Friday, December 16, 2011

Motorless City

According to an article I read today in the Wall Street Journal, an estimated 62% of Detroit residents do not own a car.  With one in three living in poverty I suppose that's somewhat understandable.  However, given that the automobile, for the most part, built Detroit, it's still an astounding number.  Sad.  Sadder still is the fact that those who remain in Detroit remain wed and deliriously entrenched to the destructive social and economic policies that drove them under in the first place.    

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I Wish I'd Said It

The following is reprinted from today's Wall Street Journals' Notable & Quotable.  From blogger and law professor Glenn Reynolds writing in the Washington Examiner, Dec.3:

The reason why a bachelor's degree on its own no longer conveys intelligence and capability it that the government decided that as many people as possible should have bachelor's degrees.

There's something of a pattern here.  The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that the middle class people have.  If middle class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we'll have more middle class people.

But homeownership and college aren't causes of middle-class status, they're markers for possessing the kinds of traits -- self-discipline, the ability to deter gratification, etc. - that let you enter, and stay in, the middle class.

Subsidizing the markers doesn't produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them.  One might as well try to promote basketball skills by distributing expensive sneakers.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Obama's Other Revenue Problem

Barack Obama and the Democrats insist we have a revenue problem.  They're confident that too few people pay too little in taxes, otherwise there'd be no reason to ever cut spending of any kind.  Anyway, that's what they say.  I agree that we have a revenue problem, it's just not that one.  In 2008, before Barack Obama became President, our nation raised $9.5 billion in offshore oil leases.  This year we sold only $36 million.  That's a revenue problem.  So, not only does President Obama spend massive amounts of our tax dollars chasing his green energy dreams, he does so at the expense of very real income from the sale of oil and gas leases.  This isn't just an ideological shift folks, this is malfeasance on a grand scale.  This is brain-dead, job-killing economics we just can't afford.  When people ask me if I think Obama will win reelection I tell them in no uncertain terms, "No, absolutely not."  I tell them that I do not fear another Obama term.  What I do fear however is that we may all lose everything we have before he's done.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

No Thanks for Giving

In Governor Mitch Daniel's new book, Keeping the Republic, he talks about how government expansion "shrinks" the citizenry by crowding them out of the production of goods and services that were once the purview and responsibility of the private sector.  Job training, charity, automobile manufacturing, and college loans for example.  Repeated often enough, the citizen learns to cower under threats of new pressures, and more often then not gives up without a fight.  In the opinion section of today's Wall Street Journal, William McGurn sites a perfect example in Morristown, New Jersey.

For 26 years, the Morristown Community Soup Kitchen and Outreach Center has supplied a free Thanksgiving meal to anyone who needs it.  Churches, community groups, restaurants, corporate sponsors, and scores of volunteers have all pitched in to make this a special day of giving.  Until now.  Recently, the Morristown Division of Health ruled that the Soup Kitchen and Outreach Center will be officially designated a "retail" food establishment and thereby fall under the auspices and rules of the State of New Jersey.  What does this mean?  It means that homemade pies, breads, meals, anything that isn't prepared according to state code will be prohibited from being served.  Furthermore, the sterility of latex gloves will replace the warm comfort of Mom's apron, food service volunteers will be kept out of the kitchen, and anything that isn't sanitarily wrapped in corporate plastic will be verboten.  Mind you, this offering has never had a history of food poisoning or any instance of uncleanliness.  And the real kicker - estimates for compliance will cost an additional $150,000!  Happy Holidays from your friendly bureaucrats down at city hall.

Getting back to Governor Daniel's message.  Many in Morristown will just ask the volunteers to comply and pony up, but each dollar that goes to cover these new costs will be taken away from some other worthy area of need.  For those whose only way to participate may have been to donate a home-cooked meal, well they'll just have to find another way to support their fellow human beings.  And the government, they'll eventually take over responsibility for this endeavor because they really don't want us mortals doing the work for ourselves anyway.  Or, the Morristown Soup Kitchen and Outreach Center and the scads of volunteers who help put on this annual event can just say no.  No to overreaching government meddlers and do-gooders.  No to compromising their own standards of humanity and compassion.  No to bureaucratic edicts meted without reason or facts.  No, no, no.  No more.


Monday, November 14, 2011

People, Pride, Prosperity

I delivered these remarks last Monday night to kick-off my campaign for MI's 94th State House seat.

"Six years ago I ran for state representative on the platform of Jobs!, Jobs!, Jobs! Unfortunately, six years later, those three words are still our state’s number one priority. Although a Republican Governor and solid Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate will continue to reinvent Michigan, we cannot rest here in Saginaw County. We have been blessed with leaders like Roger Kahn, Ken Horn and Jim Stamas, able legislators who continue to ensure that our common values are defended and who support our shared belief in a limited but effective government. But this fight has not yet been won. Efforts to cut spending, eliminate waste, or to reign in government bureaucracy are fought daily in Saginaw, Lansing, and beyond. For the Saginaw Valley and Michigan to flourish, that fight must continue, unabated, without compromise, equivocation, or indecisiveness. We cannot fall back when bold action and strong leadership are still necessary and required. I have been a consistent voice against government expansion, higher taxes, and business as usual on the Board of Commissioners, but I also believe that those views may carry more weight in our state’s capitol. Therefore, I am announcing my campaign to serve you, the people of the 94th District, as your next state representative.

While too many of us remain unemployed, underemployed, or just plain unhappy with the status quo, we can all agree that we live in a special place. What makes Michigan and Saginaw County so special? People. Our people make our state and our community a place worth fighting for. Look about you. While our natural resources, abundant water, hearty forests, and fertile soil, led early explorers and immigrants to this peninsula, and still today drives agriculture, commerce and tourism, it’s our collection of hard working individuals, families, and institutions that make Michigan and Saginaw County a desirable place in which to work and raise a family. In pursuit of our own bit of liberty and happiness, we look for leaders who will work toward the preservation of personal freedom, responsibility and respect. We are troubled by the selfish efforts of politicians that pander to special interests, pit one side against another, or repeat worn-out habits that always, always, end in negative results.

Whether you are a farmer, physician, salesman, a teacher, administrator, carpenter or electrician. A storeowner, grocer, plumber, lawyer or laborer, a soccer mom, a devoted dad, an accountant or professor, you take pride in your work and feel better when others do to. You play by the rules and expect the same from those around you. You don’t ask for special favors, you don’t expect them, yet quietly, sometimes demonstrably, feel taken advantage when others do. You seek equal treatment for equal results. Year after year, precious resources for education, infrastructure, the things that will help to ensure our growth and long-term prosperity, are squeezed by increased federal mandates, or the maintenance and expansion of poorly performing programs pushed by politicians who succumb to fear and threats of reprisal.

