July 14, 2006

What Does A Living Wage Look Like?


The Democratic Party and the left (not always the same thing) have been agitating for a substantial raise, to a "living wage" the federal minimum wage law. Currently, and for many years, the federal minimum wage has been $5.15 an hour and the generic left (in which this time I'm including the Democrats) would like to see that raised. I've seen suggestions ranging from $6.00 an hour up to $12.00 an hour. When anyone suggests that price increases passed on by businesses and or job loss from small firms may result, the outcry typically is that Republicans and Conservatives (again, not necessarily the same thing) hate the poor and don't want the rich to have to pay anything out of their pockets. And, depending on the blog you go to, the language to describe generic conservatives (this time I'm including Republicans) is a whole lot worse.

Well, the fact of the matter is that there will be a tradeoff. Companies, large and small will either have to raise prices and/or lay folk off in order to keep profit margins within the realm of feasibility. What's that you say? No they won't? How silly, of course they will. No politician is going to pass a law limiting profit (unless it's big oil and a windfall profits tax - and you see how well the last one worked) because they know that the funds for re-election come essentially from the pockets of investors and owners of small and large businesses. So, ask for the moon, you have as much a chance of getting that.

But, I digress, back to the issue of the minimum wage. Many states and localities have already passed minimum wages for residents in their respective political subdivisisons, so why aren't the generic leftists prodding them for increases and the rest of the country to catch up? Simple really, again politics. To effectively "buy" votes for the Democratic Party, there needs to be a national stage for Democratic politicians to run from.

It just won't do to have a bunch of Democrats touting a higher minimum wage as a local issue (although they are doing so for state wide initiatives). Ahhhh, but "The Democratic Party forced the administration to raise the minimum wage can be a national cry and be much more effective. But, that is still not the whole answer.

The rest of the answer lies in the amount of the raise. If $9.00 an hour is "OK" but not where it should be, why stop at $9.00, or $10.00 or even $15.00? Let us go all the way to $30.00 an hour for all entry level jobs, regardless of skills, education, or experience. Those don't matter anyway, because a minimum wage is just that... the minimum that you can pay someone for work received. But, you know, I've never had a generic lefty say "OK, you bet, let's do it." They all say something along the lines of "Don't be ridiculous." But, I'm not being ridiculous! If that, or some other figure exceeding a figure of say $18.00 an hour is what it takes to reach the "livable wage" criteria, why heck, lets do it.

If we did however, while the Democrats could claim victory for that election's pandering, it wouldn't hold up over the long term. No, not even close, in fact the resulting economic displacement and chaos would be horrendous. You see, the Democratic party really doesn't give a damn my dear, about the "little guy" they only want policies that insure his vote. Look at all the "grand coalition" of special interest groups called the Democratic Party and where they are today. The Democrats ruled congress and the senate from 1954 through 1994, with a single exception of the U.S. Senate on the coattails of Ronald Reagan's landslide, and that only lasted a couple of years. Are those groups substantially any better off now than they were then? Blacks? The Poor? The Hungry? The Homeless? Labor? Or, as it seems to me the Dems are running on the same issues that they have always run on? Except of course when a Democrat is in the White House. Whole different ballgame then friends.

So, why not raise the minimum wage all the way at one time? Because they want to use that issue again, and again, and again. $7.00 an hour now, in a couple of years, another $0.75 then another a dozen years after that. Each time decrying the lack of a livable wage. Yeppers dearly beloved readers, a platform they can run on forever, and never be held accountable for. No wonder the horses haven't been to the smithy since '33, same old tired platform, same old tired policy.

Thoughtful comments from generic lefties requested. No vitriol please or I'll take your comment down.

More on the Minimum Wage and other egregious fibs from my good friend Donald Luskin on my blogroll, who writes "The Conspiracy To Keep You Poor And Stupid." By the Bye, if Luskin isn't on your favorites list, he ought to be.

Posted by GM Roper at 07:08 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack (0)

February 14, 2006

My Kind of Pachyderm

It is not often that I, as a proud Texan, have any cause to be jealous of those north of the Red River. I am now jealous though of those residing in the 68,667 sq. mi. known as Oklahoma. What could possibly give rise to such an ugly emotion? Well it certainly isn't their schools or their football teams, it is their junior Senator, Tom Coburn (R-OK).

