New Corbett ad.
It is rather astonishing to me that Wolf is running on a platform of raising taxes.
New Corbett ad.
It is rather astonishing to me that Wolf is running on a platform of raising taxes.
Tom Wolf wants us to think that he’ll run the state government like a business. His business, specifically. Government is not a business. Government is more like a mafia.
Not quite, but not as far off as you might think. Try stiffing the government its protection… er… tax payments, and see how long it takes until the men with guns come to sell your house out from under you, or maybe even stick you in a cage.
Don’t get me wrong, businessmen can be good in public office. Many of them see the need to streamline operations and cut fat. Quite a few of them understand the need for modest rather than overbearing regulation, and tax regimes that are low and predictable. These do not seem to be the major points Mr. Wolf is selling.
The “business” lesson Wolf seems most eager to apply is the raising of revenue. (“Fiscally responsible” is the new “tax and spend”.) But government revenues are an altogether different animal from business revenues. Business revenues are obtained by providing a valuable good or service to a voluntary customer base. Government revenues are obtained through force (implied and first, then literal) of arms. The only way to avoid this is to leave the state for another hopefully less mafioso jurisdiction.
Given that some level of taxation is necessary for any government, the question of growing revenues –presuming such a thing should be deemed desirable– relies on one or both of the following: growing the economic base and raising rates.
The latter, though more easily accomplished, undermines the former. Guess which one Tom Wolf emphasizes.
With glee, Wolf also brags about his company’s employee profit-sharing model. I don’t want government to share profits with its employees. Neither should any sane taxpayer.
But if we’re going to use a business analogy, ethical businessmen don’t fudge figures, as with the supposed billion dollar education cuts that have somehow resulted in record state spending on education. Neither do sound businessmen ignore long-term obligations, as with our broken pension system, for which the Wolf pack has no apparent solution. And nobody walks in to the board of directors and asks to be CEO without putting out a detailed fiscal plan.
CEO candidate: We need to spend more on R&D.
Board: How much more?
CEO candidate: No clue.
Board: Thank you for your time. Please leave.
Having recently railed against the “establishment”, it’s time for a crack at the base.
As I have previously asserted, the base is allergic to compromise. While this idea is widely taken as a given among the establishment and the Left, few take the time to analyze the behavior. The problem is actually a somewhat broader aversion to nuance. Outrage fuels donations, and donations pay the bills, so there’s somewhat of a negative incentive for base-oriented groups to promote nuance. But a lack of nuance can often inhibit constructive conservative policy movement.
A thought experiment: What if Democrats credibly and convincingly offered to cut Federal spending to such a degree that the budget would come into immediate balance, and also could somehow fix the Federal entitlement problem. In exchange, Republicans would agree to a one percent increase in the personal income tax. Do we take the deal?
True, the parameters of the thought experiment are absurd on their face, but for the sake of argument, take it for what it is. We’d be fools not to take this deal, right?
Whoa, now! Once you start to entertain this deal, you’re “for” raising income taxes.
Well, no, you weren’t really “for” it. You were willing to make a concession in order to get a number of other things that you wanted and thought were more significant.
Take a more realistic issue, immigration. The moment a Republican starts having any sort of conversation about immigration reform, he is blasted as being “for” amnesty. (The opponents of immigration reform use the term “amnesty” rather promiscuously, but for the sake of argument, I’ll use it here and not bother about details of what does or does not constitute “amnesty”.)
Understand that, to the Left, some form of amnesty is a sine qua non for any concessions on significant border security improvements, employment e-Verify, or – heaven forbid – voter ID. You don’t even begin to have negotiations about how to deal with millions of illegal immigrants until you lay your amnesty bargaining chip down on the table.
But by reacting violently to this potential offer of amnesty as something we could consider giving up in order to get a better outcome, the base makes this a question of amnesty vs non-amnesty, not a question of what we could possibly get in exchange for amnesty. When we put the focus on what we get in exchange for amnesty, we put the Democrats on the defensive. When we focus on whether to offer amnesty at all, we make ourselves irrelevant, and the status quo reigns.