Everyone talks about saving the middle-class but they often don’t see that every expansion of government, every dollar that goes into additional services, in reality, squeezes the middle by draining precious personal resources that otherwise would have been better directed at enriching their own lives and those around them. The people are better stewards of their own money, not government. In any case, government assistance too often results in the persistence of a problem, not its elimination.

I wish to represent you in Lansing, not to increase my own fortunes but to help increase yours - to ensure that your businesses, your livelihoods are kept free from government interference, free from burdensome job killing regulations, and free from the consequences of governments’ good intentions. I want to ensure that your support for government, both locally and in Lansing, is more wisely and judiciously spent - ensuring the very best, most efficient government possible, without waste, without excuses, and without continued assistance for those who no longer need or deserve it. In other words lets start making sense with our taxes, not friends, dependents, or allies.

Six years ago I touted myself as “Uniquely Prepared and Lansing Ready”. Let me tell you that hasn’t changed! I still am, only more so. I’m fired up, and I’m more than ready to go to work for you - as your next state representative!"


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe

Apparently our government runs a lottery every year that normally attempts to issue 50,000 green-cards to people seeking residency here.  I say "normally" because this year the computer program that randomly selects the winners messed up.  To make matters worse the U. S. State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, which runs the program through something called the Diversity Visa Program, didn't properly test the program before 22,000 would be citizens had already been notified.  So 22,000 people who thought they were getting a chance to come to our shores may not have a chance after all.  Additionally, the computer mistakenly picked the first list of winners from applications taken in just the first week of the program rather than over the course of the entire 30-day period.  So to fix things, government officials have decided to rerun the computer lottery from a record 15 million applications.

Thus far the Obama Administration doesn't have a very good record in picking winners and losers.  Witness Solyndra, the "shovel ready" stimulus, Cash for Clunkers, Recovery Summer, the Ground Zero mosque, and its close cousin, the attempt to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Manhattan.  The Diversity Visa Program might just be another plan gone horribly awry.  In any case, why question a computer program that randomly selected its first 22,000 winners from early applications.  Does it really matter?  It's still random, right?  Good grief!    

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Biased Numbers

During last night's Republican presidential debate on Bloomberg Television, a screen shot, right before a commercial, informed us that the national debt has increased $4 trillion under President Obama, but that it had gone up $5 trillion under President George W. Bush.  I'm not about to defend W for starting what would become a decade of out-of-control spending, but a little math does shed some light on this factoid.  It has taken Obama only a third of the time (34 months) to effectively achieve what Bush did in 96 months.  

How Green Was His Valley

Right before our eyes, Obama's green jobs initiative has all but withered away, dried up in the harsh light of reality.  Candidate Barack Hussein Obama promised he would invest $150 billion in solar, wind, geothermal, and other green technologies, that would create 5 million new jobs by the end of the decade.  To date, about $90 billion has been frittered away to the likes of Solyndra, Evergreen Solar, and SpectraWatt, with little but red faces to show for it.  Why? Economics.

According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, the Energy Information Administration estimates that the cost of electricity generated by natural gas is $63.10 per megawatt hour.  Conversely, electricity generated by wind costs $243.20 per megawatt hour.  A whopping $311.80 for solar generated power.  Get the picture?  But Obama and his bureaucrats know better.  They just dumped another $1.1 billion in new loan guarantees to green firms in Nevada and Arizona two weeks ago.  What's more unbelievable is that between them, Tonopah Solar and Sempra Energy, the two companies that will share those loan guarantees, promise only 45 permanent jobs!  Meanwhile, the Obama administration and leftist environmentalists continue to fight the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast.  This project promises 13,000 union jobs and 118,000 "spin-off" jobs at no cost to taxpayers.

Speaking of misguided policies and priorities, the U. S. Attorney for North Dakota has charged seven oil and gas companies in federal court for killing a combined 28 birds.  28 birds.  According to the American Bird Conservancy, from data derived from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 440,00 birds are killed annually by wind turbine operations.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Code Blue

Obamacare, the gift that keeps on giving, is responsible for a new federal mandate that increases the number of codes used to translate medical information between medical providers and insurance companies. There are currently 18,000 codes used to describe an injury, where it took place, and how it was remedied.  Obamacare increases the number of codes to around 140,000.  According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, "There are codes for injuries in opera houses, art galleries, squash courts and nine locations in and around a mobile home." "It will also have a code for recording that a patient's injury occurred in a chicken coup."  Is this really helpful?

The federal agencies charged with developing the new system is collectively known as ICD-10, for International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision.  "It's for accuracy of data and quality of care," says an advisor at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  Some of the new provisions include coding to describe "bizarre personal appearance", or "very low level of personal hygiene."  A W22.02XA for example is code for "walked into lampost, initial encounter."  That's to distinguish it from a W22.02XD, "walked into lampost, subsequent encounter."  Not dumb enough for you?  How about a  V91.07XA, code for "burn due to water-skis on fire."  I suppose a person who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 could be coded OV.08 or "uninformed."  Someone who plans to vote for him again in 2012 should  be labeled "mentally challenged."

One of the more upsetting aspects of the article was the fact that there exists in our country a credentialing organization known as the American Academy of Professional Coders.  If that isn't a sign that government busybodies have truly run amok then I don't know what is.  Honestly, wouldn't you rather tell your wife that you were going to Las Vegas for the Adult Video Awards, then to a convention of coders?


Friday, September 2, 2011


Here in the City of Saginaw, $19 million in stimulus funds are being spent on cleaning up blighted neighborhoods by leveling houses and rehabbing others.  So far taxpayer funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act have rehabbed a dozen homes, raised and additional 250, and acquired a couple of hundred more.  Sounds terrific doesn't it?  What's even more terrific is the price that some lucky buyer gets to pay for one of these rehabs.  $130,000 in stimulus money was used to rehab one particular house and was flipped for $34,900!  Another was...wait, what?  Yes, that's right.  Most of these homes are being fixed up at a cost that is four to five times more than what they will fetch on the open market.  Still sound terrific?