He is my kind of pachyderm. A fiscal conservative not afraid to make it known that what is currently going on up on the Hill is just plain wrong, Coburn has recently teamed up with the perennial thorn in the Republicans foot, John McCain. Now, I don't especially care for McCain, but he is good at making noise and getting whatever agenda he is pushing out in the public eye, so it is good to see Coburn taking advantage of the McCain loudspeaker to bring attention to the issue of earmarks, or as it is more properly termed, pork.

Apparently so many of his fellow members have questioned if he was serious about ending this grotesque practice, he saw fit to answer them via this letter in the Wall Street Journal. Included in the letter was this:

Nowhere in our founding documents is a justification for today's out-of-control earmarking. In fact, Madison and the other framers were clear that the general welfare clause of the Constitution should never be construed as a blank check for Congress. Pork is a modern indulgence, not an ancient or noble tradition.

Personally, I would think that such an obvious point would not need to be explained to his fellow Republicans, but apparently it was. Of course, he wasn't totally on base in the letter. His assessment of pork is off base:
Pork is the root cause of the unholy relationship between some members of Congress, lobbyists and donors.

Pork is not a cause, it is a symptom of the overreaching hand of modern government in our country. It is only natural that when the government sees fit to relentlessly increase its reach into the private realm, that those affected by the government actions will see the need to do everything within their abilities to ensure that government action benefits, rather than harms them.

Naturally, once politicians get a taste for the perks the wielding of their power brings, they become more and more willing to use that power to get more perks. But the perks aren't just those slipped to them by various lobbyists, they also figured out very quickly that they could get perks from their constituents (in the form of votes) for "bringing home the bacon." Once that cat was out of the bag, there was virtually no stopping it.

The only hope that Coburn has is to shine as much light on this as possible. Shame is his weapon, hopefully he will wield it well. If so, he will become my second favorite Republican, behind Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).

Authored by Liberty Dog

Update: In one of the comments, I was reminded that I am still new here and most of you still don't know my politics. Having forgot that, I failed to point out that this post was meant as an endorsement of only Sen. Coburn's fiscal policies, not his social ones, which as a libertarian, I do not subscibe to.

Posted by Woody at 09:10 AM | Comments (15) | TrackBack (0)

February 09, 2006

Porkbusters - Put Government on a Diet

Though the list of things that perturb me about our government and the way it functions is quite lengthy, right at the top of that list is the ridiculous amount of waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer money. This waste comes in many forms from farm subsidies to the countless entitlement programs to the endless line of pork projects.

It is the latter that the Blogosphere has decided to take on. At the head of the pack is NZ Bear's Porkbusters project. The fight has not been an easy one, but progress is being made. According to the Porkbusters site, the Pork Barrel Reduction Act is being introduced in the Senate by a handful of Senators. I haven't actually read the text of the bill yet, but it is said to do the following:

- Creates a new point of order against unauthorized earmarks and policy riders. This point of order allows for the elimination of extraneous individual earmarks and policy riders. Under this provision, only the offending provision would be removed from the appropriations bill or conference report if a point of order was sustained, thus maintaining the integrity of the underlying bill.

- Prohibits federal agencies from spending money on items and earmarks that were only included in unamendable committee or conference reports. This provision requires that all earmarks and spending items be in bill text, allowing for amendment and debate.

- Requires conference reports to be filed and publicly available for at least 48 hours prior to floor consideration. This requirement increases transparency and debate and gives lawmakers and the American public time to review legislation before it receives a vote.

- Strengthens current Senate rules against the conference report inclusion of matter not considered by the House or Senate. This provision prohibits consideration of conference reports containing matter not committed by either the House or Senate. Current rules allow for a point of order against reports with new matter, but many new provisions sneak by when they are attached to must-pass bills that can overcome the point of order.

- Requires full disclosure of any and all earmarks included in bills or conference reports. This provision shines some much needed light on the process by requiring a detailed description of all earmarks, including the identity of the lawmaker seeking the earmark and the earmark's essential governmental purpose.

- Requires recipients of federal dollars to disclose the amount of money that they spend on registered lobbyists. By increasing transparency and disclosure, this provision reduces the likelihood that taxpayers will unknowingly fund lobbyists who are promoting wasteful earmarks and working against the interests of hard-working taxpayers.

I am unsure of the chances of passage, but the fact it is even being introduced is a start. Capital Hill has become a nasty den of "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" politics where Senators and Representatives support each others disgusting pork projects in order to ensure the passage of their own. They all know it is wrong, but as far as they are concerned, the more pork they bring home, the more votes they get. It doesn't matter what they have to sign off on to get it.