To be fair, Republican politicians have a history of being cheap dates. I dare say though, it wouldn’t kill us to “show a little leg” on this issue. I’m not “for” amnesty, I’m for using the offer of amnesty as a means of getting more significant concessions from the other side and for (hopefully) putting the issue behind us. If we get a bad offer in return, we walk away and blame the Democrats for not being serious and for keeping people in the shadows unnecessarily.
Unfortunately, nuance requires trust, which is in short supply.
Look, Ryan-Murray is not good. I’d probably vote against it if I were in Congress.
However, I have a hard time getting too incensed about it. One of the problems of our contemporary politics is the seeming inability to differentiate the merely bad from the atrocious. Ryan-Murray is merely bad. It is not the WORST THING EVER!
The bad parts are indeed bad. Perhaps Ryan was ignorant of this provision, but under the deal a tax increase can pass the Senate with a simple majority vote. Probably more importantly, the sequester has been weakened. It’s not quite right to say it’s “broken”, because much of it remains in place, but it’s not quite right to say that it’s still intact, because it isn’t. The precedent has been set that spending can be increased. If you get the impression that Ryan is willing to pay you on Tuesday for a hamburger today, you’d be basically correct.
In a half-hearted defense of Ryan, certain things should be pointed out. The headline number of spending increase/decrease is essentially negligible in the grand scheme of things. Defense spending gets some breathing room, without which there’s a chance we would have lost the votes of a bunch of GOP House members and gotten a worse deal. The Congress is reclaiming from the Executive some of the fiscal authority it had squandered. So, we get back to something approaching normal order, and in theory we have a firmer base from which to attempt to hold ground.
It’s not quite a crap sandwich. It’s perhaps a sandwich with some crap-onnaise on it. At the very least it’s a sandwich upon which Harry Reid farted after having eaten quite a bit of Mexican food.
Given how little anything changes with this agreement, I’d say I’m outraged about a 3 on a 10-scale. I can’t give myself an aneurism about this deal. I’m not making this a personal “key vote”, but neither am I going to be very happy with those who vote for it.
In a sane and rational world, and in light of the illegal delays and waivers issued by the administration, insisting that the individual mandate be delayed for a year was not a particularly radical demand.
Despondency surged as I realized Obama was toying with us, much like a predator might play with its prey before delivering the death-blow. The administration took extraordinary care to make sure the shutdown was as inconvenient as possible, shutting down things that it is not ordinarily possible to shut down, such as open-air monuments, private businesses and homes,… and the ocean.
At first I thought Obama’s strategy might backfire. Surely he had overplayed his hand! Then I watched the 6:30 news for a few evenings. And what finally convinced me that the administration would get away with it was the concern-trolling by the media about the Obamacare rollout failures.
–Oh, if only the Republicans’ antics weren’t sucking up so much oxygen, we might be able to report more about these glitches in Obamacare!–
Really? What have I experienced in the last five years would lead me to believe that the media was eager to report on a story reflecting negatively on Obama? Would that be the failure of the stimulus? Or Fast and Furious? Or Benghazi? Or the IRS?
No, they were pretty openly mocking conservatives. They knew what an empty promise they were suggesting.
Brian Williams’ snarky asides during the evening newscasts would have made Dan “fake but accurate” Rather blush.
Speaking of Benghazi, the modus operandi was pretty similar. Put out some bogus story for the weekend/Sunday show cycle, allow the media to go with it, and let the story die within a week, because heaven knows neither the media nor the American public has an attention span longer than a week. With Benghazi it was that ridiculous story about the YouTube video. With Obamacare, it was the fairy tale about overwhelming demand for the product.
Though nobody was exactly covered in glory in the public’s eye, polls showed Republicans faring worse than Democrats on the subject of the “negotiations” long before any actual negotiations took place, and in spite of the fact that it was the publicly stated position of both Harry and Barry that they would not be negotiating at all. The mind boggles.
And to top it off, you’ve got the likes of John McCain, who should be ejected from the party for serial violations of the eleventh commandment. If anybody invents a time machine, they need to loan McCain the Delorean so he can go back and retire 15 years ago.
This is not an environment in which any serious policy debates can be had, let alone won.
Oh, and the next time somebody says we’ll have more leverage on the debt ceiling rather than the continuing resolution, just go ahead and slap that person in the face for me.
