Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ron Johnson You're Running to be a Senator of the Country

Interesting item today from the always interesting Ron Johnson campaign.  He was complaining that some of the stimulus money that Feingold voted for went to a ski resort in Vermont.  Mount Snow for their part said that they actually applied for a government back loan (much like the one Pacur got) and in the end unlike Pacur they turned it down.  I would rather not focus on Mr. Johnson's hypocrisy, but instead what the role of a US Senator is.  He implies with his criticism of Feingold that a US Senator should not vote for anything that fails to benefit Wisconsin.  No, a US Senator represents their State but also the Country.  If a bill is good for the Nation as a whole it should be voted for.  Mr. Johnson would rather see individual States fail.  Had Mount Snow actually gotten stimulus money it would have be spent in other states where snowmaking equipment is manufactured.  It wouldn't of even been spent in Vermont.  On this point of the stimulus the question should be is a role of Government to help the States remain viable?  Wouldn't this come under the US Constitution Article 1 section 8, promote the general welfare.  I know that Mr. Johnson is a Constitution quoting Tea Party Patriot but they all seem to forget article 1 section 8 which delineates the duties of the government.  Who knows exactly who Mr. Johnson intends to represent in Washington but it doesn't really appear to be the State or the Nation.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Czars and Supreme Court Justices

Today there was a letter in the paper urging a vote for Republicans.  Not so unusual, except this one repeated the talking points that are used by the impeachment wing of the tea party.  First that Obama has appointed all of these czars to run agencies that were neither elected or confirmed by the Senate.  OK, I'm good with that no accountability of the President to other co-equal branch of government.  I'm sure that no other President, especially a Republican, would have done such a terrible deed.  When you look into it every President has appointed people to head up special projects, commissions, or offices.  OK, Obama has a lot, 20, how does that compare to say W?  Bush had 21, I know you are thinking that is more than 20 which is true except in tea party world. 

Second the letter writer pointed out that Obama has appointed 2 supreme court justices of dubious qualifications and agendas.  Really!  And Justices Roberts and Alito don't have the same characteristics.  The difference is that Roberts and Alito have acted on their agenda with their precedent overturning decisions.  Granted they had help from other agenda driven Justices Scalia and Thomas (the judge who rarely asks a question, qualified?).  The Supreme Court is another government organization that is broken but don't blame the Democrats.  After Bork, both sides have been agenda driven.  The partisans have looked to the court to pass their legislative agenda rather than replace their representatives to get it done legislatively as intended in the Constitution.

Monday, October 25, 2010


With the election getting close we are finally starting to see many articles on economics.  It is about time, from the questions about the tax cuts for the wealthy.  They have been in place for years, why haven't they worked? Questions about trickle down economics, again we've been waiting for the trickle down for years.  Questions about trade, I thought that free trade was a rising tide and would lift all boats?  Instead it is a reef that is going to sink all boats.  Questions about the disparity of wealth.  Questions about why the wealthy are not spending their money when most people are spending everything that they have plus some that they don't have.  Doug Muder discusses this  Robert Reich has a new book out and a fabulous interview with Stephen Colbert  Stephan of course has it figured out, at some point the little people will no longer be able to buy the products that support the upper class and at that point they might take more from him than the government ever will.

So, while we have all of these candidates for office talking tax cuts, run government like a business, we have a spending problem, ... they are missing the economic point that we have a demand problem.  People simply do not have the money to sustain this economy as they have always done through purchasing.  Most people over the last year have taken salary cuts (either directly of indirectly by trading benefits for salary).   Prices have not fallen at the same rate or at all, things are simply more expensive for people who were just hanging on before.  Some prices have gone up (health insurance) or consume a higher percentage of income (fuel).  The wealthy cannot sustain the economy, they are not going to create jobs with no customers, they cannot possibly consume enough to replace the purchases of 95% of the population, and they cannot give enough away to charity (giving is down) to replace government programs.