In 2009, $3.2 million in stimulus funds was provided to Arlington, VA for energy grants.  According to the Wall Street Journal, nearly $300,000 was used to install solar panels on a local library.  By doing so city officials hope to save $14,000 annually on their electric bill.  Unfortunately the fancy solar panels only last 10 to 15 years, so the $300,000 that was spent will only net a total savings of $150,000.  Speaking of solar power what's happened to all those "green" jobs that were promised?  In just the past two weeks Evergreen Solar and Solyndra, both prime examples of Obama's green jobs initiative and subsidized taxpayer investments, have gone belly-up throwing thousands out of work and losing  hundreds of millions in credits and loans.

Joseph Goebbels, Adolph Hitler's Propaganda Minister, is often attributed (in error perhaps) as saying "A lie repeated often enough will become truth."  No matter how many times the Obama administration, the media, Democrats, progressives, liberals, what have you, tell us how necessary and wise their "investments" are, they simply cannot be trusted nor believed.  The government cannot replace the free market without great harm to both freedom and commerce.  Two plus two will never equal five!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Shadow Boxing

Yesterday President Obama told us that growing the economy and creating jobs are his top two priorities.  "That's our urgent mission," said Obama, "That's what I'm fighting for every single day."  Great!  Swell.  So who's he fighting against?  Who's not in favor of growing the economy and creating millions of jobs?  He has blamed the Japanese tsunami, the Arab Spring, Greece, the debt ceiling fiasco, and now Hurricane Irene for creating "headwinds", bad karma in general really, for his weak economy and joblessness.  Has he identified a particular person or group that is working behind the scenes to destroy all that he images.  Republicans perhaps?  The Tea Party?

What the president supposedly fights against on a daily basis, when he's not golfing, raising campaign cash, or lounging with other millionaires and billionaires on Martha's Vineyard, are his own reckless policies.  Runaway spending, exploding debt, unrestrained entitlements, the constant threat of tax increases, and the ceaseless writing of new job killing regulations, are all hallmarks of his administration.  Singularly, each one of these can be a catalyst for economic doom.  In combination, they've combined to make a toxic elixir that has left or economy in tatters and is the true enemy of growth, economic solvency and shared prosperity.  Enough with the BS Mr. President.  The enemy you fight is yourself and your  stupid policies.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Only Thing You Need To Remember About School Reform

In a school building in Harlem in New York City, two schools share the same building.  Both schools draw from the same community and population of students.  PS 149 is a traditional unionized public school.  The other, Harlem Success Academy, is a non-union public charter school.  PS 149 spends $1,000 more per student, yet their students are only 29% proficient in English and only 34% in math.  Meanwhile at Harlem Success Academy, the students are 86% proficient in English and 94% in math.  The next time you hear the teacher's union bark about the need for more money, or more teachers, or more of anything, just remember PS 149 and the Harlem Success Academy.  

Friday, August 19, 2011

It's Our Fault

Lately, President Obama has blamed practically everything and everyone (but himself) for our lackluster economy even though he's been in charge for almost three years.  This week we were told "Over the last six months we've had a string of bad luck."  Bad luck, huh?  Was it bad luck that spent a trillion dollars on a "stimulus" that stimulated nothing but bigger debt?  Did someone in his administration walk under a ladder or break a window that led to the passage of Obamacare?  Did a black cat cross the path of Obama's dog Bo which in turn caused the first credit downgrade in America's history?  We all know the answer to these questions.  And we all know when we are being taken for a ride.  The truth of the matter is that America cannot recover while this man is in office, and for that we have only ourselves to blame, particularly those who voted for him in the first place.  Let's not repeat the mistakes of the past even though we have a president and a Democrat party who are determined to do so themselves.  Let's not get bogged down in their malaise, but instead try and rise above it, at least, and until we get the kind of real leadership necessary for growth and a return to prosperity.        

Monday, July 25, 2011

The President's Leadership is Missing

If you had a chance to catch Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's interview with Chris Wallace on FOX News Sunday yesterday then you heard Mr. Geithner say, not once but twice, that a deal on the debt ceiling had to get done quickly so that "we can get Congress back to business in trying to figure out how to make the economy stronger in the short term and get more Americans back to work."  Anyone or anything missing from this statement?  How about any mention of the President or the White House?  Mr. Obama never fails to remind us that these two items, improving the economy and jobs for Americans, are uppermost on his mind from the time he awakes in the morning to the time he lays down at night.  Yet here, his own Treasury Secretary, a most trusted member of his cabinet, on national television, reveals to the world that those problems are not regarded as responsibilities of this president, but are in fact those for Congress to solve.  How's that for presidential leadership?    


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mid-Summer Dump

If you have been a regular reader of this blog in the past, and I thank you for that, you have obviously noted a discernible fall off in activity in the past several months.  As I told my brother earlier in the year, shortly after the Republican sweep last November, it's difficult to keep up the level of rage necessary for daily blogging.  On the other hand, given this president and the willingness of his state run media to manipulate the truth, how can anyone not remain consistently agitated.  I have listened long enough to the debate on the debt ceiling and can't remain silent any longer.  Like it or not, I have to purge.  Here are just a few thoughts I have had of late.

1)  The debt ceiling deadline.  Remember last winter's first prolonged debate on raising the debt ceiling?  Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said it had to be raised by May 3rd or else all hell would break loose.   May 3rd came and went without a deal, and no fiscal calamity ensued.  Our nation officially hit its debt ceiling of $14.29 trillion on May 16th, at which time Mr. Geithner gave the the U. S. and the world economy a three week reprieve.  He set a new deadline of July 8th.  Remember what happened on July 8th?  I think I got my haircut.  His second three week reprieve extended doomsday to the current drop dead deadline of August 2nd.  While I don't think it's wise to continue to flaunt these deadlines, is there really anyone other than MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, Obama, the Democrats, the NY Times, The Washington Post, Time magazine, Newsweek, The Nation, Mother Jones, et al, that really believe       fiscal Armageddon on the first Tuesday of next month?

2)  The debt ceiling.  Would someone please tell me the significance of breaking a barrier that has been broken repeatedly since its inception in 1917.  Seventy-four times since 1962 and ten times in just the last ten years.  It's a joke.  In theory, the ceiling is a mechanism of Congress to keep some semblance of control over our nation's debt.  Some theory.  In practice, however, the level of debt is a function of the budgets that Congress itself approves.  No other country has a debt limit separate from its budget process.  According to the General Accountability Office, Congress' own watchdog, credit rating agencies like Moody's and Standard and Poors view this disconnect between fiscal policy decisions (taxes and spending) and debt limit decisions as a "weakness in the U. S. budgetary framework."

