Sherrod Brown and Barack Obama’s China Envy

When not attacking American companies, President Obama gets downright romantic about the grand things American companies do with the Washington’s guidance. China is frequently a source of envy (see: passenger rail boondoggles), because China’s statist capitalism-lite floats Obama’s boat. As America’s most statist senator, Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is on board for anything involving more government!

Sherrod asked President Obama about his plans for a federal manufacturing and energy policy during a February 2010 Democrat meeting:

President Obama knows what’s best, and seems annoyed by the democracy blocking his path. For all his worries of “falling behind” autocratic China in the race to throw money at unmarketable products, we have to wonder how much of the New York Times coverage he was briefed on the week before!

In the United States, power companies frequently face a choice between buying renewable energy equipment or continuing to operate fossil-fuel-fired power plants that have already been built and paid for. In China, power companies have to buy lots of new equipment anyway, and alternative energy, particularly wind and nuclear, is increasingly priced competitively.


As in many other industries, China’s low labor costs are an advantage in energy.

Emphasis mine. Impromptu poll: Do you think Sherrod Brown or President Obama comprehend how expensive capital is, or realize China’s population and infrastructure are different from ours? Do you think they would cross Big Labor in order to compete with Chinese manufacturing in a meaningful way?

What the average person might call “reality” is only a cloud of pesky details for Barack Obama and Sherrod Brown to wave aside. Green energy is A Good Thing, so taxpayers should happily spend money on green energy while coal & oil companies take their medicine and ask for more. Pipelines are right out. Sure, we’ll lose the occasional half billion or so funding the endeavors of Obama donors, but that’s part of the fun!

If you suffer through the complete hour-and-fifteen session on the White House YouTube channel, you’ll hear both Sherrod and the president mention glowingly Ron Bloom, Obama’s former “Car Czar.” Bloom, instrumental in bringing the UAW out on top of the Chrysler and GM bailouts, is both an SEIU alum and a Mao enthusiast. Forget about the jobs lost to China; the ghost of Chairman Mao draws in Obama appointees like a siren!

In matters of manufacturing and green energy – as with most everything else – Sherrod Brown is a cheerleader for Obama’s worst Progressive tendencies. For a Senate seat the GOP can retake this November, look no further than Ohio!

Cross-posted from Big Government.

Michigan Union Bosses Hate School Choice

When Governor Rick Snyder (R) and Republicans in Michigan’s state legislature implemented reforms to the state’s broken public school system last year, the Michigan Education Association (MEA) cried foul. The tone of MEA “leaders” trying to bolster their Middle Class credentials should sound familiar to anyone from Wisconsin or Ohio:

[MEA President Iris] Salters joined about 1,000 union members protesting at the state Capitol on Tuesday, saying the bill is “again a way to say to labor, you don’t count. It’s a way to say to employees, get back. I believe it’s just like being in the slave days.”

Why such desperate race-baiting against reforms that would modestly limit public union power? MEA bosses, following the example of higher-ups at the National Education Association, extract a tidy living from their members’ pockets.

Michigan Average Annual Pay compared to Michigan Education Association

Michigan occupational averages are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. MEA staff and officer pay comes from the Department of Labor. While the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers estimate average annual wages in Michigan at $43,280, average pay for MEA staff and officers is $96,373.

Crazy, isn’t it, how angry public unions get about reforms that would threaten their monopoly? MEA bosses must truly care about their underpaid, unappreciated members!

MEA President Iris Salters, quoted above comparing school choice and merit pay to slavery, took $283,280 from Michigan teachers’ paychecks last fiscal year. MEA Public Affairs Director Doug Pratt defended her logic and her threat of an illegal strike:

“MEA will not stand silent while Michigan’s public schools and middle class are under attack,” Pratt said.

“These votes are our way of increasing the awareness and action among our members statewide to stand in defense of our jobs, our rights, and the futures of our students and communities. Should lawmakers fail to end these attack on the people of Michigan, we will not shy away from taking action to stop them.”

Emphasis mine. To be honest, the more I learn about NEA affiliates across the country, the less I worry about my time wasted fighting for Ohio’s union reform bill. Union bosses everywhere seem to be reenacting the same idiotic melodrama!