We either need to join the race to the bottom or find a way to protect the country through buy it and build it in the US.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The President needs a History Lesson

In our dealings with Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran I think that the President needs to study the Vietnam war a little bit.  In that conflict the people we were fighting spread to neighboring countries and we dutifully followed.  This is the same situation that we find ourselves in the Middle East.  By failing to establish a credible government in Afghanistan we have let our enemies continue an insurgency in Afghanistan and spread out into neighboring countries destabilizing them and creating bases of operation to attack us.  More troops is not going to do anything except expand the conflict.  What we need to do is create a more stable government and try to reduce the insurgency by making life better for the average person.  If that means abandoning our freind Karzai so be it.

Juan Williams

The hysterics over Juan Williams firing can only be described as an example of why he should have been fired.  Here was a respected newsman going on National TV and promoting religious intolerance.  It is fine that Fox does this everyday, since you could hardly call them news, to great effect but I don't think that makes it ok for "news" people from every network to promote this ridiculous view.  This country was founded on religious tolerance.  It isn't the Muslims who attacked us on 9/11 it was Saudis (17 of the 19) who happened to be Muslims who happened to be radical (aren't all Saudi Muslims?), who happened to be criminals.  I would be more accepting of Juan Williams if he had said that he gets nervous when he see someone travelling with a Saudi passport.  Does he get nervous when a Christian rents a Ryder truck?  Probably not because he is an American, but yet there are many Christians talking about second amendment solutions.  The last thing that is needed in this country is hysteria over religion.

WI Gevernor's Race

I was reading Wisconsin Outdoor News from 10/15/10 and there was a Q&A with Scott Walker and Tom Barrett.  I encourage everyone to read this.  Talk about pandering to a group of people.  Walker didn't even look over his responses to avoid the contradictions!  Scott Walker talks about how sportsmen (license holders) need to be in charge of the Natural Resources Board and the DNR, but then discusses how he will appoint the secretary and what background that person will have.  Neither one of them talk about the non wildlife management part of the DNR and how maybe someone with a science background should be the secretary.  They talk of the need to get a better count of deer with Barrett saying that the DNR needs to work to get that number even higher.  I wonder then if they both are in favor of helping Wisconsinite with their high auto insurance rates?  Maybe they could promise every eligible hunter a free license.  They differ predictably on who they would appoint to the board, with Walker saying people with hunting, fishing, or trapping licenses and farmers.  Barrett mentions the non-hunting groups that use our natural environment.  These people who spend money in the State and help to create jobs don't matter to Walker.

First Amendment Test

The ensuing controversy about Christine O'Donnell's statement on the first amendment has been fun to watch and listen to.  First she is correct in her statement that there is a separation of church and state does not exist in the Constitution.  The problem is that the way she stated it made her sound like a complete idiot.  That being said the merits of such a separation can be debated.  Rush Limbaugh rushed to her defense and stated as he always does that the statement on the separation of church and state appears in a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote.  So he discredits it because it is not policy.  This coming from a man who freely quotes the Federalist Papers as if they are the defacto interpretation of the Constitution.  Nothing could be further from the truth they are a series of essays (think of them as letters) that explain what one group thought of the Constitution.  In fact had been up to these authors the Bill of Rights wouldn't exist.  Jefferson and others had a slightly different idea of Constitution and its meaning.  One of those differences is that not only should the country not establish a national religion, but there should be a complete separation.  In fact early in the country's history churches were taxed.  It is unfortunate that this counter argument to the Federalist's is being erased from our history.  Think that I'm kidding look at Texas and their history standards.  They don't even mention Thomas Paine or Jefferson, two of the leaders of the opposition to Madison and Hamilton.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tip of the Hat, Wag of the Finger

My tip of the hat goes to Isthmus for pointing out that Chad told them that he was not against all of the 2007 pages of the health care reform legislation but his website says to get rid of it.  So a wag of the finger to Chad Lee for trying to pull a fast one.  He not only talks repeal on his website, he has said in debates and written in profile pieces that he is for the repeal of the health care reform measures.  Chad which is it?  Do you have this concern for your fellow man who has a pre-existing condition or are you happy that you now have coverage with your pre-existing condition.  I myself have a pre-existing condition that requires me to be a big user of the medical establishment and I am all for health care reform.  In fact I would be in favor of repeal if we could guarantee replacement with a single payer heavily regulated system.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New Problems for Johnson

