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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cruising the Web

Steven Malanga makes the salient point that the SEIU's victories have come with back-room deals made with politicians rather than in the open getting actual people to vote to join the union. No surprise there - their strength is their ability to buy politicians who happily sign away the voters' money as repayment for the unions' electoral support.

These stories are getting to be no surprise at all: The California state pension fund is in even worse shape than previously thought.

If you're simply appalled at all the viciousness supposedly demonstrated by the tea party movement and other opponents of Obama's policies, watch this eye-opener video that John Hawkins has posted of actual phone calls to Dick Armey's Freedom Works organization accompanied by the sorts of signs of ugliness and violence being carried in rallies against President Bush or Sarah Palin or whichever conservative currently being demonized. Language warning. Hmmm... is there anything comparable being shown of signs carried at a tea party protest? I don't think so. Anyone surprised?

Even NPR can't find any evidence that Dodd's bill would end "too big to fail" policies. No surprise that Dodd's bill doesn't address what really needs to be addressed in a financial regulatory bill.

And here's something else that won't surprise you. Dodd's bill includes a measure that will help the public employees' unions.

Senator Reid's hometown newspaper
makes the by-now unsurprising allegation that the health care bill that Reid is telling audiences is the "most important thing" that the Senate has done for the world is just snake oil.

Surprise, surprise: The guy who billed himself as a post-partisan president is getting a mite bit personal in his political jabs at his opponents.

Perhaps this will surprise you: Almost one in three city employees in San Francisco earn over $100,000. And the mayor earns more than the Chief Justice of the United States.

No one is really surprised anymore by Senator Ben Nelson's ability to leverage his vote on a bill to getting special deals for his state. You might have heard that he joined the Republicans last night in voting against cloture on Dodd's financial regulation bill. Well, it turns out that his objection was that the Democrats took out a special provision that he wanted to protect Nebraska's Berkshire Hathaway.


stubedobedu said...

NPR has liberal hosts like Terry Gross (very annoying person in IMO) but I don't consider it a liberal news source. They unlike MSNBC and Fox generally do not focus on simply one side or the other or use a lot of adjectives to help the stupid public form the view of the person being discussed. When they do (as I said "generally"), they call themselves out by daily reading letters from listeners both for and against the stories they report. If mistakes are made, they admit it on air. But, please, continue the narrative they are liberal.

Personally, I'm not a big fan of any financial regulation that focus's on "too big to fail". Its silly, pointless, won't work and frankly is not good for the U.S economy and our system of capitalism. I like that there is always a desire to get bigger, larger, richer. I am in favor of regulation like the FDIC and it should extend to any business that enters into the investment and banking arena. GE Credit, GMAC, etc. You enter this lucrative field, have the means to cover your losses and allow the government to intercede and shut you down gracefully should you fail. And like a regular bank, should you fail... screw you and the investors who supported you but the system protects the depositors like we have successfully since the lessons of the Great Depression. I also want derivatives regulated. I'm tired of the "economy melted down from the 30+ year old community reinvestment act" arguments, whoops, meant to say paranoid need to blame everyone but me excuses. Derivatives were unfunded "insurance" with the same investment value of a roulette table. If you do not regulate them and ensure the rating agencies act responsibly, this will happen again... no doubt in my mind.

However, the problem today is that the right side of the Senate and House are only interested in a continual effort to undermine any and all things from Obama. Absolutely nothing else. I'm not proposing they support him but honest effort to integrate their positions in bills and accept the other side won they last election. I'm confident that if they actually did want legislation, they could formulate a response that tempered liberal efforts to over reach based on the equally stupid notion that business is necessarily evil (same as the right's moronic "government is evil", I prefer anything man can create can be evil if we are not continually diligent). The public would be supportive and it would sway voters to their side come election time.

Unfortunately the leadership on the right is determined to do their version of Sherman's march to the sea. I'm guessing to an extent it will be successful come November. I also expect, come the day after the election, they (and the conservative blogging community) will very disingenuously communicate the nation has spoken and we should come together. In fact, they will only ensure the continued team sports mentally to politics that is seriously hurting this nation.

stubedobedu said...

"Almost one in three city employees in San Francisco".

Okay, respectfully, do you do any effort to consider context or are you simply looking for tidbits to point to the evils of government and places known for their liberal bent?

I am in the IT field in the midwest. I make 80K a year. If I were to move to San Francisco to do to my job, today I would make about $130K to $135K for the very same job. There is effectively a cost of living premium for that place for an assortment of reasons, primarily its location, location, location.

Do I agree with it? No, I'm happy with my salary and my location.

Should they make the same as folks doing similar jobs of public employees in your community in North Carolina? If so, should they commute from Nevada to find housing cheap enough?

Why is context, and details such as cost of living, rarely considered in debates of the left and right? How does this improve our society?

tfhr said...


You said, "I'm tired of the "economy melted down from the 30+ year old community reinvestment act" arguments, whoops, meant to say paranoid need to blame everyone but me excuses."

Are you saying that the CRA had no place in the real estate / mortgage bubble?

I see that you believe that "the problem today is that the right side of the Senate and House are only interested in a continual effort to undermine any and all things from Obama". That's it? That's the only problem? I guess you could call it, "goes around comes around", but I think it would be more accurate and helpful to realize that the two sides don't see eye to eye on proposed solutions.

