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I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.

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Sunday
Apr132014

By The Way...

Following hot on the heels of my tax rant of yesterday, I wanted to post a Wall Street Journal video from April 11, 2014. That video summarizes another Tax Foundation study, showing that there's a correlation between State growth and lower taxes.

Here's a link to the full Tax Foundation study, Annual State-Local Tax Burden Ranking--FY 2011. Interesting and aggravating!

Saturday
Apr122014

Good to Know

If you really want to get annoyed, understand that the typical American pays MORE in taxes than on food, clothing, shelter. Think for a moment about what you could do if taxes weren't a major chunk from your budget. Then think about the what the government spends OUR money on, how wasteful it is in its spending habits and how bloated the bureaucracies are that spend it.

I struggle to find meaningful ways in which I can offer myself some peace around the issue of all that money going to feed that massive, greedy governmental hog. I do believe THE primary purpose of any government is defense of the nation. That does not mean $800 hammers or frivolous spending by the military infrastructure. What else does the government deliver to me?

Our education spending has skyrocketed and our young people keep falling further and further behind global competitors. My child has NEVER been in a public school. That was our choice, and we were fortunate enough to have been in a position to make it. Obviously, we were not given the option of receiving a rebate on our share of local education-based taxes. But wouldn't competition in the field of education, through vouchers, level the playing field?

I always hear that government provides infrastructure. And that explains why our infrastructure is crumbling. It also explains why governments are planning to find new ways of taxing us to pay for infrastructure improvements...even though our taxes have theoretically covered that infrastructure maintenance already. It's as if some dull-witted bureaucrat drove to work one morning, noticed the crater-like potholes he was driving through and though that shouldn't be. And he immediately went to work devising a new plan for a specialty tax to fix it.

I often think back to President Reagan's Grace Commission. That Commission developed a long list of means to reduce federal spending. Naturally, very few were ever implemented. Can you remember a time when the government announced a 10% layoff, or voluntary across-the-board budget cuts. Corporations do it when times get tough. The private sector, in fact, is constantly delving into its expenses to find efficiencies and eliminate redundancies. Why not local, state and federal governments? Simply, because there is no reason to and there is no meaningful metric around operating efficiency, customer service, cost efficiency in government, etc.

There is no doubt in my mind that the government is way too large. And intrusive. And corrupt! It has become a leviathan that often thinks taxpayers live to serve the beast. Do government workers often act as if YOU are the customer, the very reason they have a job and the person whose satisfaction is THEIR primary duty? I recall speaking with a town official, and mentioning that I found town employees very dismissive of people waiting to make an inquiry . His answer was that they were going to be changing hours. Of course, my assumption was that he meant they'd be changing employee hours to better accommodate the work life realities of the modern family; maybe, keep the office open evenings at least several days a week. What he had in mind, and what was actually implemented, was to change the hours to open an hour earlier and close an hour earlier, at 4PM. And that to mean was a living, breathing example of the government mentality.

In any event, any discussion of taxes--even when I'm only having that discussion with myself--always gets me teed up. I have very little respect for what I believe is a corrupt system. So I naturally feel feeding that beast is not only unethical but extortive. And I don't like it, just in case you missed that! 

FYI, back just about 11 months ago I posted the 2012 Tax Foundation findings at THIS HURTS! It's not getting any better!

Friday
Apr112014

Heritage Foundation "Obamacare in Pictures"

The Heritage Foundation is a respected organization, doing research and analysis on a broad array of current topics and issues. It occasionally uses graphics and charts to visually demonstrate their research. The "Obamacare in Pictures" slideshow below is an excellent depiction of the current--and future--state and consequences of what may very well be the most ill-conceived and poorly constructed piece of legislation in the last 50 years. 
Thursday
Apr102014

More on the Truth Behind Obamacare Enrollment Numbers

Here's an interesting article from today's THE FISCAL TIMES, Two New Studies Raise Red Flags on Obamacare. It discusses the RAND Study, which I'd mentioned in yesterday's post, When the Smoke Clears and the Mirror Shatters

presstv.vomThe other studied referenced is from a major pharmacy benefit manager, Express Scripts. That study, according to The Fiscal Times article, found...

Of those who enrolled in an exchange plan, Express Scripts finds, 43 percent already had Express Scripts coverage in 2013 – and at least some of the other 57 percent may have had coverage under another prescription-medication management service. If the total number of actual exchange enrollees is 3.9 million, the final number of previously uninsured exchange consumers may be only as high as 2.23 million.  

Until then, we can expect more nonsense from HHS' Sebelius. She has now announced that the number is really 7.5 Million. Of course, the exact language is that 7.5 Million have "chosen an insurance plan". That is meaningless. If you select a new couch but never order it, and haven't paid for it, all you've done is select a couch...but you'll still be watching MSNBC from the floor.

In the absence of meaningful data from Health and Human Services, we must rely on the studies from independent sources. Of course, in this age of lightning fast technology one can only wonder why we can't get verifiable and detailed information in spite of what may prove to have been a billion dollar ACA system expense by the federal government. But, it will eventually come out, once the Administration has developed its talking points to try to cleverly obfuscate and spin just how ugly this critical launch enrollment for Obamacare has really been.

The consequence will certainly be as noted in The Fiscal Times article's closing...

The debate on the law is far from over. When the next round of premium increases hits over the summer, and the market for employer-provided health insurance undergoes the same kind of massive disruption as the individual market did over the last six months, the debate over the honesty and integrity of the Obama administration may hit new levels of intensity. 

With the midterms fast approaching, I suspect Dems will be hoisted on a very ugly petard during the months leading up to those elections. The mess and anger has not even been felt yet, but it's coming.

Wednesday
Apr092014

As the Charter School Experiment Begins to Succeed...

teacher unions are fighting tooth-and-nail to scuttle them or, at the least, convert them into limp copies of the traditional public schools. While those union leaders characterize their objections in terms of "fairness", they are so comically transparent as to border on absurd. This a fight for power and money. And children will pay the price.

Charter schools could be the salvation of the public education system. What stands in their way now is a chance to continue on their demonstrable record of success and teacher unions so myopic and self absorbed that even the best interests of children stands far back in their list of priorities.

See, Charter School Fight Flares Up in Illinois, Wall Street Journal, 4-9-14

Also, Charter Schools Work; So "Progressives" Want Them Stopped.