Soak the Rich, Week 13

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has a Progressive’s grasp of economics: corporations are evil, and bureaucrats could micromanage the world to perfection with just a little more money. Though Sherrod – like President Obama – isn’t specific about his approach to sustainable big government, what if we used the class-warrior’s dream scenario of doubled corporate income taxes and fully “reclaimed” CEO pay? Starting with just the 2011 deficit of $1.62 trillion, how fast could we balance the budget with a little extra from the kings of the S&P 500 index?

Shown below: the 2011 federal budget deficit, and the 5.894% slice that would result from dramatically increasing taxes on twenty-six of America’s largest employers (view source workbook). That’s a reduction from $1,620,000,000,000 to $1,524,512,443,940.

Even if soaking a few hundred more corporations could cover the remaining 94.106% of the 2011 deficit, would it be worth it?

Of course it would! As any Progressive will tell you, raising taxes on The Rich has no negative effects. Among the things that won’t happen if Sherrod Brown and President Obama tax their way to the chart above:

  • None of the corporations’ 5,241,561 employees will lose their jobs.
  • None of the corporations’ products or services – health insurance, prescription drugs, medical devices, food at supermarkets & restaurants, gasoline, business & consumer lending, construction equipment, air travel, shipping, national defense, cell phone service, broadband access, fast food, the thousands of items available at Amazon.com & Wal-Mart, toothpaste, diapers, detergent, baby soap, Band-Aids, movies, television, newspapers, computer software, iPods, laptops, servers, networking equipment, etc. – will get more expensive.
  • None of the funds or individuals holding the corporations’ 64,042,800,000 shares of stock will be ruined… unless they deserve it!
  • None of the world’s entrepreneurs or executives will stop investing in American businesses.

It’s a good thing raising taxes is an all-around win… otherwise, Ohioans would need to start looking for a senator with more sense than Sherrod Brown!

Cross-posted at Third Base Politics.

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Soak the Rich: Raytheon Company

Raytheon Company, like Lockheed Martin, is a defense contractor. As you may know, national defense is one of the few things the yucky old Constitution suggested Congress should be responsible for funding. Somehow – probably because of the military! – America’s 2011 budget has a $1.62 trillion hole, and Raytheon is a great candidate for Sherrod Brown’s fix: huge tax hikes on corporations.

Now Soaking: Raytheon Company

Fear not: a sharp tax increase on a key defense company will not impact the nation’s defense budget or her security! None of Raytheon’s 72,000 employees will lose their jobs if Sherrod Brown and Barack Obama work their not-at-all-socialist magic. Last and least, the only funds & individuals holding any of Raytheon’s 356,000,000 outstanding shares of stock who suffer will be the ones who deserve to.

We, The People who support Sherrod Brown’s fiscal policies, hold these leftist conceits to be self-evident.

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Soak the Rich: Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin is a defense contractor. As you may know, national defense is one of the few things the yucky old Constitution suggested Congress should be responsible for funding. Somehow – probably because of the military! – America’s 2011 budget has a $1.62 trillion hole, and Lockheed seems an ideal candidate for Sherrod Brown’s budget solution of huge tax hikes on corporations.

Now Soaking: Lockheed Martin Corporation

Fear not: a sharp tax increase on a key defense company won’t harm the nation’s defense budget or her security! None of Lockheed Martin’s 132,000 employees will lose their jobs if Sherrod Brown and Barack Obama work their not-at-all-socialist magic. Last and least, the only funds & individuals holding any of Lockheed’s 336,000,000 outstanding shares of stock who suffer will be the ones who deserve to.

We, The People who support Sherrod Brown’s fiscal policies, hold these leftist conceits to be self-evident.

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House Passes ANOTHER Debt Ceiling Bill

Not that it matters to the handout-junkies and bureaucracy-lovers who make up the Democratic Party’s base, but the House has passed a second bill to extend the federal debt ceiling. In case you’ve forgotten, the House is controlled by the Grand Old Party of No, and the world is going to end if the debt ceiling isn’t raised by Tuesday.