“It’s time for Scranton to face the simple truth. It is bankrupt.”
In other news, this should be interesting.
To say I’m sorely disappointed in a lot of Republican state Senators is putting it mildly.
Almost never should a person attempt a primary challenge on the basis of just one vote, but let’s just say I wouldn’t shed a lot of tears if some of the yes voters happened to lose their primaries.
Apparently some folks haven’t gotten the memo that we’re broke. And I don’t just mean PA, but the whole United States, federal, state, and local – soup to nuts.
As a whole, the legislature needs to man-up. Fix the pension system. Sell the liquor stores. Don’t expand entitlements that are going to bankrupt us sooner rather than later.
It’s a short list. Memorize it.
Now that the Super Bowl is over, the really big game begins. And it’s going to be a head-knocker .
On one side we have the raiders. No, not Oakland, but the Trial Lawyers, who delight in raiding everything good and decent in America. They are representing former NFL players in their fight against the evil empire, a.k.a. the National Football League. At stake? Upwards of ten billion dollars, and possibly, the existence of the NFL itself.
And what is the nerve center of this federal lawsuit, filed in Philadelphia, that have the plaintiffs so mad they’re seeing double? What went so wrong that these former players, given a life of royalty by the NFL, now want to ring the League’s bell?
They suffered concussions playing football. No lie. That’s actually the basis of the lawsuit.
The sheer stupidity of such a suit makes you wonder if they really did get hit too many times, because no one of sound mind could dream up something like this.
It would seem, therefore, that their motive is rooted in something else. In the preferred legalistic nomenclature, they’re looking for a handout.
Maybe they’re bitter because they didn’t play in the era of massive contracts. Maybe it’s because they can’t function as “regular” guys after being worshipped for so long, which, for many, started in grade school. Others may feel lost, with football the only thing they know. But their commonality is thinking they are entitled to something.
The outcome of this lawsuit should be a no-brainer. But given the insanity in America’s civil legal system, a jackpot jury award is definitely possible. (NFL Properties and helmet maker Riddell are defendants, too.)
The players claim the NFL hid information linking football-related head trauma to permanent brain injuries (such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease). In addition to monetary damages, they want the NFL to assume responsibility for the medical care involved for those players suffering from those health problems.
Let’s look at the case objectively:
1) This sense of entitlement is not just misguided but inappropriate. No one held a gun to players’ heads to sign lucrative contracts and become celebrities to play football. They’re big boys, and chose their profession — with its risks — of their own free will.
2) And yes, there are risks. Plenty of them. Football is not a contact sport; it’s a collision sport. It is an intensely physical, violent profession. That’s why God made pads and helmets, but any third grader can tell you that those things only help to minimize injuries, and can never totally prevent them. The NFL is not a flag-football league, but one with punishing hits. That’s the game. Players can take it or leave it. Not surprisingly, they take it. Always.
3) The pass-the-buck, take-no-personal-responsibility attitude so prevalent in America is once again on full display. Players knew the risks, reaped immense rewards, and now, after the fact, want to blame the NFL for their issues. And are we really supposed to believe that the NFL willfully engaged in a grand conspiracy to keep players in the dark about the effects of hard tackling? To swallow that, we must assume that the League had every doctor in the country on the take, preventing them from speaking to any player who had questions about concussions. And that it somehow inhibited medical professionals from conducting research into concussions and brain injuries.
4) Did the NFL, the medical community and our society know as much about concussions several decades ago? No. Is there a concerted effort now to better understand brain trauma, and to make all sports — including NFL football — safer? Absolutely. That’s not malfeasance. It’s progress.
5) Is the NFL culture one that glorifies big hits, highlights them on NFL films, and encourages playing through injuries? Yes, but so what? Fans love when players get leveled, and players love delivering big-time jolts, which often help their team. Gutting it out has always been a source of pride for players, who do it not to secure the next big contract but because they love the game. An admirable choice, but a choice nonetheless.
6) Where does it end? Should a firefighter who gets burned sue the fire department? Is a baker responsible because an obese donut-eater develops heart disease? And should office workers who develop carpal tunnel syndrome have legal standing to sue their company?
