And So I Go: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Archive for the ‘Breaking the Collective Bargaining Union holds on states’ Category

Workers unions were once very necessary to get workers and their families a chance at a decent living. It was bad, very bad indeed for workers before the labor unions came into their own and gained some power during the 1930’s and 1940’s. My entire family were union people. But before he did in 1969 my Daddy told me that the unions had gone too far in their demands and would eventually kill themselves off. I believe this is happening now and it saddens me to see it. At the same time the illogical and greedy demands of these unions thru their Mafia bosses are hurting businesses and the public.

In my father’s case the incident the convinced him was in his words “a dammed stupid workplace rules’. Dad was a mechanic at Olin-Matheson Aluminum. One day a machine broke down and Dad was called in to fix it. He had to slip a piece of 2×4 under the machine to lift it up enough for him to replace the broken part. No big deal and the job would be done in less than 10 minutes allowing the machine to operate and all the workers on that machine to get back to production. But Dad was stopped by the union representative and told he couldn’t put that piece of wood under that machine, that was a carpenters job. So they had to call for a carpenter while everyone stood around doing nothing. The carpenter came decided what had to be done and then had to go get a block of wood ( this because as a carpenter he could not use the block of wood Dad carried in his tool box!). Altogether the machine was down for over an hour and losing the company money every minute of that time. All because the unions and union work rules had stopped using common sense and make unreasonable demands.

This week we saw the Hostess Company go bankrupt and close its doors and again much of it due to stupid union rules that made it difficult to continue to make a profit as a company altho they were selling their products well. The company could not however raise their prices enough to cover all the costs related to their union workers demands. It was the Baker’s Union that finally held out and forced the company’s bankruptcy but they were merely the last straw in a long list of stupidities. One stupidity was that Twinkies and Wonder Bread could not be transported in the same truck. Both were Hostess brands and both went to the same outlets but union rules stated that they could not be transported together. Then after arriving at the store the driver of the delivery truck could not unload the truck! As a result of all this the Hostess Company after 80+ years in business went bankrupt and 18,000 (that’s eighteen thousand) people lost their jobs, benefits and pensions!

Over this holiday we have seen on the news were the Service Employees International Union (The infamous SEIU run by Mafia boss and frequent visitor to the White House Trumpka makes well over $300,000 a year in union dues paid salary) were out in the purple t-shirts interrupting the free flow of traffic at airports across the country. They also intend to storm WalMart Stores across the country on Black Friday altho WalMart employees have repeatedly voted down union membership in a free and open secret ballot election. If the employees wanted the union it was a secret ballot and the employer would have no idea who had voted for the union so no one needed to be afraid of losing their jobs! Now of course with Obama in the White House another 4 years I have no doubt that the “bosses” will unionize WalMart because they will probably get the so-called Card Check ballot thru which means no secret ballot but merely having as few as a few dozen employees sign a card saying they want a union and the union will be in.

Then there are the Public Employees Unions! Even a die hard liberal like Franklin D. Roosevelt would not allow government employees to unionize. But President John F. Kennedy with a Presidential Order approved and allowed the public sector employees to unionize and our trouble as tax payers began. It was never ever a law passed by Congress and now Congress can stop it all by passing a law rescinding the Presidential Order but like the cities and states Congress has for these past 50 years continued to buy the government employees votes. And since Obama is the union president nothing is likely to change except to get worse!

 

Public or government workers are not like workers in the private sector.  Governments don’t go bankrupt and lay off workers so those who have government jobs are pretty secure.    Private companies must make a profit with the product they produce or they cant’t pay their workers.  governments simply raise taxes on the tax payers!  Private companies when negotiating with their workers have an incentive (profits) for keeping the benefits and wages reasonable in order to keep their company from going bankrupt.  Government workers negotiate with politicians who don’t care and just want to buy the employees vote.    Government workers voted for Obama overwhelmingly—-like the greedy sons don’t have kids who will have to pay for this extravagance!

We have all heard of California and New York and Illinois and cities all over the country that are going bankrupt because of employee pensions and benefits. These huge pensions and benefits have been given to the government workers by politicians who are simply buying the votes. Some states are pushing back on the public sector unions and there have been some wins for the tax payers. We all remember the teachers in Wisconsin invading and almost trashing the capitol building while Governor Walker and the Republicans fought thru legislation to stop collective bargaining which was bankrupting the state. (You may remember the Democrats legislators left the state rather than vote or allow a quorum so the Republicans could vote) You may also recall that the unions finally got thru a recall election on Governor Walker but he won that election with even more votes than he had gotten when first elected!

Anyhow, I have said my piece and now  Heritage has some thoughts and some facts about unions that you may find interesting and useful because as I said previously we should be prepared for more and more thuggery from the unions now that their president has another 4 years in office. BB

 

Should We Pay Government Employees More?

Federal employees—who work on average a month less than private-sector workers and get paid more—are lobbying for higher pay.

Government unions know that Congress is looking for ways to nip and tuck the federal budget, and they’re counting on being left out of the deal.

“The Federal-Postal Coalition—a group representing more than two dozen federal employee unions—pleaded with Congress on Monday to spare their members in any deal related to the ‘fiscal cliff,’” Government Executive reports.

Government unions went all out to re-elect the President—the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) spent more than any other outside group on Obama’s campaign. While only about seven out of 100 private-sector workers are unionized, in government, that number rises to 36 out of 100.

Now they’re complaining that they don’t get paid enough.

Federal employees and Members of Congress are working under a two-year “pay freeze,” though “individual employees still remain eligible for raises if they receive promotions, step increases or performance awards,” explains Government Executive.

