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Archive for July, 2010

DJH: Just when you thought the flagrant greed and corruption coming out the Obama-Government Union collusion pact had reached it’s peak, along comes something called “The Local Jobs for America Act.”

FEED ME: More Money for Government Union Jobs!

This atrocity proposes to borrow yet another $100 billion from China to “save or create” a million jobs.

New Jobs at $100,000 a Pop?

A recent story in AOL News said the following about this latest proposed pork fest:

What does it mean to “create and save”? If a person is laid off after, say, six months on the job, does this job still count as created or saved? Moreover, if you divide $100 billion by a million, you get $100,000. That’s a lot of money to spend to “create or save” a single job that may or may not last.

Barely a “Bone” for the Private Sector

Clearly, the greedy pigs at the labor department have no respect for our hard earned tax dollars. According to the House Committee on Education and Labor, this new $100 billion porkulus package would fund the following:

  • $75 billion over two years to local communities to hire vital staff
  • Funding for 50,000 on-the-job private-sector training positions
  • $23 billion this year to help states support 300,000 education jobs
  • $1.18 billion to put 5,500 law enforcement officers on the beat
  • $500 million to retain, rehire, and hire firefighters (more…)
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DJH: Last week, Obama and the democrats strong armed our two weak kneed senators from Maine — Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, to vote for yet another extension of unemployment benefits (making it 99 weeks).

Obama Grandstanding Holding Hand with Convicted Drug Criminal Leslie Macko

We also learned yesterday from WCAV CBS-19 New Virgina that Leslie Macko, one of the token unemployed workers who stood next to Obama as he demagogued republicans about the bill was out of work because of her criminal record! Apparently, Macko was once employed at ACAC Fitness and Wellness Center in the Albemarle Square Shopping Center. However, in April 2009, a month after being found guilty of prescription drug fraud, she lost her job as an aesthetician in the spa at ACAC. (more…)

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DJH: As unemployment hits 22%, there is a strong recovery underway. There is just one problem — it’s not going to generate many new private sector jobs!

The Jobless Recovery?

Ina recent piece I did called “What is the Real Unemployment Rate: Would You Believe 22%?”, I highlighted a small business owner who reported that Obamacare has increased his cost of labor by $5/hour and when combined with the repeal of the Bush tax cuts, his income taxes will jump by 30% on January 1, 2011.

His response — stop hiring and focus on making the most he can with what he has. (more…)

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DJH: If you listen the the president or the Mainstream Media, you hear the constant drumbeat that “this is the worst economy since the Great Depression, it’s a Global Recession, and of course: it took us 8 years to create this mess, so it’s going to take a long time to fix it.”

In fact, here’s what Obama said just last Saturday about the US economy:

Everything is really bad and it's going to stay bad for a long time -- damn republicans!

“Now, I can’t tell you that this plan will bring back all the jobs we lost and restore our economy to full strength overnight.  The truth is, it took nearly a decade of failed economic policies to create this mess, and it will take years to fully repair the damage.  But I am confident that we are finally headed in the right direction.  We are moving forward.  And what we can’t afford right now is to go back to the same ideas that created this mess in the first place.

Unfortunately, those are the ideas we keep hearing from our friends in the other party.  This week, the Republican leader in the House of Representatives offered his plan to create jobs.  It’s a plan that’s surprisingly short, and sadly familiar.

Source: The White House (more…)

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DJH: Late Friday afternoon, Obama released his updated budget for 2011 and beyond. Make no mistake, all of his talk about fiscal responsibility is nothing but cheap talk!

Let’s start with the national debt; exactly what impact does Obama’s new budget have on our national debt?

Source: House Republican Budget Committee

Sad, but true, after all the speeches, all the hand wringing, and all the Bush Blaming, the brand spanky new budget from Barrack Obama triples our national debt by 2020! (more…)

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DJH: Now this is an interesting story, it looks like England has figured out that National Health Care costs a ton of money due to all the union hacks that run the bureaucracy and so their going to blow it up and put in a decentralized structure. Just as Harry Reid says he wants a single payer for the US!

From the July 24, 2010 World Section of the New York Times

Britain Plans to Decentralize Health Care

By SARAH LYALL

LONDON — Perhaps the only consistent thing about Britain’s socialized health care system is that it is in a perpetual state of flux, its structure constantly changing as governments search for the elusive formula that will deliver the best care for the cheapest price while costs and demand escalate.

Even as the new coalition government said it would make enormous cuts in the public sector, it initially promised to leave health care alone. But in one of its most surprising moves so far, it has done the opposite, proposing what would be the most radical reorganization of the National Health Service, as the system is called, since its inception in 1948.

Practical details of the plan are still sketchy. But its aim is clear: to shift control of England’s $160 billion annual health budget from a centralized bureaucracy to doctors at the local level. Under the plan, $100 billion to $125 billion a year would be meted out to general practitioners, who would use the money to buy services from hospitals and other health care providers.

The plan would also shrink the bureaucratic apparatus, in keeping with the government’s goal to effect $30 billion in “efficiency savings” in the health budget by 2014 and to reduce administrative costs by 45 percent. Tens of thousands of jobs would be lost because layers of bureaucracy would be abolished.

