During the State of the Union speech tonight, the following words were used by the president.
“Values” – 6 times
“Taxes” – 17 times (mentioned a company minimum tax, went after millionaires, also proposed a 30% tax for millionaires)
“Fairness” – 5 times (referred to fairness numerous times using words like ”rules”, “leveling playing field”, “equal pay for equal work”, “shared responsibility”)
“Economy” – 5 times (interesting that this wasn’t mentioned often)
“Jobs” – 33 times (indirectly via “hiring” several additional times, employment, hiring, working, etc.)
“Energy” – 18 (open 75% of offshore resources for oil and gas, natural gas to be safely developed, disclose chemicals, government developed fracking, clean energy – thousands of jobs, will not walk away from clean energy, double down on clean energy, stop subsidizing oil, allow development of clean energy on public land, military will commit to clean energy ) A lot to think about here.
• Blamed 8 million job losses to everything before his policies took place. (4 million jobs during the 6 months prior to getting in office, 4 million prior to his policies taking place.)
• Still pushing Keysensian economics. Proud of government restructure of GM. No mention of placing bond holders at the bottom.
• Masterlock Unionized plant running at full capacity. Tied this to America being competitive globally. (But unions aren’t globally competitive.) There was a degree of protectionism to his thoughts during this part of the speech.
• Proposed massive new incentives. . . and. more inspections. . . .these ran counter to one another.
• Mentioned that states have laid off teachers at the state level. In NC, state funded teachers increased while the Fed cut teachers in NC.
• All students graduate or stay in school until they are 18. . . OH my!! More government?
• Stop interest rates from increasing in July on student loans, extend tuition tax credit.
• Illegal immigration – Comprehensive reform right now, stop expelling young people, give young’uns the opportunity to earn their citizenship.
• More regulations, rules, for the financial sector. New Federal unit with Eric Holder to go after more people on financial/home loan stuff.
• If a millionaire gets a tax break someone else has to pay. Tried to assert that government spending is a zero sum game.
• Wants to ban insider trading by members of Congress and have some lobby reform.
This speech will be picked apart by many, but a VERY political speech. Personally, I’m not sure where he was heading. He talked about the need to get rid of regulations and yet proposed having many more regulations. Talked about more drilling for oil, but doubling down on clean energy. Avoided some of the most damaging aspects of his tenure. Never addressed health care reform increasing costs of health insurance dramatically.
It will be picked apart by the talking heads. We’ll talk about it a great deal on the show in the morning from 6-10 on TheBigTalkerFM.com. Can’t wait to see John Hood’s column over at Carolina Journal in the morning as well.Read full article » 1 Comment »
New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger’s voting record has, again, become a distraction to more serious political dysfunction. Apparently he voted against a “13.1 percent revenue increase” by the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority before he voted for a “rate model that included rate increases,” according to a Wilmington StarNews reporter—and consistent with his erratic behavior. (link) But the more important question of why hundreds of people “can’t” or won’t pay their water and sewer bills has not been reported.
In a typical do-good, knee-jerk reaction, Commissioner Rick Catlin reacted with the message: other people should pay these bills. Mr. Catlin has crafted an ill-conceived plan to subsidize “low-income” resident’s default on paying for services provided—with charity for some and disregard for others. Catlin wants to transfer “private donations” (whatever that means) to delinquency. Our politicians have acquired a bad habit of providing for their favorite charities with other people’s money.
Mr. Berger voted against Catlin’s scheme on the grounds that officials were “overlooking the larger issue” of lowering rates for all users; a solid conservative position. Unfortunately, Berger has a bad habit of muddying his message with irrational, over-reactive verbiage. (link) This tends to send reporters chasing sidebars and neglecting the more important story line.
Big Talker FM radio talk show host Chad Adams posed some need-to-be-answered questions about Catlin’s bigheartedness. For starters, who decides what residents get subsidized: government bureaucrats, nonprofit personnel, Catlin?
Apparently, Mr. Catlin has investigated this issue. He reported that people in 480 households don’t pay their bills. Further, he concludes that $150,000 will be needed to reconnect water and sewer service to them. Catlin doesn’t seem to understand the role of government; it’s authority not charity. If government is unjust and abusive it must be curtailed, not manipulated to favor some and take from others. But if his charity scheme prevails, questions must be answered.
How will “donations” be collected? Can donors be assured their money will be properly spent? Who will be accountable for it? If enough to pay all delinquent bills can’t be raised what criteria will be used to determine the lucky beneficiaries? What happens when bills paid again become delinquent? Will this project become another never-ending program to encourage dependency? And most important: Is this fair to all responsible people who pay their bills?Read full article » No Comments »
The forces aligned against Titan are hosting a special presentation this evening. StopTitan, working with Southern Environmental Law, contracted ICF International to produce an air quality study. Among their findings:
* Increases in emissions of the pollutants that create ozone could trigger about 530 cases of acute respiratory symptoms. (they don’t mention Titan specifically here, but allude to it.)