Of course, these are employees who are paid by the taxpayers. So their compensation deserves every measure of scrutiny. Unfortunately, faulty comparisons to the private sector have been muddying the waters—something Heritage’s Jason Richwine and the American Enterprise Institute’s Andrew G. Biggs have been working to correct.

When Richwine and Biggs wrote in The Washington Post November 18 that government unions were using bogus numbers to push for raises, a firestorm of reader comments erupted. As of this morning, there were 2,480 comments on the piece.

One of the main issues: “The Federal Salary Council, an advisory body of academics and leaders of public employee unions, suggested last month that federal workers are underpaid by an average of 35 percent relative to nonfederal employees.”

What’s behind the huge gap the council is claiming? For starters, a huge omission: benefits packages. Richwine and Biggs note:

First, the pay agent doesn’t consider fringe benefits, even though benefits for federal workers are famously generous. In addition to a 401(k)-type pension with a handsome employer match, federal workers receive a traditional defined-benefit pension—for which they contribute less than 1 percent of salary—as well as retiree health coverage. A Congressional Budget Office study published in January found that the federal retirement package was 2.7 times more generous than what is paid by large private-sector firms. Federal workers also receive more paid vacation and sick days.

According to their own reporting, government employees work fewer hours than private-sector employees. To measure this in the fairest way possible, the American Time Use Survey allows workers to record all of their time, including any hours spent working from home or outside normal business hours. Using this data, Richwine found that government employees worked about one month less per year than private-sector workers.

And not only do they work less, they get paid more.

A January 2012 report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) showed that federal government employees receive substantially higher compensation than similarly skilled workers in the private sector. The report’s methodology and conclusions were broadly similar to previous studies from both The Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute. Richwine, Biggs, and Heritage’s James Sherk concluded:

Federal compensation should be scaled back and reallocated to reward the most productive federal workers. The government should replace the seniority system with performance pay, paying higher salaries to good workers without guaranteeing raises for mediocre performers.

Government unions worked hard to re-elect President Obama, and now they’re expecting a payout at the expense of taxpayers. Any suggestion that their pay is below market levels is completely false.

>>> Watch Jason Richwine and Andrew Biggs discussing federal pay in yesterday’s Google Hangout on The Foundry.

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Is the Soros-Sponsored ‘Agenda 21’ a Hidden Plan for World Government? (Yes, Only it Is Not Hidden) | The Blaze.

I have blogged in the past on this United Nations plan to strip the United States of it’s wealth and  give it to poorer countries.  It’s Obama’s plan!  His “spreading the wealth around” world wide agenda.  I don’t think there are many Americans who have not gotten the idea finally that  Obama cares more for almost any nation except the United States.  He was clear about his agenda and his interests long before he was elected but no enough of us were listening.  One question?  If you planned to rob the riches family in the neighborhood what is the best way of going about it?  GETTING INSIDE THE HOUSE AS A TRUSTED GUEST OR EMPLOYEE OF COURSE!  And that is what Obama was able to do.  And we are seeing this being played out right now as he and his cohorts use the unions to accomplish his plans.  The  National Labor Relations  Board-union vs.Boeing building a plant  in South Carolina is a blatant step in this direction.  I will bet anyone that no such action would have taken place if Boeing had chosen to move out of the United States!  The EPA Environmental Protection Agency is another of Obama’s instruments; the United States can not drill in our waters but our tax dollars are being given to Mexico and Brazil to drill in the Gulf of Mexico.  BB

Read this article carefully because We the People have to know the plan in order to save ourselves.  Also be sure and listen to the videos and go to the sites suggested.  Spread the word so that others know how to turn the tide on these thieves.  BB

Is the Soros-Sponsored ‘Agenda 21’ a Hidden Plan for World Government? (Yes, Only it Is Not Hidden)

What is Agenda 21?  If you do not know about it, you should.

Agenda 21 is a two-decade old, grand plan for global ’Sustainable Development,’ brought to you from the United Nations. George H.W. Bush (and 177 other world leaders) agreed to it back in 1992, and in 1995, Bill Clinton signed Executive Order #12858, creating a Presidential Council on ‘Sustainable Development.’ This effectively pushed the UN plan into America’s large, churning government machine without the need for any review or discussion by Congress or the American people.

‘Sustainable Development’ sounds like a nice idea, right?  It sounds nice, until you scratch the surface and find that Agenda 21 and Sustainable Development are really cloaked plans to impose the tenets of Social Justice/Socialism on the world.

At risk from Agenda 21;

  • Private Property ownership
  • Single-Family homes
  • Private car ownership and individual travel choices
  • Privately owned farms

The Agenda 21 plan openly targets private property.  For over thirty-five years the UN has made their stance very clear on the issue of individuals owning land;

Land cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes. The provision of decent dwellings and healthy conditions for the people can only be achieved if land is used in the interest of society as a whole.

Click here to find out more!

Source: United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat I),Vancouver, BC, May 31 – June 11, 1976. Preamble to Agenda Item 10 of the Conference Report.

There are two more, very good reasons to be wary of Agenda 21 and the International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) that supports it: George Soros and the United Nations. Soros money has been tracked to funding parts of ICLEI ;

In 1997, George Soros’s Open Society gave ICLEI a $2,147,415 grant to support its Local Agenda 21 Project

As regards the UN, that organization‘s problems with America’s appreciation of freedom and self-determination is one that needs no explanation.

