Saturday, November 1, 2008

Don't Be Selfish, Give Up Your Pensions For Social Security

Don't Be Selfish, Give Up Your Pensions For Social Security

I just read a piece where Obama states not wanting to pay higher taxes is selfish. That is a bunch of B.S. He is using this line to try to persuade voters to pay higher taxes. My Great, great, great, great, great, great, great...Uncle Sam Adams would be spinning in his grave if he heard that piece of propaganda.

When Obama speaks of middle class I think he speaks of union employees and government employees including teachers. These are the groups he wants to grow and protect. These groups represent blatant socialism at its best and they are the foot soldiers of the democratic party. By tipping the balance of these groups to 51% Republicans and Independents would eventually be run out of office and the democrats would hold the house, senate and the presidency until there was another revolt by the American citizens.

If Obama wins he will at some point bailout the government pensions from the city to the federal level. This pension tsunami will make the most recent bailout look like it was paid with a piggy bank.

There are numerous reports that shatter the myth that teachers and other public employees are underpaid or paid less than private employees. But their propaganda often works because many taxpayers just do not do their homework. Taxpayers fall for propaganda lines like "it's for the kids", "crime will increase because we don't have enough police", "we will lose our jobs", "there will be chaos everywhere." P-lease! These lines are all about selfishness on the part of a bunch of overpaid lazy workers that have so much time off they are often able to "work" more than one job and gain a second and even a third public pension.

Unions and government employees should stop being selfish and immediately turn over all pensions funds to social security and instead receive social security benefits from here on out. To not do so is selfish. Surely you can live off 27,876 a year assuming you are getting maximum S. S. benefits. Surely you do not need that 75,000, 150,000 or even 300,000 dollar a year pension you government/taxpayer paid hacks*.

Come on all you union and government employees, do it for the good of America. Solve the social security problem while at the same time helping to balance all levels of government budgets.

In An Unselfish World...
Breaking news: Tomorrow union and government employees will do the following to help balance city, state and federal budgets nationwide.

1. Paid holidays decreased from 12 to 7 days a year.

2. Paid vacation limited to three weeks a year with no carryover.

3. All government employees pay 50% of insurance premiums.

4. Sick pay limited to 5 days a year with no carry over.

5. Elimination of tenure for teachers and elimination guaranteed job security for all civil service jobs to weed out dead weight employees.

6. Elimination of nepotism within all levels of public sector jobs.

7. Schools required to be open 250 days a year as opposed to 180 days a year.

8. All government employees required to work until 67. No more double dipping on pensions because all employees receive social security.

Headline down the road; Budgets balanced at all levels of the government, productivity up among government employees, educational results finally no longer flat. Americans prosper by paying less taxes.

Cathy

Corrected a number of times for typos.
*Change requested by my Mother.


Friday, October 31, 2008

Argh...the more I read I just can not understand why people support Barack Obama.

Okay, I am officially obsessed with this election. I am a news/political junkie and I think my husband is going to conduct an intervention soon. Yes I have hi-jacked our Citizens for Reasonable And Fair Taxes website as my own pulpit as of late. But I maintain it is Obama's stance on taxes that allows me to do so as we are Citizens for Reasonable And Fair Taxes.

I know some people who are supporting Obama some people I can have a discussion about the issues some people I can not. I read articles on the left, articles on the right and articles in the middle about the election. The past two days I heard an Obama ad on the radio that I thought was very persuasive at attracting the New Hampshire voter assuming that New Hampshire voter was limited in his/her presidential research. In fact it made Obama sound like he was raised with middle America beliefs and believed in hard work like so many Americans, but this just is not true. I just could not believe the audacity and pandering of the ad.

With all of the following how can anyone vote for this man? The only conclusion I can come up with is they are just ignorant to the extent of this man's beliefs, connections, bias of the MSM and the corruption surrounding his campaign.

I would really like to hear from Obama supporters how they rationalize the following they appear in no particular order. All questions are accompanied sources from left, right and middle.

The truth about taxes, fact checks on taxes


Why the mortgage crisis really happened.


Can you trust a man who lies even before the presidential candidates were declared? Obama's flip on public campaign financing.


What will happen to your privacy under Obama? Dare to be a women who is not a democrat and get your email hacked. Dare to be someone like Joe the Plumber asking a legitimate questions to Obama and get your privacy violated by state employees.

How do you turn a blind eye to Acorn? The right to vote is sacred in my book. Are you okay with a man whose followers steal elections?

The main stream media is in the tank for Obama and Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?

Okay I am a proud American and frankly I do think there are Americans who are not proud to be called an American.

Is Barack even a citizen? Someone bought this up at the Sarah Palin rally. Frankly I brushed it off but enough people bought it up I felt the need to investigate the matter further.

How Obama feels about your right to bear arms.



Doesn't it bother you that Obama is a Marxist? Maybe schools have been successful at pushing their agenda and people and indeed do not care that he is a Marxist. "How do you tell a Communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin." Ronald Reagan

Charity starts at home. Charity starts at home. Will he take care of Americans as well as he takes care of family?


The Fairness Doctrine will be reinstated under Obama this will eliminate much of the right bloggers and conservative talk show hosts. "Fairness Doctrine’ Is A Code Name For “Censorship"


Finally for Catholics out there, heck for human beings in general how do you rationalize Barack Obama and his stance on Born Alive Infants Protection Program.