It turns out that 5 of Mr. Johnson's employees are covered under the State's Badger Care program.  The official response from Pacur was that they opted out of the company policy.  Was this because it was too expensive?  Were they seeking better less affordable coverage?  were they looking for a cheaper policy and then realized that their wages were low enough to qualify them for Badger care?  For those that don't know Badger care is a Government health insurance program for low income residents of the State of Wisconsin.  Interesting that the man who entered the race because of government over reaching and "taking" over health care would have employees benefiting from one such program.  No irony here!

Russ Feingold's ad

The Senator finally has a good ad to counter Ron Johnson's ad that Feingold didn't listen to constituents before voting on health reform.  No, the Senator has been listening for years as people who have to use the health system describe a broken and unjust system and ask that government put some regulation on the insurers.  I have said for years that the health insurance industry has been begging for regulation and apparently that is the message that the Senator heard.  Now they got what has been coming to them for years, except they really didn't.  In the end they still win.  Sure they have to cover pre-existing conditions (children now, adults in 2014) but they can charge 3 times the rate of a healthy persons policy.  Sure they can't drop you when ill, but they can raise your premium.  No it is not perfect but we as a nation needed to do something.  Ron Johnson wants to go back to the out of control system of a year ago.  If the people vote him in I wish them luck in the future because I will demand that we stick with the current market based system that Mr. Johnson campaigned for.

Highway construction

Glenn Grothman voted no on a highway bill yesterday.  Hard to believe, his argument was that instead of expanding I 90 from Madison to Beloit which would link to a 6 lane I 90 to Chicago we should spend the up to a billion dollars widening I 43 North of Milwaukee.  In other words a wider commuter highway is more important than a wider highway that will primarily (except on the weekends) be used for commerce.  Talk about your job killing government actions.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Joe Miller

This was too good to pass on.  Joe Miller was giving an open to the public town hall in a public school when a reporter asked him an uncomfortable question.  He had his private security force put the reporter in handcuffs.  What about a free press doesn't this would be senator not understand?  I'm sure that the Democrats wished that they could have gotten away with this during the health care rage events.

Bike Accident

I was out riding my mountain bike on Saturday on the crush gravel bike trail and was hit by a motor vehicle.  As I told the police people want us to ride only on the trail (we built it for them make them use it) and yet here is where I get hit.  I saw the gator coming and he made a left turn right in front of me.  Here's the problem with this.  First motor vehicles are not allowed except in the winter.  Second, there was no expectation that the vehicle would turn at that point since there wasn't a road, driveway, or trail.  I'm left with a shattered bike and broken body, great.  Yes I got hit riding in one of the safest places to ride in the entire county.  I guess that this shows just how dangerous bike riding is.


While I'm not in Congressman Kind's district I do get to see the ads that are being run against him by outside groups.  The problem here is that Kind's opponent has been indicted on 2 felony charges.  If convicted and elected he would be unable to serve, yet these groups continue to spend.  For being pro-business  they have no problem throwing good money at a bad risk.  As they say there is a sucker born every minute.

