unions

Stat Of The Day: America's New Growth Industry

Time for our every-now-and-then-peek into the world of finance, fiscal policy and macroeconomics — and their affect on the body politic. The widely quoted Kent Engelke (see Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Dow Jones, etc.), the chief economics strategist and managing director of Richmond-based Capitol Securities Management, today wrote this in his daily morning commentary, regarding one of the causes of out-of-control government spending at all levels:

About twenty years ago government workers gained incredible power by being allowed to unionize demanding private sector pay while maintaining generous government benefits under the guise that such were required to attract top talent. Twenty years later I believe the pendulum has swung too far. As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics total employer compensation costs are $27.73 per hour in business and $39.81 in state and local government. Wow! Great pay, great benefits and a small probability of losing one’s job. Something is amiss.

Amiss, indeed. In fact, while the private sector is losing jobs, the public sector is adding jobs. Thank you, "stimulus" bill.) The only thing it is stimulating is the growth of government. Six of the wealthiest localities in the country now are those on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., including: Fairfax, Arlington, Stafford and Prince William counties, as well as the city of Alexandria (see Forbes). Not that this has gone unnoticed by the public at large. As Engelke writes, there is a political consequence to the Left's promiscuous unionization of what once was known as public service:

As all polls suggest, most have little regard for Congress reflected by 15% approval ratings. The President’s approval ratings are the lowest of any President at this time in any administration. The major reasons — (lack of)  jobs and out of control fiscal spending.

Lack of jobs, that is, except for those in government, America's new growth industry.

While You're Contacting Webb And Warner, Mention The "DISCLOSE Act" As Well

While contacting Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb over the Elena Kagan confirmation, bug them about the "DISCLOSE Act" as well. The DISCLOSE Act is one of the most anti-free speech pieces of legislation ever crafted and the Senate is close to bringing it up for a vote. The House already passed it. But don't take our word for it. The legislation's authors know its restrictions are unconstitutional because it blatantly put in a clause that prevents courts from hearing claims against it until after the November mid-term elections (see FRC.com)! The bill puts restrictions on what organizations can do and say during campaigns and, worse, must make public its top donors, making them subject to harassment by opponents, such as was done in California to people who donated to that state's pro-marriage amendment campaign in 2008.

One of its many provisions would curb what people or companies with contracts with the federal government can say or do in support of a candidate or issue in an election. That caused the National Association of Manufacturers, one of a long line of opponents, including National Right to Work, National Right to LifeFamily Research Council, FreedomWorks,  the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and dozens more, to oppose the bill. More of its constitutional infringements are described here, by Hans von Spakovsky, at The Heritage Foundation's The Foundry Blog.

But wait. I was taught by a favorite (liberal) college professor never to generalize, so I won't. Not all organizations are constrained by this bill. You see, the Congressional liberals who wrote it neatly exempted labor unions and other liberal leaning groups, such as the AARP (See Fox News Channel's Speaker's Lobby Blog). Incredibly, in what many conservatives call a sell-out, the NRA also backs the bill after it bolted a coalition to receive its own carve out. The NRA's support was seen by many the reason it escaped the House. More inside D.C. special interest deal making. Wasn't that going to change with the liberals in charge?

Congresional liberals are running scared. Their agenda is massively unpopular with the public, they are behind in public opinion polls and are on the verge of squandering huge majorities in both chambers of Congress. A recent Supreme Court ruling opened up the gates for more free speech and loosened the strings (see the Chamber's explanation) on what activities businesses and other organizations can engage in during campaigns, further equalizing the advantages liberals have in the mainstream media, unions and the education establishment, to name a few. The DISCLOSE Act is a last chance, desperation play with the clock running out to preserve its grip on power.

Since the vote is imminent, phoning Senators Webb and Warner may be the most efficient method of voicing your displeasure with the DISCLOSE Act. They an be reahed at the U.S. Senate switchboard at 202-224-3121. Please let them know you wish them to oppose S. 3628, the DISCLOSE Act.

Virginia News Stand: May 20, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations The Left Over The Long Term

Remember Tim Kaine? Barely? Yeah, that's him. He's in the news today, throwing it down at the Republicans. As we say in sports, that's why we play the game. In other news, the guy who succeeded Mr. Kaine, Governor Bob McDonnell, appointed a Family Foundation alumnus to his administration while arrogant academics scream foul at Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Also, the AG speaks frankly about what's at stake in the legal battle over the government takeover of health care. Meanwhile, Mark Preston and Dick Morris, in Analysis, get the gold medal in telepathy today with almost identical headlines. You'll have to read their columns to see if they are on the same wavelength about the midterm elections. Christopher Adamo adds his two bits in Commentary.