I could continue on forever but I will leave it here and step off my soap box. If in spite of all this someone still votes for Obama they are doing it fully educated but I will never understand why.


My mother and father taught me there is no shame in working hard no matter the job. I can take care of myself and my family. I will be supporting McCain and Palin as they share my values. No thank you Obama I do not need a handout. Those who have worked hard for their money should keep it and give through charity if they want to share their wealth.

Cathy

BornAliveTruth.orgBornAliveTruth.org



A perfect storm and why a Obama presidency would be Catastrophic



I am a huge fan of Thomas Sowell. The following article can be found in a number of places.

Cathy

A perfect storm

By Thomas Sowell

Some elections are routine, some are important and some are historic. If Senator John McCain wins this election, it will probably go down in history as routine. But if Senator Barack Obama wins, it is more likely to be historic— and catastrophic.

Once the election is over, the glittering generalities of rhetoric and style will mean nothing. Everything will depend on performance in facing huge challenges, domestic and foreign.

Performance is where Barack Obama has nothing to show for his political career, either in Illinois or in Washington.

Policies that he proposes under the banner of "change" are almost all policies that have been tried repeatedly in other countries— and failed repeatedly in other countries.

Politicians telling businesses how to operate? That's been tried in countries around the world, especially during the second half of the 20th century. It has failed so often and so badly that even socialist and communist governments were freeing up their markets by the end of the century.

The economies of China and India began their take-off into high rates of growth when they got rid of precisely the kinds of policies that Obama is advocating for the United States under the magic mantra of "change."

Putting restrictions on international trade in order to save jobs at home? That was tried here with the Hawley-Smoot tariff during the Great Depression.

Unemployment was 9 percent when that tariff was passed to save jobs, but unemployment went up instead of down, and reached 25 percent before the decade was over.

Higher taxes to "spread the well around," as Obama puts it? The idea of redistributing wealth has turned into the reality of redistributing poverty, in countries where wealth has fled and the production of new wealth has been stifled by a lack of incentives.

Economic disasters, however, may pale by comparison with the catastrophe of Iran with nuclear weapons. Glib rhetoric about Iran being "a small country," as Obama called it, will be a bitter irony for Americans who will have to live in the shadow of a nuclear threat that cannot be deterred, as that of the Soviet Union could be, by the threat of a nuclear counter-attack.

Suicidal fanatics cannot be deterred. If they are willing to die and we are not, then we are at their mercy— and they have no mercy. Moreover, once they get nuclear weapons, that is a situation which cannot be reversed, either in this generation or in generations to come.

Is this the legacy we wish to leave our children and grandchildren, by voting on the basis of style and symbolism, rather than substance?

If Barack Obama thinks that such a catastrophe can be avoided by sitting down and talking with the leaders of Iran, then he is repeating a fallacy that helped bring on World War II.

In a nuclear age, one country does not have to send troops to occupy another country in order to conquer it. A country is conquered if another country can dictate who rules it, as the Mongols once did with Russia, and as Osama bin Laden tried to do when he threatened retaliation against places in the United States that voted for George W. Bush. But he didn't have nuclear weapons to back up that threat— yet.

America has never been a conquered country, so it may be very hard for most Americans even to conceive what that can mean. After France was conquered in 1940, it was reduced to turning over some of its own innocent citizens to the Nazis to kill, just because those citizens were Jewish.

Do you think our leaders wouldn't do that? Not even if the alternative was to see New York and Los Angeles go up in mushroom clouds? If I were Jewish, I wouldn't bet my life on that.

What the Middle East fanatics want is not just our resources or even our lives, but our humiliation first, in whatever sadistic ways they can think of. Their lust for humiliation has already been repeatedly demonstrated in their videotaped beheadings that find such an eager market in the Middle East.

None of this can be prevented by glib talk, but only by character, courage and decisive actions— none of which Barack Obama has ever demonstrated.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Vote YES on 1! End the Massachusetts Income Tax!

I occasionally have a few readers from Massachusetts so I am posting this on our site. The other reason I am posting it on this site is because if the Democrats manage to get an income tax passed here in New Hampshire the following will give you a peek into where spending will go and how we may have to fight to end an income tax here in New Hampshire down the line. The best thing to do is to cut spending now in New Hampshire and never allow an income tax to pass in New Hampshire.

I received the following from Small Government News.

Cathy

Small Government News*
Thursday, October 30, 2008

Vote YES on 1! End the Massachusetts Income Tax!

Publisher: Carla Howell
Editor: Michael Cloud

===========================================================
IN THIS ISSUE
===========================================================

- Why Are the Teachers Unions Ignoring, Denying, and Refusing to Cut These Billions of Dollars in Massachusetts Government Waste?
- At-a-Glance Comparison: Government Worker Retirement VS. Private Sector Worker Retirement
- Documentation and Sources for Some of the Government Waste


===========================================================
WHY ARE THE TEACHERS UNIONS IGNORING, DENYING, AND REFUSING TO CUT THESE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNMENT WASTE?
By Michael Cloud and Carla Howell
===========================================================

Government Waste Causes Your High Taxes.

Yet the Teachers Unions and their anti-Question 1 allies refuse to acknowledge or address the billions and billions of dollars in Massachusetts government waste.

The Teachers Unions are trying to terrorize voters with visions of 40% to 80% layoffs and shut downs of police, fire fighters, ambulances, 9-1-1 emergency services, and other highly-prized government personnel and services.