Meanwhile, 148 of 334 MEA staff and officers are paid six figures. Counting Ms. Salters, the top of the payroll includes 6 people who take more than $200,000 a year from Michigan teachers:


Public Affairs Director Pratt, standing athwart education reform yelling “STUDENTS,” took $174,879 from Michigan teachers last year.

How did Michigan taxpayers survive before the Michigan Education Association?

Union Bosses Against School Choice

The National Education Association (NEA) and its state affiliates push an agenda that benefits union bosses at taxpayer expense. In America’s 28 forced-unionism states, teachers in NEA-organized schools who opt not to join must still pay dues, creating a huge pot of money for NEA to spend portraying teachers as victims and union bosses as their only friends.

NEA calls its political action committee “The NEA Fund for Children & Public Education.” Subtle, right? But NEA doesn’t stop at spending tens of millions on Progressives who will shovel money at public education without demanding reform for broken tenure and compensation policies. The nonpartisan materials on NEA’s member-funded website include, to sample a few recent items:

Given the union’s claim to stand for Middle Class workers, a casual observer might expect the salaries of NEA officers and staff to resemble the average working stiff’s. That casual observer would be very, very wrong.

U.S. Hourly Wage Percentiles, Full-time private industry vs. NEA

Based on the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, 90% of full-time private industry workers in America are paid $39.81/hour or less. Assuming a 40-hour week, NEA officers and staff are paid an average of $55.23/hour.

Average annual pay for NEA officers and staff is $114,882, using figures from the union’s most recent filing to the U.S. Department of Labor. NEA bosses preach collectivism while collecting hefty paychecks from members who they insist are underpaid!

You may want to put down any liquids before looking at specifics:

  • John Wilson, Executive Director: $492,484
  • Dennis Van Roekel, President: $460,060
  • Lily Eskelsen, Vice President: $371,904
  • John Yrchik, Executive Director: $328,617
  • Becky Pringle, Secretary/Treasurer: $325,384

Last year, 44 NEA staff and officers were paid more than $200,000. Out of just over 700 officers and staff, 446 were paid six figures. Review the numbers from the Department of Labor.

If an NEA member ever berates you about the shortcomings of school choice legislation, cut them some slack! Only an Obama strawman says free markets are perfect, but Obama strawmen are the only counterpoints offered in NEA materials. Wait for a pause in the union script, share this info, and ask why forcing kids to attend a school where teachers are forced to fund NEA beats messy individualism!

The National Education Association and its affiliates throughout the country will lie about who they are, reward themselves richly with member dues, and attack anyone who points out the appalling truth. Don’t let selfish NEA posturing dissuade you from fighting for what’s right.

Sherrod Brown’s Occupier Solidarity

Back in October, Sherrod Brown (D-OH) made one of his frequent MSNBC appearances to chat with Chris Matthews about the hot new show in town: Occupy Wall Street. Matthews and Brown seemed equally enthusiastic about the left’s answer to the Tea Party movement.

Here are two of the most telling exchanges from the segment, which you can view in its entirety courtesy of YouTube user toddfein:

My favorite part of this clip is Sherrod’s self-contradicting statement, “this isn’t a liberal/conservative, left or right, it’s whose side are you on?” Sherrod is a Progressive, you see, so he’s not divisive – he just wants you to pick a side, and if you pick the wrong side he’s going to demonize you.

As reported in November at Third Base Politics, an Ohio conservative blog I help manage, Sherrod Brown’s campaign site even used the Occupiers’ “stand with the 99%” rhetoric for an email-harvesting web petition. Occupy Wall Street’s whiny demands that government do everything are a perfect match for Sherrod’s pitiful class warfare, and it seems obvious Sherrod had high hopes for the movement.

In an October 2010 USA Today editorial titled “How to fight Tea Party’s faux populism,” Sherrod was less excited about organized protest:

Tea Party populism is driven by anger at our government and at our country. Real populism fights for all Americans, while Tea Party populism divides us.

Republicans have always been good at coming up with catch phrases and slogans that traffic in fear and misinformation.

