Paper: Local Government Should Bring Down Spending Now
Local governments can act now to blunt the impact which declinig property tax revenues will have in a few years. In an excellent editorial today, the San Diego Union-Tribune hits the nail on the head, and offers some solid suggestions.Local Government NightmareSan Diego Union-Tribune, November 30...local governments need to act now to minimize future red ink and disruptions in service. A good starting point for any agency is imposing a freeze on all hiring and on pay and benefit increases. Job cuts should be considered, too. Why does it always seem as if the ratio of administrators to rank-and-file employees is higher in the public sector than the private sector? Beyond such steps, there also needs to be a willingness to make hard decisions about priorities and essential responsibilities. For example, why do so many obscure districts have public relations staffs? Or travel budgets? The sooner local governments limit spending, the more positive will be the long-term ripple effects. This is why they must not wait until fiscal 2009 begins on July 1 to start dealing with their coming plunge in revenue.
Senator-Elect Tony Strickland
I just got off the phone with California's newest Republican State Senator, Tony Strickland.
The last significant numbers in this closely contested Senate race just came in, and Tony is the winner in what is likely to be the most expensive State Senate contest in California history.
Tony's victory is a major accomplishment for the Republican Party, and will have a major impact on the dynamics in the legislature. As a solid tax-fighter, Tony's leadership will further strengthen the forces for responsible, fiscally conservative governance in Sacramento. On behalf of the entire California Republican Party
I want to extend our congratulations to Tony for his incredible perseverance in this campaign, his wife Assemblymember Audra Strickland, the entire Strickland campaign team, the monitoring team, the county Republican committees in Ventura, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, and everyone else who contributed to this victory. Way to go!
Will Britain offer preview of Obama tax policy?
It's not Margaret Thatcher's Britain any more, it seems. Reports out of London indicate the Labor government in Britain is about to boost tax rates with the top rate to hit 61%, a rate not seen in the country since the 1980's.
The top marginal tax rate is the portion of each additional
dollar (or in Britain's case, Pound) earned that the government takes in the form of taxes. Economists have demonstrated repeatedly that the incentive to work and invest is directly tied to the marginal tax rate -- why bother working or investing more if the government is simply going to take it away?
Just like the Labor government in Britain, Barack Obama and Company want to raise marginal income tax rates here, further reducing Americans' incentives to work and invest -- particularly important in this economy.
You can already see what high marginal rates do to economic growth and opportunity -- just look across the pond to Europe, where high taxes have depressed economic growth for decades, leading to higher unemployment and slower improvements in living standards.
New Congress Moves Further to Extreme Left
When Bill Clinton was elected President as a "New Democrat," he at least made some efforts to appear a moderate. He talked about free trade and a middle class tax cut. Gray Davis used the same strategy, appearing as a moderate in his early years as Governor by supporting the death penalty and opposing new e-commerce taxes. But as we see Washington shaping up under Democrat control, there's no "New Democrat" moderation to be found. Such "inconveniences" have been disposed of in favor of a far more liberal and extreme course.
The latest example is Henry Waxman's takeover of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, defeating the more moderate John Dingell of Michigan. Here's how The Hill
newspaper, no bastion of conservatism, described it:Waxman's takeover signals a shift to the left
By Mike Soraghan and Jared Allen Posted: 11/20/08 Rep. Henry Waxman's successful coup against Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell on Thursday leaves the storied former chairman with a ceremonial role and steers the Democratic agenda sharply left.The 137-122 vote to hand Waxman (Calif.) the gavel dealt a serious challenge to the Democrats' seniority system and put key aspects of President-elect Barack Obama's agenda in the hands of a liberal, aggressive and activist chairman.Read the full story
Republicans who warned just how far off the deep (left) end these guys would take the country have again been proven right.
Al Gore: World May Be on Brink of Enviro Collapse
Al Gore may be a far left wing liberal alarmist, but at least he's entertaining. In his blog, Gore notes that some new study "suggests" (a great code word, today, meaning very little) the Mayan civilization may have collapsed due to, you guessed it, some environmental disaster.
From Gore's blog:A new study suggests the Mayan civilization might have collapsed due to environmental disasters:"'These models suggest that as ecosystems were destroyed by mismanagement or were transformed by global climatic shifts, the depletion of agricultural and wild foods eventually contributed to the failure of the Maya sociopolitical system,' writes environmental archaeologist Kitty Emery of the Florida Museum of Natural History in the current Human Ecology journal."