The Teachers Unions know full well that Question 1 will simply cut state government spending from $47 billion to $35 billion – our 1999 level.

Teachers Unions are praying you’ll never learn that 36% of the combined $70 billion in city, town and state government spending fully funds all of these government services at their current level:
· public schools
· road construction, repair and maintenance
· colleges and universities
· police officers
· fire fighters
· 9-1-1 emergency services
· snow plowing
· trash pick-up
· payments on the state government’s debt
· lottery prize winnings
· courts
· prisons
· and all constitutionally-mandated offices

…with a few bucks left over for graft and patronage.

All of these services are funded at 100% of today’s level with only 36% of Massachusetts government spending.

So why are the Teachers Unions and their allies threatening your family with firing and shutting down these essential services?

Remember the story of the baby and the dirty bathwater? (http://tinyurl.com/5jdcyb )

Why are the Teachers Unions campaigning against Ballot Question 1 by threatening to hurt the baby?

Why are they ferociously opposing our proposal to throw out ONLY the dirty bathwater?

Again and again, opposition spokespeople – led by the husband of Rosanne Bacon Meade, former President of the Massachusetts Teachers Association - claim,

“Carla Howell and the supporters of Ballot Question 1 can’t even show us $2 billion in waste in state government spending.”

Again and again, we cite billions and billions in government waste.

But they seem to suffer from Government Waste Amnesia – and raise their discredited challenge at the next debate.

Once again, here’s a partial list of Massachusetts government waste.

Because the Massachusetts state government refuses to "Show You the Tax Money," refuses to open the books on government finances, this list of state government waste is only the tip of the garbage heap.

All of the information was exposed by Massachusetts newspapers - who sometimes get access to income and spending numbers.

Here's a partial list of Massachusetts state government waste we would cut – while ENDing the state income tax:

* $138.7 million tax subsidy to millionaire movie stars and millionaire movie directors.

* $1 billion in tax subsidies to multi-billion dollar bio-tech pharmaceutical corporations – to bring more of them to Massachusetts. ($100 million paid each year for 10 years.)

* $2.55 billion MORE waste added this year to the retirement pay for retired state government employees. Despite the fact that they get twice to three times the retirement income of private sector retirees. Despite the fact that government employees retire 13 years younger than private sector retirees. Who’s forced to pay the $2.55 billion increase? You and your co-workers. Private sector taxpayers.

* $3 billion to $6 billion waste per year in retirement pay - excessive and outrageous over-payment - to retired state government employees, city and town government employees, and public school teachers and other school employees. We can and we should engage in good faith re-negotiations of the terms and money of all government employee pensions - and give back the outrageous overcharges to taxpayers.

* $330 million waste and overpayment to toll collectors. $70,000 a year paid to toll collectors – plus plush benefits. Plus full retirement pay of $50,000 a year at age 54. For unskilled labor – counting and making change – that require only a 5th grade education. Cut toll booth collector pay in half – to $35,000 a year. Give back the $15 million a year excess pay to taxpayers. And give back the $315 million in excessive retirement pay - caused by the $35,000 in overpayment each year for toll collectors.

* $200 million high school being built in Newton, Massachusetts. A large fraction funded out of the state government budget.

* $300 million to $600 million worth of unnecessary, over-built, and overpriced local public school construction in the just the last few years – hundreds of millions of dollars out of the taxes we pay to the state government.

* $80 million to $100 million a year in overpayment, excess, and waste for road safety flaggers by Massachusetts town, city, and state governments.

This is just the tip of the garbage heap.

We must open the government’s books. Expose all the nitty-gritty government waste. The sheer embarrassment of it will force the legislature to announce billions of dollars in immediate cuts.

What's worse than government waste?

Financing government waste.

Paying interest and finance fees on government waste.

Every billion dollars of government waste that gets financed by tax bonds ends up costing taxpayers an additional billion dollars.

Waste Financed is Waste Doubled. And the tax costs doubled.

Proof? The Big Dig: the over-promised, under-delivered, massively wasteful government construction project. The Big Dig proves that waste financed doubles the cost of the waste. The Massachusetts state government still owes $13.83 billion for the Big Dig. $6.81 billion of the debt is for the construction – and $7.02 billion is for finance charges and interest!

Teachers Unions and other government unions directly profit from protecting and promoting government waste.

Government waste causes high taxes.

Cutting government waste cuts your taxes.

Cutting taxes promotes cutting government waste.

Help us cut Massachusetts government waste.

Please make a donation right now so we can WIN the vote on November 4th, get rid of billions and billions of dollars in government waste -- and END the state income tax:

https://www.savyon.com/ms/sga/sga2.php


===========================================================
At-a-Glance Comparison: Government Worker Retirement VS. Private Sector Worker Retirement
===========================================================

Why haven't you been told these things about Massachusetts government employee retirement packages?

Click and glance: http://tinyurl.com/6e3hxl


===========================================================
DOCUMENTATION AND SOURCES FOR SOME OF THE GOVERNMENT WASTE
===========================================================

Safety Flagger Waste:

http://tinyurl.com/58e3xv

http://tinyurl.com/5w2k2x

http://tinyurl.com/5dpwg2

Big Dig Waste - Boston Globe Report:

http://tinyurl.com/5sulty

Simplified Graph:

http://tinyurl.com/6j3may

Jeff Jacoby’s column:

http://tinyurl.com/5joxrz

A sampling of government employee retirement packages:
http://www.bostonherald.com/projects/boston_pensions/

More info on government employee retirement packages:

http://www.pensiontsunami.com/index.php

http://tinyurl.com/5hh5b6

We Cannot Be Ignorant and Free

Yesterday morning I was working on a post in which I was trying to grasp why people would vote for Obama. I had pulled up the article below several days ago but finally read the post today, after reading it I finally grasped why people are voting for Obama. Ignorance!

