Wednesday Chronicle

Chronicle

Feb. 23, 2011

The Foundation

“No pecuniary consideration is more urgent, than the regular redemption and discharge of the public debt: on none can delay be more injurious, or an economy of time more valuable.” –George Washington

Editorial Exegesis

“For Americans who don’t think the welfare state riots of France or Greece can happen here, we recommend a look at the union and Democratic Party spectacle now unfolding in Wisconsin. Over the past few days, thousands have swarmed the state capital and airwaves to intimidate lawmakers and disrupt Governor Scott Walker’s plan to level the playing field between taxpayers and government unions. Mr. Walker’s very modest proposal would take away the ability of most government employees to collectively bargain for benefits. They could still bargain for higher wages, but future wage increases would be capped at the federal Consumer Price Index, unless otherwise specified by a voter referendum. The bill would also require union members to contribute 5.8% of salary toward their pensions and chip in 12.6% of the cost of their health insurance premiums. If those numbers don’t sound outrageous, you probably work in the private economy. The comparable nationwide employee health-care contribution is 20% for private industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average employee contribution from take-home pay for retirement was 7.5% in 2009, according to the Employee Benefits Research Institute. Mr. Walker says he has no choice but to make these changes because unions refuse to negotiate any compensation changes…. Wisconsin is running a $137 million deficit this year and anticipates coming up another $3.6 billion short in the next two-year budget. Governor Walker’s office estimates the proposals would save the state $300 million over the next two years, and the alternative would be to lay off 5,500 public employees. None of this is deterring the crowds in Madison, aka Mad Town, where protesters, including many from the 98,000-member teachers union, have gone Greek.” –The Wall Street Journal

Insight

“It is impossible to bargain collectively with the government.” –former AFL-CIO President George Meany (1894-1980)

“History comes and history goes, but principles endure, and ensure future generations will defend liberty not as a gift from government but as a blessing from our Creator.” –President Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)

Upright

“[Public-sector] unions are government organized as an interest group to lobby itself to do what it always wants to do anyway – grow. These unions use dues extracted from members to elect their members’ employers. And governments, not disciplined by the need to make a profit, extract government employees’ salaries from taxpayers. Government sits on both sides of the table in cozy ‘negotiations’ with unions.” –columnist George Will

“Unionizing teachers, unionizing state employees is not about better teachers. It’s not about better employees. It’s about more power for the Democrat Party. It’s about institutionalized Democrat Party membership as state and federal workers and employees. How could you get them more loyal to the government than to make ‘em union members?” –radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh

“One major reason we’re in this fiscal morass is our national media. Forget any real cuts. For decades now, any attempt to even try to trim 'increases in growth’ in entitlements like Medicare have been trashed by the media as ‘draconian cuts.’ Our top reporters have spent the last two years letting Barack Obama spew the insanity that he could add millions of uninsured people to the government’s health-insurance programs and simultaneously cut the deficit. Now they’re calling him responsible for ‘deep cuts.’ They truly live in a parallel universe.” –columnist Brent Bozell

“The key to what is bound to be hand-to-hand combat in the coming [budget cuts] debate will be whether Republicans can change our ‘entitlement’ mentality and cause people to focus instead on economic liberty and personal freedom. Can government do more for you than you can do for yourself? If Medicare and Social Security are going broke, why would anyone trust even bigger and costlier government to do better with more of our money? … Changing the way we think about entitlements, economic liberty and personal responsibility will be a challenge for congressional Republicans. They’ve tried before and Democrats demagogued them into submission. They will try to re-run the same play this time.” –columnist Cal Thomas

“For too long, colleges have abandoned the kind of core curriculum that highlights the story of America’s constitutional republic, instead opting for a watered-down, politically correct, and multicultural version that seems to have fostered civic amnesia rather than civic knowledge. What better way to honor Washington’s memory than for the American Academy to re-dedicate itself to a more rigorous, demanding, and traditional brand of instruction that restores American politics and history to its proper place in the curriculum. That’s the kind of birthday celebration worthy of the Father of our Country.” –Dr. Richard Brake, co-chair of ISI’s National Civic Literacy Board

Dezinformatsia

The BIG Lie: “Despite what you may have heard about Wisconsin’s finances, Wisconsin is on track to have a budget surplus this year.” –MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow

Polar opposites: “You talk about this being a potential Tea Party movement for the Left.” –CBS’s Chris Wragge on the Wisconsin protests

Parroting the talking points: “I know there’s this Democratic state senator Jon Erpenbach who said today it’s not about the money, that this is really about the unions’ bargaining rights, and that this is just the Republican governor taking advantage of a budget situation and trying to break the unions with this.” –MSNBC’s Norah O'Donnell

Race bait: “Like many nice Caucasians, I cried the night Barack Obama was elected. It was one of the high points in American history. And all that’s happened since the election is just a sh– storm of hatred.” –Esquire’s Scott Raab