Chad Lee vs Tammy Baldwin

This has been an interesting race to watch.  Contrary to what John Nichols says I don't think that Chad Lee is a good candidate.  His campaign consists of a narrow world view and Republican talking points.  Tammy Baldwin would be vulnerable if there was the right candidate.  In Chad Lee  you get a devout Christian with some business background with scant knowledge of our system of government, little knowledge of the constitution, and without a clue on foreign affairs.  Consider, he is for the balanced budget amendment.  OK, what are the details?  Whenever there are terrible economic times the balanced budget amendment comes up.  Where was Mr. Lee in 2001? 2002? 2003? 2004?...No where, it wasn't until 2009 that deficits mattered.  Doesn't carry much weight with me.  I have advocated bringing the budget into balance for years but recognize that in times of crisis deficit spending maybe necessary.  The budget should have been brought into balance in 2004, even with the wars.  So, Chad how vaguely are you going to write the amendment so that you can support deficits by Republican Presidents.  Consider, his position on war.  He is for exhausting all means short of war in dealing with other nations (sounds like a Democrat) but yet supports the war in Iraq.  That would be the war that the President decided that we should start after what seemed like 10 minutes of negotiation where we didn't believe what we were told which turned out to be true.  We wouldn't be in Iraq if Saddam could have got his position on Fox, but instead Fox reported that Saddam was lying when in fact he was being truthful.  Chad is also willing to attack Iran (not giving diplomacy a chance) to stop them from getting nuclear weapons.  Consider Iran's position, their sworn enemy (remember we labeled them the axis of evil) has troops and who knows what weapons systems on 3 sides of their country.  Seems like a threat to me.  What is the fear of a nuclear Iran?  They can't attack the US.  They could attack our troops.  If they did we have something like 2000 warheads that we could drop on their country.  They could attack Israel, but again Israel has somewhere around 100 warheads more than enough to obliterate the country.  Chad is unconcerned about Pakistan, an unstable and corrupt country with 80-90 warheads.  This is where our enemies could get a bomb.  He also would privatize Social Security, eliminate Medicare, repeal Obamacare, and bring Religion into the government.  I'm afraid once again the only choice in Tammy Baldwin.

Repeal the Minimum Wage

There is a movement sweeping the nation to repeal the minimum wage as unconstitutional, although it was ruled constitutional.  With the Roberts' court it would be overturned.  Except for the tea party it is just an issue to get votes no one has yet to file a case.  I agree with all of the arguments, its costly, its inflationary, its a job killer.  My question is, if we repeal it what kind of wages can we expect to see in the future and once we get into the race for the bottom will other prices fall proportionately?  My guess is wages will free fall and prices will stagnate much as they are now with no sales.  Welcome to the Brave New World that we are heading for.

Is Rebecca Keefisch Stupid?

Ms. Keefisch has a new ad out discussing her cancer treatment and how we have the best health care system in the world.  She then goes on to suggest that Obamacare is government run health care.  Now wait one minute.  Rebecca is covered under her husband's policy.  Her husband happens to "work" for the State of Wisconsin as a legislator.  He is covered under the State plan, which is private insurance that meets or exceeds the State mandated coverage.  What does that mean?  It means that at the very least it is government regulated, meaning that if the mandated coverage said excludes colon cancer, she would get to find out how much that little operation cost.  Also, because it is a group policy she can't be dropped now that she is a high cost high risk patient.  No it isn't government run but it is a lot closer to being government run than anything this President has signed. 

Okay maybe she just didn't understand how the policy that she has works, but surely she understands what the policies she and Governor (not yet) Walker advocate.  Scott Walker has said that the State employees should contribute at least 20% to their health insurance costs (which in my opinion is still a bargain) so her costs go from $89 per month to about $260 per month.  I'll let you do the math for what the taxpayer kicks in and compare to what you at home pay.  They also want to repeal the health reforms and limit Badger care.  So, you little people out there get a job with health insurance because Rebecca and Scott have theirs and they don't want to share.  Hopefully after they all of that done they will pass a law stating that it is okay for hospitals to deny treatment to the indigent.  No death panels in Wisconsin, just denial of care.  Remember uninsured Wisconsinites when you get sick please die quickly.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ron Johnson has Another new Ad

In response to Russ Feingold's jobs ad Ron Johnson has his own that blames Feingold for shipping jobs to China.  It is a great ad if only true.  Mr. Johnson heavily quotes from an article that Politico (trying to appeal to the libs?) ran but fails to tell the whole story.  Which happens to be his criticism of Feingold.  Politico did discuss that money from the stimulus went to create jobs in China but if you read further they explain that those people will be building windmill parts which will further energy independence if not independence from China.  But, the question is, why China?  The answer is amazingly simple, we don't manufacture those parts or much else in this country anymore.  In the global race for the bottom (thanks most favored nation status) China beat us there.  Manufacturing has relocated or contracted to China because of low wages.  Part of the stimulus plan was to build alternative energy infrastructure.  Unfortunately, China has the world's largest solar panel facility and one of the largest wind turbine facilities.  The reality is that until we start manufacturing stuff we are going to continue to purchase our means of production from foreign countries.  The cranes that work on erecting those windmills will most likely Korean or Japanese.  The businessmen could buy American but they don't due to price. 

Maybe, Mr. Johnson would like to enlighten us as to how he is going to bring a manufacturing base back to the country.  His website has scant information on any of his plans.  On job grow his solution is lower taxes.  We have had the tax cuts for 6 years, I think that this is enough time to tell if they have work.  Every quarter since they began has shown less job growth and a lower GDP.  Hard to believe, but yes we have joined the race to the bottom.  How is raising taxes going to affect this negative growth?  Well, it can't get worse.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Bullying and Suicide

A story that just broke about a high school in Ohio that is being sued by 2 families for wrongful death and failure to protect their children.  I say that it is about time!  This school has had 4 students commit suicide in the last few years, seems like a high number.  One of the families (who isn't suing) had all 3 children either OD or commit suicide (granted 2 of them were out of school).  This school clearly has a problem with bullying and has failed to do anything about it.  Yes, it gets better, but at what cost.  Here you have 6 kids who were so badly scarred by their high school experience that they took their lives and those left behind found it funny enough to show up at one girls funeral and continue to make fun of her after she was dead.  What kind of people are these?  People who are taunted (bullied, picked on) through school are in some respect scarred for life.  Some manage to become productive citizens, others turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope, and still others never recover and take their own lives.  It is so tragic.  I realize that it is hard to do anything about the problem.  If the administration acts the child is likely the target of more insults.  It is up to the parents to get their child out of a bad situation, either through moving, school choice, private school, or online school.  Sure this doesn't teach coping skills but then again as they say it gets better once you are out of high school so you really don't need those skills.  The unfortunate thing is that it costs the parents, but in the end it is worth it.

Health care Post Debate

In comments after the debate Ron Johnson stated that he favors replacing the healthcare measure with smaller more targeted bills and that he would make sure that pre-existing conditions are covered.  His entire campaign has been stating exactly the opposite since day one.  Once again he is trying to have it both ways.  So, rather than the massive over reach of the current legislation he would favor having some control over the industry.  His entire campaign has been about letting the market work and all government regulation is bad.  Maybe he needs to watch his own ads, the one that states "a new government program that saves money".  The market decided that pre-existing conditions have the potential to cost more money.  This is why premiums are more expensive or coverage denied outright.  How would he fix this without doing what the reform does?  Mandate coverage but take off the meager cost control (3 times the rate of a non pre-existing condition policy)? 

This is what Ron Johnson states on his website:

"Ron will vote to repeal the Health Care Bill and replace it with market-based solutions that will include: portability, malpractice reform, mandate reduction, insurance purchase across state lines, lower costs, and a safety net for those with pre-existing conditions.
The Health Care Bill is a $1 trillion experiment that will lead to higher cost, lower quality health care and rationing by government bureaucrats.  A free- market approach to health care reform is critical to ensuring doctors and patients stay in control of the decision-making process.  The free market is essential for the development of new drugs, treatments and medical procedures that will save lives and keep our country on the forefront of medical innovation.
The Health Care Bill will further bust an already broken budget.  Obama Administration estimates are simply not believable.  When Medicare was passed in 1965, the government estimated its cost in 1990 would be $12 billion.  The actual cost in 1990 was $111 billion…nearly ten times the original estimate.  The estimated cost of the Health Care Bill will not be any more accurate."