As we move towards solving the climate crisis, we need to remember the consequences to civilizations that refused to take environmental concerns seriously.
Perhaps the Mayans invented the SUV?
WSJ Profiles Assembly Rep Leader Mike Villines
Today's Wall Street Journal puts Assembly Republican Leader Mike Villines in the spotlight in the context of the current debate over taxes and spending in California.Top California GOP Legislator Holds the Line on Taxes
From the Wall Street Journal, November 20. . . Mr. Villines is leader of the state Assembly's Republican caucus, which, with just 32 of the legislature's 80 members, has little power to set the agenda. Political observers here like to joke that the Republican caucus, along with its counterpart in the Democratic-led state Senate, holds real sway only two times a year -- when the state's budget is being set and during the legislative softball game.
The game was called off this year amid a tanking economy. But Republican lawmakers were able to flex their muscle in preventing Gov. Schwarzenegger and the Democrats from using higher taxes to help close a $15.2 billion deficit in the current year's budget, which passed in September after a nearly three-month delay. The Republicans have disproportionate power over tax bills, because California is one of a few states requiring that budgets pass by a supermajority.
Gov. Schwarzenegger on Nov. 6 called a special session of the legislature to deal with a new deficit that some experts say could balloon to $24 billion by 2010. Again, the Republican minority stands in the way of increasing taxes to solve the problem. "I tell my members, 'We're the only line holding back taxes,'" Mr. Villines says. "If we fall, the floodgates will open."
Appears the Clintons Won the Presidential Election
From the looks of just who will be in the new Administration, it appears like we're in for Bill Clinton's third term. The New York Post put it best in their editorial today.DC'S SMALL CHANGE
New York Post, Editorial, November 20, 2008
Congratulations to Hillary (and Bill) Clinton - who seem to have won the presidential election, despite the official results on Nov. 4.
That's certainly a reasonable conclusion, anyway, based on the folks President-elect Obama is eyeing for his administration - folks such as former Clinton officials Eric Holder and Rahm Emanuel and Hillary Clinton herself.
It's deja vu all over again for Team Clinton - and America. And it's already prompting reminders of all the sordid affairs that attended that era.
On Tuesday, for instance, it was reported that Holder would be Obama's attorney general. As deputy AG under then-President Bill Clinton, Holder played a key role in a Clinton-era scandal: the pardoning of fugitive financier Marc Rich.
Meanwhile, talk swirls that Hillary herself might be secretary of state. Obama's folks are now sorting through Bill Clinton's complex financial arrangements to assess conflicts of interest, a process that in itself recalls the spaghetti-like ethical issues from his presidency.
Earlier, Obama named Emanuel, a hard-knuckled veteran of the Clinton White House, to be his chief of staff.
Who knew when Obama talked about the need for the nation to "turn a page," he meant turning it backward?Read the full editorial
Boxer Proves to the the Extremist Once Again
This in from Assemblyman Chuck DeVore:
Sen. Barbara Boxer was one of 13 Democrats voting to bounce Sen. Joe Lieberman from his chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee — 42 Democrats, including, apparently, Sen. Dianne Feinstein voted to retain Sen. Lieberman as chairman.
As if we needed more evidence that Sen. Boxer is extreme and vindictive.From the Contra Costa Times blog
But even though Obama himself reportedly supported Lieberman, it seems U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., was among those voting against him today. “The resolution did not reflect Senator Boxer’s belief that Senator Lieberman should remain in the caucus but not retain his full Committee Chairmanship, and she voted accordingly,” Natalie Ravitz, Boxer’s communications director, told me today.
Washington Post Admits Bias for Obama
Here's a real shocker: the Washington Post's news coverage of the Presidential campaign was biased in favor of Barack Obama. Deborah Howell, paper's Ombudsman, notes that Barack Obama received more news stories than John McCain overall, more stories since he won his party’s nomination, and more photo coverage.
She also admits the paper should have given more scrutiny and coverage to Obama's teenage drug use, and his shady associates like Tony Rezko.
Further evidence that the major papers like the Post and New York Times were more "in the tank" for the Democrats than ever before.
Obama: You'll Work for Free and Like It
Americans are the most generous people in the world when it comes to volunteering and charitable giving, and not because they are compelled to by the government. Here's this little gem from Barack Obama's official government website:Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year.
So let's get this straight: Barack Obama wants the government to require people to work for free when they're in high school and college. Can the government really require
people to work for free? Probably not, but they can make certain government benefits such as financial aid contingent on people doing their required "volunteer" work. Like for ACORN.