The following piece appeared on Regular Folks United.com.

We Cannot Be Ignorant and Free

Date: Sunday, October 19, 2008 Lori Roman


I keep hearing the same question asked: How could so many Americans vote for Barack Obama, a man who advocates socialist policies and associates with radical people who hate America?

I believe the answer is simple: We are not teaching our young people to understand and value the American experience and moral relativism has robbed them of their ability to make ethical judgments. I came to this conclusion after teaching college for six years. It is not an exaggeration to say this absolutely frightens me.

Academically our children are not equipped to appreciate and pursue the American Dream. Many children graduate from high school with good grades, but without fundamental skills. This fact is supported by the expensive array of remedial education classes that most colleges must provide freshman, as well as our dismal test rankings among other countries.

Uninformed people are easily fooled. Thomas Jefferson said: “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."

Conceptually, many Americans don't even understand the underpinnings of America, which, according to Thomas Jefferson are: (1) Freely elected government; (2) Free enterprise; and (3) Moral and spiritual values.

Students don't generally have trouble understanding freely elected government; however, they don't understand that it is to be cherished. In many textbooks all governmental systems are treated equally, therefore communist dictatorships are presented as just an alternative system of government.

Because I taught comparative economics, I saw first hand the apathy of my students—communism, socialism and democratic capitalism were different but equal in their eyes. They did not understand liberty as a fundamental human right.

My observations, as well as recent surveys, indicate that part of the problem stems from students being ignorant of American history. Frankly, in many cases Junior cannot have an intelligent discussion about the founding of this country, but he can put a condom on a banana in six seconds thanks to sex ed class.

My students believed that “government for the people" means that the government is supposed to do everything for the people. My classroom would become quiet when I would tell them that the Declaration of Independence only gives them the right to PURSUE happiness--they have to catch it themselves.

This may seem bizarre, considering that my students were usually business majors, but they also had no appreciation or understanding of the beauty of the free enterprise system, or its role in the prosperity and freedom of our country. But the good news is that when I explained Adam Smith's Invisible Hand Theory and showed them how one person's quest for personal profit ultimately brings prosperity to others, THEY GOT IT!

I can take a classroom of statists and turn them into capitalists in 10 weeks. This is not because I am such a great teacher, but because truth and common sense prevail.

These are not difficult concepts. Some time ago my twelve-year-old was playing a computer game called SIM City, in which he could design his own city and government and set taxes. As I looked at his city I saw a few cars moving through a small business district. A couple of minutes later, he excitedly told me to look at how his city had changed. There were more cars and a larger, bustling business district. Unfamiliar with the program, I asked him what he had done to create such improvement. "I lowered taxes!" he said and he rolled his eyes at me as only a twelve-year-old can, with an unspoken "duh, Mom!" I told him that he was brilliant and that I was sending him right to Washington. He apparently has a better grasp of economics than most politicians, including Obama.

My students' lack of understanding of Jefferson's third foundation--moral and spiritual values--was most alarming.

My most discouraging day was in an ethics class in which I had asked the students to list the characteristics of an ethical person. After a few minutes and a lot of silence, they listed: “A person who recycles and who does not make ethical judgments about others”. The reason they had such a difficult time with this exercise is that they have collectively been taught to believe the only truly unethical act is to brand anything that anyone else does as unethical. That night I thought, "I can turn a socialist into a capitalist, but I cannot, in ten weeks, undo the damage of a lifetime of being taught that there are no moral absolutes."

Time and time again our founding fathers reminded us that this noble experiment would not work without ethical and spiritual values because a government of the people, by the people and for the people can only be as good as the people.

Americans owe a debt of gratitude to those who worked and died to give them a freely elected government, a free enterprise system with opportunity for all, and a moral foundation on which to rest these freedoms. We must reclaim our heritage and pass it on to our children before it is too late. It is time--it is past time--to take back the textbooks and the classrooms and teach young Americans what it really means to be an American.

Only then will we see an informed electorate that will recognize socialism for the evil that it is--an attack on the God-given human right called liberty.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

The Declaration of Independence


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Please Tell Me You Aren't Voting For McCain/Palin

I got an email from my college freshman daughter saying "please tell me you aren't voting for McCain/Palin". I shot one back saying "please tell me you are not voting for the ticket that will tax me to the point that I can no longer pay for your tuition and living expenses".

Haven't heard a word back.....lol.

The above was a comment posted on the story The Bradley Effect and kids (updated) on the American Thinker.


Teachers Push For Obama

The following piece appeared in Education Week. I wonder what the math and reading skills would be for students across America if teachers would spend as much effort educating students as they do campaigning for those who will get them more money. Even more disturbing is the incredible amount of money (taxpayer money) that is being used against taxpayers to get more taxpayer money. Teachers often whine that they are underpaid and over worked. Sure looks like to me they have money and time on their hands.

If you go to the article you will see that the American Federation of Teachers spent 10.4 million dollars during the 2008 election cycle and the NEA spent 3.4 million dollars during this same cycle. That money should could do a lot of good in a classroom. Than again it is a teachers' union about teachers and not a students' union.