Apoplectic media: “The greatest president in history, according to the American people with their limited memory, is Ronald Reagan. Keep in mind, these are not historian rankings. These are people’s. By the way, they should insist before anybody participates in one of these ridiculous polls, ‘Please list the presidents and then pick the best.’ Don’t just go with the ones you can remember. It’s like the greatest movie of all times was the one I just went to.” –MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, who didn’t have a “thrill” go up his leg this time

Newspulper Headlines:

At Least the Obama Administration Is Getting Serious About Spending Cuts: “Clinton: US to Allocate $150 to Help Egypt Recover” –Jerusalem Post

Another Sunrise: “Large Fireball Sighted Over East Coast” –FoxNews.com

Find Out in Chapter 11: “Borders Moves Towards Bankruptcy: Are Bookstores Going Away?” –Christian Science Monitor

Heavy Humans Linked to Rains – Now That Would Be News: “Heavy Rains Linked to Humans” –The New York Times

Questions Nobody Is Asking: “Do You Have a Question for Lady Gaga?” –ABCNews.com

Bottom Story of the Day: “Obama Says He’d Stop Adding to Debt, But That’s Not True” –McClatchy Newspapers

(Thanks to The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto)

The Demo-gogues

Good question, but the answer is no: “Are we dealing with our budget in a serious way and reducing spending?” –Barack Obama

Verbal gymnastics: “I would make the argument, one, that instead it is an incentive to do right, that it is not penalizing because penalty is punishment. You’re not punished if you have health insurance, in fact. And so you are, in fact, incentivized to have health insurance, rather than take the negative, which is to suggest that because we have a penalty you are being punished.” –Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)

Nothing to see here: “Social Security has contributed not a single penny to the deficit. So we can talk about entitlements as long as you eliminate Social Security. Because Social Security is not part of the problem we have in America with the deficit.” –Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Banging on the high chair: “Unfortunately, Speaker Boehner seems to be on a course that would inevitably lead to a shutdown. That’s reckless … and I hope he’d reconsider. … These [spending] cuts are very painful, and many in our caucus didn’t want to go along with those. … I understand that Speaker Boehner is being pushed by the hard Right. But it’s wrong wrong; it would hurt innocent people; hurt the economy; and we hope we can come to the table and negotiate without shutting the government down.” –Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

Putting the foreign in foreign policy: “I think it is absolutely clear to say number one, that it’s been American policy for many years that [Israeli] settlements were illegitimate and it is the continuing goal and highest priority of the Obama administration to keep working toward a two state solution with both Israelis and Palestinians.” –Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Village Idiots

Invalid comparison: “This is a Martin Luther King moment, this is a Gandhi moment. When we fight, we win. We fight in Montgomery, we win. We fight in Selma, we win. … We march in Madison, Wisconsin, we win.” –race hustler Jesse Jackson demonstrating that it’s really yet another Jesse Jackson moment

Strained explanation: “The stimulus package, recovery act, uh, contained within it goals. To improve, to basically, as part of a number of measures that were taken to, uh, prevent a staggering economy from collapsing into depression. To save or create jobs. To invest in, uh, areas where, uh, uh, future growth, uh, would help drive, uh, the overall economy – and, uh, those goals have been met. … The bigger point is, there was a crisis that had to be responded to, uh, and, uh, this president did that by leading, and, uh, and we believe it worked.” –new White House Press Secretary Jay Carney when asked if the stimulus package was oversold upfront

Breaking news from Gore’s latest speech: “[Global warming] is a forest issue. It’s a political issue. It’s an economic issue. It’s a national security issue. It’s a jobs issue. But at bottom, it is a moral issue. And we have to be willing to stand up and do the right thing.” –Al Gore

That’s racist! “Kids always act up the most before they go to sleep. And when I see the Tea Party and all this stuff, it actually feels like racism’s almost over. Because this is the last – this is the act up before the sleep. They’re going crazy. They’re insane. You want to get rid of them – and the next thing you know, they’re … knocked out. And that’s what’s going on in the country right now.” –comedian Chris Rock

Short Cuts

“Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority leader Harry Reid argued Thursday over whether Democrats or Republicans should get the blame for a U.S. government shutdown. Both guys have misread the public mood. They should be arguing over who gets the credit.” –comedian Argus Hamilton

“They’re calling the Middle East uprisings the ‘Jasmine Revolution.’ Historians say it’s the first revolution that could double as a new scent of Febreze.” –comedian Conan O'Brien

“At the union protests in Wisconsin, several doctors were on hand to write fake excuse notes for teachers who called in sick to attend the rallies. Wonder if this is some of that medical waste, fraud, & abuse that Obamacare was supposed to fix?” –former Senator Fred Thompson

“First lady Michelle Obama said, ‘Let’s Move!’ Who knew Democratic politicians in Wisconsin and Indiana would take her literally? Faced with stifling debt, bloated pensions and intractable government unions, liberal Midwestern legislators have fled those states – paralyzing Republican fiscal reform efforts. Like Monty Python’s Brave Sir Robin and his band of quivering knights, these elected officials have only one plan when confronted with political hardship or economic peril: Run away, run away, run away.” –columnist Michelle Malkin