Here’s the president’s Treasury Secretary on the need for an extension that runs through Obama’s reelection campaign:

“The most important thing is that we remove this threat of default from the country for the next 18 months,” Geithner said in an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union” program. “You want to take this out of politics.”

Emphasis mine; this could be the Freudian slip of the year. Democrats don’t want to take the politics out of the debt ceiling fight – they want to take the debt ceiling fight out of the nation’s political conversation. Eventually, voters will realize President Obama’s fix is higher taxes, and Senator Reid’s fix is gutting the military.

Isn’t it funny how, time and again, the adults in Washington demand policies identical to the far left’s? Let’s review:

  • World ends without debt ceiling increase
  • House Republicans pass Cut, Cap & Balance bill
  • Reid, Obama say Cut, Cap & Balance is DOA
  • Obama pushes for tax hikes
  • Reid suggests slashing defense spending
  • House Republicans pass Budget Control Act of 2011
  • Reid, Obama say Budget Control Act of 2011 is DOA

As I said this morning, compromising sucks when the other side is nuts, but this is what House Republicans have to deal with.

A debt ceiling compromise beats the prospect of a second Obama term by a landslide the size of Texas. I’m glad Congressman Stivers, my representative in the House, voted for the Budget Control Act of 2011. I’m glad Speaker Boehner, my parents’ representative, worked to create a bill the shameless demagogues in the Senate and White House might be forced to pass.

Official releases on the Budget Control Act of 2011 follow. From Stivers:

“I supported Speaker Boehner’s bill because it cuts spending and changes the way that Washington works. It puts caps on spending and moves America toward a balanced budget.  A default could result in economic disaster including higher costs for car, student and business loans as well as mortgages; it could result in lower stock prices; higher gasoline and import costs and higher unemployment.  This scenario is unacceptable and moving forward Members of both parties need to work together toward reaching an agreement on the debt ceiling to prevent a default.”

From Boehner:

Thanks in part to your support, this evening the House passed an important bill to cut trillions in spending and end our debt limit crisis.

It’s the second time in the last two weeks that the People’s House has spoken. Twice now, we’ve passed legislation to cut trillions in government spending, avoid a job-crushing national default, and advance the cause of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

In contrast, Washington Democrats have done nothing. They refuse to put a plan on the table. In fact, it’s been 821 days since the Democrat-run Senate has passed a budget.

Let me be clear, our bill isn’t perfect, but it’s a positive step forward, carefully negotiated in a good faith effort to find a solution to the current crisis.

Now it is time for the Senate to act. The Senate must pass the House bill and send it to the President for him to sign into law. There is no excuse for inaction.

Cross-posted at Third Base Politics and Columbus Tea Party.

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Boneheadedness

Since I cheered on Speaker Boehner a week ago, I feel compelled to offer some support to Congressman Jordan today – although, to paraphrase a great motivator, my support and a nickel will get you a hot cup of jack squat.

In the debt ceiling debate the GOP is fighting demagogues who live and breathe class warfare, and would sing the virtues of increased spending to the point of bankruptcy. It’s understandable that, given the circumstances, tensions have been high between conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC) leader Jim Jordan and Speaker Boehner.

Was it dumb for an RSC staffer to send out a list of Republicans targeted for supporting Boehner? Probably; I’ve seen some annoyingly divisive GOP vs. GOP messaging the past couple of days. But, I doubt it would be easier for Boehner to sell a compromise if Jordan and fellow conservatives were quick to abandon Cut, Cap & Balance.

I can say confidently that feeding anonymous quotes like these to reporters is a bad call:

Two Republican sources deeply involved in configuring new Ohio congressional districts confirmed to The Dispatch  today  that Jordan’s disloyalty to Boehner has put him in jeopardy of being zeroed out of a district.

“Jim Jordan’s boneheadedness has kind of informed everybody’s thinking,” said one of the sources, both of whom spoke only on condition of anonymity. “The easiest option for everybody has presented itself.”

[…]

“He doesn’t know it, but he solved a problem for Republican line-drawers by (figuratively) standing up and saying, ‘I’m a jerk and I deserve to be punished,’ ” said one of the sources.