But there's more to scare liberals than pending elections. Education reform and freedom is gaining more momentum, yet the Left stubbornly resists to a long-failed ideology and continues to pander to unions. Joshua Mercer at CatholicVoteAction Blog comments on a Michael Steele op-ed and the we also posted the op-ed itself. Worse yet for the Left, long term, the pro-life movement looks bright. More and more young people are involved as the pro-abortion crowd dwindles in numbers and energy — a victim of age and technology. David Bass at The American Spectator explains.

News

*McDonnell announces appointments (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Kaine: Democrats will hold congressional majorities (Richmond Times-Dispatch

Cuccinelli: Federalism itself is at stake in health care debate (Woodbridge/Manassas News & Messenger)

Cuccinelli’s demand for U.Va. decried (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Academics fight Cuccinelli's call for climate-change records (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

National News

GOP stops $40 billion in future spending for science bill (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Senators press for National Guard troops on border (AP/GOPUSA.com)

'Modifying' Miranda modifies the political debate (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Senate fails to end debate on bank regulation bill (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Obama ramps up criticism of Ariz. immigration law (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Analysis

Open season on political incumbents (Mark Preston/CNN.com)

Open Season on Incumbents (Dick Morris/GOPUSA.com)

The Golden Age of Centrism Wasn't So Golden (Michael Barone/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

Pro-Choice Twilight Years (David N. Bass/The American Spectator AmSpecBlog)

Another Judicial Power Grab (Thomas Sowell/GOPUSA.com)

Steele: Democrats fail on school program (Michael Steele/CNN.com)

Michael Steele slams Obama for killing DC voucher program (Joshua Mercer/CatholicVoteAction Blog)

Immigration and Liberty (Walter E. Williams/GOPUSA.com

May Primaries And The Coming Electoral Tsunami (Christopher G. Adamo/GOPUSA.com)

Virginia News Stand: March 22, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations Day One Of Amerika? Or The First Day Of Revolution Two?

The News Stand has returned. Forgive us for its absence, but a little thing called General Assembly session kind of got in the way. Our Communications Department was kind of preoccupied. Today, of course, is quite the time to return. There's not much to add to the major news story of our time — the federal government's takeover of our health care system. We have some excellent commentary below. But I do want to add one ironic historical note, a reminder from our friend Norman Leahy at Tertium Quids: Today is the day in 1765 that the British Parliament passed The Stamp Act. We all know what that precipitated. Started here in Virginia, too. Parallels?

News

McDonnell to soon name panels on jobs, government reform, higher education (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Danville debate draws 7 who hope to challenge Perriello (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Democrats to gather in Richmond for low-key Jefferson-Jackson dinner (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Cuccinelli says Va. will sue over health-care bill (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

National News

Abortion compromise doesn't satisfy critics (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Insurers, doctor-owned hospitals get late help (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

American People Say 'No' While Democrats Say 'Yes We Can' (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

Health Plan Means Bigger Deficits and Higher Taxes (Michael Barrone/GOPUSA.com)

The Goal is Control (Henry Lamb/GOPUSA.com)

Doctors and Health Care Reform (Harris Sherline/GOPUSA.com)

'Don't Tread On Me' Was More Than A Slogan (Thomas D. Segel/GOPUSA.com)

The 'Historic' Health Care Bill that Americans Don't Want (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

Ok . . . Let's Get Serious About Cutting Spending (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

Unions, Public Schools and Minority Kids (Star Parker/GOPUSA.com)

Deeds: New Job = New Taxpayer

For perhaps the first time in this entire campaign, Creigh Deeds today stated very succinctly the primary difference in economic philosophy between statists (sometimes referred to as "liberals") and conservatives. At a meeting with business leaders in Richmond, Deeds said, "When you create a job, you create a taxpayer." Note that the first thing Deeds sees when someone gets a new job is an opportunity to TAX them! One can almost see him salivating at the potential for more money in the state coffers to spend to keep the unions and to the VEA neutralized. 

Conservatives, on the other hand, see a new job as an opportunity for someone to feed and take care of their families, a chance to make a better life for themselves and their loved ones, a step toward the American dream, a place to learn and develop a skill to be able to advance to even better employment opportunity, and a means to give philanthropically to their church and favorite charities to better society.

Finally, a clear statement from Mr. Deeds. Too bad for him that it reveals his true philosophy.

Virginia News Stand: September 10, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations Setting Trends

The News Stand is back after a bit of a late summer break. After all, nothing happens this time of year, anyway, right? So, we're getting right back into it with a pretty large News Stand. Leading off is an interesting bit of news breaking about the Democrat gubernatorial candidate, Senator Creigh Deeds. Seems back in the day, oh, about 10 years ago, he wrote some of his own thoughts on homosexuals. Uncovered by The Weekly Standard and reported by our friends at Bearing Drift.

But that's not all. Senator "Not Going To Run A Divisive Campaign" seems to have some out-of-control staff in Hampton Roads. Bearing Drift, again, with the details. Is this negativity a trend?

In fact, we have been e-mailed some pictures of dirty tricks in Buena Vista during the Labor Day Parade and we hope to have them up today.