Currently in California, Agenda 21 is working to implement plans to create plans for sustainable management of ‘open spaces.‘ The definition of what is to be considered an ’open space’ has sparked some heated exchanges between those directing the planning meetings and citizens who want private property rights to be respected and protected. (The East Bay Tea Party video featuring a Liberal Democrat arguing against ICLEI can be seen at the end of this article.)

This type of global plan could not be implemented without a large and well-funded group pushing through its priorities. For that, Agenda 21 has the International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). And ICLEI is deeply entrenched in America;

ICLEI USA was launched in 1995 and has grown from a handful of local governments participating in a pilot project to a solid network of more than 600 cities, towns and counties actively striving to achieve tangible reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and create more sustainable communities. ICLEI USA is the domestic leader on climate protection and adaptation, and sustainable development at the local government level.

Over six hundred cities,towns and counties in America are members of ICLEI? Do you support your local government agreeing to rules and regulations set up by a UN-based organization that wants private property transferred to government control? If you would like to see if your community is a member of ICLEI, you can visit their website.

Austin, Texas is one city that seems to have fallen for the ICLEI/Agenda 21 and was heavily consuming the ‘Communitariasm’ Kool-aid. A local group called Texans For Accountable Government saw what was happening and attempted to stop the Austin City Council from adopting some Agenda 21-friendly initiatives. One of TAG’s members, John Bush, delivered a succinct presentation on ICLEI and Agenda 21 that was virtually ignored. Watch his short argument against the proposed local law immediately followed by the lopsided vote adopting the plan.

In the world of business Agenda 21 is not a free market friend, preferring PPPs or Private Public Partnerships where the government decides which companies will receive tax breaks and are allowed to stay in business. In light of this realization, the cozy relationship between the current administration and GE (a company that paid no tax in 2010) should raise eyebrows. And the WH efforts to tell Boeing in which state they can operate seems to further bolster the belief that Agenda 21 ideals are already making headway in America.

The seeds for Agenda 21 were planted back in 1987 when the writings of Gro Harlem Brundtland (a woman who at the time was Vice President of the World Socialist Party) caught the eye of the UN.  Dr. Brundtland wrote a report for the UN called, ‘Our Common Future’ eventually got into the business of environmentalism as a tool to control all the people of the world and establish a global government. The growth of ICLEI and the framework being put in place by supporters of Agenda 21 appear to be bringing Dr. Brundtland’s ideas closer to reality

In recent months, citizen groups across the country have organized and become involved in the removal of towns and cities from membership in ICLEI. The Roanoke, VA Tea Party is holding a rally this week in an effort to have ICLEI removed from their local government.

For a better understanding of Agenda 21 and ICLEI we suggest: The American Policy Center offers a one-page primer on Agenda 21.

From the Bay Area Tea Party we offer a long-form video covering Agenda 21;

The featured speaker at the Tea Party meeting, Rosa Koire, is a liberal Democrat who understands that Agenda 21 will destroy America as we know it. Rosa’s website, DemocratsAgainstAgenda21.com is also worth a visit.

» Kids Win: Colorado School Board Sets Students and Families Free with Voucher Program – Big Government.

YES!  There are still some intelligent men and women in politics in this country.  They won’t be found in Washington because except for a very small handful of newly elected Congress men in 2010 there simply isn’t a brain left in our federal government.  If we are to save ourselves and our nation and our very way of life it will have to be at the grass roots.  That is, if we have the time to do this. ( I heard on FOXNEWS this morning that Obama is planning to share our nuclear missile technology with Russia.)

 

We have turned our children over to what this School Board member in the video calls ‘special interests groups” but I am not so charitable because I call the leaders of our schools who are allowing the brain washing and dumbing down of education evil criminals.  After viewing the first videos please make sure to see the last one where the School Board is actually threatened by a union backed newly form group of  “mother, fathers, sisters, brothers, neighbors.” only concerned with the good of the children and absolutely nothing to do with union dues or tenure of incompetents.    BB

Kids Win: Colorado School Board Sets Students and Families Free with Voucher Program

by Kyle Olson

It’s not every day you will see a governmental body, in this case a school board, create competition for itself.  But that’s precisely what the Douglas County, Colorado school board did.

It created a unique, if not unprecedented, voucher program, allowing tax dollars to follow Douglas County students to the school of their choice.

Every single school system in America should adopt this model.  Sadly, parents who need school choice the most tend to live in troubled urban school districts that fight to keep children trapped within geographic boundaries.

But in Douglas County, leaders understand students have a right to the education of their choice, even if it is not within the public system.

John Carson, president of the school board, said recently at a National School Choice Week event celebrating the move: “We all realize that we’ve made two big mistakes in public education.  There’s no choice – or limited choice – there’s not enough competition, and we’ve ceded so much of our children’s education to special interest groups.  And that needs to end.”

Bravo.  If only we had more governmental leaders like Carson, just imagine the improved impression that Americans would have of public education today.

See EAGtv’s coverage of the program here.

Dr. Elizabeth Carson, the district superintendentm said, “We know when we match students to opportunities to learn that are most appropriate for their strengths and interests, we know that they’re going to be more successful.

“ And when we try to do this sort of batch processing model where we take all of these children according to their date of birth and put them through a process – a one-size-fits-all process – we know there are going to be fewer successes.  We want to make sure that parents have the ultimate choice in making sure that their child is matched with their learning environment.”

Parents and community leaders should demand that every single school district follow in the footsteps of Douglas County and be willing to let kids off the assembly line so they can find the school that best fits their needs.

