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Archive for the ‘Mommy Government’ Category

California companies fleeing the Golden State

This is only counting the big companies. Here in Utah the population of former California residents is huge… Can you imagine all the small businesses and overall spending that has left that state because of all the mayhem created by the left? Amazing stuff.

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From the WSJ Opinion page today – see if that matches to what you see every night on CNN…

“In 2010, Megan Sampson was named an Outstanding First Year Teacher in Wisconsin. A week later, she got a layoff notice from the Milwaukee Public Schools. Why would one of the best new teachers in the state be one of the first let go? Because her collective-bargaining contract requires staffing decisions to be made based on seniority.

Ms. Sampson got a layoff notice because the union leadership would not accept reasonable changes to their contract. Instead, they hid behind a collective-bargaining agreement that costs the taxpayers $101,091 per year for each teacher, protects a 0% contribution for health-insurance premiums, and forces schools to hire and fire based on seniority and union rules.

My state’s budget-repair bill, which passed the Assembly on Feb. 25 and awaits a vote in the Senate, reforms this union-controlled hiring and firing process by allowing school districts to assign staff based on merit and performance. That keeps great teachers like Ms. Sampson in the classroom.

Most states in the country are facing a major budget deficit. Many are cutting billions of dollars of aid to schools and local governments. These cuts lead to massive layoffs or increases in property taxes—or both.

In Wisconsin, we have a better approach to tackling our $3.6 billion deficit. We are reforming the way government works, as well as balancing our budget. Our reform plan gives state and local governments the tools to balance the budget through reasonable benefit contributions. In total, our budget-repair bill saves local governments almost $1.5 billion, outweighing the reductions in state aid in our budget.

While it might be a bold political move, the changes are modest. We ask government workers to make a 5.8% contribution to their pensions and a 12.6% contribution to their health-insurance premium, both of which are well below what other workers pay for benefits. Our plan calls for Wisconsin state workers to contribute half of what federal employees pay for their health-insurance premiums. (It’s also worth noting that most federal workers don’t have collective bargaining for wages and benefits.)

For example, my brother works as a banquet manager at a hotel and occasionally works as a bartender. My sister-in-law works at a department store. They have two beautiful kids. They are a typical middle-class Wisconsin family. At the start of this debate, David reminded me that he pays nearly $800 per month for his family’s health-insurance premium and a modest 401(k) contribution. He said most workers in Wisconsin would love a deal like the one we are proposing.

The unions say they are ready to accept concessions, yet their actions speak louder than words. Over the past three weeks, local unions across the state have pursued contracts without new pension or health-insurance contributions. Their rhetoric does not match their record on this issue.

Local governments can’t pass budgets on a hope and a prayer. Beyond balancing budgets, our reforms give schools—as well as state and local governments—the tools to reward productive workers and improve their operations. Most crucially, our reforms confront the barriers of collective bargaining that currently block innovation and reform.

When Gov. Mitch Daniels repealed collective bargaining in Indiana six years ago, it helped government become more efficient and responsive. The average pay for Indiana state employees has actually increased, and high-performing employees are rewarded with pay increases or bonuses when they do something exceptional.

Passing our budget-repair bill will help put similar reforms into place in Wisconsin. This will be good for the Badger State’s hard-working taxpayers. It will also be good for state and local government employees who overwhelmingly want to do their jobs well.

In Wisconsin, we can avoid the massive teacher layoffs that schools are facing across America. Our budget-repair bill is a commitment to the future so our children won’t face even more dire consequences than we face today, and teachers like Ms. Sampson are rewarded—not laid off.

Taking on the status quo is no easy task. Each day, there are protesters in and around our state Capitol. They have every right to be heard. But their voices cannot drown out the voices of the countless taxpayers who want us to balance our budgets and, more importantly, to make government work for each of them.

Mr. Walker, a Republican, is the governor of Wisconsin.”

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This is nothing new but still… it amazes me how people can see the world in such different ways.

For instance, I woke up today and read this CNN gem:

“Take Vermont. Only a few months ago, unemployed Vermont residents could collect up to 86 weeks of jobless benefits.

Now, they are eligible for only up to 60 weeks.

The reason is that Vermont’s unemployment rate has dropped below 6%. Good news for those lucky enough to find work, but small consolation to the jobless still looking for a position.”