What changed between 2010 and 2011? Rallies against Obamacare’s unconstitutional overreach – for which Sherrod Brown was the deciding “Yea” vote – were replaced by riots against The Rich. Where is Sherrod’s editorial decrying the rampant violence and hatred we’ve seen from the Occupiers he endorsed on television not 4 months ago

By December, Occupy camps across the country had racked up more than 400 criminal incidents – leading the movement to win coveted Time “Person of the Year” recognition and the illustrious Breitbart “Ambiguous Entity of the Year” award. Last week, even Nancy Pelosi walked back her support for Occupy Wall Street.

Search for evidence of Sherrod Brown’s disapproval, and the best you’ll find is a snarky PolitiFact Ohio hit piece against his Republican opponent, Josh Mandel. As of this writing, Sherrod’s “Stand with the 99%” petition is still online.

It’s odd that Sherrod took to the pages of USA Today to wag a finger at Tea Party anger but is now giving the Occupiers a pass, don’t you think?

For the entire miserable picture, you can watch the full Hardball segment, review the transcript, and read Sherrod’s tea party smear in USA Today. When you’re done, I suspect you may want to send a few bucks to Josh Mandel’s campaign.

Cross-posted from Big Government.

A Socialism Windfall from House Democrats

Cranking their class warfare to eleven, House Democrats submitted a “windfall tax” bill on Wednesday that would increase taxes on some oil and natural gas company revenues to 100%. As The Hill reported:

According to the bill, a windfall tax of 50 percent would be applied when the sale of oil or gas leads to a profit of between 100 percent and 102 percent of a reasonable profit. The windfall tax would jump to 75 percent when the profit is between 102 and 105 percent of a reasonable profit, and above that, the windfall tax would be 100 percent.

"Hello, Congress? We must act quickly -- someone's earning a profit!"

Don’t ask what constitutes a “reasonable profit” – the bureaucrats will work it out! From the text of the bill:

The term ‘reasonable profit’ means the amount determined by the Reasonable Profits Board to be a reasonable profit on the sale.

To guarantee oil barons get the soaking they deserve, no one with a financial interest (read: no one with actual industry knowledge) would be permitted a seat on the new Reasonable Profits Board, whose members would be nominated by the president. Think of the National Labor Relations Board, but instead of union lawyers regulating unions we could have union lawyers regulating energy companies!

A panel of eggheads deciding how much profit a corporation is allowed to earn is socialism, plain and simple. This is no shock considering the bill’s primary sponsor, Progressive tool and potential Ron Paul cabinet member Dennis Kucinich (D-OH). Kucinich appears to be taking a break from UFO spotting to show voters in his newly redrawn deep-blue district he’s the Democrat of choice in the upcoming primary. He aimed for “populist” and landed on “socialist,” but don’t expect his cosponsors to split hairs.

What’s saddest about this terrible idea is that it’s so common. Seven Democrat senators – including vulnerable freshmen Sherrod Brown (OH), Claire McCaskill (MO), and Jon Tester (MT) – joined Socialist Bernie Sanders (VT) to propose a windfall oil tax in 2007. President Obama embraced the policy during his 2008 campaign; “Enact a Windfall Profits Tax to Provide a $1,000 Emergency Energy Rebate to American Families” is the very first item on the old Obama for America energy issues page (view as a PDF).

Of course, I own a few shares of Marathon Oil, Marathon Petroleum, and Spectra Energy, so my concerns are invalid. I should be grateful the Progressives only want 100% of unreasonable profits! Since Washington knows best, the new Board could just as soon take all the money invested by fat-cats like me and stimulate ACORN, the windmill industry, or whatever Michael Moore’s working on.

At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey provides context for allegedly excessive oil company profits, and the Tax Foundation has decades of research wrecking this rickety Democrat hobbyhorse. While it’s fun to laugh at the economic idiocy of clowns like Kucinich, remember: socialist attacks on private industry are key planks in the Progressive platform beneath President Obama and Democrats in both houses of Congress.

Big Labor Partisanship at Teacher Expense

However they market themselves, public unions are political by nature, brimming partisanship that goes beyond their skewed campaign spending. Every Republican teacher, public safety worker, and government employee forced to pay “fair share” dues should be outraged.

