Friday, May 18, 2012

Freep and MLive: Uneducated Legislators Hating on Higher Ed

An editorial headline caught my attention this morning over at the Detroit Free Press.  Lawmakers playing politics with higher ed budget should go back to school

The headline caught my eye because it hints that budgetary considerations are little more than offensive moves on a checkerboard.  I reject the notion that balancing the budget according to the requirements of the state consitution is merely playing politics with the budget.

Upon reading the article I decided I wanted to go a couple of steps farther in my criticism.

What is lost on these journalism souls is that every dollar spent in Michigan has to be balanced with a dollar of revenue.  When a buck is tossed out the window in order to pay for the lavish benefits of a bloated state government, that dollar must come from somewhere; from the pocket of a tax payer.  If that same dollar was not given to cover a portion of the dental benefits of a secretary working at the DOT, it could have been allocated toward higher education, or could have been put on a Bridge Card, or could have helped to pay for a Pure Michigan ad playing down here in Georgia, or could have been used to help bail out another generation of corrupted Detroit politicians.  Heck, even a couple of stellar journalists ought to be able to figure that one out.

Alas, it appears as if some jouralists are little bothered by the suffering of tax payers.  Taxpayers in Michigan it would seem are cash cows to be milked by benevolent bureaucrats at the cheering insistence of journalists such as Brian Dickerson at the Freep and the woefully untalented Susan Demas at Mlive.

Dickerson's regurgitated point appears to be little more than echoed drivel of Demas who writes that too many Michigan legislators are not college educated and that this could be why money is not flowing like milk and honey onto the heads of educators at our state operated colleges and universities.

But no one wanted to talk about why lawmakers really don't want to shell out for universities.

The fact is, too many of this current crop of Republican lawmakers don't give a fig about our universities, which they regard as little more than liberal indoctrination factories whizzing away your hard-earned taxpayer dollars.

A group like BLM -- whose political action committees give the vast majority of donations to Republican candidates -- can't really be expected to talk about that inconvenient fact, however.

The hostility to higher ed might have something to do with the fact that almost 30 percent of Michigan legislators don't even have a college degree themselves -- putting us 31st in the nation, according to a study by the Chronicle of Higher Education.
But perhaps things aren't quite as easy as Dicerson and Demas envision.  Perhaps there is not a never ending gush at end of the tax revenue pipe.  Perhaps the constitution hobbles legislators from slathering every line item in the budget with dreamed for millions. 

The well educated Dickerson and the well educated Demas might be supreme in their abilities to propagate leftist dogma, but they are not wizards when it comes to economics.   For decades the state of Michigan subsidized the educations of tens of thousands of college graduates who left this state to make their fortunes in Texas, New York, Virginia and elsewhere.  They took our tax money and now pay the taxes on their new fortunes to other state capitols. 

They didn't all leave this state because they wanted to wash the taste of Michigan out of their mouths, but usually they fled because the jobs they needed were located in states that had done a better job at nurturing their own signature industries.  They followed the jobs.

So, what would be wrong with Texas, or New York, or Virginia taxpayers subsidizing the educations of graduates that will eventually settle down in Michigan when the jobs grown in a business-friendly and an entrepreneur-friendly state actually start sprouting?   

There has been recent talk of a potential Chinese village being started near Ann Arbor so that out of country students can fulfill residency requirements which would allow them to languish in the benevolence of Michigan taxpayers like Demas and Dickerson and you and me.  I'm not wilfully so charitable with Demas' money even though she would like to spend some of mine and the Chinese are aware.

When it gets right down to it, of course I want my legislators to understand the workings of all angles including budgetary and economic. 

In a perfect world the same standards would apply to journalists. 


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Electability Snooker

Recent polls show that Mitt Romney is catching up to and passing Barack Obama in favorability for November's presidential election.