Now, this is probably as good as it gets. This is the ‘cup half-empty/half-full’ difference between me and these people. 6% unemployment is what we used to call ‘full employment’ in the good ol’ days of Clinton. Ah, but that was before. Nowadays Tami Luhby, senior writer from CNN looks at 6% unemployment and all she can see is that those poor unlucky people who are looking for a job will get only 60 weeks of money from their peers.

Time for the elite 94% ship in a bit more, right?

—x—

On a different but not less outraging note, I was channel browsing yesterday and ended up catching this ‘House Hunter International’ episode named ‘Searching Nicaraguan Riviera’ (I think you can watch it online from the link above).

That show tells the story of this couple of ‘nomad surfers’ who are looking for a condo in Nicaragua. Harmless right? Good for them. However, throughtout the episode we keep hearing this line that what they are doing is ‘retiring early’ and only living month to month by doing odd jobs. ‘We decided to enjoy life now and work harder later’. Cut to the scene where they catch a wave and buy some lobster from a local dude.

Hey, I bet that most of the public will think this is a smart, honest couple. Smart? Maybe. Honest? That depends.

You see, our system works because people save for their own retirement early. Without compounding that money in a 401k or whatever financial instrument you prefer, it is basically impossible to save enough money to keep you afloat once you can’t work anymore.

Of course, this is not a written rule. It is what we used to call ‘the way things work’. Until some time ago parents would tell kids that’s what they had to do and if they don’t they would end up poor and miserable like uncle Richard.

Unless someone else pay your bills right? Yeah, all those stupid schmucks who spent their youth building cities, researching cure for devastating diseases or simply coming up with the new iPad or a hybrid car.

Is this fair? Is that the egalitarian society that my tax dollars are financing?

—x—

At the end of the day, I see only one salvation for our current democratic system. Welfare of all kinds will have to be more limited and targeted. From medicare to social security, from food stamps to public schools and unemployment insurance, we *need* to find a way to account for the means and not only the end. We should help the few who were truly unlucky (who clearly are out there) and not the ones who decided to ‘retire early’. Be it by surfing in Nicaragua, spending their life living in their parents basement or pretending to be artists just to avoid any actual productive work.

You see, Liberals only care about your current situation. You are unemployed, you get X amount of dollars. You are over 65, you get Y amount of dollars. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done up until that point.

That is unsustainable and if nothing else, incredibly unfair.

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In november of 2009 Newsweek was telling Americans to be prepared: the financial crisis could leave Europe even stronger than America. Ah, those good old times when Greece was only a vacation country with little white houses and naked old people lying on the beach.

But now the good old Socialist System is showing its true colors. The Financial Times now tell us that instead of watching the rise of a new dominant power, we are experiencing the death of the European dream.

And you are sadly mistaken if you think this is just about the PIGS of Europe: France is also in trouble with its huge debt and the UK debt is actually higher than Greece’s as a percent of GDP. Germany seems to only somewhat sustainable exception but let’s not forget that its economy depends big time on exports. And who are Germany’s biggest trade partners?
•France … US$99 billion (10.2% of total German exports)
•U.S. … $85.5 billion (8.8%)
•U.K. … $76.7 billion (7.9%)
•Italy … $67 billion (6.9%)

So I really can’t see how they can pull this off for too long.

Everything indicates that both the US and Europe will need to enter an “era of austerity“. As always, the main challenge is political. On the US, big spending cuts will be needed and taxes will probably go up. I see the case of Europe being much worse because taxes are already so high and you can see what happens to people when you say you will cut life long entitlements.

At the end, this is the closest we can get to the death of socialism. It won’t be pretty.

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Suckers!

This is golden. It just confirms my theory that there is not one Republican politician who is communicating this health care debacle the right way. The ‘let’s help the poor’ mantra from Dems is so clearly bogus and yet people are falling for it because no one explains what really is going on. This is a pure and simple redistribution bill. From productive, ‘job locked’ people to the ‘creative types’ of the world.

Pay it up, suckers!

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One thing I forgot to mention: Greece (and for that matter, all Europe) also has a problem on the other end of the cost equation: taxes.

The country already has a top income tax rate of 40 percent, and a value-added tax of 21 percent. In addition, employers pay 28 percent of salary for social security and employees pay 16 percent (more info here). It is no surprise that tax evasion is such a big problem.

So let’s hope this is yet another clue to Democrats and their pet economists.

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