The changes didn’t come easy and there is a big fight ahead to change teachers pay to excellence based and get rid of the dead wood tenured unionist  baloney.  BB

If you want to see more of what went on with the School Board’s decision to make parents responsible for and in charge of their children’s education check out the  other videos. BB

» Gov. Scott Walker Fights Republicans, Unions in Mission to Expand School Choice – Big Government.

Governor Scott Walker like Cristie of New Jersey is another governor to watch and hopefully learn from.  Walker is a fighter like Christie but lacks the new Jersey in your face attitude.  In fact, he is a gentleman at all times; a gentleman who stands firm for his beliefs.   He battled the teachers unions over their contracts and  so- called “right” to bargain (read that riot and strike and clutter up state buildings while calling in sick from their jobs).  With that issue working it’s way thru the courts he has now taken on the teachers unions and failing public schools over the  school choice issue.  He will win I have no doubt.

Is he perhaps the “sleeper” Republican who will come out for the Presidential run at the last minute?  Pair him up with Bachmann and I think we have a winning team.   Both are fighters who will stand firm for their beliefs but both are  professionals in their dealing with opponents regardless of what they are subjected to.  BB

Gov. Scott Walker Fights Republicans, Unions in Mission to Expand School Choice

by Kyle Olson

School choice is on the move in Wisconsin, at least in

Milwaukee County.

The state Assembly has approved a bill that will increase the number of voucher students in Milwaukee, and increase the number of private schools they can choose from.

But an idea recently suggested by Gov. Scott Walker, to spread voucher opportunities beyond Milwaukee to Green Bay, Racine and Beloit, received a cool reception from Senate President Mike Ellis, as well as several other Republicans.

Ellis also questioned a reform, embedded in the governor’s budget proposal, that would lift income restrictions from voucher programs so all families would be eligible to participate.

That leads me to wonder if some Republicans, once committed to the concept of public school reform, have lost their nerve in the face of obnoxious union rallies and recall efforts.

I also wonder if Walker might have received a more positive response if he had targeted the entire state for voucher eligibility, in the same manner as Indiana. Only expanding to three cities may not sit well with legislators from areas that would not benefit.

School choice is best for all families and students. Every child is unique, and parents are best equipped to choose a school that fits their needs.

The state of Wisconsin provides a certain amount of money for every K-12 student in the state. What’s wrong with letting parents spend that money at the school of their choice?

Walker sought to build momentum for school choice expansion with his keynote address to the National Policy Summit of the American Federation for Children in Washington, D.C. last week.

He focused on the idea that all students have the right to equal access to a quality education.

“Every kid, no matter where they live, no matter what their background, no matter what their parents do for a living … deserves the opportunity to have a great education because they each have limitless potential,” Walker told his audience.

“We have 100,000 kids that we serve in the city of Milwaukee. Roughly 20,000 go to choice schools but that means that 80 percent of our families are looking at some other option and the majority of which are (using) public schools … many of which fail to live up to the standard we expect for each and every child in that community and in our state.

“We fail as a country, we fail as a nation, we fail as a society if any of our kids slip through the cracks. We have to make sure every single one of them have the same opportunities we’d want for our children and grandchildren.”

Walker referred to studies that show Milwaukee children in the voucher program are 17 times more likely to graduate from high school than their counterparts in Milwaukee public schools.

“If you look at the kids who come into the Milwaukee parental choice program, they more often than not come in (with lower learning levels) than kids in the Milwaukee public school system. But in the end, one of the most important outcomes is that they’re 17 percent more likely to graduate by the time they’re done.

“One of our greatest challenges is keeping kids in the system all the way to graduation … It used to be that just graduating was enough to get a job, but these days you’ve got to have a two-year or four-year post-secondary education component just to get a job in our society. If you’re not making it through graduation you’re going to be another statistic.”

Wisconsin Education Association Council, the state’s largest teachers’ union, is trying to recall several Republican senators from office and destroy the GOP majority in the chamber.

The union’s president, Mary Bell told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that research “does not support broadening choice.”

I believe the only research that matters is the research conducted by the parents of every individual student in Wisconsin and America.

If they find a school that fits their child’s needs – be it public, public charter, private or religious – they should have a right to use their share of state money to enroll their child in that school.

Somehow our society has been blinded into thinking that government-run schools have an exclusive right to K-12 students. State constitutions mandate that governments provide an education to every student in their jurisdiction. That does not mean those students have to attend government-run schools.

By providing the means for students to finance an education, the state has met its constitutional responsibility. At that point the state should step aside and let parents decide where that education will take place.

As far as I can tell, the only reason for enforcing geographic school boundaries is to provide a guaranteed clientele, and guaranteed jobs, for unionized teachers. That’s not a very good reason to keep any kid trapped in any school that’s not meeting his or her needs.

Scott Walker seems to understand that.  The union doesn’t and it’s unrealistic for us to hope otherwise.  Will legislative Republicans?

Leaders should be going bold in their attempts to save children from failing public schools.  This is not the time to be pussyfooting around, making sure the adults aren’t offended by reforms that put the interests of children first.

A+ For School Choice

by Rebekah Rast

Upon learning that average per pupil spending in the public education system is $9,000, recent Rasmussen poll takers overwhelming stated their dissatisfaction with the return on their investment.

It’s hard to blame them.  Per pupil spending on education has tripled since the 1960s and increased 138 percent since 1985, but test scores and academic achievements remain stagnant and unchanged.

Noticing this trend, taxpayers and parents have found other options—an alternative to the status quo.  Americans are used to variety and choice and thought the education system should offer nothing less.

“In our society choice is something we’ve all been used to,” says Jeff Sands, senior manager of school development for Northeastern and Central California for the California Charter Schools Association.  “Now you can find schools that fit your needs and styles.”

