. We will need a leader with the combined skills and determination of Thatcher or Reagan, who will be demonized unlike any American heretofore. Moreover, we will need that leader soon. If this isn’t halted quickly, America as we know it is over.
How long? We have four years at best. Think about it: How many more Americans over the next four years will be employed and unionized by government; collecting food stamps, welfare, and unemployment; looking to government for healthcare, for contraception, and more? And they will be further trained to believe this is the norm and their natural right, and that anyone standing in the way is a monster.
It may already be too late. The federal government under Obama is hiring 103 new government employees per day, with nothing stopping them. These new additions to the government class will populate areas like Northern Virginia, turning Virginia (politically) into another Maryland, which dutifully pulls the lever for Democrats every four years.
Well, Barack Obama promised a fundamental transformation of America, and now we’re getting it.
LA Times Demonstrates Liberals' Cluelessness About Basic Economics
There are a few irrefutable laws of basic economics that are understood by practically everyone. When the price of a good rises, people will buy less of it. This is common knowledge to anyone who has bought anything ever. There is also the law of unintended consequences which states that actions, laws, and policies often have secondary effects that differ from the original actions intentions. We have seen this inevitably played out in most laws passed by Congress. Both of these ideas have been around for thousands of years and the father of economics, Adam Smith, articulated them himself back in the eighteenth century.
However, an article in Tuesday’s Los Angeles Times demonstrates how little of these truths liberals understand. “Study offers new support for taxing soda and other junk foods,” written by Karen Kaplan, expressed surprise that foundational building blocks of economic thought were at play in our world. Kaplan looked at various studies done recently on the effects of taxing junk food on the public’s health to find that taxes on sugary drinks resulted in less sugary drinks being bought.
Kaplan’s article references a study that discovered, “Overall… consumers buy less of something when the price goes up and they buy more of it when the price goes down.” The fact that consumers base decisions on what to buy off of the price of the good is completely foreign to many on the left.
Granted, Kaplan did say this was “not exactly a new idea.” But then she continued to treat other findings as if they were earth shattering realizations rather than concrete facts that have been proven hundreds of years ago.
Discussing the merits of a tax on sugary foods, Kaplan was surprised research found that taxing fatty foods led to consumption of less expensive, but not necessarily healthier, foods. “But there was a twist,” she remarked, astounded that anything could have happened beyond the intended consequence, “the tax would prompt people to switch from fatty dairy foods to foods that were higher in salt, sugar and total calories, undermining the reason for the tax in the first place.”
This article actually explains a lot about the mentality that guides liberal policies. The fact that it seems ridiculous for them to even consider what the unintended consequences of their actions might be shows a lack of foresight present in all discussions of policy.
We see this unwillingness to think ahead present in today’s debates. With negotiations regarding the fiscal cliff, liberals fail to pay attention to, or even consider, the detriments their politically popular plan to “tax the rich” might have on the economy. They have no problem heading over the fiscal cliff, demonstrating their lack of concern for consequences and inability to see beyond immediate results of their actions.
At least Kaplan, unlike Washington Democrats, learned something about what needs to be done to achieve her goal. After discovering economics, Kaplan found that to influence consumer’s diets to be healthier, you need to “make vegetables cheaper and soda more expensive.”
Unions' woes are largely of their own making
Just 11.8% of workers now belong to a union. That's barely half what it was three decades ago
A century ago, the labor movement was a major force in lifting workers out of poverty. Union-organized strikes — such as the one in 1914 at a mine in Ludlow, Colo. — led to higher wages and broad reforms. And national activism, spawned by such tragedies as the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York, produced workplace safety laws.
In more recent times, however, organized labor has been in decline. Just 11.8% of workers now belong to a union. That's barely half what it was three decades ago, and the total would be even lower if not for an increase in unionized public-sector workers.
Making matters worse for organized labor, it has suffered a number of recent defeats at the ballot box and in state legislatures. The most recent is this week's enactment of a right-to-work law in Michigan, once a cradle of labor, that will make it harder for unions to collect dues.
Coming after last year's passage of a Wisconsin law stripping public-sector unions of most collective bargaining rights, the Michigan law is a stinging loss. Unions have responded with fury toward Michigan's Republican governor, Rick Snyder, and its GOP legislature for ramming the measure through with little advance notice during a lame duck session.
The wisdom of right-to-work laws is a tough call. They protect non-union employees from having to pay dues, which seems fair, except that those same employees benefit from the contracts the unions negotiate.
Labor's bigger problem is that the vote is a symptom of its declining power. Globalization and technology have weakened its hand, but the unions have also lost public support through their own actions. Inflexible private-sector unions have helped make companies less competitive (and therefore less able to hire workers), while public-sector unions have taken state and local governments for a ride, leaving taxpayers with trillions of dollars in pension and retiree health care liabilities.
On the private-sector side, one need look no further than the auto industry. Trying to preserve pay and benefit structures not sustainable since the 1960s, labor has wreaked havoc on Detroit, contributing to the need for the bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler.
Something similar happened in the recent demise of Twinkies' maker Hostess. Its bakers union refused to recognize that the company was hemorrhaging money in an industry plagued by an excess in antiquated plants. The result is that 15,000 jobs have disappeared when some could have been saved.
Public-sector unions, meanwhile, have all but declared war on the general public. In many cases, they have induced lawmakers to put their states and localities on a path to insolvency by approving massive, unfunded pension and retiree health care obligations. They are certain to pay a steeper price as taxpayers are forced to endure higher taxes or reduced services in the name of benefits that few get themselves.
Voters have already started to express dissatisfaction, even in some Democratic strongholds. Just a month ago, Michigan voters soundly rejected a couple of pro-union ballot initiatives, including one that would have enshrined collective bargaining in the state constitution. Earlier in the year, Wisconsin voters declined to recall Gov. Scott Walker over his role in that state's new law, while voters in San Diego and San Jose, Calif., overwhelmingly backed reductions in public employee pensions.
To be sure, labor did score a victory last year in Ohio, when voters repealed a law similar to Wisconsin's. But the trend has been against it.
If labor wants to start winning some fights — and it has vowed to to make repealing the new Michigan law a top priority — it is going to have to change. Showing greater flexibility, and concern for people outside their ranks, would be a good place to start.
For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena . GUN WATCH is now put together by Dean Weingarten.
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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)
Posted by JR at 1:35 AM