There’s a lot to like about Paul Ryan’s budget proposal. It cuts some spending. It flattens the tax code down to just two individual marginal tax rates. It also includes some innovative policies designed to halt the unsustainable growth of health care entitlement spending. However, on balance, the budget is disappointing for fiscal conservatives for two main reasons: It waives the spending restraint that was agreed to in last year’s debt limit deal, and it doesn’t balance the budget until 2040. Broken promises and unbalanced budgets as far as the eye can see are neither good policy nor a good campaign rallying cry.Last year, an agreement was reached in which Republicans gave President Obama a massive increase in the debt ceiling, in exchange for promised spending cuts that supposedly had “real teeth.” As part of the deal, Congressman Ryan and most Republicans voted to require an annual spending cap and $110 billion in automatic spending cuts for next year – otherwise known as “sequestration” – if the so-called “super-committee” failed to find $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction.Since the predictable collapse of the super-committee, the House GOP should have been working toward a budget proposal that allows for the sequester to take place for the coming year. Such a budget would include the $110 billion in reductions. Ryan’s budget achieves vastly less. It contains $19 billion in discretionary savings and, at most, $53 billion in cuts to mandatory spending — $38 billion short. Thus, it leaves House Republicans breaking the terms of the deal they agreed to just seven months ago.Please click here for the rest of the post.
Another day, another book I need to buy and hopefully read some day. In the March 21st NYT, Nicholas Kristof reviews a new book: ”The Righteous Mind”. In it, author Jonathan Haidt discusses some original research that investigates some key values held by conservatives and liberals – and how these two groups perceive each other on these values. I have long been interested in why Republicans and Democrats believe as they do, and this type of research on values zeroes in on this question.A couple of key observations emerge. First, the author points out how both conservatives and liberals adhere to values that are formed around a moral code, but conservatives follow some additional core values that liberals do not.Please click here for the rest of the post.
Recently, the New York City public school system put out guidelines to providers of test materials to the district. The guidelines included a list of naughty words that should not be included in the materials, so as not to stress out, offend, or cause boo-boos to the children of the city, who are mainly made of glass it would seem. Among the no good, very bad words were “birthday”, “dinosaur”, “Halloween”, and references to junk food, swimming pools, and computers.This, dear friends, is unarguably a good thing. Take, for example, birthdays. Did you know that some people don’t celebrate birthdays? And since they don’t celebrate them, they would obviously be emotionally distressed to consider that other people do. Tsk, tsk. Likewise, Halloween might evoke paganism, and everyone knows school children are vehemently and actively opposed to such talk, ever since the Great Pagan and Gradeschooler War of nineteen aught seven.Swimming pools and computers, you would imagine, are banned because some people don’t have one or both of these things, and might therefore forget what two plus two equals when presented with the horrible reality that some people do.Now yes, I know that computers are actually IN many classrooms. But that is different. Because.Please click here for the rest of the post.
Union thugs protesting outside the homes of their targets has become a weapon more and more unions have added to their already-large arsenal. Now that the State of Georgia may become the first state to outlaw the offensive tactic, oddly enough, unions are getting support from an unlikely source–the Tea Party Patriots.Last year, when 45,000 union members struck telephone carrier Verizon, IBEW union radicals showed up outside the home of Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam’s House causing a disturbance in McAdam’s neighborhood (see video below). In another incident, up to 3,000 CWA protesters conducted a mock funeral outside the home of Verizon’s chairman.Though it shouldn’t be necessary for any legislature to even have to consider the protection of private residences from protesters, these incidents (and others like it) have drawn the attention of Georgia’s legislature, which has moved to pass Senate Bill 469 to prohibit the targeting of individuals at their private residences.Please click here for the rest of the post.
On September 22, 2008, Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) sounded like a conservative in the below speech. Candidate for President Obama railed against programs “that don’t work” like a “reading program that hasn’t improved our children’s reading.” This talk was music to the ears of independent and conservative leaning democratic voters who don’t like government waste.Please click here for the rest of the post.