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Archive for March 20th, 2010

With Intrade.com showing an 83 percent chance that Obamacare will be approved, let’s console ourselves by looking at a bit of good news. The Wall Street Journal has a good editorial today lauding the new Republicans governors of New Jersey and Virginia, both of whom are reducing spending. But unlike in Washington, where a spending cut is so loosely defined that politicians can increase spending and simultaneously claim to be cutting spending (so long as they increase spending by less than previously planned), Governors Christie and McDonnell actually are proposing to spend less next year than is being spent this year. That hasn’t happened in Washington since 1965 – and it certainly won’t happen under Obama’s phony spending freeze:

Republicans Chris Christie (New Jersey) and Bob McDonnell (Virginia) were elected in November in states that had seen years of tax increases and explosive spending growth. Mr. Christie inherited a $2.2 billion deficit in 2010 and it is expected to grow to $11 billion in 2011. Mr. McDonnell is confronting the largest deficit in Virginia history—$4.2 billion for fiscal years 2011 and 2012, out of a $32 billion two-year general fund. This week Mr. Christie proposed his first budget, calling for a 9% cut in the state’s $32 billion annual general fund. He is not talking about phony Washington-style “cuts” against a baseline that automatically increases each year. The governor is asking Trenton to spend $2.9 billion less in 2011 than it did in 2009, shrinking the budget to $29.3 billion, which he admits will be “painful, but what other choice do we have?” …Mr. Christie deserves special applause for his willingness to battle government employee unions. His office calculates that New Jersey’s unionized employees have carved out health-care benefits that are 41% higher than the typical Fortune 500 company offers. A teacher who has contributed $62,000 toward her pension, and nothing toward medical benefits, can retire and receive over her lifetime a $1.4 million retirement package and an additional $215,000 in health-care payments. …Meanwhile, Mr. McDonnell is preparing to sign a 2011-12 budget of $14.5 billion that will reduce state spending below 2006 levels ($14.8 billion). The $2.3 billion in cuts include a reduction in state employee pay, halving arts funding, selling off state-owned liquor stores, and cutting Medicaid payments by $300 million and aid to school districts by $700 million. Mr. McDonnell argues the cuts are fair because school spending has risen 60% in the last decade, while Medicaid is up more than 75%. He has already signed legislation to allow off-shore oil drilling, which the state says could raise $5 billion in revenues over the next 30 years. (Are you listening, California?) Both governors are under attack from liberal interest groups and the media for not raising taxes, but the public wants government to restrain itself the way families have already had to do. New Jersey’s property tax rates are the nation’s highest and its top income tax rate is close to the highest at 8.97%. Mr. Christie will have to negotiate his way through a legislature that is dominated by Democrats who answer to the public unions, but as he told them: This “is what the people sent me here to do.” Virginia Democrats raised taxes twice in six years and should consider New Jersey’s punishing rates and fleeing taxpayers an example not to emulate.

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Very funny column, but the underlying message is quite depressing:

Last Thursday, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted to set up a committee to examine whether condoms should be required on all pornographic film shoots. California has run out of money, but it hasn’t yet run out of things to regulate. For a government regulatory hearing, the testimony was livelier than usual. Porn star Madelyne Hernandez recalled an especially grueling scene in which she had been obliged to have sex with 75 men. The bureaucrats nodded thoughtfully, no doubt contemplating another languorous 18-month committee assignment looking into capping the number of group-sex participants at 60 per scene. The committee will also make recommendations on whether the “adult” movie industry should be subject to the same regulatory regime and hygiene procedures as hospitals and doctors’ surgeries. …If you’ve ever been in the filthy wards of Britain’s National Health Service, it may make more sense after the passage of ObamaCare to require hospitals to bring themselves up to the same hygiene standards as the average Bangkok porn shoot. …Hard to believe there will be California bureaucrats looking forward to early retirement on gold-plated pensions who’ll be getting home, sinking into the La-Z-Boy and complaining to the missus about a tough day at the office working on the permits for “Debbie Does The Fresno OSHA Office.” Meanwhile, ObamaCare will result in the creation of at least 16,500 new jobs. Doctors? Nurses? Ha! Dream on, suckers. That’s 16,500 new IRS agents, who’ll be needed to check whether you — yes, you, Mr. and Mrs. Hopendope of 27 Hopeychangey Gardens — comply with the 15 tax increases and dozens of new federal mandates about to be “deemed” into existence. …Obama is government, and government is Obama. That’s all he knows and all he’s ever known. You elected to the highest office in the land a man who’s never run a business or created wealth or made a payroll, and for his entire adult life has hung out with guys who’ve demonized such grubby activities. Obama’s Cabinet has less experience of private business than any in the last century. What it knows is government, and government’s default mode is to grow, and grow. Look around you, take it all in. From now on, it gets worse. If you have kids, they’ll live in smaller homes, drive smaller cars, live smaller lives. If you don’t have kids, you better hope your neighbors do, because someone needs to spawn a working population large enough to pay for the unsustainable entitlements the Obama party has suckered you into thinking you’re entitled to.

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With the Intrade.com market now showing that the odds of Obamacare passing have jumped to more than 80 percent, let’s at least enjoy some gallows humor. Here’s an amusing pic I saw linked on Instapundit.

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