3) Obama and the debt ceiling.  In 2006, when President Obama was just a lowly U. S. Senator he argued against raising the debt ceiling saying, "The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's  debt limit is a sign of leadership failure."  He went on, "It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies."  "Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally."  He concluded that "America deserves better!"  You're damn right Mr. President!  Senator Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling in 2006.  He didn't even bother to cast a vote when the subject came up twice more during his term.  

4)  Democrats and tax increases.  If Obama and the Democrats think it is absolutely critical that we raise additional taxes on the so-called wealthy, then why didn't they raise them during the two years they controlled everything in Washington?  Why do we still refer to the tax cuts that President Bush pushed through in 2001 and 2003, and extended by President Obama in 2010 as the "Bush" tax cuts.  Mr. Obama has every right of ownership to these as anyone.  It is hyper hypocritical of the media or anyone else to continue to describe them as anything other than Obama's tax cuts.

5) Medicare, seniors, and memory loss.   What's with all the rhetoric about Republicans trying to eviscerate or kill Medicare.  Have we forgotten that not one Republican voted to pass Obamacare, yet the Affordable Care Act passed and signed into law by President Obama steals $500 billion from Medicare to help pay for this disaster?  Stop letting the president and his minions in the media rewrite history.  PAY ATTENTION!

6) Obamazilla.  Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is right.  I agree that "as long as this president is in the Oval Office, a real solution (to our fiscal problems) is probably unattainable."  What evidence exists to the contrary?  The unmitigated disaster that is the Obama presidency will continue to destroy any hope of a sustained recovery.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Unsafe At Any Speed

Ralph Nader, a progressive political activist and four-time candidate for President of the United States, became famous after publishing Unsafe At Any Speed, a book about the poor design and safety record of the Chevrolet Corvair.  A friend of mine just shared an email with me regarding the fiscal record of the Obama administration.  Seems that under President Obama's watch, over the last two years, our national debt has increased by more than $4 trillion dollars!  This rate of indebtedness is 27 times faster than in anytime in our nation's history.  By comparison, if you were happening to drive a car (hopefully not a Corvair) in the right lane going 65 mph, and a car rockets past you on the left 27 times faster, it would be traveling at 7,555 mph.  Just as the Chevy Corvair was determined to be unsafe for any American to drive, and subsequently taken off the market, so too should Barack Obama be deemed "unsafe at any speed" and subsequently removed from office.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Any of the Above

I watched the first Republican Presidential Debate on Fox News last Wednesday night.  I wasn't disappointed.  Despite the fact that some major potential candidates have yet to join the fray, those that did participate gave a good account of themselves.  More importantly, while any one of them may never eventually become president, any one of them would make a better president than the one we currently have.

While a great number of people who watched the debate scored businessman Herman Cain as the winner, I had him running a close second to Tim Pawlenty.  Governor Pawlenty has become more polished and "presidential" than when I first met him two years ago in Grand Rapids at a Republican state convention.  He has a tremendous record of achievement but to me he came off bit too coached and cautious.  Herman Cain tossed off some terrific lines, especially in defense of his lack of political experience.  When asked if that lack of experience would hinder his chances, he answered that we already have a lot of experienced politicians in Washington and replied, "How's that workin' for you?"

Ron Paul's libertarian message has made me think more about my own political ideology, but I still think his brand of politics is a bit too isolationist.  Governor Gary Johnson's brand of libertarianism comes closer to home.  I like his cost-benefit analysis approach to government spending and his call to end the failed war on drugs, but I fear he's too flakey for the big stage.  Former Senator Rick Santorum professed to be the tip of the spear for many conservatives on several social issues, but again, I don't think he's quite ready for prime time.

This month promises to mark the entrance into the race for perhaps some additional candidates including Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Mitch Daniels.  I suspect there will be others as well who eventually get into the race over the course of the next several months.  I'm not concerned that the Republicans don't have a favorite thus far, or that it's getting too late to compete against the Obama reelection monolith.  Nothing could be more absurd.  Whenever I hear on the news how some potential Republican candidates have too much baggage, or pose this problem or that for the electorate, I think are you kidding me?  Have you seen who's in the White House?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Saginaw County Sheriff's Millage

Now that the voters of Saginaw County, all 16% of them, have passed a 1-mill tax increase to save the sheriff's department and the county jail from deeper cuts, perhaps the addition of an extra $4.4 million will provide a cushion for making real budgetary reforms.  Now that eminent threats to cuts in public safety have been suspended, at least temporarily, perhaps thoughtful and serious negotiations with our employee unions could lead to additional and lasting savings down the road.  Without fixing our structural deficits, I fear we will only replay this scenario once again in the very near future.  As I and so many others have said before, we cannot continue to tax and spend our way to prosperity.

What I am afraid will happen however will be just the opposite.  While the $4.4 million have ostensibly been advertised to save 35 jobs and 160 beds in our county jail, I hope the unions don't see this as found money and think it's time to increase their ranks or raise compensation and benefits.  Yes I am aware that county employees, for the most part, have not had a raise is some time, but the county will still be spending more than it takes in this year and for the foreseeable future.  Our budgets are unsustainable, such as they are, and must be addressed, lest we concede local control and authority to Lansing managers.  As I recall, thousands of union protesters recently filled our state's capitol in protest to emergency financial manager legislation.  Where will they stand in helping to keep Saginaw County solvent, prosperous, and growing?


The face of Islamic terrorism, Osama bin Laden, is dead.  Alluha akbar!  Or for us Westerners, Praise the Lord, and God bless America.  Congratulations to President Barack Obama for literally putting the nail in the coffin of this most elusive of criminals.  Make no mistake though, this outcome was always an eventuality.  When America wants something as bad as we wanted this guy to die, time is the only real obstacle.  And, for as much as the media would like to beatify Obama for a decision any sitting president would have made, it's indeed serendipitous when fortuity and opportunity finally converge.  Nevertheless, the deed is done so perhaps we can all move on.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

From 1st World To 3rd World?

President Obama says GOP budget "wrong for America". Let's see where Obama has taken us for the past two and a half years.

From 1st World To 3rd World? -

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Send In The (Tax and Spend) Clown

When President Obama addresses the nation today on his "vision" for deficit reduction he'll no doubt be more than a day late and a dollar short.  The White Houses' own fiscal commission, chaired by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, released their plan last November, 154 days ago.  It was quickly ignored by the Democrats and Obama himself.  Next, the President released his own budget for 2012 back on Valentines Day, some 58 days ago.  It was broadly panned as a joke.  Accordingly, the GOP weighed in just 8 days ago with the release of the House Budget Chair Paul Ryan's suggestions for 2012.  Ryan's plan, while viewed by both parties as a serious document, gives the left conniptions and the right a place to start.
So what will Barry's new vision provide?  HIGHER TAXES!