In a document, or white paper, outlining the plan, the government admitted that the changes would “cause significant disruption and loss of jobs.” But it said: “The current architecture of the health system has developed piecemeal, involves duplication and is unwieldy. Liberating the N.H.S., and putting power in the hands of patients and clinicians, means we will be able to effect a radical simplification, and remove layers of management.”

The health secretary, Andrew Lansley, also promised to put more power in the hands of patients. Currently, how and where patients are treated, and by whom, is largely determined by decisions made by 150 entities known as primary care trusts — all of which would be abolished under the plan, with some of those choices going to patients. It would also abolish many current government-set targets, like limits on how long patients have to wait for treatment.

The plan, with many elements that need legislative approval to be enacted, applies only to England; other parts of Britain have separate systems.

The government announced the proposals this month. Reactions to them range from pleased to highly skeptical.

Many critics say that the plans are far too ambitious, particularly in the short period of time allotted, and they doubt that general practitioners are the right people to decide how the health care budget should be spent. Currently, the 150 primary care trusts make most of those decisions. Under the proposals, general practitioners would band together in regional consortia to buy services from hospitals and other providers.

It is likely that many such groups would have to spend money to hire outside managers to manage their budgets and negotiate with the providers, thus canceling out some of the savings.

David Furness, head of strategic development at the Social Market Foundation, a study group, said that under the plan, every general practitioner in London would, in effect, be responsible for a $3.4 million budget.

“It’s like getting your waiter to manage a restaurant,” Mr. Furness said. “The government is saying that G.P.’s know what the patient wants, just the way a waiter knows what you want to eat. But a waiter isn’t necessarily any good at ordering stock, managing the premises, talking to the chef — why would they be? They’re waiters.”

But advocacy groups for general practitioners welcomed the proposals.

“One of the great attractions of this is that it will be able to focus on what local people need,” said Prof. Steve Field, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, which represents about 40,000 of the 50,000 general practitioners in the country. “This is about clinicians taking responsibility for making these decisions.”

Dr. Richard Vautrey, deputy chairman of the general practitioner committee at the British Medical Association, said general practitioners had long felt there were “far too many bureaucratic hurdles to leap” in the system, impeding communication. “In many places, the communication between G.P.’s and consultants in hospitals has become fragmented and distant,” he said.

The plan would also require all National Health Service hospitals to become “foundation trusts,” enterprises that are independent of health service control and accountable to an independent regulator (some hospitals currently operate in this fashion). This would result in a further loss of jobs, health care unions say, and also open the door to further privatization of the service.

The government has promised that the new plan will not affect patient care and that the health care budget will not be cut. But some experts say those assertions are misleading. The previous government, controlled by the Labour Party, poured money into the health service — the budget is now about three times what it was when Labour took over, in 1997 — but the increases have stopped. The government has said the budget will continue to rise in real terms for the next five years, but it is unlikely that the increases will keep up with the rising costs of care and the demands of an aging population.

“The real mistake that is being made by the health secretary is to drive through an ideologically determined program of reorganization which is motivated by the principle of efficiency savings,” said Robin Durie, a senior lecturer in politics at the University of Exeter. “History shows clearly that quality will suffer as a consequence.”

Dr. Durie added, “The gulf between the rhetoric of the white paper and the technicalities of what is involved in the various elements of the overall reorganization being proposed is just extraordinary.”

For example, he asked, how will the government make good on its promise to give patients more choice — a promise that seems to require a degree of administrative oversight — while cutting so many managers from the system?

“How will the delivery of all this choice be funded?” Dr. Durie asked. “And how will the management of the delivery of choice be funded?”

Dr. Vautrey said the country needed to have a “mature debate about what the N.H.S. can and cannot afford.”

He said: “It is a sign of the mixed messages that government sends out. They talk about choice and competition and increased patient expectations at the same time as they tell the service they need to cut costs and refer less and prescribe less. People need to understand that while the needs of everyone may be met, their wants will be limited.”

As they prepare for the change, many doctors are wondering whether it will be permanent this time around.

“Many of our colleagues have seen this cycle of change repeatedly,” Dr. Vautrey said. “Many would look at previous reorganizations and compare it to this one and wonder how long the current change will last before the next one comes along.”

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DJH: One of my favorite books of the last decade was Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping PointHow Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. A good thumbnail of Gladwell’s incredible hypothesis came from Publisher’s Weekly:

Little changes can have big effects; when small numbers of people start behaving differently, that behavior can ripple outward until a critical mass or “tipping point” is reached, changing the world.

Little Changes

Have you noticed the recent up-tick in news stories about politicians taking action to reel in crazy union deals, even when it entails breaking a legal contract? And have you noticed all of the little people who are standing up and cheering for them and booing down union spokespeople. This is the perfect formula for a political tipping point.

Here are a few I picked up in the last week:

Chula Vista California Votes to Ban Union Preference from City Contracts

“Early returns show a majority of voters in Chula Vista in favor of a proposition that would bar the city from agreements that favor union labor in publicly funded projects.