Also interesting to point out is that "By the end of June—the latest breakdown of this data—747 donors who identified themselves as public school teachers had contributed a total of more than $321,500 to Sen. Obama." That works out to an average of 430 dollars per teacher. I know our family does not have that kind of money to spare. Once again I ask are teachers really underpaid?


Cathy

Unions Battle for Democrats in Swing States

Unions Battle for Democrats in Swing States


At the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers’ offices, Judi Moniot makes calls last week to urge support for candidates. —Photo by Jason Rearick for Education Week.
By Vaishali Honawar


Teachers’ unions around the country have shifted into high gear in the countdown to the presidential election next week, and nowhere is the fervor more evident than in the battleground states.

In Florida, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, affiliates of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers have been campaigning with every tool at their disposal, including newsletters, fliers, postcards, and volunteers to reach out to more than 4 million members and their families.
The two national unions, which have both endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, have raised and spent large sums of money on this election, including on radio advertisements in those areas being closely contested by their candidate and Republican nominee John McCain.

With educators, as for most Americans, the economy is the biggest single issue this year, union officials say.
Teachers’ Pets

Donors identifying themselves as public school teachers gave the most to Barack Obama in this election cycle, through June.

SOURCES: Education Week; Center for Responsive Politics

“Whether it is the layoffs that have been happening in certain states, whether it is teachers who drive 60 miles to get to work, whether it is the gas prices that are high, ... the economy affects educators, and it is hitting them on a lot of different levels,” said Karen White, the political director of the 3.2 million-member NEA.

“The economy has trumped every other issue,” said Randi Weingarten, the president of the 1.4 million-member AFT. “State
and local governments are being faced with terrible Hobson’s choices” on what to cut from education spending, she said.
While “we don’t agree with everything Obama says, I give him credit for being open and upfront about his proposals and how he wants to ensure all children get a decent education in the wake of the economic situation,” Ms. Weingarten said.
The teachers’ unions have also praised Sen. Obama’s policies on health care and on key issues in education, including his support for early-childhood education, college affordability, and full funding for critical education programs.
Local union officials say they are seeing a never-before-evidenced sense of urgency among members in getting the vote out.
“There have been a lot of big elections, but I’ve never seen energy and excitement and the sheer number of volunteers as we’ve had in this election,” said Barbara Goodman, a spokeswoman for the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, an AFT affiliate.

By early October, officials said, the NEA and its affiliates had distributed more than 4.2 million pieces of mail, made more than 2.1 million phone calls, and sent more than 1.3 million e-mails to members in battleground states about the Nov. 4 presidential election.

Crossing State Lines

Affiliates reported an influx of members from other states to help out with volunteering. Members from Maryland and the District of Columbia are flooding into Virginia to help out, while members from Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey are offering their services to Pennsylvania affiliates, Ms. White said.

To wage their battle, the national unions’ political action committees have raised significant amounts of money for this election cycle. The AFT, though the smaller of the two unions, has been the bigger spender, having collected nearly $9 million and spent $10.4 million, including money left over from the last election cycle, by the end of September, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group that tracks election spending.

In October alone, its PAC, Committee on Political Education, spent nearly $2 million targeting voters in swing states with radio ads favoring Sen. Obama. Ms. Weingarten said the ads are attempting to douse some of what she called the “mean-spirited” advertising by the McCain campaign that has tried, she said, to demonize the Illinois Democrat and his affiliations.
Almost all COPE spending was on Democratic races, with the AFT spending just 1 percent on Republicans.

The NEA spent more conservatively: just $3.4 million of the $5.9 million its PAC raised. Ms. White said, however, that by the end of the election cycle, she expects the union to have raised and spent at least $8 million. Eight percent of the NEA’s spending this election cycle was on Republicans.

According to Ms. White, the NEA is supporting several Republican candidates for local and statewide offices based on their support for education. In New York, for instance, the powerful New York State United Teachers, a merged AFT-NEA affiliate, is backing a number of state Senate Republicans who opposed midyear cuts in school aid.

Some policy experts say the teacher unions have a long history of supporting “liberal politicians.”
“It is no surprise that the NEA and the nation’s largest teacher unions would favor the candidate that favors expanding government,” said Dan Lips a senior policy analyst at the Washington-based Heritage Foundation. He added that there are “many teachers who would probably be concerned” by the unions’ “far-left agenda.”

An analysis by Education Week of a database from the Center for Responsive Politics shows, however that teachers who donate individually to federal campaigns also tend to give mostly to Democrats.
Union Election Activity

*Total through Oct. 22

SOURCE: Center for Responsive Politics
By the end of June—the latest breakdown of this data—747 donors who identified themselves as public school teachers had contributed a total of more than $321,500 to Sen. Obama. In contrast, Sen. McCain, the Arizona Republican, had received about $46,500 from 56 donors identifying themselves as public school teachers.
Carrots or Sticks

The unions’ unequivocal support for Sen. Obama comes despite the fact that he does not see eye to eye with them on some core issues. His support for teacher performance pay and charter schools, for instance, has not been greeted enthusiastically by the unions.

Some leaders of state affiliates that have struggled with such issues as charter schools say, however, that they believe they can work out their differences if Mr. Obama is elected.

“While we may not agree with him 100 percent, he has demonstrated a willingness to talk,” said Ohio Federation of Teachers President Sue Taylor. “The way I phrase this is, do we want sticks or do we want carrots?”