My state’s National Education Association (NEA) affiliate, the Ohio Education Association (OEA), takes millions in fees from non-members each year. Operating on NEA’s model, OEA insists all teachers be forced to pay for the union’s non-political business. This would be well and good, if OEA conducted any non-political business.

From the union’s mission statement:

OEA believes that for those whose business is public education, activism is an obligation.

OEA has the same definition of “activism” as every garden variety leftist group: Demand bigger government under the guise of fairness and equality. For example, ACORN’s 2005-06 Political Program (hat tip: Publius’ Forum) lists OEA as a “Coalition Partner” –

We see the combination of these efforts as key to maintaining and expanding the level of electoral participation by more progressive voters in the state, along with playing a role in pushing voter alignment along axes of community concerns and economic security.

In other words, OEA worked with ACORN to push the entitlement mindset and get entitlement-minded voters to the polls. For… the children?

More recently, OEA was listed as a state partner of “Health Care for America NOW” (a lobbying group devoted to socialized medicine) and the Ohio Voter Fund (a coalition of leftists against voter ID).

NEA and its state affiliates are enthusiastic cheerleaders for Keynesian deficit spending, though I wouldn’t want the task of finding a math teacher who insists one minus two equals jobs!

Honestly, NEA’s entire “Education Votes” blog could be an Obama 2012 campaign site. NEA publicly endorsed Obama’s reelection last July, ending hours of heated debate among no one: every Big Labor affiliation and stump speech flies in the face of the lie that partisanship is limited to official campaign spending.

When the public union stranglehold was threatened in Ohio last winter, OEA’s class war machine went into overdrive at the expense of willing and unwilling dues-payers alike. Progressive talking points come easily to a group that instructs members to indoctrinate children on the glories of unionism!

NEA bosses take advantage of the goodwill teachers generate, paying themselves and Democrats handsomely while claiming credit for members’ hard work. Unless you look forward to the second Obama term NEA is sinking millions into, be sure your friends and family know teachers’ unions want higher taxes and bigger government.

There’s much more evidence than what I’ve listed here, and I’ll continue highlighting the ugly Progressive truth about NEA and its partners here in Ohio.

Sherrod’s Socialist Record, 2005-2010

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) hasn’t been rated America’s most liberal senator two years running by accident, nor as a result of some sudden leftward shift. If Sherrod’s votes from 1993-98 and 1999-2004 weren’t convincing enough, take a gander at recent reasons he should be a single-term senator.

Following are some of Sherrod’s notable votes from the list tracked by the American Conservative Union (ACU).

  • 2005: Sherrod voted to block oil drilling in ANWR, hike fuel efficiency standards, and spend taxpayer funds on embryonic stem cell research. He voted against bankruptcy law reform, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac reform, tying UN funding to UN reforms, and requiring parental notification to transport a minor across state lines for an abortion.  ACU Rating: 4
  • 2006: Sherrod voted to impose Net Neutrality. He voted against a capital gains tax cut, a death tax cut, and ending the offshore oil & gas drilling moratorium.  ACU Rating :25
  • 2007: Sherrod voted to ban incandescent light bulbs, expand SCHIP, and spend tax dollars on embryonic stem cell research. He voted against death tax repeal, Alternative Minimum Tax repeal, extension of the Bush tax cuts, and improved earmark disclosure.  ACU Rating: 0
  • 2008: Sherrod voted for more risky Fannie & Freddie lending, two separate $4 billion Fannie & Freddie bailouts, the auto industry bailout, TARP, and a tax hike on energy companies. He voted against missile defense, an earmark moratorium, and a discretionary spending cap.  ACU Rating: 8
  • 2009: Sherrod voted for Obama’s “stimulus,” Cash for Clunkers, Obamacare, and Eric Holder’s confirmation as Attorney General. He voted against medical malpractice reform, D.C. school choice, and de-funding ACORN.  ACU Rating: 0
  • 2010: Sherrod voted for New START, the DREAM Act, and Craig Becker’s appointment to the NLRB. He voted against an earmark moratorium, D.C. school choice, death tax repeal, and a fence on the southern border.  ACU Rating: 0

Sherrod Brown isn’t just a rubber stamp for President Obama’s failed policies – his entire career has been a tribute to stifling central government and weaker national defense.