The charter school movement has grown to 4,600 schools serving more than 1.4 million students nationally.

Charter schools have been a welcomed change for taxpayers, parents, students and those states and local governments who have adopted them.

What makes charter school different than public schools?

For one, it gives parents more options of where to send their child.  Also, charter schools have more freedom from the many regulations of public schools.  Charter schools allow students and teachers more authority to make decisions.  Instead of being accountable to rules and regulations like public schools are, charter schools are focused on the students and academic achievement and upholding their charter.  (One big reason for Charter Schools being free from all the rules and regulations is the lack of administration pencil pushers who make up all this nonsense in order to justify their jobs!   Every school system in the country could cut their administration staff by 50% and never miss them! BB)

“Charter schools are much more flexible in their spending and methods,” Sands says.  “They can go with longer days and weekends.  You could have a school with a strong focus on languages or arts or agriculture.  You can use methods and interactions where the main focus is not on the results, but the results happen anyways.”

If charter schools are such a welcomed change, then why are 10 states still opposed and fight against letting them in?

When parents do not have a choice of where to send their child to school, they can become stuck in a union-run, public school monopoly that has no incentive to better itself.  The only group that benefits from this design is the teachers unions.

“About 95 percent of charter schools are non-union,” says Mike Antonucci, director of the Education Intelligence Agency (EIA).  This causes a lot of opposition from teachers unions.

“Unions lose members,” says Antonucci, whenever a new charter schools opens.  “Every teacher in a charter school means one less union member and unions want more money.  This can put a dent in union’s bottom line.”

Sands agrees and adds, “Charter schools have lots of resistance from unions and school boards.

Despite the strong opposition from unions and school boards, many charters are doing very well and opening new schools each year.

Since California approved a charter school law in 1992, it has seen a steady increase of new charters opening.  Sands says last year more than 100 new charter schools opened their doors to new students and teachers.

As new charter schools open around the country providing new opportunities for students and parents, teachers also benefit from school choice.

“As testing becomes so core to school districts, teachers end up having to all teach the same thing at the same time—the whole objective is good scores,” states Sands.  “This puts undue pressure on educators and removes them from the decision-making, professionalism of teaching.  It is becoming very scripted.”

Charter schools give teachers opportunities to think outside the box, try new learning techniques and cater to children’s individual needs and wants.  It would seem that this kind of freedom would be a welcome change for an educator—especially at a time when states are forced to trim their budgets often cutting programs and pulling funds from school districts.

If a charter does not live up to expectation or meet its requirements, then like all businesses, the charter would cease to exist.  “Offering the best products and customer interaction is at the core of any charter school,” Sands comments.  “Many of them understand that they are a nonprofit and have to do smart business.”

Charter schools face more responsibility and accountability than the public counterparts, but they also offer much greater opportunity.

In a free-market, choice fuels competition and produces quality and distinctive products.  A growing dissatisfaction with public schools does not mean all public schools are bad and that all parents and students are ready to up and leave for a charter school.  It means there is a need for choice and competition.

“Charters are not intended to replace public schools, they apply pressure and competition,” Sands concludes.  “The objective is not to privatize education but to compete to make all schools better.”

“Anarchist” Idiocy | Cato @ Liberty.

I have been watching Europe closely the past few years as the governments try to wean their pampered people off of welfare.  A welfare the governments actually rather forced on the people in  the beginning  in the politicians avid search for power and more power.  Now the “spreading of the wealth around” (Obama) has had it’s ultimate end: the end of all wealth, or NOTHING left to spread around!  Or, as Margaret Thatcher the former Prime Minister of Great Britain once warmed : “The trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”!  The citizens of these European countries of course gave up their  souls for these safety net social programs and now have little left within themselves to again take control of their own lives.  They need Nanny State to think and act for them from cradle to grave.  The irony is the citizens are now fighting against the very hand that has fed them all these decades. The people who have become dependent on “other people’s money” are now morally and emotionally lacking the will to rely upon themselves for their livelihoods.  They also find themselves lacking a  morally acceptable argument for continuing to steal from other people’s labor so they have become  mobs rioting in the streets.  It reminds me of stories my mother tells of weaning me.  It was the habit of some in the dark ages to nurse their children well into the child’s second year of life so I was not weaned until I was 18 months old.  Naturally since I had become so dependent on “mother’s milk” long past the time when  I was able to survive well on my own  I protested long and hard and very loud against having the easy food supply removed.  If my mother had stopped nursing me when I was able to  survive well on nourishment taken from the regular food supplied me then the trauma would not have been nearly as violent to me or her when she did finally stop nursing me.  So this is the  case with the “children ” of Europe today.   Will it be Americans a couple generations from now after the Democrats and Obama have sucked up our souls for power and depleted our ability to survive well on our own?   I pray not. BB

Anarchist” Idiocy

Posted by David Boaz

The Washington Post splashes a story about “anarchists” in Greece across the front page today. The print headline is “Into the arms of anarchy,” and a photo-essay online is titled “In Greece, austerity kindles the flames of anarchy.” And what do these anarchists demand? Well, reporter Anthony Faiola doesn’t find out much about what they’re for, but they seem to be against, you know, what the establishment is doing, man:

The protests are an emblem of social discontent spreading across Europe in response to a new age of austerity. At a time when the United States is just beginning to consider deep spending cuts, countries such as Greece are coping with a fallout that has extended well beyond ordinary civil disobedience.

