The Rubicon of Wisconsin:Recklessly principled Republicans are tackling our fiscal crisis.

The magnificent turmoil now gripping statehouses in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and others marks an epic political moment. The nation faces a fiscal crisis of historic proportions and, remarkably, our muddled, gridlocked, allegedly broken politics has yielded a singular clarity.

At the federal level, President Obama’s budget makes clear that Democrats are determined to do nothing about the debt crisis, while House Republicans have announced that beyond their proposed cuts in discretionary spending, their April budget will actually propose real entitlement reform. Simultaneously, in Wisconsin and other states, Republican governors are taking on unsustainable, fiscally ruinous pension and health-care obligations, while Democrats are full-throated in support of the public-employee unions’ crying, “Hell no.”

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/260667/rubicon-wisconsin-charles-krauthammer

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Galveston County: A Model for Social Security Reform

In 1981 Galveston County Texas opted out of the Social Security Program. That’s right, they legally with the consent of the United States, developed an alternate plan and have been using it successfully for the past 30 years. Below are links to stories,  including a study done by the Social Security Administrations, which compare Social Security with the Galveston Plan.

Neither of these plans are what i would call perfect, but then we live in an imperfect world. The county employees of Galveston had a choice and they made it.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1291745/posts

http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/2005-03-15-benefits-reform-galveston_x.htm

http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba514

http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v62n1/v62n1p47.pdf

 

 

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The Trouble with Public Sector Unions

When Chris Christie became New Jersey’s governor in January, he wasted no time in identifying the chief perpetrators of his state’s fiscal catastrophe. Facing a nearly $11 billion budget gap — as well as voters fed up with the sky-high taxes imposed on them to finance the state government‘s profligacy — Christie moved swiftly to take on the unions representing New Jersey’s roughly 400,000 public employees.

On his first day in office, the governor signed an executive order preventing state-workers’ unions from making political contributions — subjecting them to the same limits that had long applied to corporations. More recently, he has waged a protracted battle against state teachers’ unions, which are seeking pay increases and free lifetime health care for their members. Recognizing the burden that such benefits would place on New Jersey’s long-term finances, Christie has sought instead to impose a one-year wage freeze, to change pension rules to limit future benefits, and to require that teachers contribute a tiny fraction of their salaries to cover the costs of their health insurance — measures that, for private-sector workers, would be mostly uncontroversial.

http://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/the-trouble-with-public-sector-unions

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Killing Owls to Save Owls

First they came for the loggers, destroying 30,000 jobs and countless lives. Now they’re coming for the Barred Owl.

Anyone remember the Great Spotted Owl Controversy? Back in the late 80s and early 90s, it was the first major instance of the environmental movement (with the cooperation of Al Gore and the Clinton administration) using the Endangered Species Act to accomplish their stealth goal — in this case driving productive mankind out of millions of acres of federally owned old-growth forest.

When a judge ruled that cutting down trees endangered the picky owl’s habitat and had to end, it sparked widespread protests and marches by soon-to-be out-of-work loggers.

The economies of small towns in the Pacific Northwest collapsed, as the rural chainsaw-wielding Kulaks were defenestrated by judicial edict. Federally subsidized housing for the spotted owl grew from 690,000 acres in 1986 to 11.6 million acres in 1991. Oregon’s timber harvest on federal land plunged from 4.9 billion board feet in 1988 to 240 million board feet in 2009. The usual phony advocacy science promised this was all in a good cause and that the species would rapidly recover.

Oops. Fast forward 20 years. According to the Oregonian, the spotted owl (Strix occidentalis) wasn’t served a copy of the court ruling, and has continued to die off. Turns out the major culprit in its demise was evolution — in the form of the barred owl, a closely related species that is bigger, more omnivorous, and generally all around superior to the spotted owl.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/260150/killing-owls-save-owls-lou-dolinar

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To Be a Republican Lawmaker in Madison

To Be a Republican Lawmaker in Madison

Randy Hopper is a state senator in Wisconsin. A Republican. He is now holed up with his colleagues — his Republican colleagues — in the capitol. The Democratic senators have apparently fled the state. Hopper says, “None of my colleagues from the minority party decided to come to work today.”