Now in his twentieth year in Congress, Sherrod deserves no small share of the blame for the fiscal and moral bankruptcy of 2012 Washington. Seeing Sherrod Brown defeated in Ohio this November should be a priority for conservatives everywhere.

Cross-posted from Big Government.

Ohio Workers Keep Losing Thanks to Big Labor’s Win

In Wisconsin, Governor Walker’s public union reforms are pummeling the Big Labor narrative by saving taxpayer dollars and teachers’ jobs. Meanwhile, the professional class-warriors who get rich pushing “solidarity” force districts into layoffs by refusing to revisit unaffordable contracts.

After similar reforms failed in Ohio thanks to a smear campaign exceeding $30 million, Ohio’s public workers are enjoying the sort of union victory that’s often accompanied by a pink slip.

A month ago I shared stories from around the state of firings caused by the same union bosses who screeched against Governor Kasich’s “attack on workers.” To the surprise of neither of my website’s readers, this avoidable trend continues.

Voters who opposed reform have caused the very problems Big Labor insisted reform would create:

Marion Police say they are committed to answering the city’s 9-1-1 calls but come the [sic] January 1st, callers could see delays in response times.

That’s because the [sic] 15 officers are being cut from the department.  Another position is expected to be eliminated in 2012.

Emphasis mine. Delayed response times were one of the many unexplained evils that would have allegedly resulted from making public employees a little more accountable to the public.

In Lorain, millions in cuts plus millions borrowed from the state aren’t enough:

The cuts would be in addition to laying off 18 teachers and nine teachers’ aides, which was approved Wednesday night by board members and would save $1.5 million. The layoffs take effect Jan. 23.

In Wapakoneta, home of Neil Armstrong, the teachers’ union is preparing to strike over a pay freeze and increased benefit costs, although administrators and non-union staff have already taken a pay freeze:

The district, like many, has faced difficult financial times. It had $1.2 million of deficit spending last fiscal year and is projected to spend $1.6 million more than its annual revenue this year.

Shelli Jackson, the union’s “Labor Relations Consultant,” was paid $111,811 in member dues last year. An Ohio Education Association-orchestrated strike against a struggling district would be one small notch in her class warfare belt, and one giant kick in the pants for taxpayers.

The Gallia County Schools union has also threatened to strike if they’re asked to pay anything towards their insurance:

Gallia County Schools Superintendent Charla Evans told the board has made several offers they believe to be fair. She said the school system is spending more than it is taking in. The teachers and support staff have rejected both offers.

In Hancock County, the Van Buren Education Association threatened a strike when their school board voted to impose a final offer with inadequate raises:

That offer included a two-year contract that freezes teacher salaries this year, with a 1.12 percent raise in the 2012-13 school year.

Teachers who are on the single health care plan are also required to pay more toward benefits.

Threatening to strike when asked to pay slightly more towards insurance is a common public union tactic because it works. For Exhibit A in the National Education Association’s top-down mastery of class warfare, refer again to the results of the Ohio union reform campaign.

Exit survey: How un-frozen has your salary been over the past few years? When is the last time you heard a public employer suggest a pay cut? What do you expect will happen to teachers without seniority when local unions squeeze school boards into contracts they cannot afford?

Cross-posted at Big Government.

Sherrod’s Shameful Record, 1999-2004

Last week we looked at the first 6 years of Senator Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) time in Congress. His early House voting record should alarm fiscal and social conservatives alike, but let’s see whether the decisions he made from 1999-2004 were better!

Don’t get your hopes up; Sherrod’s lifetime American Conservative Union (ACU) rating is 7.77.