While it has been said for months by the likes of Rush Limbaugh that Obama would lose to whomever the GOP put at the top of its ticket, establishment party operatives pushed the "Romney is the only electable candidate" meme.  The catchy jingle stuck and Romney essentially ran away with the delegate count despite being a candidate who clearly was not favored by a majority of GOP voters when given more conservative options.

Many of those who ultimately voted for Romney in the primaries did so solely on the electablity issue--he was not in tune with what they believed personally on the role of government in the everyday lives of most Americans, but they refused to take the chance that Obama might win the election if a more risky candidate was chosen.

Well, here we are almost a full half year from the upcoming election and the Obama campaign is stumbling over economic and foreign policy hurdles with almost dizzying regularity.  He is crashing and burning and every bit of news that comes out of Washington these days tosses a little more gasoline onto the fire. Obama might very well prove to be the weakest incumbent presidential candidate in history--and the GOP, at the behest of moderate party leaders, is facing him with a moderate country club republican who believes in global warming, socialized medicine, supported raising the debt limit, TARP, and spent a good amount of his last two decades dissing on Ronald Reagan.

Is Romney favorable to Obama?  Dumb question--I'd also rather lose a toe than a hand.  The better question is whether or not the GOP should have produced a truly conservative candidate to run against a guy that by comparison makes Jimmy Carter appear competent.  

The unelectable guy in this contest was always Barack Obama. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Obama Evolves Into His More Obvious Self

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need
                                -- either the Beatles (or Joe Biden)

Barack Hussein Obama is in a state of evolution having now determined that his support of civil unions in lieu of gay marriage was so yesterday.   He doesn't want to see his kids picked upon when either he or Michelle come out of the closet.  He doesn't want to see anyone within the L-B-G-T communities go without the exact same rights that those non-L-B-G-T members get to enjoy.  Most importantly, he wants more campaign money.

The interest given by everyone to this topic has allowed Obama to do something that no conservative would ever be allowed to do at a time of such great economic upheaval--steer the political narrative back onto the largely irrelevant social issues.  Mitt Romney, of course, was quick to respond with comments at Liberty University thereby lengthening the time when irrelevancy will dominate the airwaves.

In case anyone was interested, Obama's former public stance on civil unions was one of perhaps three or four issues with which I had agreed with Obama, but he needn't lament the loss of my vote over this--I was never going to vote for the buffoon anyway.  What strikes me as comical is the response, both positive and negative, to a perceived change in position by Barack Obama from one that no one believed he had anyway, to a brand spankin' new position that everyone perceived he had to begin with. 

Obama needs huge piles of money because his campaign is charged with the nearly impossible task of expunging the obvious if he is to be reelected.   Employment numbers must be erased.  Production numbers must be forgotten.  Tax revenues must be ignored.  Deficits must be expunged.   Mandated liabilites must be tossed aside.  Prices at the pump must be chuckled at.  These suspensions of disbelief can only be purchased with a huge pile of money and his campaign was not bringing in the cash it had promised America it would raise. 

Obama has to realign his base behind his inept and disruptive presidency and he only has a limited amount of cotton candy to spread around to the maws that open whenever his shadow appears above them.  The gay marriage issue was little more than a marked ace he had up his tattered sleeve.  Conservatives would be better off calling it what it is rather than fortifying their positions on the social issues in response to Obama's rather lame lunge.

We have one big suck of an economy out there.  Don't let Obama's misdirection fool you.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Parents in Massachusetts Suck at Parenting

but, despite the fact that Massachusetts food tyrants have enacted rules that will effectively outlaw bake sales at school events

 “we’re not trying to get into anyone’s lunch box,” [Dr. Lauren Smith, DPH’s medical director] Smith told the Herald. “We know that schools need those clubs and resources. We want them to be sure and have them, but to do them a different way. We have some incredibly innovative, talented folks in schools who are already doing some impressive things, who serve as incontrovertible evidence that, yes, you can do this, and be successful at it.”
 No, of course not. We understand that the nature of your invasion into the realm of parenting is purely benevolent.  You really really, really, really had been giving parents a fair shot at bowing to the will of the all-benevolent and all-knowing food police before things got so unnecessarily necessary, but parents simply weren't falling in line. 

