“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Friday, December 3, 2010

More Unemployment Benefit Extensions?

Despite Wonderboy's public show of spending restraint, which was the subject of yesterday's post, he came out for more spending right after that stunt.

The topic, of course, is extension, for the zillionth time, of unemployment benefits. Somehow, this guy seems to think dollars spent for different purposes have different values.

Spending money on unemployment benefits lasting over two years is, to him, qualitatively different than spending the same amount of dollars on raising federal salaries.

What he fails to see is that, from a global perspective, it's all spending for which the US must borrow. And, thus, all suspect to our creditors.

How can we ask taxpayers to either pay more taxes now, or pay even more taxes in the future for current borrowings, just to extend unemployment benefits to unheard of terms?

If Congress had a more disciplined, reasoned framework for appropriations and spending, then we wouldn't be reading about such one-off spending requests so frequently. Instead, federal spending would truly be done by trading off priorities against each other- not simply spending to satisfy them all, then borrowing the money overseas.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wonderboy's About Face On Spending

This week Wonderboy did an abrupt about face on federal spending, calling for a 2-year freeze on federal salaries.

Not wanting to be ouflanked by GOP House members in January with their comprehensive plan to cut spending, the First Rookie offered his token cuts as if they will really solve the deficit problem.

A Wall Street Journal staff editorial pointed out the rapid growth in the number of federal jobs during the past decade and few years. Compensation levels, while excessive, aren't the the only, nor really the major problem. It seems to be the raw growth rate and numbers of federal workers.

The few billion promised as savings from the wage freeze is small beer after Wonderboy ran up a trillion dollars in so-called stimulus spending, most of which was wasted. And there's still the bills for the expensive health care law to come.

Capping federal worker compensation after the past few years' excesses is just too little too late.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

More Tax Cut Drivel On CNBC

The other morning on CNBC's SquawkBox program, Carlos Whatshisname was debating the now-constantly newsworthy topic of of extending the Bush-era tax cuts.

As the guest pundit described the economic stimulus to be experienced by such extension, Carlos, ever the dyed-in-the-wool, mindless liberal, solemnly intoned,

"But they'll have to be paid for sometime down the road."

What is it about liberals and ignorance of so-called dynamic scoring? Do they really still believe that cutting tax rates loses revenue, because nobody invests more or works harder when they get to keep more of what they earn?

You'd think CNBC would be less backward than that. But they're not. Instead, they continue to spread misleading propaganda that all tax cuts must be 'paid for,' because the problem is never government spending, it's the wealthy not paying their 'fair share,' however that is determined.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Al Gore Comes Clean On Ethanol- At Last!

According to a recent Wall Street Journal staff editorial, Al Gore has finally come clean about his politically-motivated past support of corn ethanol.

Gore has admitted that he backed subsidies for the alternative energy because he needed the support of corn-growing Iowans to win a Democratic presidential nomination, as well as the continued votes of his home-state farmers, in order to maintain his House and Senate seats prior to being Vice President.

"Warm Boy" Al told a group of "clean energy financiers in Greece this week,"

"It's hard once such a program is put in place to deal with the lobbies that keep it going."

The editorial notes Al's opposition to "first generation" ethanol, leaving open subsidies for so-called advanced ethanol that the piece contends "is just a year or two away from viability for two decades."

Republican Senators DeMint and Coburn are pushing the new Congress to let current ethanol subsidies expire next month. When challenged by Iowa's Chuck Grassley, a GOP colleague, to treat oil and gas subsidies similarly, the first two Senators rose to the offer.

In effect, DeMint and Coburn know that oil and gas are economically viable and in demand without subsidies or tax preferences, while ethanol has no chance without them.

Monday, November 29, 2010

More Municipal Bankruptcies Coming

Last Friday's Wall Street Journal featured a staff editorial describing the financial woes of Hamtramck, Michigan.

Towns in Michigan apparently require the state's permission to file for bankruptcy, and Hamtramck is so seeking. The editorial cites the town's $3MM deficit on its $18MM budget. According to the article, million-dollar deficits have been recurring for the past 10 years to fund lavish union compensation and benefits.

But the latter paragraphs of the editorial contain stunning figures.

"Municipalities nationwide are running a $574 billion unfunded pension liability, on top of $3 trillion in state unfunded liability. Philadelphia's pension fund is set to run dry in 2015 and Boston's in 2019, when over half of the city's revenue will be dedicated to pensions."

These are staggering sums, and, when added to federal deficits, produce astounding levels of per capita indebtedness for US citizens. Moreover, knowing that large US cities are facing totally-exhausted pension funds before the end of the decade is sobering.

You can't avoid realizing that there will have to be a general reduction of expectations by US citizens regarding government-provided pensions and pensions to state and municipal employees. Unaffordable promises were struck in the past which simply won't be met by the working public's taxes. Either pensions get trimmed, and/or converted to defined-contribution plans, like the private sector, or cities and states are going to file for bankruptcy protection, in order to forcibly alter those pension plan terms.