Apparently the agreement for this year's budget, which staved off (temporarily) a government shutdown last week, provided all the cuts that Obama and the Democrats will be willing to stomach any time soon.  All $15 billion, or just .03 percent of the 2011 budget, that is. Yes, that's right folks.  The $39 billion in spending cuts that were supposedly agreed to last week, which was an increase of $6 billion from the $33 billion they thought was agreed to earlier, which was half of the $61 billion that the Republicans voted to cut last February, which was $40 billion less than the $100 billion the Republican members of the House had campaigned on, is now, in reality, just $15 billion.  How's that, you say?  Well, according to story in the AP “[T]he cuts that actually will make it into law are far tamer, including cuts to earmarks, unspent census money, leftover federal construction funding, and $2.5 billion from the most recent renewal of highway programs that can’t be spent because of restrictions set by other legislation.”  Swell.

If we're ever going to get anything accomplished in Washington, we may have to start another Tea Party to go after our incumbent Tea Party.  Just to show we really mean business.  

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


President Obama opened his campaign for reelection yesterday and my question is this, "What's he running to do?"  How about, "What's his platform?"  Or, "What are his accomplishments?"  Any, and all of these, are valid inquires.  Honestly, besides Obamacare and DADT (Don't Ask, Don't Tell) which neither are even close to being implemented, much less operational, what has he done?  His campaign promises from just two years ago have largely proven to be empty threats.  Guantanamo?  Still there.  Out of Iraq and Afghanistan?  We've added Libya.  End tax cuts for the rich?  What?, and lose ninety-nine weeks of unemployment insurance?  As a matter of fact, a site called lists 510 campaign promises made by candidate Barack Obama.

To be generous, even some of the promises he kept would have been better left at the alter.  His promise to create a $10 billion fund to help homeowners refinance their homes ended with an independent audit which deemed the whole enterprise "a colossal failure."  For those of us lucky enough to live in and around the Great Lakes, he promised a full environmental restoration of the Great Lakes.  Not only has this action died in Congress, his Army Corps of Engineers won't even stop the infiltration of Asian Carp from gaining access to Lake Michigan through the Chicago locks.  Although I would disagree anyway, his promise to enact a windfall profits tax on oil companies has never been proposed in any budget the White House has put forth.  He let Pelosi and Reid run roughshod over the American electorate in passing Obamacare.  He's letting the Republican leadership in the House, namely Rep. Paul Ryan, lead on deficit reduction, in spite of his own commissions' recommendations.

Again, and I think it's a fair question to ask, "What are we paying him to do?"  Shouldn't the person who lives in the White House have a plan?  Wouldn't someone who wishes to be seen as a leader actually be expected to lead something?  Sometime?  It's clear to me that this president is not ready for prime time, much less a second term.  He's no leader, he's a loiterer.  A squatter.  On a website called, I found this paragraph:
The life of a squatter is fraught with pitfalls and confrontations at each turn -- and so is the life of the landlord who has to deal with the unwanted resident. There are concurrent laws that give rights to squatters as well as provide a process for landowners to get rid of them.
In November of 2012, let's answer President Obama's call for his reelection.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Conversation With Himself

Watching President Obama's address to the nation tonite, explaining our presence and actions taken in Libya, I get the distinct impression that the single most important audience he needs to convince is himself. Bet it's something to watch "Vascillating Barry" brain rassle with "Indecisive Barack."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Everything New is Old Again

As a county commissioner, I have some powerful new friends behind me.  These people go to bat for me and my fellow county employees in Lansing and in Washington DC.  They are the Michigan Association of Counties and the National Association of Counties respectively.  Big MAC and NACo, or as they like to call themselves "The Voice of America's Counties", represents the elected officials and employees of the 83 counties in Michigan and the 3,143 counties in the U. S.  They supposedly have my best interest in mind, as well as, I'm sure, the millions of taxpayers who support us all.  After reading about their positions on a number of national issues, which were recently adopted at their last convention, I'm not so sure they do have our best interests in mind.  I know they don't share mine.

Under the heading "Board adopts new policy positions at conference", NACo reports the following:

  • Oppose cuts to USDA Rural Development 
  • Oppose cuts to Community Development Block Grants 
  • Oppose cuts to Department of Housing and Urban Development 
  • Oppose cuts to the Administration's Foreclosure and Neighborhood Stabilization Programs
  • Supports federal funding for continued education and scientific study of ocean acidification
  • Supports the Healthy Food Financing Initiative
  • Supports the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)
  • Oppose cuts to Community Services Block Grants
What's new about these policies?  Had they opposed them in the past?  I don't think so.  They further urge Congress to "control the rising budget deficit" by these statements:
  1. Congress cannot solve the budget deficit by only cutting domestic, non-military discretionary programs.
  2. Federal assistance to state and local governments will help mitigate further layoffs.
  3. Federal investment in state and local infrastructure produces private sector jobs. (Editor's Note: And with the help of prevailing wage laws, those funds could purchase half of what we could otherwise pay for without them.)  
  4. Deficit reduction should not be accomplished by shifting costs to counties, imposing unfunded mandates, or pre-empting county programs or taxing authority.
They leave us with this out-of-the-box pearl.  "The National Association of Counties supports maintaining federal financial assistance for county programs at the 2010 fiscal year levels."  The only thing missing from this report is the White House logo.  

I will give NACo credit for opposing the EPA's Boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology, new rules which would effectively adopt Obama's failed cap and trade plan.  All but Al Gore do.  They also urge Congress to repeal expanded 1099 reporting requirement as part of Obamacare.  Even the President agrees with this.  And, they are pretty clear about opposing expanded federal authority regarding local land, water, and energy usage.  Bravo for their protection of these and other property rights.  But after the 2010 elections, where Republican victories were responsible for taking back the House in Congress, winning twenty-nine governorships, and gaining a majority of state legislatures across this country, county government, on the other hand, still seems to be dominated by liberal politics.  That is certainly the case here in Saginaw County where the Democrats enjoy a 9 to 6 majority.  As Tip O'Neill used to say, "all politics is local."  If indeed this be true, then let's do what we can to turn county government around by electing more conservatives to local offices.  It's imperative if we ever hope to get control of spending. 