Be sure to make your voice heard in this fight. Contact your Sen. and Rep. and let them know you expect passage of this bill. You can also keep yourself informed by regular visits to the Citizens Against Government Waste website. It is undoubtedly the most useful resource on the Net for finding out just what happens to your tax dollars.

Authored by Liberty Dog

Posted by Woody at 06:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 01, 2005

A Deal for You! Don't miss this train!

Suppose I offered you an investment deal to get on board with a company that has lost a billion dollars a year since 1971 and has no prospects of making a profit in the future. It has overpaid workers, its equipment is run down, most of what it sells is at a loss, and the company is in debt up to its eyeballs. Would you take this great offer? Not likely, unless you were a fool. Well, why does the United States Congress keep appropriating billions of dollars to this company--billions that belong to the taxpayers? This company is your national railroad--Amtrak. You did know that you already owned it, didn't you--or does it own you?

What's going on? You see, the left likes to tell the rest of us how to live, and the left insists that we take trains instead of more convenient and cost-effective methods of transportation. Why? Well, when the left wants something in this country, there are three things that you can count on. First, it will help them to feel good. Second, it won't make any sense. Third, it will cost a lot of money. Amtrak fits that bill.

If you would like to know more, read this: CFO Magazine - Is This Any Way to Run a Railroad?

Here are some excerpts from the article:

Last February, for example, the White House announced it intended to cut off Amtrak's billion-dollar-plus annual subsidy — which covers about half the railroad's total budget — unless the carrier agreed to a radical restructuring. Both the House and the Senate defied the Administration, calling for subsidies ranging from $1.17 billion to $1.45 billion for 2006....

Whatever the scale, Amtrak employees appear to be doing just fine. Based on the carrier's most recent figures, the average worker at the railroad receives $70,000 in annual compensation. Moreover, certain work rules — some call them featherbedding — pump up the number of employees required to perform specific tasks. ...Cutting worker-related costs won't be easy, though. Smith must deal with 14 different unions and 26 bargaining units.

The on-time performance on many of Amtrak's overland lines hasn't helped matters. Overall, Amtrak's 13 long-distance lines (excluding the Northeast Corridor) recorded a 43.5 percent on-time rate for the first nine months of the railroad's 2005 fiscal year.

In May, Standard & Poor's placed the railroad's BBB- rating on CreditWatch, with negative implications. "Without the [government] subsidy, the numbers wouldn't support the current credit rating," notes S&P analyst Lisa Jenkins. A drop of just two notches would reduce Amtrak's debt rating to non-investment-grade, driving up the cost on future borrowings. That's worrisome, considering the railroad paid $203 million last year just to cover the interest expense on the mountain of debt taken on during the previous administration.

"We can do a reasonable rate of return, but it's not going to be a rate of return that most people understand," (CFO David Smith) insists. "A large component of the return is going to be the social good we do."

Smith shakes his head. "I tell you, it's a hell of a way to run a railroad."

Well, with that last statement, we can agree on something.

But, from our friends on the left, linked above, comes this:

What’s next? President Bush wants to push Amtrak into bankruptcy, and end its rail services. He proposes to set aside $360 million for a new train system to someday run only in the country’s northeast corridor. Bush wants to “privatize” the rest of Amtrak by selling its assets, and let multiple corporations make profits as they see fit.

The leading House Democrat on transportation, Minnesota Rep. Jim Oberstar, predicts a “test of wills.” “This is serious” he said. “They really intend to eliminate Amtrak.” Said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ),” They’re about to run Amtrak off a cliff…. We’re gonna fight it, and we’ll see who blinks first.”

What makes sense to you? Taxpayers are being railroaded as Amtrak proponents steam along. The company jumped the tracks long ago and it's time to stop the train. Privatize Amtrak or close it. The experiment has gone on long enough.

Posted by GM Roper at 04:00 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

October 21, 2005

Grand Theft Earmark

J'accuse! The United States Senate has lost its collective mind. And the Unites States House of Representatives isn't far behind. It seems as though a certain Democrat from Washington State, I won't mention her name, but her initials are Patty Murry got her dander up regarding the quite sensible motions by one Oklahoma Republican by the name of Tom Coburn. She threatend any Senator who goes after the tradition of "earmarks" with retaliation. Tom Coburn stood up to the unmitigated theft. In taking the floor, not once but twice yesterday, Coburn, in the words of the Wall Street Journal:

...dared to use the "p" word ("Priorities") and suggested that taxpayers might be better served if hurricane relief was offset by deleting earmarks for a sculpture garden in Washington state, an art museum in Nebraska, and a Rhode Island animal shelter, among other national necessities (emphasis added).
Powerline blogged the issue here and here as well as here. From the last:
...Patty Murray is now speaking against the Coburn Amendment, and has just issued a threat against any Senators who vote for the amendment: we on the Appropriations Committee will take a "long, hard look" at any projects in your state. Can anyone say, "culture of corruption"?