Proposition G would essentially bar so-called “project labor agreements,” which are pacts between a municipality and unions before construction starts that establish the wages and benefits the workers on a public project must be paid by contractors.”

Source: KPBS

Illinois Tosses Union Contractor Extortion From McCormick Place

“Illinois lawmakers handed Gov. Pat Quinn a sound defeat Thursday by rejecting his veto of legislation designed to cut costs at Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center.

Senate President John Cullerton’s bill would cut labor costs by allowing exhibitors to do their own setup, use outside electricians, and bring in their own food, bypassing convention center unions. It doubles the ground transportation tax charged on trips to and from Chicago’s airports to boost tourism spending.”

Source: FOX Chicago

City Manager of Bell, CA, Earns $800,000 a Year

This week, Bloomberg reports:

“… one of the poorest areas in Los Angeles County, the City of Bell (population of 38,000), erupted in protest after word spread its city manager earns about $800,000 per year, or nearly twice the salary of the US president.

Exorbitant pay is a rampant problem in the pint-sized city, where the police chief earns almost $460,000 — more than the police chief of the City of Los Angeles (population of 3.8 million) — and council members make roughly $100,000 for the part-time work of meeting twice a month. This all takes place in a California city with a per-capita income of $24,800 in 2008. It’s yet another example of the wise and efficient allocation of taxpayer dollars… right.”

Union Favoritism Becomes and Issue in Massachusetts Governor’s Race

THIS IS the kind of thing, Charlie Baker was saying one day last week, that “makes people crazy about state government.’’

The Republican gubernatorial candidate was standing near the site of the University of Massachusetts-Boston’s forthcoming expansion — a 10-year master plan for at least $750 million in new construction and renovation projects. On June 14, the University of Massachusetts Building Authority had voted to proceed under a Project Labor Agreement, meaning that only workers who pay dues to a union will be hired for one of the largest building projects coming down the pike. Since roughly 80 percent of the construction workforce in Massachusetts is open-shop (non-union), the PLA amounts to naked political favoritism for organized labor — and a raw deal for everyone else. Baker condemns PLAs as unjust, and pledges to ban them in state contracts if elected.

Governor Patrick, on the other hand, openly touts his success in steering lucrative construction contracts to the politically-wired sliver of trade workers who choose to belong to a union. “Take our biggest construction project, the $300 million undertaking at Worcester State Hospital,’’ he told the Building Trades Conference in Plymouth in March. “Ninety-six percent of the construction spending is being carried out by union workers.’’

Source: Boston Globe

The Globe went on to say:

“Something is plainly wrong when elected officials boast of excluding the vast majority of contractors and their employees from the chance to work on public projects. If the situation were reversed — if union members were the ones being blackballed by the administration — voters would be outraged. Is it any less outrageous when bids are rigged in favor of unions?

There is no economic rationale for these union-only deals. They are discriminatory and anticompetitive, and thus drive up costs significantly. When Suffolk University’s Beacon Hill Institute analyzed the costs of building 126 Boston-area schools, it found that PLAs inflated the winning bids for construction projects by almost 14 percent, and added an extra 12 percent to the actual construction costs. When it comes to public construction, PLAs all but guarantee that taxpayers will be overcharged. As The Wall Street Journal observed wryly in April: “Boston’s Big Dig, Seattle’s Safeco Field, Los Angeles’s Eastside Reservoir project, the San Francisco airport, Detroit’s ComericaPark — all were built under PLAs marked by embarrassing cost overruns.’’

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Calls Teacher’s Union “Stupid” and Crowd Cheers

“The teacher was trying to give the Governor a lesson.

“You’re not compensating me for my education and you’re not compensating me for my experience,” she bluntly told New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at a crowded town hall meeting.

“Well, you know what?,” the Governor shot back. “You don’t have to do it.”

The crowd erupted into applause at his rejoinder.

“Teachers go into it knowing what the pay scale is,” Christie explained, “and what I’m saying is, is that in times of economic crisis, this whole argument is over the fact that I asked people to not take a raise for a year and to pay one and-a-half percent of their salaries towards their benefits, and your union has said that that is the greatest assault on public education in the history of the state. That’s why the union has no credibility, stupid statements like that.”

The crowd applauded again.”

Source: N.J. Gov. Christie vs. Unions

Even Democrats Get Into the Action!

Earlier this week I wrote a story titled: San Jose Democrat Mayor Outsources $100,000 Union Janitor Jobs to Private Sector: Saves Millions!

“Chuck Reed, the mayor of San Jose California appeared on Varney and Company yesterday reporting that they have fired all of their city hall and airport government union janitors and outsourced the work to private firms.”

Tipping Point?

No one knows for sure when a tipping point is about to happen, but this sure looks like one to me. Private sector workers across America are extremely frustrated with Washington DC and they blame both political parties. This frustration is exacerbated by the fact that they can’t change anything until November and the can’t replace Obama until 2012.

But there is one thing they can do today, and that’s crack down on fat union contracts that are breaking the backs of cash-strapped state and local budgets across the country.

The emotions are very high and the fact that these incidents are occurring from coast to coast leads me to believe this could be another major tipping point in America; at least we can hope so.

Dave

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