Friday, March 18, 2011

Still Fiddling

I read where another congressional study, and there have been several over the past 45 years, that once again cast a critical pall over the performance of the federal Head Start program.  Since 1965, as part of President Johnson's "War on Poverty", Washington has spent $167 billion on trying to ready, mostly low income, three and four year olds for kindergarten by providing taxpayer funds which have attempted to "enhance the social and cognitive development of children through the provision of educational, health, nutritional, social and other services to enrolled children and families." The U. S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families' Office of Head Start website further states that the program "engage parents in their children's learning and help them in making progress toward their educational, literacy and employment goals. Significant emphasis is placed on the involvement of parents in the administration of local Head Start programs."  Sounds wonderful.  Too bad it doesn't work.

As I said, there have been a number of independent studies over the years that have concluded that these program children come to school with no more social or cognitive abilities than their non-program counterparts.  So why then do we continue to pay for this failure?  Let me repeat.  "Significant emphasis is placed on the involvement of parents in the administration of local Head Start programs."  In other words, we pay the very same people, the parents of these children, who are often themselves academically and socially needy, to teach their own not to emulate the destructive and debilitating behavior and practices they witness everyday in their own homes and neighborhoods.  Yeah, that's gonna work. 

Yesterday morning I watched Sen. Tom Coburn defend the Republican opposition to our president's healthcare plan by siting a new government study, this one by the Institute of Medicine, which has concluded that our healthcare system wastes $800 billion by not controlling costs.  This is $800 billion that Sen. Coburn rightly pointed out, "that doesn't cure anyone or prevent anyone from even getting sick."  The scarier fact, and I think we all know this, is that Obamacare will do nothing to prevent this from continuing.  Sen. Coburn was also struck by the fact that despite an overwhelming preponderance of Americans who want government spending brought under control, and even the president's own bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform recommends some impressive cuts, most Democrats (and even some Republicans), including President Obama, can't seem to cut much of anything.  What's the point then, I have to ask, of paying for studies or commissioning deliberative bodies for expert advice if the default position is going to be to ignore their input?  Enough already.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

President Hamlet

Excellent article and critique of President Obama's performance, or lack thereof, on a number of critical issues.  Happy St. Patrick's Day!

President Hamlet - Victor Davis Hanson - National Review Online

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Elections have consequences.  2008 ushered in Obama's Chicago style politics of back room deals led by, and favorable to, organized labor overlords who for years have dominated Democrat Party politics.  As a result, we got the $800 plus billion stimulus which benefited labor unions by temporality propping up state budgets that staved off public employee layoffs.  Then we got the GM and Chrysler bailouts that stole private ownership from bondholders and gave it to unions who now own a 17.5% stake in GM.  Then we got Obamacare, but the union's own "Cadillac plans" were exempted.  On top of all that, we have a labor run National Labor Relations Board that has lost any vestige of impartiality or neutrality in deciding labor disputes, and who are currently trying to promote "micro unions" in lieu of an equally job-killing enterprise known as card check.  Is it any wonder then that when the electorate spoke back loudly in 2010 that all that just might be in jeopardy?

Governor Walker versus public employee unions in Wisconsin is just the beginning of what will become the defining issue of the 2012 elections.  Where does America stand in the fight for controlling their own destiny in wresting control over local, state, and even national budgets?  Despite the scenes of angry union members and supporters in and around the state capitol of Wisconsin, and guaranteed to be replicated soon in states like Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and any other capitol where Republicans rule (even some Democrat strongholds like California and New York), I'll place my bets and fortune with the opposition.  If organized labor thinks that they can win back independents for Obama and their Democrats by defending larger than average pay and benefits, for people who pay less than what most people pay for even less bountiful rewards, then they are even more ignorant and obtuse then even I can credit them.

I predict the power and influence of public sector unions will be greatly diminished over the course of the next few years and rightly so.  Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey has said of his fight with public unions, including the New Jersey Education Association, "If we don't win this fight, there's no other fight left."  As the Wall Street Journal put it recently, public-sector unions "may be the single biggest problem...for the U.S. economy and small-d democratic governance."  Even President Franklin Delano Roosevelt warned against the idea of public employee unions.  "Meticulous attention should be paid to the special relations and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government...The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service."  He reasoned, that "a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied.  Such action looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it is unthinkable and intolerable."

A New York Supreme Court in 1943 held:
To tolerate or recognize any combination of civil service employees of the government as a labor organization or union is not only incompatible with the spirit of democracy, but inconsistent with every principle upon which our government is founded.  Nothing is more dangerous to public welfare than to admit that hired servants of the State can dictate to the government the hours, the wages and conditions under which they will carry on essential services vital to the welfare, safety, and security of the citizen.  To admit as true that government employees have power to halt or check the functions of government unless their demands are satisfied, is to transfer to them all legislative, executive and judicial power.  Nothing would be more ridiculous.
Yet despite those sentiments, most state and local governments have become door mats for public sector unions and the bill has come due.  I proudly stand with Governor Christie, FDR, the New York Supreme Court, and any other entity willing to speak truth to power.  We are on the cusp of a realignment that could potentially free public employees, including teachers, from the debilitative cookie cutter world of forced unionization, and unleash their real talent and productivity to the market forces of free enterprise.  It all starts in Madison.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

...And We're Off

Governor Rick Snyder delivered his much anticipated budget today amidst the louder than usual groans and protests from  Lansing's class of nattering nabobs and takers.  "Simple, fair and efficient" is the way in which Governor Snyder would like to structure the tax code and Michigan's budget going forward.  I agree, and applaud his leadership and courage to challenge the status quo and create the kind of kinetic climate we need to kick start our sorry state of affairs.  As a county commissioner, I look forward to working with his administration in helping to make Saginaw County a shining example of economic growth and prosperity.

President Obama's $3.7 trillion budget for 2012 on the other hand reflects a politician's budget, one  which demonstrates an incredible lack of leadership, and a willing suspension of disbelief in his ability to manage our affairs responsibly or effectively.  Speaker Boehner's early, and seeming, reluctance to enjoin the battle by not fully embracing fellow Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's "Road Map for America", promises to repeat the old familiar Washington two-step.  We've witnessed this budgetary pas de deux before and it ain't going to be pretty, much less inspirational.

