TheDC Morning: Budget crises turn Democratic governors into deficit hawks
1.) Will newly elected governors put on a better show than House Republicans? — We are all fiscal conservatives now; at least at the state level. According to the New York Times, the majority of newly elected governors have said they will redeem their states’ economies in a similar manner: “Slash spending. Avoid tax increases. Tear up regulations that might drive away business and jobs. Shrink government, even if that means tackling the thorny issues of public employees and their pensions.” Scott D. Pattison at the National Association of State Budget Officers told the Times that the rhetoric is so consistent, “[Y]ou can’t tell if it’s a Republican or Democrat, a conservative or a liberal.” There are exceptions to this new rule: In order to get at the vast wealth of his few remaining rich residents, incoming Illinois Gov. Patrick J. Quinn signed into law a 66% income tax increase.
2.) Rep. Issa is not going to bail out public sector unions — Any state legislator who thought that his public pension problem was an act of God away from being a public pension solution should get back to genuflecting: If Rep. Darrell Issa has his way, things are going to get worse before they get better. “Recently, I joined Reps. Devin Nunes and Paul Ryan in offering the Public Employee Pension Transparency Act to enhance the reporting requirements for state and local pensions, as well as to prohibit all future public pension bailouts by the federal government,” Issa wrote in a weekend editorial in the San Diego Union-Tribune. “By mandating new transparency rules, public pensions will be forced not only to disclose their current liabilities using a uniform accounting standard, but also their underlying methods and assumptions to project realistic rates of return and tie assets to reasonable fair market evaluations. Moreover, the reform plan links federal tax-exempt bonding authority to states and local governments with compliance to the law,” writes Issa. Shorter version? “No transparency will mean no money.”
3.) Eric Fuller is the only person to blame for Eric Fuller — Eric Fuller “a 63-year-old veteran, wounded in the Tucson rampage, went completely off the deep end at a Tea Party rally,” writes Human Events’ John Hayward. “Calling other members of the audience ‘whores,’ Fuller snapped a photo of Tucson Tea Party co-founder Trent Humphries and told him, ‘You’re dead.’ Fuller was arrested for disorderly conduct and hauled off for a psychiatric evaluation.” Irony of ironies: Fuller hates hate! While there’s ample opportunity to jab a finger in the face of the fearmongers who would have the blue half of America believe that the red half is out for actual blood (as opposed to sensible economic policies), Hayward takes the high road: “Democrats and media liberals aren’t responsible for Eric Fuller’s behavior. He’s a bitter, hateful man suffering some kind of breakdown. I will no more hold their free speech accountable for driving him around the bend than I will allow irresponsible charlatans like the New York Times editors to blame conservatives for Jared Loughner.” Kudos!
4.) Philly’s Plosser gives Bernanke the business — Charles Plosser, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, does not care for Ben Bernanke’s Big Gov management style. Let’s start with this nugget of truth, from a speech Plosser will give today: “Monetary policy cannot reverse the sharp decline in house prices when the economy has significantly over-invested in housing.” Boom. How about this line, against corporate bailouts? “I have advocated the elimination of Section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act, which allowed the Fed to lend directly to ‘corporations, partnerships and individuals’ under ‘unusual and exigent circumstances.'” The cherry on top of Plosser’s speech is the Milton Friedman quote he drops in his introduction: “We are in danger of assigning to monetary policy a larger role than it can perform, in danger of asking it to accomplish tasks that it cannot achieve, and, as a result, in danger of preventing it from making the contribution that it is capable of making.” Pure poetry.
5.) UK moves away from health-care system that American progressives obsessed over — “Prime Minister David Cameron says his government will make fundamental changes to Britain’s state-run health care system,” reports the AP. “Cameron says he will save money and cut red tape by giving control over management to family practitioners rather than bureaucrats. He said Monday that standards of care in Britain have fallen behind other European countries.” And to think, Dr. Donald M. Berwick, Pres. Obama’s choice to head up Medicare and Medicaid, praised the NHS just two years ago as “one of the truly astounding human endeavors of modern times.”
6.) Chavez imprisons federal judge and single mother for disobeying him — “Few had heard of judge María Lourdes Afiuni until 10 December 2009 when she granted bail to Eligio Cedeño, a banker charged with evading currency controls. He had been in jail for almost three years without trial, exceeding legal limits,” reports the Guardian. So Afiuni released him. Chavez flew into a rage; Afiuni had interrupted his anti-market pogrom. On Chavez’s insistence, “Afiuni was charged with corruption and abuse of power. In May prosecutors said they had found no evidence of illicit payments but accused the judge of ‘spiritual corruption.'” The 47-year-old single mother is facing a sentence of 30 years and death threats from inmates, some of whom have “threatened to burn Afiuni with petrol, others to cut off her head and to bathe the jail in her blood.”