  • 1999: Sherrod voted against impeachment proceedings, a broad tax cut package, medical savings accounts, and education block grants. He voted to delay missile defense implementation, and to continue funding the United Nations without demanding UN reforms.  ACU Rating: 0
  • 2000: Sherrod voted against banning partial-birth abortion, eliminating the death tax, and cutting taxes to alleviate the marriage penalty. He voted to lift the embargo on Cuba, increase the federal minimum wage, and impose the federal minimum wage on the states. ACU Rating: 4
  • 2001: Sherrod voted against making it a crime to kill an unborn child while committing another crime. He voted against school vouchers. He voted to allow taxpayer funding for abortions in federal prisons, lift the embargo on Cuba, tighten SUV mileage standards, and maintain the ANWR oil-drilling ban. ACU Rating: 4
  • 2002: Sherrod voted against extending welfare reform, eliminating the death tax, banning partial-birth abortion, capping medical malpractice suits, and a broad 1% domestic spending cut. He voted to limit free speech in the months preceding an election, and to allow Homeland Security employees to unionize. ACU Rating: 4
  • 2003: Sherrod voted against a partial-birth abortion ban, medical malpractice reform, class action lawsuit reform, death tax repeal, and DC school choice vouchers. He voted to fund abortions at military hospitals, keep ANWR closed from drilling, allow human cloning, and allow negligence suits against gun manufacturers when a gun is used to commit a crime. ACU Rating: 16
  • 2004: Sherrod again voted against making it a criminal offense to kill an unborn child while committing another crime. He voted against medical malpractice reform, allowing small businesses to buy health insurance as a group, drilling in ANWR, and a 1% cut in non-defense discretionary spending. He voted to fund abortion at military hospitals, block “bunker-buster” development, and cut military spending in favor of green energy programs. ACU Rating: 4

Based on Sherrod’s 1993-2004 record, he was one of America’s worst representatives on pro-life issues, taxes, school choice, entitlements, and national defense. During his first 12 years in Congress, Sherrod Brown proved himself a worthy torch-bearer for the Progressive cause.

Think he’s improved in the years since? We’ll see next week!

Cross-posted from Big Government.

Obama Visits Ohio, Sherrod Brown Skips Town

When President Obama pronounced the Constitution legally dead at a Cleveland campaign stop, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) was nowhere to be found. Did the president reach a partisan bridge Sherrod refused to cross? Or was Sherrod’s “scheduling conflict” as politically motivated as President Obama’s latest stunt?

The president has a 41% approval rating in Ohio, where Sherrod Brown faces reelection this fall. Last November, Ohioans voted to block Obamacare – for which Sherrod was the deciding vote – by a margin of more than 1 million.

In other words, Sherrod’s absence didn’t indicate a change of heart from the class warfare he spewed on the Senate floor when Republicans blocked Rich Cordray’s appointment to CFPB:

Chris Dodd and Barney Frank could hardly ask for a more devoted apologist! Sherrod’s “cop on the beat” quip wouldn’t be disgustingly deceptive if police also made up laws as they went along

Sadly, Obama’s Cleveland speech veered Sherrod’s direction; who needs the Constitution when you can strike a populist pose while installing a powerful new bureaucrat?

But when Congress refuses to act and as a result hurts our economy and puts people at risk, I have an obligation as President to do what I can without them. I have an obligation to act on behalf of the American people. I will not stand by while a minority in the Senate puts party ideology ahead of the people they were elected to serve.

Emphasis mine. Obama’s “do what I can” seems to get redefined daily. The proletariat cannot wait for the machinations of Wall Street swine and their purchased politicians!

From a safe distance, Sherrod strummed the same class warfare strings in a press release:

Ohio families deserve a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – complete with a Director – that can stand up to the special interests and look out for Ohioans’ interests.  We asked for a fair up or down vote on Richard Cordray’s nomination. But too many senators are willing to stand instead with Wall Street, blocking a qualified nominee for the first time in the history of the Senate based on opposition to an agency’s very existence.

Never mind that 15 of the 20 biggest “special interests” give most of their campaign cash to Democrats. Sherrod cries foul over any GOP delay to Obama’s agenda, but he’s indifferent to Obama’s abuse of the Constitution.

While avoiding an event where he might be photographed next to an unpopular leftist, Sherrod is a leading spokesman for the president’s most contemptible Progressive policies.

Obama justified the illegal appointment of a new czar by citing regulations that should be pursued by the legislature. Remember the legislature? It’s one of those other branches of the federal government… but unfortunately for President Obama, not every senator is a radical statist like Sherrod Brown.

Regardless of geographic proximity, Sherrod Brown and President Obama are peas in a Progressive pod. Based on his love for stifling central government, we might assume Sherrod learned the wrong lessons from the Russian Studies program at Yale!