My advise to Speaker Boehner is to grow a pair and lead this nation where it needs to go - as debt free as possible, and with a smaller footprint then we're used to on the backs of U. S. citizens, corporations and taxpayers.  Further advice is to govern like you ran for office - unafraid of those who already oppose you and comforted in the fact that those who do will reward you for your efforts.  It's time for bold, sweeping, moves like those being demonstrated by Republican governors (and even some Democrats) across this country, like Michigan's own Governor Snyder.  Together with the Republican House leadership, they can all provide a portrait of leadership for Obama to emulate and match.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Kickin' It Old School

Last year I wrote a post entitled Gender Bender, about the National Science Foundation spending $135 million on a "gender bias program" called Advance, which was/is aimed at improving the lot of women in the sciences.  If you read the article, you'll find that the NSF does more harm than good in helping women to advance.  It should come as no surprise then that in a recent article by John Tierney, printed in the New York Times, at a recent conference of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, a social psychologist found that his research on the very people who do all these various studies are, themselves, extremely biased.  In other words, psychologists and other lettered people who study our behavior regarding racial prejudice, homophobia, sexism, stereotype threat and unconscious bias against minorities, are themselves bigoted against those who might have a different opinion.

Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at the University of Virginia, polled an audience recently by asking how many considered themselves liberal.  By Dr. Haidt's count, roughly 80% of the crowd affirmed this political allegiance.  "This is a statistically impossible lack of diversity," Dr. Haidt concluded, noting polls showing 40% of Americans are conservative and 20% are liberal.  Dr. Haidt said that social psychologists are a "tribal-moral community" united by "sacred values" that hinder research and blind them to the hostile climate they've created for non-liberals.

The New York Times article claims that studies independent of Dr. Haidt's find "that Democrats typically outnumber Republicans at elite universities by at least six to one among the general faculty, and by higher ratios in the humanities and social sciences."  A  2007 study found that university psychologists who identify themselves as Democrats, outnumber their Republican counterparts 12 to 1.  According to Dr. Haidt, psychology, sociology and anthropology always attracted more liberals, but that their numbers increased disproportionately in the 1960's.  "The fight for civil rights and against racism became the sacred cause unifying the left throughout American society, and within the academy," he said, and that this shared morality both "binds and blinds."

Typical of this mindset was the criticism directed at Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 1965 for his warnings that welfare assistance was leading to a rise in unmarried parenthood and welfare dependency amongst blacks.  "Moynihan was shunned by many of his colleagues at Harvard as racist," Dr. Haidt said.  "Open minded inquiry into the problems of the black family was shut down for decades, precisely the decades in which it was most urgently needed.  Only in the last few years have liberal sociologists begun to acknowledge that Moynihan was right all along."

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Just Peachy in Georgia

This past weekend, while I was in Grand Rapids to attend the Michigan GOP convention, this ad appeared verbatim in Friday's addition of the Wall Street Journal.   

Geogia: The World's number 1 in fighting corruption.
According to the 2010 Global Corruption Barometer by Transparency International, 78% of Georgians think that corruption has decreased over the last 3 years - the best result across the 86 countries surveyed. According to the TI survey, only 3% of Georgians who had contact with various public services reported paying a bribe in the past 12 months.  This is a better figure than the EU average and places Georgia in a pool of countries whose citizens report the fewest bribes in the world.  The survey shows that 77% of Georgians believe that Government action has been effective in the fight against corruption, making Georgia's result the 2nd highest globally.  These achievements are even more important when set against the global perception that corruption has increased in the last 3 years and, as noted by TI 'one out of four worldwide has paid a bribe in the past year.'  Another recent survey conducted by the International Republican Institute, Baltic Surveys and the Gallup Organization, points out that only 0.4 percent of the population of Georgia has paid a bribe to get service or a decision.  To find out how to become part of Georgia's big success story please visit  Grow with Georgia!

Where does one begin.  First, for those in Rio Linda, CA, as Rush likes to say, this is not Georgia the state.  This Georgia, the country, or state, or whatever, is within the borders of the former Soviet Union.  I think Bill Clinton got us into a bit of a scrape here in the waning days of his presidency.  It's nice to know, especially for Georgian officials, that 78% of Georgians think that corruption has decreased.  With this kind of focused advertising, perhaps some additional wool can be pulled over some additional Georgian eyes in years ahead.  It's so sad to think that European economic development has led to this.  "We're not as good at stealing your money than the other guys!", or "Invest with us, with every dollar you save in bribes, another job can be created."  

It's unfortunate to think that one in four around the world has paid a government official a bribe of some sort in the past year.  More unfortunate is the fact that right here in the U. S. we have an occupant in the White House who wishes to emulate the very economic conditions and practices that seem to encourage this sort of despicable behavior.  Commanding governments will ultimately demand more from its citizens.  Now you must excuse me, a gentleman from the IRS is here to discuss last year's return and I've got tickets to this Sunday's Super Bowl.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

2011 State of the Union

The following are my alternate subtitles for last night's speech.  Take your pick.  Black and White and Red All Over, or Back to the Future, or Coyote Ugly.  In either case, this was not one of Barack Obama's finest moments.

Black and White and Red All Over, refers to the black and white lapel ribbons worn by everyone in the room to honor those who lost their lives in the tragic shooting in Tucson.  Apparently these are the colors that symbolize unity and hope for the Tucson community.  Red is for the the collective deficits run up by our nation, states, and local governments.  There's no joke here, it was just the first thing I thought of when I first saw that packed House chamber.

Back to the Future.  It wasn't long into the president's speech before I thought to myself, this all sounds very familiar.  In fact, the longer it went on it occurred to my that I have.  Bill Clinton made this same speech some twenty years ago.  President Clinton called for a hundred thousand new teachers.  Or was it cops?  Probably both.  President Clinton charged Vice President Al Gore to reinvent federal government, streamline its processes, root out waste and duplication, and modernize it to meet the needs of a new generation.  I don't think Mr. Gore was very successful and I don't believe President Obama, in this latest reiteration, will fair any better.  

I think it was also Bill Clinton who first recognized that the term "investments" is a better euphemism for more spending and higher taxes, its focus group tested and has become standard lexicon in the progressive arsenal.  Mr. Obama's much heralded march to the middle stops here.  You can't spend masses amounts of new money and expect the deficit to go down.  Unless perhaps you intend on massive cuts to offset the new spending, and once again Obama falls far short of that mark.  By the way, what has all this ramped up spending over the past twenty or more years gotten us?  According to the president, America lags the rest of the developed world in practically every indicator.  How come we have fallen behind?

President Obama said that this is our "Sputnik moment."  He spoke glowingly about President Kennedy's ambitious call in 1961 to land a man on the moon before the decade expired.  That goal was accomplished in just eight years.  Consider then Obama's goal of "80% of America's electricity will come from clean energy sources" by 2035.  That's twenty-five years from now.  That's really throwing down the gauntlet wouldn't you say?