Ms. Taylor pointed to the No Child Left Behind Act. Sen. Obama, who was not yet in Congress when it was enacted, “understands [the law] is a totally unfunded mandate and that there is more to teaching than tests,” she said. Ms. Taylor said she is also happy that he opposes vouchers. The union has opposed Ohio’s 4-year-old voucher program as well as the older Cleveland one enacted by the state legislature in 1995.

As for Sen. McCain, Ms. Taylor said, the union has not seen evidence that he is interested in improving education. And, she added, “he has not shown any interest in working with us.”

To help Sen. Obama’s bid for the White House, AFT people from Ms. Weingarten to retired members of the union and its affiliates are pitching in.

The union president already has been campaigning in such key states as Florida, Ohio, and Virginia, and on Oct. 31 is scheduled to embark on a three-day bus tour through Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

In Philadelphia, Lorraine McRae Overton, a retired school-community coordinator, has been volunteering every day at the local AFT affiliate’s offices, where she coordinates the phone bank.

Sen. Obama, Ms. Overton said, touched a chord with her because he once worked as a community organizer—a job that she says had similarities to her own. The Democrat not only understands the importance of education, she said, but also such issues as Medicare, Social Security, and health care, which are important to retired union members and senior citizens.
“We’re truly working for him here, and I will give him my all,” she said.

Other Races

In the hotly contested Virginia race, Bill Johnson, a spokesman for the Virginia Education Association, said the NEA affiliate is focusing on the presidential race as well as the U.S. Senate election. Former Gov. Mark Warner, a Democrat whom the union supports, is pitted against former Gov. James S. Gilmore III, a Republican, for the open seat.

“Our strategy has been to first make sure that every member knows about the recommendation and how it’s made, and we’ve done that through our statewide publications,” Mr. Johnson said.

Each undecided member will have received at least five union mailings during the election season intended to inform them about the candidates, he said.

Sandy Sullivan, the president of the Loudoun Education Association in Virginia, an NEA affiliate, said her union has a postcard-writing party scheduled for this week. To the preprinted postcards, “our members add a note, something like, ‘Hope to see you at the polls,’ ” to ensure members get out to vote on Election Day, she said.

In Miami-Dade County, Fla., said Frederick Ingram, the secretary-treasurer of United Teachers of Dade, a merged affiliate of the AFT and the NEA, the union has mobilized its retirees, among other members. “They’re working here at our offices from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. phone-banking,” he said.

The national unions have sent staff members from headquarters to all the swing states to help affiliates with campaigning. The NEA, said Ms. White, has deployed close to 100 staff members nationwide.

In addition to the presidential race, both unions are focusing on congressional, gubernatorial, and state legislative and local races that they consider essential to furthering their agendas.

Altogether, Ms. White said, the NEA is involved in 44 U.S. House races, 11 Senate races, and four gubernatorial races.
The AFT is focusing on 10 Senate races and 35 House races, among others, Ms. Weingarten said.
Still, it is the presidential race that has energized the union forces.

Ms. Taylor of the Ohio Federation of Teachers said local affiliates have been hard at work to let members know what the union deems the major differences between the two candidates.

As of last week, a CNN-Time poll showed Sen. Obama holding a 50 percent lead over Sen. McCain’s 46 percent among likely voters in Ohio. The poll had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

“Staff from the AFT and from our New York colleagues,” Ms. Taylor said, “are taking vacation time and volunteering and assisting. Everyone knows we are ground zero.”

Research Librarian Rachael Delgado and Library Intern Colin Welch contributed to this story.
Vol. 28, Issue 10, Pages 1,14-15


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Are Bill and Melinda Gates Being Taken for a Ride?

Jim and I first came across "Ed in 08" in July 2007. At that time the agenda of the group was not clear but we both expressed concern that it appeared to be a group whose sole function was to get more money for education.

Last night Jim attended an Ed in 08 meeting in Henniker. One of those present was state educrat Fred Bramante.

The movie started an hour before Jim arrived. After the meeting three panelists discussed Ed in 08. Questions from the audience were often hijacked by Fred Branante's self promotion. Many in the audience were education students from New England college. The meeting ended exactly at 8:00 with no serious discussion about education reform.

After the meeting Jim approached the other two speakers, fully knowing that prior conversations with Fred Bramante were fruitless.

Jim pointed out that ED in 08 had no clear mission, making their motives suspect. The
speaker said others have pointed that out as well. The speaker admitted that one goal was to nationalize educational standards.

Schools have a spending problem not a funding problem. Millions of dollars are wasted at the national level with The Department of Education, providing no educational benefit to students sitting in a classroom. The same can be said of the New Hampshire Department of Education - bureaucratic bloat conferring no educational benefits
to students.

True education reform would include:

1. Full parental school choice with the money following the child not the
institution.

2. The elimination of tenure.

3. Full right-to-work opportunities for individual teachers with the right to
completely sever ties with the union if they so choose.

4. Use of effective educational methods such as phonics to learn to
read and Singapore math as opposed to educational fads such as
everyday math, Chicago math, trailblazers. Focus on Core Curriculum.

5. The rights for parents to direct their children's education.

6. Full homeschooling rights.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Under Obama's Plan Even If You Make $25,000 Your Taxes Will Go Up.

Under Obama's Plan Even If You Make $25,000 Your Taxes Will Go Up.

The following piece appeared on the American Thinker.