So, Ms. Murry, I have a question for you, and for any other congress-critter:

When will Members of Congress quit worrying about bringing home the bacon, and really vote what is best for America and then stand up to their constituents and say "I voted in America's Best Interests." Are you brave enough to do that, or is your elected job more important than what is right for America?
Unfortunately, given Ms. Murry's staunch defense of a sculpture garden (Oh, that'll help the victims of Katrina for sure... ed.) it is pretty clear that earmarks are much more sacred than doing what is right.

Damn these people!

Linked at Stop The ACLU

Posted by GM Roper at 07:33 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

September 19, 2005


porkbusters.jpgThe graphic design to the left is by Stacy Tabb and has been released via Glen Reynolds at Instapundit for use in helping the blogosphere identify fat in the federal budget that can be cut in light of the extra spending needed to help rebuild the gulf coast as a result of Hurricane Katrina, and with Rita in the wings, this might be more important than ever! Current forecasts show it aiming for Corpus Christi, Texas but that could change.

This blog has on several occasions complained about congressional spending and the lack of oversight on the budget or use of the veto pen. Most recently here and also here in my old site.

This whole concept is especially important given that we now have an example of what can happen if we do not restrain spending and continue with the nanny state to its logical conclusion. Germany has just elected "Who Knows" as the new chancellor. By that, I mean that as things currently stand, neither German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats (SPD) nor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (the CDU/CSU coalition) have enough of a lead to take control of the German Government. Merkel started out strong saying the Germany of the future could no longer afford the high spending/low income of the past and that market changes needed to be made to reduce the 11% unemployment rate and the cost of their cradle to grave social spending. But she dropped the ball by inelegantly fending off charges of a Flat Tax which Schroeder's SDU pegged as the poor paying more than millionaires in taxes...despite the fact that there was a generous $42,000 family income sheltered from the tax. The end result was an election in which the SDU garnered enough votes that there well may be 225 seats for each in the Bundestag. This all but guarantees "GRIDLOCK" in the German government.

coffinposter.jpgGermany currently has a difficult future UNLESS there are some substantial and fundamental changes in the way they do business. The cost of the social programs which most Germans are lothe to give up is staggering, unemployment is at 11% and shows no tendency to drop at the present time. Anti-American sentiment is rampant amoung the elete as the poster put up by one of Schroeder's compatriots (Rolf Schwanitz) in the SPD to garner votes indicates. It translates as "She [Merkel] would have sent soldiers" an obvious attempt to make the eastern German voter shy away from voting for the CDU/CSU coalition. Kinda reminds you of Johnson's girl picking daisys in 1964 doesn't it? And it also shows, given the SPD's vote total, how much anti-Americanism is present in Germany.

Full Disclosure, I was born in Germany in 1946 to American parents who were part of the then occupation. I love Germany and have many fond memories of living there. My wife and I were in Berlin on 9/11 and we are grateful to the citizens of Germany who kindly made sure that we were kept up to date and who protected our cruise ship against what could have been world wide strikes against American interests. It saddens me to see this farce being played out.

It saddens me more that unless congress does something, unless President Bush shows some fiscal restraint, we are in danger of turning into another Germany. Oh, not the nazi caricatures of the radical left vis-a-vis Bush, but their welfare state with declining population, increasing unemployment, and a budget busting spendthrift attitude that we will find the money "somewhere."

I have contacted my congressman and asked him to help cut the fat. My letter is as follows:

Dear Congressman. As you are aware, President Bush has called for massive spending in the wake of the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina. Too, it appears that Hurricane Rita may be headed for our own coast and may cause further destruction on a grand scale.

I am very concerned that the amounts proposed, while greatly needed are also budget busters of the first magnitude. I know that there is plenty of so called pork in the federal budget that can be cut for the betterment of society as a whole, and not for a particular congressional district. For example, the Transportation bill recently signed by President Bush contains millions of dollars for a bridge from Ketchikan, Alaska to an island of only 1500 persons. Sir, I've been to Ketchikan, the good people there almost brag about how difficult it is to get there, boat or plane, that is it. And yet, it is a thriving town, and quite beautiful as well. This bridge is a boondoggle of the worst sort.