Some jobs have higher risks, and playing NFL football is one of them. But given the lavish rewards, it’s an acceptable risk to players — past and present. And regarding former players who state that, if they had today’s knowledge back then, they would have opted out — give us a break. Not a chance in the world.
7) The NFL (and the Players Association) has spent more than a billion dollars on pensions, medical and disability benefits for retired players.
The NFL also operates numerous health programs for current and former players, and offers medical benefits to former players, such as joint replacement, neurological evaluations and spine treatment programs, assisted living partnerships, long-term care insurance, prescription benefits, life insurance programs, and a Medicare supplement program, according to the League. Equipment has improved, and safety has increased, including outlawing certain types of hits.
Is it sad that some former players have trouble walking, concentrating and living a “normal” life? Sure. Is it a tragedy when a few commit suicide? Absolutely. But it’s time that these players stop blaming others for their situations and look in the mirror. They made their choices, and for most, lived a fairy tale.
If they now choose to feel sorry for themselves, or regret their choices, fine. But it’s a personal foul to ruin the game not just for current and future players, but for the ones who allow the League — and its former players —to be so successful: the fans.
And you don’t need your head examined to see that.
Nationally in Newsmax:
Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com
Baltimore Has Every Right Not To Send A Plump Cheerleader To Big Game
“Originally I would have loved to go to the Super Bowl, but at this point it looks like it’s not going to happen…. I can’t say I didn’t expect it, but at the same time, they owe that to me.”
So pontificates Courtney Lenz, a Baltimore Ravens cheerleader whom the team did not send to the Super Bowl.
Talk about carrying the massive chip of entitlement on her plump shoulder.
But fear not! A movement is underway by misguided souls (aka idiots) using social media to mount a campaign aimed at changing the team’s mind. One of the organizers even threatened to boycott the game, stating that because of this unconscionable incident, people want to burn their jerseys and no longer support the Ravens.
Great! Do it! Burn everything with a Ravens logo and stay home from New Orleans! One empty seat at the world’s biggest sporting event will most definitely teach those mean-spirited Ravens!
And, naturally, the national media has picked up Lenz’ cause, fawning over the “beauty’s” plight and unashamedly biasing their stories to reflect negatively on Baltimore — without, of course, looking at its side of the story.
Thank God we don’t have any problems in this country other than rallying around a cheerleader who admitted being somewhat overweight and who announced her intention that she was quitting at the end of the season.
So before we see a politically-correct decision by the NFL to pressure Baltimore to reverse itself, let’s set the record straight in this case:
1) The Baltimore Ravens employ 60 cheerleaders. The NFL allows only 32 from each team to attend the Super Bowl. Given America’s educational ineptitude, let’s say it another way: 28 cheerleaders, by definition, cannot go to the big game. This isn’t a new rule, and every cheerleader in the NFL should explicitly know that. That’s the job — take it or leave it.
2) Understanding the aforementioned rule, no one is entitled or “owed” anything. Get over it, Ms. Lenz.
3) The Baltimore Ravens, like every NFL team, has set forth criteria that must be met in order to be considered for Super Bowl duty. In its opinion, Lenz came up short in some capacity. Is Lenz the only one with more than three years of service that isn’t going to New Orleans (according to her)? Yes. Does that stink for her? Yes. Does she deserve to go on that basis alone? No.
Thankfully, the Ravens don’t employ a tenure system whereby one is guaranteed benefits regardless of his or her performance — kind of like how our public education system and public unions are operated. And look at how well both of them are doing.
4) If Lenz’ weight was the deciding factor in the Ravens’ decision, so be it. Cheerleaders, like dancers and other entertainment professionals, must meet stringent physical standards. Not only is fitness critical to optimally performing the cheerleaders’ demanding routines, but no one wants to look at an overweight woman shaking her assets. Call that ignorant, sexist, and chauvinistic. Fine. But make sure you call it something else: reality. We may be a fat country, but we don’t want to look at corpulent cheerleaders. And that’s a fact.
It’s like portly pop singer Adele recently slamming Madonna and Lady Gaga for using skimpy, sexy outfits to sell their music. Maybe they do, but they also have fantastic voices and dynamic entertainment abilities. Adele also has great pipes, but she is an anomaly, as most singers are highly fit and often (but not always) wear provocative outfits. Adele can lament all she wants of the sensual nature of top female vocalists, but that is what the vast majority of fans — both male and female — not just gravitate to, but demand. Maybe if Adele cut down on her caloric intake and worked out just a bit more, she wouldn’t be so envious.