As for increased spending on our nation's infrastructure, for my money, this was the best use of any of the stimulus funds.  At least we have tangible evidence by driving on smoother roads.  And there's no denying the fact that we need to maintain our roads, bridges, airports and power grid to keep up with the modern movement of goods and services that will attract additional job creation.  But let's agree to do it  without the yoke and chain of prevailing wage requirements set by Davis-Bacon.  This federal relic from the past artificially and unnecessarily inflates the price of public works, thereby limiting the amount of work that can be done.

My disingenuous meter lit up when the president announced his support to lower the corporate income tax.  It registered a little higher when he said that his administration had already made cuts to some of his favorite programs, such as community action groups.  Read ACORN here, and only because of the extreme blowback from the public.  But the one that really sent my meter into overdrive was his call, yet again, to veto any legislation with earmarks.  I suppose he thinks that if he repeats this canard often enough he just might grow a pair and actually do it.  I have thought for some time now that when words leave the mouth of Barack Obama, he no longer shares any ownership with them.

The whole "date night" aspect of the two parties sitting next to one another caused me to think Coyote Ugly, especially after seeing the shot of New York reps Anthony Weiner (D) and Peter King (R) sitting together.  These two were obviously not digging each others' company.  While Sen. Marco Rubio's (FL-R) date was fellow Floridian Sen. Bill Nelson (D), on the other side of Rubio sat Sen. Al Franken (MN-D).  Just guessing, but I bet Al Franken felt more like his SNL character Stuart Smalley during the speech.  His running affirmation being, "Because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and, doggonit, the courts said I won the election."    

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Revenge of the Nerd

Last night I posted on Facebook my top six initiatives as proposed by Governor Rick Snyder in his first State of the State speech.  The are; 1) Incentivize revenue sharing to local municipalities based on best-management practices, 2) End the process, and do not adopt new ergonomic rules, 3) Revise Public Act 72 to speed the recovery of cities in financial distress, 4) End the practice of retail establishments pricing each item individually, 5) Revise and improve the implementation of the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP), and 6) Fully fund the Pure Michigan ad campaign.  After reading it this morning it occurred to me that these things, while good for the state in general, might not sound so bold to someone outside of Michigan, or to others expecting to hear the reverberations of the populace rhetoric from the fall campaigns.  It also occurred to me that my choices for the top six initiatives might only be appreciated by a fellow policy nerd.  Nevertheless I can assure you that these are important measures, with short and long-term implications, and yes in addition to these, the governor did begin the conversation of implementing new and radical change for Michigan.

As a newly minted county commissioner, I applaud the governor's efforts to try and incentivize (and therefore modernize) our state's revenue sharing plan.  For most municipalities across Michigan, struggling with increasing costs and declining tax revenues, the word on the street was that revenue sharing would be one of the first expenditure items to be eliminated from the state budget.  Sadly, the idea of having to adopt best-practices at the local level in order to obtain precious funds from the state, may be, for some, more scary than an outright cut.  Unfortunately, and much to my chagrin, I know it will be difficult for a majority of the Saginaw County Board of Commissioners.

Over the course of the last few years under the Granholm administration, eager bureaucrats intent on slowing the wheels of commerce have been trying to write and adopt new rules for ergonomics in the workplace.  The rules they had been fashioning, if adopted, would have cost millions for businesses to comply, further eroding our state's abilities to retain and attract new business.

Michigan is one of just two states that still require every item on a store shelf to be individually labeled with a price tag.  Given bar coding and modern technology, this relic from the past is simply archaic.  While it may mean a loss of some jobs, the money it will save in the end could open the door for more and better jobs.

Under the original construct of the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program, designated farms were given a pass from over zealous environmental regulators.  The designation stipulated and fortified the position that the bearer was perhaps a better steward of the land being farmed, than the Lansing bureaucrats who claimed to know better.  Once again, over the course of the last decade, Granholm's environuts ran roughshod over Michigan's agriculture community.

While the above items caught my initial attention, I am also very excited by the rest of the governor's agenda.  I believe his "Dashboard", comprised of important and relevant data points, will prove to be an integral component in measuring our state's (and his) progress on our race back to prosperity.  A refocused Michigan Economic Development Corporation, with a broader view and egalitarian perspective, should serve our state well in the coming years.  The establishment of a two-year budget, to replace the parochial and outdated annual budgets of the past, and to deliver such by the end of May, fully four or five months earlier than in previous years, should enable our lawmakers to be more circumspect in deciding how to spend our money.  Lastly, the elimination of the Michigan Business Tax and replacement with a flat 6% corporate income tax.

While some of us conservatives may have felt gypped that we didn't get the tough talk about reigning in public employee compensation and benefits, right-to-work, or an end to redistributive practices and policies, I am confident that some of that will appear in the governor's budget proposals, as well as future  messages to the legislature as mentioned in his speech.  All in all, I think it was a great start for Governor Snyder, and I look forward to doing my part in helping him to realize our Michigan dream.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Until Tuesday

The mainstream media is still agog over "the speech", and the era of civility ushered in behind its delivery by the President Wednesday night in Tucson.  "If only it could last", is their collective prayer.  The Morning Joe crowd were all about "the speech" and "this moment" on today's program.  John Meacham asked "how long can we keep this moment going?"  According to him, "Obama has seized the initiative" with the speech, and "if we can get a couple of years of a better tone and a more constructive political dialogue, then we take it."  At least until next Tuesday Mr. Scarborough warned.  What happens next Tuesday you might ask?  The Republican majority in the House of Representatives will vote on the repeal of Obamacare.

In other words, a mood of national unity will persist and prevail until those nasty Republicans start fiddling with our God-given rights to medical care, resist liberal efforts to curb gun rights, as a result of the tragedy in Tucson, or fight the left on trying to curb the tongues of Limbaugh, Hannity and Beck, through the FCC and the Fairness Doctrine.  The mantle of decency, tolerance, and civility rests squarely, and singularly, on the right.  Those are the parameters as ascribed by the mainstream media.  Ironically, yet consistent with those parameters, the crawl underneath the talking heads of the Morning Joe crowd, as they discussed this new wave of civility, was this: "Sarah Palin accuses journalists and pundits of inciting hatred in wake of deadly Tucson shootings."  Further irony, but again consistent with the above parameters and rules for debate as prescribed by the left, host Joe Scarborough blasted Palin for making her remarks on Wednesday morning "all about her."  Funny, listening to Morning Joe, the remarks about Tucson were less about the poor souls and victims of the shooting, but more about how the whole event has elevated the status and future prospects of Barack Obama.   


Thursday, January 6, 2011

The New Sophists

Excellent article by Victor Davis Hanson, from Investor's Business Daily.
The New Sophists