The Democrats are denying the Republicans the quorum necessary to vote on key fiscal legislation.

Hopper says, “I spent two years in the minority, and I came to work every day, even when I didn’t like the bills the majority was passing. I thought it was my job.” The Democrats, he says, “have relinquished their duties. The people sent them here to do a job, and they are refusing to do it. They’re in hiding. They ought to be ashamed of themselves.”

Hopper has received threatening phone calls and e-mails. These are threats of a physical nature. “We are working with law enforcement in my district. They are watching my home and my business.” Other Republicans have had their homes and businesses threatened, too. The unionists have demonstrated outside those homes and businesses.

A menacing old phrase comes to mind (and has been used by others, in talking about events in Wisconsin): We know where you live.

Hopper says, “I’ve always said that they can threaten me all they want, but it’s not going to stop me from doing what the people elected me to do.” And he says more than once, “We’re still here.” The Republicans have not run anywhere.

They have been pushed around (literally), screamed at, etc. The capitol is surrounded. The signs carried by the protesters are “vicious,” says Hopper. There are comparisons of Gov. Scott Walker to Hitler, of course. And there are other signs “I won’t describe to you.”

Hopper says, “I can’t tell you how much respect I have for my colleagues,” operating in an extremely hostile atmosphere.

I ask whether he is going home tonight, to sleep. He says, “We’re not disclosing that. My colleagues and I are not talking about that. We’re working with law enforcement” on the matter.

But “I can tell you that I’ll be here tomorrow. We will do our jobs. I said, at the beginning of this session, that what will determine the course of events here is political courage.”

 

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A Streak of Castroism in Wisconsin

A Streak of Castroism in Wisconsin

Someone wrote me that the “public employees” in Wisconsin reminded her of Chávez and his goons in Venezuela. Actually, they remind me of Cuba. There, the dictatorship sends its loyalists to the homes of those suspected of not being loyalists. They scream, beat on things, denounce, and threaten. The idea is, the “disloyal” Cubans are supposed to quake in their homes, and they do. These tactics are called actos de repudio — “acts of repudiation.” They are a mainstay of the regime.

In Wisconsin, the schoolteachers and other “public employee” beauties are going to the homes of Republican lawmakers, screaming, denouncing, etc. The situation has gotten very bad. We know where you live. Yesterday, I had a talk with Sen. Randy Hopper, recorded here. Republican lawmakers have received threats, and credible ones: threats to their physical well-being. They are not disclosing their movements, whether they are sleeping in their own homes. They are working with law enforcement on how best to protect themselves and their families.

I admire these Republicans, for persisting in the face of these threats, for continuing to do the job that the voters elected them to do. It’s not easy. It would be more comfortable to give in — to give in to the screaming and violent minority. And I don’t know about you, but I never want to hear from the Left about “civility” again. Ever.

One more thing: Years ago, I left the Left, after experiencing some of life, after thinking things through. One of the main reasons I left: It was clear that, if things didn’t go their way, they wouldn’t mind violence at all. They may not commit it; but they wouldn’t mind it. There was no respect for process — democratic process. All that mattered was, “My way.”

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As in Wisconsin, So in Idaho

As in Wisconsin, So in Idaho

Idaho has a “superintendent of public instruction,” and his name is Tom Luna. He has proposed some measures that the teachers’ union doesn’t like, at all. And his opponents have made sure that he feels good and threatened.

 

Someone went to his mother’s househis mother’s. Someone slashed his tires and spray-painted a threat onto the door. As reported in this article, Luna has said, “Family and personal property are off-limits. You don’t cross that line . . .”

Oh, yes, you do. At least some do. I will repeat what I have already said this morning: I don’t want to hear from the Left about “civility” for the rest of my life.

The public-employee unions don’t own this country. They may think they do. But we all do. Right? I hope people all across the country, even those who disagree with him, will back Tom Luna: back his right to operate unmolested.

P.S. Following events in Wisconsin and elsewhere, I think of a phrase from The Wizard of Oz: “and your little dog, too.” That’s the malevolent spirit these union jerks are expressing.

 

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