5) The Ravens’ decision on Lenz is discriminatory —and that is a good thing, exactly how it should be. Discrimination has become a dirty word, yet it is an everyday part of life. We discriminate — another word for making a choice — all the time, from what clothes we wear to what kind of latte we order. No one held a gun to her head ordering her to be a cheerleader, and the Ravens have every right to make personnel decisions as they see fit — no explanation warranted or necessary.
They may have chosen not to send her to the Super Bowl because she weighed more than they preferred. Or because she was ending her career as a cheerleader and they wanted an up-and-comer who would be continuing her service with the Ravens. Or because they didn’t like her attitude. Or because they thought she smelled. Who cares? Lenz apparently wasn’t denied the Super Bowl because of color, creed or religion — and certainly not gender — so no one has the “right” to feel that that “entitlement” was wrongfully revoked. Not Lenz. Not her Facebook friends. And not the news media.
If there is one underlying factor at the root of America’s demise, it is widespread sense of entitlement. It is a cancer that has become pervasive throughout all levels of society — not limited to just the “welfare dregs” that some so wrongly label as the biggest offenders. It is millionaire CEO’s looking for a government handout. It is billionaire sports team owners demanding their stadiums be built with taxpayer money. It is college graduates believing they are entitled to a six-figure salary right out of school. It is retirees thinking no reform in benefits is ever warranted. It is public sector unions rejecting generous 401k’s, instead demanding unaffordable defined-benefit plans. It is politicians and parties— Democrat and Republican, liberals and Tea Partiers — thinking they are entitled to the offices they hold, offended by anyone with the gall to challenge them.
And yes, it is cheerleaders who think they are “owed” a trip to the Super Bowl.
Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at FFZMedia@Gmail.com
It’s been said that the GOP will get serious about spending reductions when the debt ceiling comes to a vote. Supposedly we have more leverage on that issue.
I’m thinking not. The GOP has less leverage on that issue.
The basic structure of the debt ceiling vote is similar to the fiscal cliff vote. Republicans have the ability to block something the President wants, with a painful consequence if a deal is not struck.
However, with the debt ceiling, the overall breakdown value is worse than it was with the fiscal cliff vote, and is far worse for Republicans than Democrats. If the fiscal cliff had broken down, there would have been some negative economic consequences, public pressure, and if it dragged on long enough, perhaps some electoral pain. Had we gone off the cliff in a meaningful way, we might have even eventually worked out a better deal. But Congress was unable to bear the pain.
The debt ceiling is worse for Republicans in several ways. Firstly, the overall consequences of a breakdown are worse in the sense that a sovereign default would almost guarantee a severe and long-lasting depression that would make the Great Recession look like a walk in the park. Secondly, knowing that this consequence is unbearable to Obama as well, we should anticipate his actions. Who doubts that Obama would invoke the 14th Amendment, or perhaps pull out the old platinum coin trick? The breakdown value of the debt ceiling negotiation could be a massive unconstitutional power grab by the executive. Huzzah!
If we try to play hardball with the debt ceiling, we’d get a repeat of the fiscal cliff vote, and we’d walk away with out pants around our ankles.
Does anybody think that a Congress unable to explode the daisy-cutter they were sitting on will have the intestinal fortitude to explode the debt ceiling nuclear device? I thought not.
No. Pass the debt ceiling, relatively cleanly. I mean, sure, try to get some cuts, but when push comes to shove, just pass the thing.
Then shut down the government – Gingrich style. Don’t pass another spending bill. Save for defense and homeland security, don’t so much as appropriate toilet paper for government lavatories. Not one dime.
Deprive Obama of something he wants. The relative pain of the breakdown values should be reversed. Obama loves government. So do Republicans, but less so than Obama. Take it from him. Perhaps for months.
And if you think a prolonged total government shut-down is too harsh, you really didn’t have the stomach for the debt ceiling vote in the first place.
(“Plan B” is looking pretty sweet right now, ain’t it? Remember that.)