I'm hoping you can identify and lead the charge to eliminate this and other pork spending so that as a unified country we will be in fact able to afford those things that need to be done vis-a-vis natural disasters.

I am a blogger, yes, one of those dreaded "pajama clad" folk who put their opinions out for everyone to see. But I am also a patriot and a citizen of a great congressional district, a great state and a magnificent country. I will be willing to put your answer on my blog as an update to a current post and as a singular post as you so desire.

Sir, we have much to do and not much time to do it. Won't you please take the lead and begin the process, get other Democrats and Republicans behind the effort to reform the budget, realign our priorities and get our house in order?

George Roper
GM's Corner (http://gmroper.com)

Ruben Hinojosa (D, 15th Congressional District) is a good man. His family has built H&H meats from a small business to a good sized operation with many, many employees. He, like many Democrats tend to spend too much, but he is also a patriot. Let's see what his response is. His only Republican opponent was in 1996 and '98 and though I am nominally a Republican, I've always supported Mr. Hinojosa. I've voted for Mr. Hinojsa each time he ran, let's see how his response is to this urgent matter.

UPDATE: Stephen Moore writing in the Wall Street Journal (both available in the dead tree edition and online) has a slightly different take on the Republican (and Democrat - my point, not his) spending spree. The "Money Grafs" (pun intended):

This flood of money comes on the heels of a massive domestic spending build-up in progress well before Katrina traveled its ruinous path. Federal spending, not counting the war in Iraq, was growing by 7% this year, which came atop the 30% hike over Mr. Bush's first term. Republicans were already being ridiculed as the Grand Old Spending Party by taxpayer groups. Their check-writing binge in response to the hurricane only confirmed, as conservative leader Paul Weyrich put it, that "the GOP, once the party of small government, has lost its bearings and the Republican establishment doesn't seem to get the message that the grass roots of the party is enraged."

Congressman Todd Aiken of Missouri complains that Congress was forced to vote on the $62 billion first installment of funds "even though we knew a lot of the money may go to waste." Mr. Aiken and several dozen other House conservatives proposed an amendment to the $62 billion hurricane relief bill that would offset at least some of the emergency spending by cutting other government programs a meager 2.5 cents out of every dollar that federal agencies spend.

Was the amendment defeated? No. The Republican leadership would not even allow it to come to a vote, on the grounds that there was no waste which could be easily identified and cut.

Dozens of other reasonable proposals to offset Katrina's tidal wave of deficit spending have been similarly repelled. Mike Pence of Indiana suggested a one-year delay on the multitrillion dollar new prescription drug benefit for senior citizens. For 220 years, seniors have managed without this give-away; one more year of waiting would hardly be an act of cruelty. It would save $40 billion, but there were no takers. Then there was the well-publicized idea by Republicans and several Democrats in Congress to cut $25 billion for bike paths, train-station renovations, nature trails, parking garages, auto museums and 6,000 other such pork projects in the just-enacted highway law. It was torpedoed by the powerful committee chairmen who patched this abominable bill together in the first place.

Someone needs to put away the checkbook, or figure out how to do it properly or both.

Posted by GM Roper at 09:46 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (1)

Oppose Harry Reid

Christians Against Leftist Heresy


I Stand With Piglet, How About You?

Reject The UN
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


101st Fighting Keyboardists

Prev | List | Random | Next
Powered by RingSurf!

Naked Bloggers

Improper Blogs

Milblogs I Read

The Texas Connection
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

American Conservative

The Wide Awakes


< TR>
AgainstTerrorism 1.jpg
[ Prev || Next || Prev 5 || Next 5]
[Rand || List || Stats || Join]

Open Tracback Providers

No PC Blogroll

Blogs For Bush

My Technorati Profile
Major Media Links

Grab A Button
If you would like to link to GM's Corner, feel free to grab one of the following buttons. (Remember to save the image to your own website).

Whimsical Creations by GM Roper
My Store

Technorati search

Fight Spam! Click Here!
YCOP Blogs

The Alliance
"GM's Corner is a Blogger's
Blog, and then some!"
-----Glenn Reynolds

Coalition Against Illegal Immigration

Southern Blog Federation

Kim Komando, America's Digital Goddess
Powered by:
Movable Type 2.64

Template by:

Design by:

Hosted by: