Friday, December 31, 2010

Undoing Regulation and the Cost of Labor

The new governor wants to be the gate keeper of an over reaching legislative body on job killing regulation.  This isn't that he wants to make use of the Wisconsin Governor's extensive veto power, no he wants to be able to undue any regulation, past or present.  With this much power the question that everyone should be asking is why do we need a legislative body?  If you want to cut the budget get rid of the legislature.

Will cutting the job killing regulations bring jobs to Wisconsin when these jobs have gone to places without any job killing regulations or the even greater job killing wages?  If we undue all environmental regulations it would be a start.  But, in the end wages are going to be a problem.  We are competing with countries whose wage rates are 5 or more times less than ours.  Yet you have the Federal Reserve chair stating that he doesn't see deflationary pressure.  He must be blind.  It is all around.  We have lost jobs to low wage countries and workers in this country have taken pay cuts.  The price of products has not declined, so sales are off because wages are down.  At some point the price of products needs to come in line with the new cost of labor.  When that happens we will enter a deflationary economy. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Court Strikes Down Part of Health Care Reform

A court in Virginia was asked to strike down the entire law but the judge flinched and only struck down the part requiring individuals to purchase insurance.  This was somehow an over reach of the government.  If this is an over reach what about the requirement that insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions.  If we want to go in this direction we should let hospitals and clinics turn people away.  You should have to either present an insurance card or proof of ability to pay before treatment.  Those of us who have insurance wind up paying for the uninsured.  I for one am tired of paying (and I'm for single payer).  If we are not going to require insurance then we are also right in denying care.  Become a heartless conservative.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Another Jonah Goldberg Moment

How does someone like Jonah Goldberg continue to be a syndicated columnist?  Today he writes in the Wisconsin State Journal about Wikileaks.  Not that the leaks were bad as many are writing about today.  Not that they are good for Democracy as others are writing.  No, he chose this moment to attack the Obama foreign policy.  How does the document dump reflect on a foreign policy that increasingly looks like President Bush's?  In Jonah's world it show a weak an indecisive leader and a policy run by lawyers who speak legalese (niceties).  All of this because the Saudis were begging the administration to launch an attack on Iran.  I thought that with the Right the United States did what it wants and doesn't ask permission from other countries.  Yet here is a member of the Right saying that we should bow (remember the uproar when Obama did in fact bow) to the Saudis and attack Iran.  Iran is like Iraq 2.0 (which Saudi Arabia also suggested we attack).  On the surface it promises to be easy.  We'll be greeted as liberators.  The people don't like the religious authority, they want freedom.  Get under the surface it looks like Iraq only may be harder.  If Saudi Arabia doesn't like their neighbor across the gulf take some of the weapons that we sold them and do it themselves.  I for one think that we cannot continue to act as a mercenary force, especially in the Middle East.  Iran is only a threat to the US because George W. Bush has parked the US military on three sides of Iran.  They do not have a missile capable of striking the US.  They did not and do not harbor the terrorist organization that attacked this country.  They might be involved in Iraq, but then again so are we and they already fought one 10 year war with them.  I'm sure that Jonah would have gotten his wish if McCain had won the election.  Fortunately this foreign policy team of lawyers recognizes that you just can't attack another country without provocation because someone tells you to do it.  Jonah why don't you jump off a bridge, I'll look for a Saudi to tell you to do it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Walker Texas Ranger

I find it amusing that so many state workers, especially those who are Republicans, are all panicky about what Walker Texas Ranger is going to do.  I think that he was pretty clear during the campaign.  They are concerned about a lack of a contract.  I think that they are DOA.  Look they need to be approved in a special session.  Look it is the holiday season and our representatives are busy.  Look the Republican leadership has said that they are too busy basking in the glow of victory to be bothered with such things.  If they can't get a quorum the contracts die.  This is not without precedent.  So, expect the Republican to not show up.  If by some act of God they do show up they will debate until the end of the session about how much the employees should be contributing towards pension and health insurance and whether those increased payments should be retroactive to 2009.

The University and Rep. Nass

So, Rep. Nass has unveiled another brilliant plan to reduce the quality of the University system in this state.  His proposal to limit tuition increases to 4% is certainly noble and would work if all things were kept constant but they aren't.  Yeah its a problem when tuition is going up at 9, 10, 16% per year but when other parts of their operating budget are declining you have to make up the money somewhere.  The State has reduced its funding, the Federal Government has reduced its funding, corporations have reduced their funding.  Tuition is only rising to be near what a private school charges (it is still low by the way).  Rep. Nass should be happy, isn't he a member of the party that doesn't believe in public education?  If people want to go to school they should pay for it.

I also find some irony (imagine that when talking about a Republican) in the fact that he is willing to pass a law to limit tuition increases to 4% (twice the rate of inflation) but is ok with State health plans that have double digit increases every year except this one, which is only 6.3% (more than 3 times the rate of inflation).  We can't possibly do anything about health care costs but we can defund a university system that is one of the primary job creators and a major innovator in the country.  Welcome to the third world or should I say now Wisconsin is open for business.

Middle Class (those earning $30,000-100,000) gets Hammered Again

Have you noticed all of the talk of balancing budgets, shared sacrifice have one thing in common, the people who will sacrifice are the ones earning between $30,000 and $100,000 dollars per year.  For all of the talk of making the tax cuts for the rich permanent there is no talk of say eliminating income taxes entirely for the group that spends all of their money.  The rich have had their tax cuts for 10 years, by the reasoning of the proponents this economy should already be booming.  The rich have seen their incomes continually grow, while the rest of us have seen a decline.  But yet when the deficit commission recommends changes it focuses on eliminating programs that benefit the above class of people, raising the retirement age for people who actually work hard, and raising taxes and fees that will again affect the people who spend all of their money.  Soon, the rich will not be able to sell us anything because we can't afford their products and then we'll see changes made.  There is a war on and it is against the middle class.

Deficit Reduction

I have a plan to reduce the federal deficit.  I can't take total credit for it, I formulated the idea while reading the blog the Chief.  He was saying that Ron Johnson and his staff should refuse government run single payer health care.  He is right, that is what the campaign was about and now he is replacing a principled senator who has been know to stand on those principles.  But, this got me to thinking.  Wasn't this entire election about rejecting "government run health care"?  The people have spoken, anyway that is what the media says.  The President should end government run and paid for health care for all employees of the US Congress.  I figure conservatively that would amount to $400 million dollars in the first year alone.  I haven't seen this on Eric Cantor's U cut page.  As long as we are reigning in Congress, remember the people have spoken, maybe we can end their expense accounts.  They are all being funded by corporations anyway so the fear of corruption should not exist.  If they need to take someone out to dinner use the Congressional dining room.