October 27, 2008
Senator Obama's Four Tax Increases for People Earning Under $250k
By Ned Barnett

I confess. Senator Obama's two tax promises: to limit tax increases to only those making over $250,000 a year, and to not raise taxes on 95% of "working Americans," intrigued me. As a hard-working small business owner, over the past ten years I've earned from $50,000 to $100,000 per year. If Senator Obama is shooting straight with us, under his presidency I could look forward to paying no additional Federal taxes -- I might even get a break -- and as I struggle to support a family and pay for two boys in college, a reliable tax freeze is nearly as welcome as further tax cuts.

However, Senator Obama's dual claims seemed implausible, especially when it came to my Federal income taxes. Those implausible promises made me look at what I'd been paying before President Bush's 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, as well as what I paid after those tax cuts became law. I chose the 2000 tax tables as my baseline -- they reflect the tax rates that Senator Obama will restore by letting the "Bush Tax Cuts" lapse. I wanted to see what that meant from my tax bill.

I've worked as the state level media and strategy director on three Presidential election campaigns -- I know how "promises" work -- so I analyzed Senator Obama's promises by looking for loopholes.

The first loophole was easy to find: Senator Obama doesn't "count" allowing the Bush tax cuts to lapse as a tax increase. Unless the cuts are re-enacted, rates will automatically return to the 2000 level. Senator Obama claims that letting a tax cut lapse -- allowing the rates to return to a higher levels -- is not actually a "tax increase." It's just the lapsing of a tax cut.

See the difference?

Neither do I.

When those cuts lapse, my taxes are going up -- a lot -- but by parsing words, Senator Obama justifies his claim that he won't actively raise taxes on 95 percent of working Americans, even while he's passively allowing tax rates to go up for 100% of Americans who actually pay Federal income taxes.

Making this personal, my Federal Income Tax will increase by $3,824 when those tax cuts lapse. That not-insignificant sum would cover a couple of house payments or help my two boys through another month or two of college.

No matter what Senator Obama calls it, requiring us to pay more taxes amounts to a tax increase. This got me wondering what other Americans will have to pay when the tax cuts lapse.

For a married family, filing jointly and earning $75,000 a year, this increase will be $3,074. For those making just $50,000, this increase will be $1,512. Despite Senator Obama's claim, even struggling American families making just $25,000 a year will see a tax increase -- they'll pay $715 more in 2010 than they did in 2007. Across the board, when the tax cuts lapse, working Americans will see significant increases in their taxes, even if their household income is as low as $25,000. See the tables at the end of this articole.

Check this for yourself. Go to http://www.irs.gov/formspubs/ and pull up the 1040 instructions for 2000 and 2007 and go to the tax tables. Based on your 2007 income, check your taxes rates for 2000 and 2007, and apply them to your taxable income for 2007. In 2000 -- Senator Obama's benchmark year -- you would have paid significantly more taxes for the income you earned in 2007. The Bush Tax Cuts, which Senator Obama has said he will allow to lapse, saved you money, and without those cuts, your taxes will go back up to the 2000 level. Senator Obama doesn't call it a "tax increase," but your taxes under "President" Obama will increase -- significantly.

Senator Obama is willfully deceiving you and me when he says that no one making under $250,000 will see an increase in their taxes. If I were keeping score, I'd call that Tax Lie #1.

The next loophole involves the payroll tax that you pay to support the Social Security system. Currently, there is an inflation-adjusted cap, and according to the non-profit Tax Foundation, in 2006 -- the most recent year for which tax data is available -- only the first $94,700 of an unmarried individual's earnings were subject to the 12.4 percent payroll tax. However, Senator Obama has proposed lifting that cap, adding an additional 12.4 percent tax on every dollar earned above that cap -- and in spite of his promise, impacting all those who earn between $94,700 and $249,999.

By doing this, he plans to raise an additional $1 trillion dollars (another $662.50 out of my pocket -- and how much out of yours?) to help fund Social Security. Half of this tax would be paid by employees and half by employers -- but employers will either cut the payroll or pass along this tax to their customers through higher prices. Either way, some individual will pay the price for the employer's share of the tax increase.

However, when challenged to explain how he could eliminate the cap AND not raise taxes on Americans earning under $250,000, Senator Obama suggested on his website that he "might" create a "donut" -- an exemption from this payroll tax for wages between $94,700 and $250,000. But that donut would mean he couldn't raise anywhere near that $1 trillion dollars for Social Security. When this was pointed out, Senator Obama's "donut plan" was quietly removed from his website.

This "explanation" sounds like another one of those loopholes. If I were keeping score, I'd call this Tax Lie #2.

Senator Obama has also said that he will raise capital gains taxes from 15 percent to 20 percent. He says he's aiming at "fat cats" who make above $250,000. However, while only 1 percent of Americans make a quarter-million dollars, roughly 50 percent of all Americans have capital investments -- through IRAs, 401Ks, in pension plans and in personal portfolios. Most of that half of all Americans will feel this rise in their capital gains taxes.

Under "President" Obama, if you sell off a $100,000 investment -- perhaps to help put your children through college -- instead of paying $15,000 in capital gains taxes today, you'll pay $20,000 under Obama's plan. That's a full one-third more, and it applies no matter how much you earn.

No question -- for about 50 percent of all Americans, this is Tax Lie #3.