Next you complain that there is no input in legislation from the right. You say you want an "honest effort to integrate their positions in bills and accept the other side won they last election." Well which parts of the Republican proposals do you like? Better yet, which ones have the Democrats embraced? When was the last time they even allowed members from the other side of the aisle to participate?

By the way, "accept[ing] the other side won [the 2008 election], doesn't obligate us to accept a damaging expansion of government and the harmful legislative proposals of this administration.

tfhr said...


Are you missing the point about the high cost of expanding government?

San Francisico's city pay roll gets bigger and bigger and the federal payroll gets bigger and bigger. Do you see a problem?

Taxes have to go up to support those ever increasing payrolls and where do those taxes come from? Get it?

Stuart Hutchings said...

My point tfhr is that simply casting aspersions on the salary is overly simplistic. Though it was many moons ago, I've stated I'm something of a 'middle of the road' independent with a willingness to bend to the left (generally for social reasons) or right (fiscal) based on need. I do not favor reflexive all or nothing approaches. Must cut spending/taxes or must increase taxes. I believe adjust as needed.

I do not know whether San Francisco's budget is paid for, whether their community is satisfied with services provided, whether they rate hirer or lower than other communities of similar size/issues/needs/education/diversity/etc.

While the number seems high, I'd be far more interested in the nuances than the drudge style declaration. Okay, we can solve San Francisco's issues(?) and (joy!) cut taxes by simply reducing the salary of their public employees. Brilliant! Hey, while we are making sweeping generalizations, how about we arbitrarily cut it to 1 in 10?

Stuart Hutchings said...

Yes, I'm pretty much saying the 30+ year old CRA as major component of the real estate melt down argument was/is utter nonsense. If folks would like to argue the further loosening of it during Clinton's administration combined with the elimination of the Glass Steagall Act, permitted the blind drunken stupidity of the lending industry, desperate for China's trillions, which continued to lower standards to gain new mortgages to repackage into investment vehicles... well, I'd be completely fine with that. If folks further wanted to say that eventually the lending requirements went so low, combined with intentional scams directed at poorly educated morons, combined with consumer greed (folks who seemed to lose all sense of what a 'normal' real estate growth/boom/decline looked like and learned to "flip" houses) left a housing market way over inflated which has given us this so-called Great Recession... yup, I'd be just fine with that.

And sorry, I'm tired of the Dems are just refusing to listen to the proposals of the Reps. Nonsense. If the definition is show me you've compromised by doing exactly what I want, okay... then them Dems suck. But I think the evidence of the Health Care Reform shows that it is chock full of elements requested or originally proposed by Republicans. Folks love to cite polls saying how much the public didn't like it, yet always seem to ignore that the "don't like" responses were usually split between folks who really didn't like it and folks who really wanted a heck of a lot more. Sorry, the Repubs chances in the fall have as much to do with Obama not being the liberal, commie, socialists folks like to make posters declaring. Otherwise, the left would be just as motivated during this election cycle. But hey, details are boring and usually hurt the narrative.

I don't expect folks on the right to support when the left wins or visa versa, but for the good of the country I expect sincere effort. I think more credibility is earned when the effort is made. However, the current narrative is Obama as anti-christ or similar hyperbole, which makes it very hard to show any sense of cooperation. Hence folks like Charlie Crist are toast. And folks on the left are not much better with their love/hate relationship with Ben Nelson.

Look, I don't like far left or right politicians, especially those who cherry pick factoids about the founding of our country to support the modern ivory tower interpretation of those events. Folks like me are increasingly disappointed in our fellow citizens (who frankly make shows like "Are you smarter than a 5th grader" possible) and the fact there are very few elected officials left willing or able to use common sense and pragmatism.

tfhr said...

Stuart Hutchings / stubedobedu (please pick one and stay with it....),

Is this the root of your complaint:

"Folks like me are increasingly disappointed in our fellow citizens (who frankly make shows like "Are you smarter than a 5th grader" possible) and the fact there are very few elected officials left willing or able to use common sense and pragmatism"

Are you really saying that we need government to take care of us because we aren't capable of making the right decisions? I would point out that the three thousand page health care "reform" bill shows us just how much common sense and pragmatism can be expected from a body that generates loophole riddled tax code that it's own authors, such as Charles Rangel, do not seem to feel applies to them. No, I don't think more government is the answer though I would like to see a less apathetic public.

I see you side-stepped my request for an example of a Republican position that you wanted to see adopted or an example of a Democrat overture in support of a particular Republican proposal. It would seem that you only see one side of the health care debate. Is that true regarding the financial "reform" debate as well?

Back to San Francisco and expanding goverment: What happens when government becomes too expensive? You end up with a mess like California's where state employee pensions are breaking the state's bank. What happens when the state defaults? Is it fair to expect the rest of the tax payers in the nation to pay for the California legislature's generosity?

There is a limit, Stuart Hutchings / stubedobedu, and we're quickly finding that that comes with running out of other people's money.

Pat Patterson said...

One thing that got even some very liberal residents excited in SF over the amount some city/county employees were getting is that since 2005 while the population is estimated to have risen 5% the cost of government has gone up 11%. And unlike some other municipalities that have finally wised up to the good buddy method of overtime only going to the soon to retire SF has an inordinate amount of workers suddenly making 1/3rd to 1/2 again their last few years of work. Then their retirement is caluculated on those last few years so that immediately the city and the state are paying out more than the employee contributed over the years.

But I do like the local public employee union, AFSCME, leader who basically said that private employees just needed better union representation to make up for the gap in salary and retirement.