There are no specifics in his plan.  Doctors and patients do not have control of the decision making process now.  Who is he kidding, the insurer has that control.  When you go to pick-up a prescription and the pharmacy says that it will be full price because the doctor prescribed something that is not on the list or was taken off the list.  Then you have to either pay (which isn't a problem for him) or go back (driving up costs) and get something else prescribed.  If the new drug doesn't work you have to back again and again until you either exhaust all alternatives so that you can get what was originally prescribed or you find something that works.  Yeah, the doctors and patients are in control.  The insurers deny coverage for certain conditions such as "autism", which Sharon Angle said the new law would cover and she doesn't want to pay for.  Would Johnson's reforms cover this?  Come on Ron let us have the specifics.  I have a feeling that once it is fleshed out we will be at a series of reforms that are substantially similar to the current law.  The current law is not perfect for example I favor a system of private insurance that is heavily regulated with cost controls.  What we have now and going forward is a system that shifts costs from those who can pay to those who can't and allows the price of drugs in this country to essentially subsidize the drug costs in countries that regulate the price of drugs.  These and other factors (high salaries, shiny buildings, greed) lead to premium increases that far exceed the rate of inflation.  You would think that a businessman (who claims to provide health care to his employees) would be concerned about premium increases that are averaging 6% (inflation at 0) this year.  The current law doesn't control price (obviously) and I'm sure that Mr. Johnson's proposal won't control price because that would be against his nature of free market solutions (which is the current system except for the poor, the seniors, and the military).

Friday, October 8, 2010

Healthcare and Privledge

Ron Johnson explaining why healthcare reform was so bad brought up the health issues that his daughter has.  It was a fabulous story which showed how great medical care and technology are in this country.  Unfortunately he doesn't seem to understand one simple fact, he's rich!  The procedure that she had done was almost assuredly experimental.  Many policies won't cover experimental treatment.  What happens to those people?  They self ration and don't get it done.  His daughter now has a pre-existing condition.  Has she gone out on the open market to get insurance?  How much did it cost?  Most people with pre-existing conditions can get insurance but they can't afford it.  Ron Johnson would repeal a law that allows people with pre-existing conditions to buy insurance at only 3 times the rate of an average person.  Yes, we have the best system in the world if you're rich.

Balanced Budget Amendment

The Wisconsin Senate debate tonight broke down to taxes and spending.  Ron Johnson expressed his support for a balanced budget amendment.  This is the sound bite answer to spending.  The problem with a balanced budget amendment is what happens in times of crisis?  If you follow Keynes he stated that in good economic times governments should run a surplus and in bad economic times or times of crisis governments should not only spend the surplus but should also be prepared to run a deficit.  I know that this is pretty complex for tea baggers to grasp.  Let's take the recent time.  The year is 2001 and George Bush just returned the Clinton surplus to the people.  Then some crazy Saudis attacked the country and we went to war first in Afghanistan and then Iraq.  With a balanced budget no war with Afghanistan (because the war was not budgeted).  Of course, both of these wars were run outside of the budget until 2006 when Congress put the costs into the budget which blew up the budget.  So no wars, what about other crisis?  In 2007, 2008 we stabilized the financial markets by deficit spending.  So, we let the financial markets collapse taking down everything.  At that point there is probably no longer a need for government.  Instead of amending the Constitution we need responsible legislators.

On a side note Russ Feingold can talk about what he would do, but the reality is that his proposals will not see the light of day because the Republicans will filibuster or place holds on the bills.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tennessee House Fire

We are starting to see a return to the nation's roots where you contract with a company to put out your house fire.  In this case it was a pubic fire department whose jurisdiction was the village not the county but they would cover you for $75.  Short story guy's house catches on fire the fire department watches it burn to the ground and intervenes when the neighbor's land catches fire (in the village).  This is how it was in the early days even the outcome (the neighbor's land catching fire).  There were some spectacular failures of this system like the Chicago fire which pretty much led to the formation of publicly supported firefighting across the nation.  I guess what is old is new again.  I wonder how long the experiment will last this time?

On a side note, I will speculate that insurance won't cover the loss because the home owner didn't do anything (contracting with the fire department) to prevent a total loss of the home.

How does Insurance Work

There seems to be a lot of confusion about how insurance works.  There is Sharon Angle saying that she doesn't want any of her money going to "autism" or reproductive care because in her mind autism is fake and she isn't going to have any more children.  She and others like her (the group running ads against Russ Feingold) believe that under Obamacare they are required to help pay for these things.  But yet they are for the bastion of the individual, group health plans offered through employers.  This sounds good except that it isn't true.  The reason premiums are lower for group plans is because they use some of the money to cover the big users of the policy.  That way your friend in accounting with the pre-existing condition gets covered or the person with cancer is not dropped.  What the tea party wants is individual policies and they are convincing a large percentage of the population (those not covered by individual policies) that this is the way to go.  Maybe it is.  When the non-healthy that are being carried by their employer have to go on the open market I think that they will be surprised to learn how difficult getting insurance is, but that's ok because the doctors will forgo their big paychecks and provide charity care.