* That finding, if it occurs, will account for 320 lost work days each May through September according to the study estimates.
* Increases could also result in an estimated 160 lost school or camp days among children 5-17.
* Study estimates that Titan’s pollution could cause approximately 320 cases of acute respiratory symptoms and result in 54 lost work days.
* It also alludes to premature deaths occurring but does not quantify it.
The results, posted in the press packet, never state anything factual, but use words like “could” and “estimated” and won’t even come out and say Titan will do this. In the press packet, outspoken critic Tracy Skrabal, of StopTitan, said “This report confirms what we’ve suspected, that adding Titan’s pollution to our area will harm the health of our citizens. . ”
But the press release NEVER confirms what Skrabal says. It alludes to, estimates it, makes informed guesses, but it does not confirm it. Another nagging problem for the StopTitan folks is that they continually assert that “more than 200 physicians from the Cape Fear Region” have asked for a delay with Titan but won’t produce those names.
It’s more than fair to ask serious questions about Titan’s proposal, but this is akin to pandering to fear rather than dealing with facts. And, as of yet, there don’t seem to be attacks on the EPA or NC DENR for allowing the process to move forward.
The meeting is tonight at 7:00pm at the Executive Development Center, Northeast New Hanover Library (near Mayfaire/Landfall)
There will be the opportunity for questions and answers from those in attendance.Read full article » No Comments »
Always interesting when even the local left leaning paper takes on a government agency, I hope they will think a bit more about their opening paragraph in today’s editorial:
First rule: When a public agency gets 99 percent of its money from the government – i.e., the taxpayers – it doesn’t get to dictate how and when regulators drop in to inspect the program. Yet in their arrogance, officials of New Hanover County Community Action attempted to do just that.
It’s an interesting opening and the Head Start program deserves every word of it. Here’s hoping the StarNews would agree that ANY group receiving ANY amount of taxpayer money needs transparency and accountability. It is also interesting that they have to remind folks (maybe themselves) that “money from government” is actually “the taxpayer’s” as they often seem to miss that point.Read full article » No Comments »
Facts from Joseph Curl over at the Washington Times worthy of more than a cursory glance:
* Unemployment rate when Mr. Obama was elected was 6.8 percent; today it is 8.5 percent. In reality, the Financial Times writes, “if the same number of people were seeking work today as in 2007, the jobless rate would be 11 percent.”
* In addition, there are now fewer payroll jobs in America than there were in 2000 — 12 years ago — and now, 40 percent of those jobs are considered “low paying,” up 10 percent from when President Reagan took office. The number of self-employed has dropped 2 million to 14.5 million in just six years.
* Regular gasoline per gallon cost $1.68 in January 2009. Today, it’s $3.39 — that’s a 102 percent increase in just three years. (By the way, if you’re keeping score at home, gas was $1.40 a gallon when George W. Bush took office in 2001, $1.68 when he left office — a 20 percent increase.)
* Electricity bills have also skyrocketed, households now pay a record $1,420 annually on average, up some $300.
* Some 48 percent of all Americans — 146.4 million — are considered by the Census Bureau either as “low-income” or living in poverty, up 4 million from when Mr. Obama took office; 57 percent of all children in America now live in such homes.
* Since December 2008, a month before Mr. Obama took office, food-stamp use has increased 46 percent. Total spending has more than doubled in just four years to a record high of $75 billion. In 2011, more than 46 million people — about one in seven Americans — got food stamps. That’s 14 million more than when Mr. Obama took office.
* Median household income has dropped nearly 7 percent in the last six years, taking inflation into account. What’s more, nearly 20 percent of males age 25 to 34 now live with their parents.
* Low- and middle-income Americans 65 and older now hold more than $10,000 in credit card debt, up 26 percent since 2005. The average age of the American car is 10 years; in 1990, it was 6.5 years old (by the way, in 1985, Americans bought 11 million cars; in 2009, less than half that, 5.4 million).
* On the macro side, America’s annual budget has jumped to $3.8 trillion — and yet the United States brings in only about $2.1 trillion in revenue. The U.S. trade deficit for 2011 was $558 billion. America’s total public debt stands at $15.23 trillion; in January 2009, the debt was $10.62 trillion. Mr. Obama is on pace to borrow $6.2 trillion in just one term — more debt than was amassed by all presidents from Washington through Bill Clinton combined. The debt is rising by $4.2 billion every day — $175 million per hour, nearly $3 million per minute.
Just food for thought as you take in the SOTU from POTUS this evening.Read full article » No Comments »