“First Lady Michelle Obama told Regis & Kelly she was expecting jewelry on Valentine’s Day. She said it wouldn’t be anything extravagant because Barack tends to be responsible when he’s spending his own money.” — Jay Leno
We can make the necessarily austere decisions now, or we can have them forced upon us later. In November the country sent an unmistakable message to our itinerant politicians: Fix our unsustainable budget problems. Some governors are trying to do the right thing, and we must support them.
Democratic legislators fled Wisconsin last week to avoid having to vote on the Republican governor’s sensible plan to make state employee unions contribute more to their retirement plans (you know, like the rest of us do). The Badger State reminded folks of D.C. after the November elections.
Per USA Today, “For cities and school districts, labor costs often account for 80% of costs. Compensation costs soared in the past decade — 40% above the inflation rate.” Public union jobs far out-compensate similar private sector jobs, and the difference continues to grow.
Some elected officials are fighting back. Governor Christie of New Jersey is taking necessary steps to right his state’s fiscal wrongs. If only he would take a write-down on the cast of “Jersey Shore” as a huge liability to the state, he could save more.
We are borrowing 40 cents on every dollar we spend. Obama’s budget spends 25.3% of our gross domestic product (GDP), the highest percentage in history. Obama did not touch entitlements, the root of our fiscal problems. Obama’s refusal to address the “sacred cows” has Republicans rethinking their attacks on him — now they will probably claim he is a Hindu, not a Muslim.
“We do not want to go down the path of Greece on spending,” said President Barack Obamanopolis as he presented his $3.7 trillion “spending bill.” It is called that because our government gets to do all the spending and we, the people, get the bill.
Had it not been for the “restraining order,” as P.J. O’Rourke called the November elections, there would be yet more taxes. As long as you are not drawing a government union job check and have two TV remotes or a spare kidney he can take, Obama considers you “rich” and therefore his lawful prey.
We are so conditioned to sucking off the government teat, and government is so bent on growing its bureaucracies, that one in 20 of us now receives federal disability payments. As CBS reported, many of those “disabled” are still working for the federal government as postal delivery workers, TSA agents, and the like. One TSA agent was drawing a big salary working each day and had her home listed for $1.8 million, all the while drawing disability. Talking about doing a cavity search!
Twenty-eight percent of Americans polled believe we have too many federal holidays. The other 72% believe that a unionized federal job is a holiday.
Government is rotten with corruption, inefficiency and indifference — yet, amazingly, we feed the beast with more money. Our government could not efficiently run a high school musical, but it continues to grow.
Seven thousand prison inmates in Georgia filed fake tax returns in 2009, claiming refunds in the millions of dollars. And Georgia was not even the top state for this dubious honor; Florida was. One inmate got $50,000 in refunds by claiming an Obama favorite, an alternative fuel vehicle — and he didn’t even own it. Your tax dollars at work!
At the federal level, Paul Ryan, the Republican leader with all the math skills but not much charisma, is making sense. The GOP leader with all the charisma probably has no math skills and cannot be bothered during caribou hunting season.
The Dems are impugning any cuts, playing the political game of letting the GOP suggest cuts and then planning to campaign against them in 2012. We must support our bold politicians who stand up and do the right thing by suggesting cuts. Even our first openly drunk senator, Ted Kennedy, and our first phonetically challenged president, George W. Bush, found areas of agreement on important issues. Why can’t these bozos?
There is already posturing between blue state Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) and orange state Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) on who will be blamed for shutting down government when they cannot agree on a budget. I think they both misread the electorate. Whoever shuts down this spending beast will get credit, not blame.
Ron Hart is a syndicated op-ed humorist, author and TV/radio commentator. Email Ron@RonaldHart.com or at visit RonaldHart.com