Perhaps most alarming, analysts here say, has been the resurgence of an anarchist movement, one with a long history in Europe. While militants have been disrupting life in Greece for years, authorities say that anger against the government has now given rise to dozens of new “amateur anarchist” groups.

Faiola does acknowledge that the term is used pretty loosely:

The anarchist movement in Europe has a long, storied past, embracing an anti-establishment universe influenced by a broad range of thinkers from French politician and philosopher Pierre-Joseph Proudhon to Karl Marx to Oscar Wilde.

So that’s, let’s see, a self-styled anarchist who was anti-state and anti-private property, the father of totalitarianism, and a witty playwright jailed for his homosexuality.

Defined narrowly, the movement includes groups of urban guerillas, radical youths and militant unionists. More broadly, it encompasses everything from punk rock to WikiLeaks.

And what are these various disgruntled groups opposed to?

The rolling back of social safety nets in Europe began more than a year ago, as countries from Britain to France to Greece moved to cut social benefits and slash public payrolls, to address mounting public debt. At least in the short term, the cuts have held back economic growth and job creation, exacerbating the social pain.

And Greece is not the only place in which segments of society are pushing back.

So these “anarchists” object that the state might cut back on its income transfers and payrolls. That is, they object to the state reducing its size, scope, and power. Odd anarchists, as George Will told the crowd at the 2010 Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty dinner:

It leads to the streets of Athens, where we had what the media described as “anti-government mobs.” Anti-government mobs composed almost entirely of government employees going berserk about threats to their entitlements!

Lots of talk in the Post article about anarchists:

“They are taking everything away from us,” [19-year-old law student Nikolas] Ganiaris said. “What will happen when I finish law school? Will I only find a job making copies in a shop? Will I then need to work until I’m 70 before I retire? Will I only get a few hundred euros as pension? What future have I got now?”  (I see this argument for keeping his dole from “other people’s” work and effort as pathetic!  I sincerely hope you do too.  BB)

A radical minority is energizing the anarchist movement, a loose network of anti-establishment groups….

Since then, experts say, the economic crisis has helped the movement thrive, with anarchists positioning themselves as society’s new avengers. Long a den of anarchists, the graffiti-blanketed Exarchia neighborhood is alive anew with dissent. Nihilist youths are patrolling the local park, preventing police from entering and blocking authorities from building a parking lot on the site. On one evening at a local cafe, an anarchist group was broadcasting anti-government messages via a clandestine radio station using a laptop and a few young recruits.

The last vignette in the story is about 20-year-old Nikos Galanos, who has joined the anarchist movement in anger over his mother’s losing her government job and his father’s being the victim of a 15 percent salary cut in his own government job.

“I don’t support violence for violence’s sake, but violence is a response to the violence the government is committing against society,” Galanos said. He later added, “It is now hard for any of us to see a future here. I feel it’s my duty to fight against the system.”  (People who are on the dole never seem to understand the simple fact:  there is NO MORE MONEY.  Have you noticed this?  In fact they don’t even allow the thought of just where the money comes from to support them.  Remember the flap over “Obama money”  where the mobs were lining up for their share?  BB)

In fact, the government has been committing violence against society for decades, by taxing people, overregulating business, and spending money it didn’t have. No wonder youth unemployment is 35 percent. And what is the actual “system” that Mr. Galanos wants to fight? Greek journalist Takis Michas described it at a Cato Forum:

In Greece, the fundamental principle that has been dictating economic and political development since the creation of the Greek state in the 19th century is political clientelism.

This is a system in which political support is provided in exchange for benefits.

In this situation, rent-seeking — the attempt by various groups and individuals to influence the location of political benefits — becomes paramount. The origins of political clientelism can be traced back to the origins of the Greek state in the 1830s. As a left-wing political historian puts it, “The fundamental structure of Greece has never been civil society. Ever since the middle of the 19th century, nothing could be done in Greece without its necessarily passing through the machinery of the state.”…

The largest part of public expenditure was directed, not to public works or infrastructure, but to the wages of public service workers and civil servants….

What makes the case of Greece interesting is that Greece can be said, in a certain sense, to provide the perfect realization of the left’s vision of putting people above markets.

Greek politicians have always placed people (their clients) above markets, with results we can all see today.

Real anarchists, of either the anarcho-capitalist or mutualist variety,  might have something useful to say to Greeks in their current predicament. But disgruntled young people, lashing out at the end of an unsustainable welfare state, are not anarchists in any serious sense. They’re just angry children not ready to deal with reality. But reality has a way of happening whether you’re ready to deal with it or not.

National Curriculum Battle Joined | Cato @ Liberty.

The Progressives are pushing hard for their take over of our schools and our children’s minds.   Education of children is rightly a  parents  duty and right.  This is why education MUST BE LOCAL!  When the Texas Text Book Selection committee outed the Progressives in determining what  content  would be in Texas text books it was a loud and clear call for the Progressives to become more aggressive (read this: underhanded!). (You may want to look this battle up because the video was a fun watch as the Progressives finally just left the meeting.)

