While these experts and studies frequently face an uphill battle against people who insist on living in a bubble of their own delusions. Facts have always been the liberalism’s best weapon. They might not change anyone’s mind today, but they trigger some fractures in the almighty always right Conservative bubble, Why employee pensions aren’t bankrupting states
Pension contributions from state and local employers aren’t blowing up budgets. They amount to just 2.9 percent of state spending, on average, according to the National Association of State Retirement Administrators. The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College puts the figure a bit higher at 3.8 percent.
Though there’s no direct comparison, state and local pension contributions approximate the burden shouldered by private companies. The nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute estimates that retirement funding for private employers amounts to about 3.5 percent of employee compensation.
Nor are state and local government pension funds broke. They’re underfunded, in large measure because — like the investments held in 401(k) plans by American private-sector employees — they sunk along with the entire stock market during the Great Recession of 2007-2009. And like 401(k) plans, the investments made by public-sector pension plans are increasingly on firmer footing as the rising tide on Wall Street lifts all boats.
because they still tend to get more and better news coverage than anyone on the moderate side of the political aisle, Republican have had some success to changing the narrative about budgets, taxes and deficits. The states, like the federal government is not having to make cuts because of irresponsible spending – though there is always a little of that. The states and the feds are between a rock and hard place because the economy has not returned to pre-recession levels – especially in regards middle-class employment and because Republicans have decided it is better that people literally be poisoned than rise taxes on the top 2% of the wealthy. The states and the federal government, do not really have budget problems and certainly not budget problems caused by unions. They have both have lots of knucklehead supply siders making economic decisions in which too much of the nation’s wealth is redistributed upward. Conservatives give a lot of lip service to old Main St values like working hard and spending cautiously. With such virtues eventually reaping their rewards. In practice Republican economic policies punish the middle-class and working poor for doing the work which makes wealth possible for relatively few. Which brings us to E.J. Dionne Jr. who is right, but is viewing Republicans in the House of Representatives as being honest. How Boehner is playing the Democrats
House Republicans are pursuing their own madman theory in budget negotiations, with a clever twist: Speaker John Boehner is casting himself as the reasonable man fully prepared to reach a deal to avoid a government shutdown. But he also has to satisfy a band of “wild-eyed bomb-throwing freshmen,” as he characterized new House members in a Wall Street Journal interview last week by way of comparing them fondly to his younger self.
Thus are negotiators for President Obama and Senate Democrats forced to deal not only with Republican leaders in the room but also with a menacing specter outside its confines. As “responsible” public officials, Democrats are asked to make additional concessions just to keep the bomb-throwers at bay.
This is the perverse genius of what the House Republicans are up to: Nobody really thinks that anything like their $57 billion in remaining proposed budget cuts can pass. It’s unlikely that all of their own members are confident about all of the cuts they have voted for. But by taking such a large collection of programs hostage, the GOP can be quite certain to win many more fights than it would if each reduction were considered separately.
Begin with the outrageous $1.1 billion, 15 percent cut from Head Start, a program that offers preschool education to roughly 965,000 poor children. According to the Center for Law and Social Policy, this would knock 218,000 kids out of Head Start and force 16,000 classrooms to close.
Dionne, you, me and everyone with some marginally functional cognitive skills knows that cutting Head Start, closing Poison Control Centers or rising the retirement age for Social Security are bad ideas. They’re bad economic ideas because, as in closing the Poison Control Centers, it will cost states multiple millions more than it will save. The save with Head Start. Dionne is dealing with the problem head on. He makes a compelling case based on facts and numbers, while also pointing out the immorality that underlies the scorched earth polices of Republican leadership. That will probably play well with independents, conservative fence-sitting Democrats. On the other hand Republicans don’t care. Republicans enjoy playing the role of cold-blooded bastards. Being the bastards that will poison people and create a another generation of under achieving kids brings a smile to their face. If Republicans blow up program after program that helps with health care, education, nutrition or keeping seniors out of poverty, than mission accomplished. This is why their answer to every question about balancing budgets is cut taxes and cut programs and never rising revenues. They just don’t care. Sure I am one of those dreaded compassionate progressive liberals and see public policy from that perspective, but I am also very practical, as most progressives and liberals are. The cuts conservatives, and a far too accommodating White House, want to make will costs us all more in the long run. Head Start, early education and good nutrition pay dividends with better students and better citizens. Ignoring those things weakens us as a nation both morally and economically. As Dionne notes the science is in on that score. Republicans do not care about the studies and the long-term costs. They are true fringe ideologues. They have an agenda. They are going to stick to it, rational evidence which shows the dark ends of that agenda be damned.