State Sen. Susan Fargo (D-Lincoln), chairwoman of the Joint Committee on Public Health, said the problem of overweight children has reached “crisis” proportions.

“If we didn’t have so many kids that were obese, we could have let things go,” Fargo said.

“But,” she added, “this is a major public health problem and these kids deserve a chance at a good, long healthy life.”
 Yep, you parents asked for it--you practically forced their hand. 

I see unhealthy behaviors every day as I travel this world.  Smoking.  Drinking more than occasionally.  I know people that refuse to get enough sleep but when they wake up they try to compensate for it by quaffing an early cup of black coffee. Then there are those that drink too many sugary drinks, salt their food, and fry up the occasional morel.  And honestly, nothing pisses me off more than kids who are allowed to watch too much television--and do so while sitting too close to the boob tube.
Ms. Fargo and Dr. Smith need to go farther in protecting the children of Massachusetts from their sucky parents.    In order for these unfortunate cherubs to get a chance at a good, long healthy life, their inadequate parents must take a diminished role in caring for them.   

Its for the best. 

France and Greece

Recent developments in Europe and the US have reminded me of the frailty of the human condition and the flawed human character that drives it. 

Let us not forget that the human condition throughout all of recorded history has been one of misery.  Man's history on Earth is a perennial calendar of death, disease, pestilence, drought, blight, hunger and savagery toward one another.    It was not until capitalism and the industrial age that it spawned that man began to experience security in his surroundings--and even then it did so only in those areas where capitalism was practiced or where capitalism provided the necessary wealth to drive charity.

Since its inception, capitalism has lived side by side with its detractors.   For every individualist plowing his own soil there were hundreds of others who subsisted miserably on either the benevolence provided by or the forced servitude demanded of others.   These inefficient economic systems resulted in shortages of nearly all necessary produce while robbing individuals of the capital required to improve their destinies.  Generation after generation suffered with the same intensity as those that came before. 

And yet capitalism is still attacked the world over.

Greece is a land that denounces capitalism and is currently mired in perhaps the worst financial situation throughout all of Europe.  It is buried under debt, is woefully lacking in industrial production, is an unattractive suitor for foreign investment, and its population is now bristling at the prospect that it might have to either cut back on its own consumption of the produce of others, or start producing more of its own.  For many years it has sustained its meager living standards by living off of the production of others within the EU, a situation that Germany has tired of.

A majority of Greeks are unhappy with the way that its financiers are forcing them to adapt to conditions not of their own liking--Greeks want charity, and they want it provided according to their own ideals. 

The French too have tired of austerity.  With the recent election of socialist Francois Hollande as President, the French have chosen a candidate to lead them who is decidedly anti-capitalist.  His platform of promises is a cash box full of socialist giveaways that will further stymie French productivity and wealth creation. 

The Socialist candidate has promised to raise taxes on big corporations and people earning more than 1m euros a year.

He wants to raise the minimum wage, hire 60,000 more teachers and lower the retirement age from 62 to 60 for some workers.
This treasure trove of predictable socialist reforms will shrink the economy, dissuade employment, help to chase corporations out of country, add to the number of unproductive people who will live on the backs of taxpayers, and also raise prices.   In a socialist's view, this is pro-growth. 

Call it either a flaw or a feature of the human character, but people will typically care for themselves better than they will contribute to what is perceived as the common good. Likewise, when a government in authority stands in the way of self sufficiency while it also promotes communal consumption, it predictably gets what it begs for--a population of demanding consumers that produces too little to provide for itself.

You go Greece!  Way to go France!

Time to turn another page on the perennial calendar of misery.