Finally, Senator Obama has promised to raise taxes on businesses -- and to raise taxes a lot on oil companies. I still remember Econ-101 -- and I own a small business. From both theory and practice, I know what businesses do when taxes are raised. Corporations don't "pay" taxes -- they collect taxes from customers and pass them along to the government. When you buy a hot dog from a 7/11, you can see the clerk add the sales tax, but when a corporation's own taxes go up, you don't see it -- its automatic -- but they do the same thing. They build this tax into their product's price. Senator Obama knows this. He knows that even people who earn less than $250,000 will pay higher prices -- those pass-through taxes -- when corporate taxes go up.

No question: this is Tax Lie #4.

There's not a politician alive who hasn't be caught telling some minor truth-bender. However, when it comes to raising taxes, there are no small lies. When George H.W. Bush's "Read my lips -- no new taxes" proved false, he lost the support of his base -- and ultimately lost his re-election bid.

This year, however, we don't have to wait for the proof: Senator Obama has already promised to raise taxes, and we can believe him. However, while making that promise, he's also lied, in at least four significant ways, about who will pay those taxes. If Senator Obama becomes President Obama, when the tax man comes calling, we will all pay the price. And that's the truth.

Tax Rates - and the Obama Increase - $50,000/year Taxable Income

Go to the article on American Thinker to view the charts.


* When "President" Obama allows President Bush's tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 to expire, this will amount to a de facto tax increase -


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Unions Shortchange Teachers

A quiet morning both kids are sleeping so I could actually read the paper without my one year old walking on the paper. I am also able to type undistracted. I was delighted to see an Op Ed in the Eagle Times titled "Unions Falsely Claim They Represent All Teachers." I googled the title and could not find it. However, I did find the original piece which appeared in the Los Angeles Times titled "Unions shortchange teachers - Dues are simply taxation without representation for many." The piece appeared on October 18, 2008.
It is always exciting when I can use my post label "Teachers Who Get It."

OPINION
Unions shortchange teachers
Dues are simply taxation without representation for many.
By Larry Sand
October 18, 2008

Just a few weeks into the new school year, and in the midst of an important political season at the state and national level, it is an appropriate time to reflect on the relationship that the teachers unions have with their members. Much has been written about these unions, and the case has been frequently and justly made that they are anti-student because of their adamant positions on school choice, charter schools and teacher tenure. And although these unions of course claim to champion teachers, this support is conditional and often comes at the expense of teachers.

In 28 states, a teacher is essentially forced to join a costly union. A typical teacher in Southern California, where I teach, pays $922 every year to his or her local, which then sends $611 of that amount to the state affiliate, the California Teachers Assn., or CTA, and $140 to the national affiliate, the National Education Assn., or NEA. (One has to wonder, if the unions are so beneficial, why do teachers need to be forced to join and to fork over such hefty dues in most states?)

And just what are all of these forced dues spent on? Untold millions go to political causes, whether a teacher agrees with the cause or not. According to Reg Weaver, the recently retired NEA president, his union's rank-and-file teachers are about one-third Democrat, one-third Republican and one-third independent. Yet more than 90% of NEA political spending goes to Democratic causes, according to OpenSecrets.org. Thus, if you are a Republican and have conservative values, your dues are being used to support causes and candidates you oppose.

In August, just before relinquishing his position, Weaver spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Although it was not surprising that he expressed support for Barack Obama, he made an egregious statement at the end of his speech. After extolling the virtues of his candidate, Weaver said, "That, my friends, is why the 3.2 million members of the National Education Assn. are organized, energized and mobilized to help elect Barack Obama as the next president of the United States of America."

What? All 3.2 million? This coming from the man who has said that the NEA is only one-third Democrat. Who then speaks for the 1-million-plus Republican teachers and for the 1 million or more who are independents and may not have decided whom to vote for?

Another example is Proposition 8, a controversial measure on the November ballot in California that would seek to preserve the traditional definition of marriage. The CTA, which represents more than 300,000 teachers, just this week contributed $1 million -- on top of a previous $250,000 donation -- to help defeat Proposition 8.

As usual, the CTA did not seek input from its rank-and-file members on this issue. Although certainly some teachers are in favor of same-sex marriage, others are not. And just what, exactly, does Proposition 8 have to do with education? Why is the CTA pushing a "values" agenda that many parents, and many of its own members, may find offensive?

Aside from political choice, there are other areas in which teachers don't fare well under the auspices of their unions. Carol Katter, a veteran teacher and lifelong Catholic, objected to the fact that her union supports abortion on demand. When she sought a religious exemption from paying her dues, a union official suggested that she change her religion! In her state, Ohio, the law allowed only Seventh-day Adventists and Mennonites to claim such an exemption. Only after much legal wrangling was Katter able to do so.

One of the great bĂȘtes noires of teachers unions is merit pay. They insist that all teachers at a similar point in their careers make the same amount of money, regardless of workload, classroom size, job performance or other measure. Good teachers earning more than bad teachers? Not on their agenda.

Clearly, this old-style industrial model of paying people based on seniority can kill incentive. Good teachers are less likely to have the incentive to excel when peers who have lower aspirations, are less talented or less effective make the same amount of money.

All of us who object to what amounts to taxation without representation must speak up. Teachers who are happy with their union should have the right to continue that affiliation. However, the rest of us -- especially those who live in states where we are forced to join a union -- would be well served to take a hard look at the organization that claims to represent our best interests and start demanding change.

Larry Sand, a classroom teacher in Los Angeles for more than 27 years, is the president of the California Teachers Empowerment Network (ctenhome.org). The views herein are his own.