I do know one thing that if health reform is repealed  I will be opposed to any effort to bring it back.  The American people will have spoken and knowing that this is a big problem and will continue to come back (it has for about every 10 years since 1890) I will remind them that they are opposed to any kind of socialized medicine.  I stood by President Bush on the re-importation of drugs ban because we don't believe in socialized medicine so we shouldn't be allowed to benefit from other countries socialized system.

Saving Social Security

When Social Security was first created the average life expectancy was 62 years old, they set retirement to be 65.  Currently we have a loaming cash flow problem with Social Security.  Part of the problem is that people are collecting too much money.  Another problem is that the work force is not ever expanding like in the 1930's.  President Reagan put off this problem by quietly raising the age to 67 but what he should have done was tie retirement to life expectancy.  Currently the average life expectancy is 78 so the retirement age should go to 80 or 81 and then continue the link to life expectancy.  Also, remove the add ons to the program from the Great Society programs and you solve this problem forever.  Would I like this?  No, but it would work.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Walker deer czar

I just heard about this reading Pat Durkin's column in Sunday's Wisconsin State Journal.  Walker is going to get politics out and science in with deer management by appointing a Deer Czar.  Isn't this expanding government?  How is this going to be paid for?  If Obama's czars are unconstitutional is this position constitutional?  Isn't a discussion of everyone getting a deer kind of maybe a little socialist?  Maybe we could have the better hunters shoot extra deer so that those who didn't go hunting or those who failed to get a deer can get one of the extras.  Or, we could extend the season until every hunter brins home a deer.

Ashley Furniture

While the flooding in Arcadia was tragic, the fact that Ashley Furniture is located there can't be ignored.  This is a company that held the State hostage while requesting that the government grant a waiver to fill in wetlands for a company expansion.  When it was moving at the slow pace with which these things move they complained and threatened to move.  The reality was that they needed (the state) a Federal waiver as well as a State waiver and Ashley didn't pay those politicians.  In the end of course this was granted.  Now all of these years later their plant floods.  Do you think that this company who gamed the system is in line to get disaster relief from the taxpayers?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The cast of Wicked

In response to the Rutgers University student's suicide the cast of Wicked (currently touring in Madison) recorded a video talking about being an outcast and that things get better.  Being gay is undoubtedly worse than being declared a geek or an arts freak but my guess is that is similar.  There is this romanticized view that a person's high school years are the best and that college was better.  For many this is not true.  Most of the social outcasts do better in college because there are more people like them but as is the case at Rutgers there are still people who haven't grown up.  It is sad that this led to the taking of a life and that the people who drove him to take his life are going to get away with it.  It is my hope that this video provides inspiration to persevere for those outcasts. 

Talking to the Press

Yesterday Ron Johnson made the most unbelievable statement when talking about stem cell research.  It wasn't that he was opposed to federal funding (he's a Republican), it wasn't his belief in adult stem cell research (he's a Republican), it was his statement that government shouldn't fund it because a large percentage of the people are morally opposed to it.  Really, this sounds like the argument that was made by people opposed to the Vietnam war.  Currently there are large percentages of people opposed to the Afghanistan war, is he for getting us out now?  Currently there are large percentages of people opposed to any presence in Iraq, are we leaving?  Currently we have a large percentage of people opposed to escalating the war in Pakistan, does he favor ending that one?  In these tough budget times there are many people who think that defense should be put on a diet, is Ron Johnson going to join with Democrats and demand that the budget be cut as little as 1%?  My guess is no but he will probably agree to increase funding for the above and cut funding for NOAA, CDC, NSF, NASA, EPA,... where a smaller percentage of the population is in opposition to what they do.