[…]

“The downside of being in an uber-safe district is you often don’t develop the strategic skills you need to survive in the arena and in this case that is going to be painfully evident to Jim Jordan.”

Are there really two GOP insiders who don’t realize this plays perfectly into the leftist narrative of principled conservatives as extremist cranks? Fortunately, Boehner and Jordan appear capable of acting like adults after the RSC email debacle:

“Jim Jordan and I may not always agree on strategy, but we are friends and allies, and the word retribution is not in my vocabulary,” Boehner said. “I look forward to continuing to serve with him in the U.S. House after the redistricting process in Ohio is complete.”

Meghan Snyder, Jordan’s spokeswoman, said, “We would hope that standing strong in favor of lowering spending and balancing the federal budget would not be a reason to eliminate the district of a sitting member of Congress.”

Yes, compromising sucks when the other side is nuts, but the Senate and the White House would be happy to keep spending until the whole contraption caves in. Let’s not rush to shoot ourselves in the foot while Harry Reid and Barack Obama have America’s military over a barrel!

[Update: Corrected a (boneheaded?) typo in paragraph two.]

Cross-posted at Third Base Politics and Columbus Tea Party.

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A Tale of Two Ballot Measures

With yesterday’s news that the Secretary of State has certified more than 425,000 signatures supporting The Healthcare Freedom Amendment, it’s official – the November ballot will include a referendum on Obamacare’s key mandate. This is excellent news for Ohioans, and less-excellent news for Progressive advocates of big government.

The amendment, championed by the Ohio Liberty Council and other conservative groups, has found support among Ohio’s GOP establishment – which is finally recognizing the old Democrat-lite agenda as a dead end. In addition to being unaffordable, guaranteeing rationed care, and limiting Ohioans’ health care choices, Obamacare is plainly unconstitutional. Unless you believe (as Sherrod Brown does) that “interstate commerce” means “Washington can decide what you do or do not buy; when, where, and from whom.”

But those reasons don’t explain Republican support for The Healthcare Freedom Amendment! No, according to the Dispatch, “The measure was supported by the state Republican Party as a possible GOP counterweight to the Democrat-backed referendum on Senate Bill 5.”

Ok… let’s go down that road. Progress Ohio and the usual array of mathematically-impaired leftists insist Obamacare is good and necessary legislation, while Senate Bill 5 is the work of hateful extremists. Need proof? Just look at the campaigns behind the two ballot issues:

  • Socialized medicine is a long-time goal of Progressives, therefore opposition to Obamacare is evil. Senate Bill 5 changes a law passed by Democrats in 1983, therefore Senate Bill 5 is evil.
  • The Health Care Freedom Amendment has support extending beyond Ohio: astroturf! All government unions march to a nationally financed and centrally-organized drum: solidarity!
  • Wealthy people sometimes donate to tea party groups – those capitalist swine! Union bosses pay themselves six figures in member dues – those martyrs for workers’ rights!
  • Obamacare was written by a few Democrats and lobbyists before being rammed through using flagrant bribes, as all legislation guiding the lives of 308,000,000 people should be. Senate Bill 5 was passed with GOP maneuvering, which is obviously far worse.

Shall we start a collection for train tickets so the InnoProgPolicy Ohio scholars can depart our cloud of backwardness when The Healthcare Freedom Amendment passes and the SB 5 referendum fails?

Cross-posted at Columbus Tea Party and Third Base Politics.

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Westerville Begs for Bargaining Reform

The Columbus Dispatch reports on sacrifices made by unionized employees of Westerville City Schools:

Teachers were expected to receive a 1.75 percent cost-of-living increase in addition to step increases this school year under the association’s current two-year contract.

Williams said the members also agreed to delay receiving some of their pay to the next fiscal year, which would shift $1 million in compensation to the 2013 fiscal year.