Bearing Drift also has an update on several House races — let's not forget the House campaign — with a report on a negative mailer (yes, a trend) and interesting polling numbers on a seat held by a liberal Democrat in a district the GOP carries in statewide races, but which it has not been able to find traction on at the House level. Almost given up on, unexpectedly, it's back in play. A GOP pickup there would be huge. At the least, the numbers might dictate a reallocation of campaign dollars by state Dems to protect an incumbent, which would hurt their chances in other targeted districts. (By the way, congrats to BD — it's the first blog to lead off the News Stand.)

Oh, other than that? How about the budget cuts by the DNC Chairman, Governor Tim Kaine? Furloughs and layoffs for state employees and education cuts. Is this what the unions voted for four years ago?

Nationally, actress Patricia Mauceri claims she was fired from her long standing role because of her objection to her character becoming homosexual; the new civil rights movement, education choice, is drawing more attention in dramatic ways (as rights movements usually do); and the Obama administration's health care "reform" numbers are torn apart by the AP. Commentary features the always great Walter Williams and a thought-provoking piece on self-hate by Lisa Fabrizio. Meanwhile, Michael Barone and Bobby Eberle check up what passes for truth by the POTUS as well as his arrogance. 

News:

Deeds: "No Special Rights for Gays" (BearingDrift.com)

Deeds staff involved in sign defacement in Newport News? (BearingDrift.com)

Kaine: 593 layoffs, up to 15 percent college cuts (The Daily Press)

Kaine announces 593 layoffs, 2 prison closings, furloughs (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Virginia to lay off nearly 600, Kaine says (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

House Update: Amiral tied with Miller in 87th; Comstock, Hugo, Scalley, McConville, Hyland updates (BearingDrift.com)

Mathieson negative at Labor Day — must be desperate (BearingDrift.com)

Deeds campaigns at VUU; Minn.'s Pawlenty helps out McDonnell (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Deeds TV ad pegged to McDonnell's thesis (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Scrutiny Spreads to '03 McDonnell Remarks (Washington Post)

National News:

Soap Actress Says She Was Fired Because of Religious Beliefs (FoxNews.com)

Voucher advocates face up to police (Washington Times)

Opposition to Health-Care Reform Revives Christian Right (Washington Post)

Obama disapproval on health care up to 52 percent (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Analysis:

Be quiet America, Washington knows best (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

The Convenient Fantasies Of President Obama (Michael Barone/GOPUSA.com)

FACT CHECK: Obama uses iffy math on deficit pledge (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary:

Inflation And Deficits (Walter Williams/GOPUSA.com)

The Limits Of Self-Hate (Lisa Fabrizio/GOPUSA.com)

Obama and The Joker  . . . So Much More than a Poster (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

What An Honor!

In May, we noticed that none other than Right Wing Watch, the blog of the well known national liberal organization People For The American Way, had commented about us. In fact, it was concerned about the launch of our "Winning Matters" program, which engages pastors to lead their congregations into full participation into the public square. We noted at the time that we must be doing something right if such a large, national organization and RWW were keeping their eyes on us, a lil' ol' state policy organization. So, imagine how we feel now that they've mentioned us again (see here), this time ridiculing Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., for speaking at some of our pastors events around the commonwealth. Wearing this online red badge of courage, we thought we'd report on something they really could chew on.

People For The American Way and other liberal, secular progressives believe, given recent election trends, that the death of Christianity in America is near — or at least we've been minimized to the point of a curious, but irrelevant, nuisance. It's apparent to the collective liberal institutional genius (media, academia, public education, special interest groups, unions, etc.), that many Americans finally are enlightened, no longer hold the traditional values that are the result of one's faith in God, and that the country has reached the Rubiconof a mother state with no looking back (the flipping of conservative Virginia their prize possession).

Those of us who still dare live in the Stone Age are so few in number that we can be essentially forgotten by society and left to dwell in our caves. Finally the progressives can officially progress . . .  

But maybe not. In Roanoke last week, we hosted a pastors event in connection with the Winning Matters 2009 Campaign. Approximately 40 pastors from around the region filled the room and were encouraged, equipped and empowered to continue influencing their congregations and communities on traditional values issues. (For information on other pastor events around Virginia, click here.)

Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University's School of Law, reminded them of their personal and congregational rights to speak freely on the issues of the day. Rick Scarborough, of Vision America, challenged them to speak truth to their communities and leaders, as he has done for many years with great success. Family Foundation staff offered practical steps to make their churches more effective voices, including:

» Preaching a citizenship sermon; » Holding a voter registration drive; » Distributing General Assembly Report Cards; and » Distributing voter guides.

Each pastor there decided to stand up and be counted for the cause of Biblical values. They certainly didn't look dead in their passion to make a difference. Besides, even if they were, secular progressives forget that we serve a God who raises the dead. That alone, should give Right Wing Watch plenty to blog about.