The following article gives background on what is happening now and some push back.    Be sure to read carefully the Related Articles also.  these are your kids and our future.  Please don’t allow them to be lot any more than they have already been compromised and brain-washed.   It is up to ALL parents to demand the right to choose the schools their children attend and not to be herded into what the bureaucracy either national or local dictates to us.   School choice and vouchers are the answer to a free and good education.  BB

National Curriculum Battle Joined

Posted by Neal McCluskey

Remember several weeks ago, when the Albert Shanker Institute released a manifesto calling for the creation of detailed curriculum guides to go with the national standards and tests being pushed and pulled through the back doors of states across the country? Apparently, that was the last straw for a lot of education analysts and policymakers, especially folks like Williamson Evers of the Hoover Institution (and Bush II Education Department); one-time Fordham Institute state-standards evaluator Sandra Stotsky; and Foundation for Education Choice senior fellow Greg Forster. Those three, along with a few others, organized a counter-manifesto being released today, a 100-plus signatory reply which, according to the group’s press release, declares that:

  • These efforts are against federal law and undermine the constitutional balance between national and state authority.
  • The evidence doesn’t show a need for national curriculum or a national test for all students.
  • U.S. Department of Education is basing its initiative on inadequate content standards.
  • There is no research-based consensus on what is the best curricular approach to each subject.
  • There is not even consensus on whether a single “best curricular approach” for all students exists.

These points certainly sum up many of the major problems with the national standards drive, a drive that has been shrouded in half-truths about “voluntary” standards adoption; shorthand pleas for federal coercion; and what appears to be a camel’s-nose-under-the-tent strategy to ultimately impose a detailed, de facto federal curriculum. There is more to the problem than the summary points above cover — for instance, the Constitution gives the federal government no authority whatsoever to meddle in school curricula — but for a consensus-driven document, this new and desperately needed cannon blast against national standards is very welcome.

For a great explanation of why the anti-manifesto ringleaders did what they did, check out Greg Forster’s entry on the Witherspoon Institute’s blog. He hits lots of important points — especially that nationalizing curricula is a surefire way to fuel all-encompassing social strife — and I would quibble with only one thing:

My own view is that the root of the problem is the government monopoly on schools. Governmental monopolization of the education of children guarantees that all our religious and moral differences will be constantly politicized. School choice, in addition to delivering better academic performance, seems to me to be the only way to end the scorpions-in-a-bottle cultural dynamic and create space for shared citizenship across diverse religious and moral views.

But that’s an argument for another day.

Here’s where I think Greg is incorrect: Choice is not an argument for another day. It is the argument for this day.

Until all parents have real, full choice they will have no option but to demand that higher levels of government force intractable lower levels to provide good education. It won’t work thanks to concentrated benefits and diffuse costs all levels of government are dominated by teachers’ unions and administrators’ associations that will never let tough accountability and high standards rein – but it is all that parents can do absent the ability to take their children, and tax dollars, somewhere else. That means choice is essential right now, because it is the only way to take power away from special-interest dominated government and give it to the people the schools are supposed to serve. In other words, it is the only option that will actually work, obliterating the special-interest hammerlock, imposing accountability to customers, and when coupled with freedom for educators unleashing competition, specialization, innovation, and constant upward pressure on standards. In other words, it will do all those things that national standardizers emptily and illogically promise that their reform will do, and much, much more.

imf-bombshell-age-america-end-marketwatch: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance.

Please read this article very carefully.  As long as America dominates in the world  there will be a spirit of freedom for the people as a guiding light thru out the world.  Even in countries that are dominated by dictators the belief is alive in the hearts of it’s people of freedom such as is alive in America.  If China dominates the world  things will be very, very different!  And it is a fact that he who controls the purse strings (the economy) controls ALL.  BB

IMF Bombshell: Age of America Nears End

by Brett Arends
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
MarketWatch

This column has been updated to include a reaction from the IMF.

The International Monetary Fund has just dropped a bombshell, and nobody noticed.

For the first time, the international organization has set a date for the moment when the “Age of America” will end and the U.S. economy will be overtaken by that of China.

And it’s a lot closer than you may think.

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According to the latest IMF official forecasts, China’s economy will surpass that of America in real terms in 2016 — just five years from now.

Put that in your calendar.

It provides a painful context for the budget wrangling taking place in Washington right now. It raises enormous questions about what the international security system is going to look like in just a handful of years. And it casts a deepening cloud over both the U.S. dollar and the giant Treasury market, which have been propped up for decades by their privileged status as the liabilities of the world’s hegemonic power.  (This is the most important paragraph in this article.  Especially that of the “international security system”.  Who has hai9na backed in the United Nations?  Iran!   and they have allowed their ward North Korea to run amok testing the American will to protect South Korea.  So far they have pulled North Korean pit bull back from all out war but the testing of the waters has been only a taste of what China will do when they dominate the world economy.  BB)

According to the IMF forecast, which was quietly posted on the Fund’s website just two weeks ago, whoever is elected U.S. president next year — Obama? Mitt Romney? Donald Trump? — will be the last to preside over the world’s largest economy.

Most people aren’t prepared for this. They aren’t even aware it’s that close. Listen to experts of various stripes, and they will tell you this moment is decades away. The most bearish will put the figure in the mid-2020s.

But they’re miscounting. They’re only comparing the gross domestic products of the two countries using current exchange rates.

That’s a largely meaningless comparison in real terms. Exchange rates change quickly. And China’s exchange rates are phony. China artificially undervalues its currency, the renminbi, through massive intervention in the markets.  (This has been the reason for the enormous trade imbalance with china.  It has also been the reason manufacturing has exploded in china.  Look around the next time you go to a store and see how many products are made in China.  In fact, just look around your own home!  BB)

The Comparison That Really Matters

In addition to comparing the two countries based on exchange rates, the IMF analysis also looked to the true, real-terms picture of the economies using “purchasing power parities.” That compares what people earn and spend in real terms in their domestic economies.

Under PPP, the Chinese economy will expand from $11.2 trillion this year to $19 trillion in 2016. Meanwhile the size of the U.S. economy will rise from $15.2 trillion to $18.8 trillion. That would take America’s share of the world output down to 17.7%, the lowest in modern times. China’s would reach 18%, and rising.