Starting from a contract that was completely untenable, the union has agreed to “givebacks” which do nothing to address long-term budget issues. The Westerville Education Association deserves credit for some flexibility, but context is everything. In this case, union concessions are a prelude to major tax initiatives:

The variations: a 0.5 percent earned-income tax and $10 million levy; a 0.75 percent earned-income tax and $7.3 million levy; and a 0.75 percent earned-income tax and a $5 million levy. The proposals would generate between $22 million and $25.5 million a year.

Teaching is a difficult job. I don’t think I could do it, and I can’t imagine a salary that would make me try. I have great respect for good teachers… but are Westerville’s compensation rates sustainable? According to public records, 376 Westerville City Schools employees – more than 21% – were paid $75,000 or greater in 2010.

Without a steep tax hike, the Westerville City School District has a bleak future:

Depending on the tax issue board members choose, the district will need to cut from $13 million to $16 million in anticipated expenses to keep the budget in the black through the 2014-15 school year.

Interim Treasurer Steve Huzicko said the district faces a projected $3.1 million shortfall this school year and about $24 million in 2012-13.

This year’s troubles are nothing compared to Westerville’s coming budget disaster. Ohio can’t afford to throw money at local governments any longer, and Washington certainly can’t afford to throw money at Ohio, so what option does the district have? For a taste of the leftist outrage when you suggest pay cuts for the highest-paid teachers and administrators, refer to my extremely cautious Columbus City Schools analysis.

This is what Senate Bill 5 is about. Current privileges granted to government unions make it easy for politicians to promise too much, and much too difficult for taxpayers to do anything about it.

Tax hikes are required to fulfill commitments squeezed out of elected officials, so the unions will fight for higher taxes. Treating good teachers the same as bad maintains the facade of “solidarity,” so that’s what the unions do. Simple reforms to empower taxpayers will limit union clout, so union front groups will continue demonizing reformers as “attacking workers’ rights.”

Hard work, but at least it pays well.

Cross-posted at Third Base Politics and Columbus Tea Party.

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O’Keefe Sting: Job & Family Services Response

After watching last week’s Project Veritas sting video, I contacted officials in Franklin County, Marion County, and Madison County for details. Though I haven’t heard back from Marion or Madison County, here’s the response (in bold) from a Franklin County Department of Job & Family Services spokesman:

Does the Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services have a policy regarding the reporting of admitted felonies?

FCDJFS must abide by confidentiality laws for the federal and state programs administered. Since the application was for Medicaid, the Medicaid federal regulations 42 CFR § 431.300, 42 CFR § 431.302, 42 CFR § 431.305, 42 CFR § 431.306 and 42 CFR § 435.945 are the guideline on releasing information about applicants or recipients.

Did Traci Daniels report her conversation with the purported drug smugglers to a supervisor, the Sheriff’s Department, or CPD?

Yes.

If so, to whom did she report the conversation in question, and what measures were taken in response?

She reported this to her supervisor. The supervisor reviewed the situation and tried to gather additional information to take further action and follow up, but there was no address or telephone number provided for contact of this fictitious individual.

What measures have been taken or will be taken as a result of the video posted at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szhFgyl589w ?

Franklin County Job and Family Services has interviewed all individuals highlighted in the video to garner an understanding of the entire incident. As a result of the interviews, we have recommended discipline for two individuals.

We are interviewing all front door staff and eligibility screeners to insure a consistent practice and process. Following that, we will also interview all Medicaid staff, including supervisors, regarding practices and processes. These interviews will aid in a gap analysis and help identify areas of weakness. From theses findings, we will revamp our training in this area to strengthen understanding of the allowable activities. All staff will be required to attend the revamped training. Our interviews began July 22, 2011.

If an official response has already been published, could you provide me with a copy or let me know where to find one?

None has been published.

Today The Columbus Dispatch reported the suspension of both Traci Daniels and her supervisor. This follows last week’s report that Job & Family Services workers throughout the state will receive training in response to the O’Keefe video. So long as the training focuses on not assisting professed criminals, it should be a worthwhile exercise!

Cross-posted at Third Base Politics.

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SB5 and the Politics of Envy

Have you ever read an entire newspaper article simply to confirm its title wasn’t a typo? I did yesterday, upon seeing the Thomas Suddes editorial “Ohioans don’t favor SB5, but a campaign of envy could save it” on the Columbus Dispatch website.