Last week the web leaders of Wingnuttia all decided to pump up this video – Mob rule video: Unhinged crowd corners Wisconsin GOP senator shouting “F**k you,” “Shame!”. Even last week, those not predisposed to seeing the video through right-wing blinders could see it did not show what Malkin and her rabid dog and pony echo chamber said it did. Now the guy who took the video confirms the video has been twisted by the narrative disabled, Fox & Friends Falsely Portray WI Protesters As “Violent”
Twelve-Minute Long Video Shows No Violence Occurred. The video, which was shot by Wisconsin area photographer Phil Ejercito, show that Grothman was heckled by protesters, but no violence occurred. In fact, at one point during the video, a protester can be heard to shout “don’t touch him” and at another, the protesters chanted “peace” and “peaceful.” [YouTube, 03/01/11]
Grothman Himself Claimed “He Didn’t Think He Was Ever In Any Real Danger.” The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that, Grothman “told the [Cap Times] he didn’t think he was ever in any real danger.” From the Journal Sentinel:
Grothman downplayed the situation and told the paper he didn’t think he was ever in any real danger.
“I really think if I had to, I could have walked through the crowd and it would have been okay,” he told the Cap Times. “They’re loud, they’ll give you the finger, and they yell at you, but I really think deep down inside they’re just mostly college kids having fun, just like they’re having fun sleeping with their girfriends on air mattresses. That’s the guts of that crowd.” [Journal Sentinel, 03/02/11]
Grothman Called Protesters “Good People” And Noted That He Was Not Scared. During his interview on Fox & Friends, Doocy asked Grothman if he was scared by the protesters. Grothman responded “Not really, because I think most people are basically good people. I mean, they’ve been running around the capitol for over a week now, chanting, blowing their horns, pounding their drums.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 03/03/11
[ ]…Photographer Slams Fox’s Coverage As “Establish[ing] A Fictional Narrative”
Photographer Phil Ejercito: I condemn the use of my work to distort the truth about the spirited but non-violent protests here in Madison. In a statement to Media Matters, Phil Ejercito, the local photographer who shot the footage of Sen. Grothman being heckled by the crowd, said he “condemn[ed] the use of my work to distort the truth about the spirited but non-violent protests here in Madison,” calling it a “a genuinely dangerous narrative that Fox News is helping to create.”
Another week and another epic fail for Conservative media.
The WSJ say that Wisconsin’s Democratic legislators are about to crack. Not so fast, Wisconsin Dems Deny WSJ Report Of Imminent Return
In addition, state Sen. Chris Larson released this statement:
Sen. Miller’s comments are taken out of context in the Wall Street Journal article just released. Dems will return when collective bargaining is off the table. That could be soon based on the growing public opposition to the bill and the recall efforts against Republicans. Unfortunately, the WSJ fished for the quote they wanted, skipping this key step in logic: we won’t come back until worker’s rights are preserved.
State Sen. Jon Erpenbach also told WisPolitics that Democrats are not planning to return.
The talk of recalls in Wisconsin seem to be more than talk. There are serious efforts underway to recall Republican legislators. Walker cannot be recalled until November of this year. There are also recall efforts underway against Democrats. Those seem motivated more by petty revenge than anything else and the polls are definitely on the side of Democrats, Rarely have multiple lawmakers faced such action
Formal recall campaigns have now been launched against 16 state senators – eight Republicans and eight Democrats. That’s everyone in the 33-member Wisconsin Senate who is legally eligible to be recalled this year.
Even though state law is designed to make recalls difficult and rare, some political insiders expect the petition drives now under way to succeed in forcing multiple lawmakers to face recall elections this summer.