A campaign of envy is the reason many Ohioans opposed Senate Bill 5 in the recent Quinnipiac poll. Since the bill’s earliest drafts, unions have framed it as an “attack” on “workers’ rights” by corporate lackeys. It’s lame and it’s dishonest, but hey, if you’re paid six figures for conducting class warfare you might as well go whole-hog!

But a couple of other numbers in the poll suggest there may be ways to woo Ohioans to vote yes to uphold SB 5. Example: Under SB 5, public employees must pay at least 15 percent of the cost of their health-care premiums. Of voters Quinnipiac polled, 60 percent said they support that. Likewise, 56 percent of those polled said they support replacing automatic, longevity-based pay increases with merit pay. And 60 percent of those polled believe Ohio’s budget problems are “very serious.”

Spend fifteen seconds reading past the union battle-cry, and it’s clear Senate Bill 5 represents commonsense reforms that will empower taxpayers at the expense of union bosses. Surely, a man who resides in Ohio and writes about politics for a living would know that – which is why the editorial’s title must have been a mistake…

That is, if the “Yes on SB 5″ campaign can mobilize the politics of envy – say, in attacks on public-employee pensions, notably “double-dipping,” health plans and automatic pay increases – and tie those costs to the local taxes Ohioans have to pay, SB 5 might well survive – though political civility in Ohio, what’s left of it, certainly wouldn’t.

I know it’s only Monday, but Ohio’s papers would be pressed to publish a more ridiculous sentence this week. Here are a dozen union talking points that make heated, hypocritical (refer to union boss pay) use of the very tactic Suddes projects onto SB 5 supporters. If you can bear it, muddle through the editorial’s closing line again. Senate Bill 5, which limits the power of professional agitators whose job is to fight for more expensive government, is a threat to political civility. Tell us another, Professor Suddes!

Cross-posted at Third Base Politics.

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Three Months of Soaking the Rich

Forget trickle-down economics, it’s time for a tax-hike tsunami! As JFK liked to say when hawking government spending, “a rising tide lifts all the boats.” Stupid Reaganomics treat individual citizens as “boats,” which is wrong and probably racist. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has a Progressive’s grasp of economics: Washington is blameless, corporations are evil, and bureaucrats need more money to adjust the level of all boats appropriately.

Though Sherrod – like President Obama – isn’t specific about his assuredly non-socialist methodology, what if we used the class-warrior’s dream scenario of doubled corporate income taxes and fully “reclaimed” CEO pay? Starting with just the 2011 deficit of $1.62 trillion, how fast could we balance the budget with a little extra from the kings of the S&P 500 index?

Pictured above: the 2011 deficit bucket, and the 5.783% drop that would result from dramatically increasing taxes on twenty-four of America’s largest employers (view source workbook). That’s a reduction from $1,620,000,000,000 to $1,526,319,144,240. Even if soaking a few hundred more corporations could cover the remaining 94.217%, would it be worth it?

Of course it would! As any Progressive will tell you, raising taxes on The Rich has no negative effects. Among the things that won’t happen if Sherrod Brown and President Obama tax their way to the chart above:

  • None of the corporations’ 5,037,561 employees will lose their jobs.
  • None of the corporations’ products or services – health insurance, prescription drugs, medical devices, food at supermarkets & restaurants, gasoline, business & consumer lending, construction equipment, air travel, shipping, cell phone service, broadband access, fast food, the thousands of items available at Amazon.com & Wal-Mart, toothpaste, diapers, detergent, baby soap, Band-Aids, movies, television, newspapers, computer software, iPods, laptops, servers, networking equipment, etc. – will get more expensive.
  • None of the funds or individuals holding the corporations’ 63,350,800,000 shares of stock will be ruined… unless they deserve it!
  • None of the world’s entrepreneurs or executives will stop investing in American businesses.

It’s a good thing raising taxes is an all-around win… otherwise, Ohioans would need to start looking for a senator with more sense than Sherrod Brown!

Cross-posted at Third Base Politics.

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