Just 10 years ago, the U.S. economy was three times the size of China’s.

Naturally, all forecasts are fallible. Time and chance happen to them all. The actual date when China surpasses the U.S. might come even earlier than the IMF predicts, or somewhat later. If the great Chinese juggernaut blows a tire, as a growing number fear it might, it could even delay things by several years. But the outcome is scarcely in doubt.

This is more than a statistical story. It is the end of the Age of America. As a bond strategist in Europe told me two weeks ago, “We are witnessing the end of America’s economic hegemony.”

We have lived in a world dominated by the U.S. for so long that there is no longer anyone alive who remembers anything else. America overtook Great Britain as the world’s leading economic power in the 1890s and never looked back.

And both those countries live under very similar rules of constitutional government, respect for civil liberties and the rights of property. China has none of those. The Age of China will feel very different.  (This is the second most important paragraph in this article and the one you my Friends must take heed of if you want your children to live in freedom.  Not just as “well off” as you and your parents but in FREEDOM. BB)

Victor Cha, senior adviser on Asian affairs at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, told me China’s neighbors in Asia are already waking up to the dangers. “The region is overwhelmingly looking to the U.S. in a way that it hasn’t done in the past,” he said. “They see the U.S. as a counterweight to China. They also see American hegemony over the last half-century as fairly benign. In China they see the rise of an economic power that is not benevolent, that can be predatory. They don’t see it as a benign hegemony.”

The rise of China, and the relative decline of America, is the biggest story of our time. You can see its implications everywhere, from shuttered factories in the Midwest to soaring costs of oil and other commodities. Last fall, when I attended a conference in London about agricultural investment, I was struck by the number of people there who told stories about Chinese interests snapping up farmland and foodstuff supplies — from South America to China and elsewhere.  (It is a fact that China now owns more land and factories and rights to mineral deposits than we Americans would tolerate, but it was done without the benefit of our government allowing it!   Remember the flap when a Muslim country was taking over our port security and how we Americans yelled forcing our government to reconsider?  Well nothing was said or done while China bought up American real estate and land!  BB)

This is the result of decades during which China has successfully pursued economic policies aimed at national expansion and power, while the U.S. has embraced either free trade or, for want of a better term, economic appeasement.  (Now we have a President who is a Master Appeaser!  BB)

“There are two systems in collision,” said Ralph Gomory, research professor at NYU’s Stern business school. “They have a state-guided form of capitalism, and we have a much freer former of capitalism.” What we have seen, he said, is “a massive shift in capability from the U.S. to China. What we have done is traded jobs for profit. The jobs have moved to China. The capability erodes in the U.S. and grows in China. That’s very destructive. That is a big reason why the U.S. is becoming more and more polarized between a small, very rich class and an eroding middle class. The people who get the profits are very different from the people who lost the wages.”  (The unions and the union demands on companies have been largely responsible for this shift of  production from the United States.  Many would disagree with me but companies and investors are interested in profit.  I as an investor am interested in profit.  Business (companies) is NOT our social conscience!  and shouldn’t be. Fairness and honesty are enough to demand from business/companies!   Unions demanded far more from business/companies until the companies could no longer compete in the world and make a profit in America.  So they either closed their doors altogether or moved to a place where they could run their business and make a profit.  They went to other countries.  Or, China opened companies to make the products that they then sold to Americans!    Note:  this has been happening on a smaller scale with companies/business leaving California and going to Texas.  This story has been on the news so much lately. 

Another example of what unions do to shut down companies/business is now taking place with Boeing being taken to the woodshed by the Obamanites control of the NLRB National Labor Relations Board.

All of this is destroying our economy while China is on the rise and poised for domination.  BB)

The next chapter of the story is just beginning.

U.S. Spending Spree Won’t Work

What the rise of China means for defense, and international affairs, has barely been touched on. The U.S. is now spending gigantic sums — from a beleaguered economy — to try to maintain its place in the sun.  (And guess what?  China has been cooperative enough to lend us the money to  do this.  BB)

It’s a lesson we could learn more cheaply from the sad story of the British, Spanish and other empires. It doesn’t work. You can’t stay on top if your economy doesn’t.

Equally to the point, here is what this means economically, and for investors.

Some years ago I was having lunch with the smartest investor I know, London-based hedge-fund manager Crispin Odey. He made the argument that markets are reasonably efficient, most of the time, at setting prices. Where they are most likely to fail, though, is in correctly anticipating and pricing big, revolutionary, “paradigm” shifts — whether a rise of disruptive technologies or revolutionary changes in geopolitics. We are living through one now.

The U.S. Treasury market continues to operate on the assumption that it will always remain the global benchmark of money. Business schools still teach students, for example, that the interest rate on the 10-year Treasury bond is the “risk-free rate” on money. And so it has been for more than a century. But that’s all based on the Age of America.

No wonder so many have been buying gold. If the U.S. dollar ceases to be the world’s sole reserve currency, what will be? The euro would be fine if it acts like the old deutschemark. If it’s just the Greek drachma in drag … not so much.

The last time the world’s dominant hegemon lost its ability to run things singlehandedly was early in the past century. That’s when the U.S. and Germany surpassed Great Britain. It didn’t turn out well.  (Remember the wars of the 20th century!  Look closely at who started the wars and why: Germany and Japan.  Each trying to expand it’s power in the world, or to take over other countries and in this way overtake the dominance of the United States.  The United States was able to rise up and overcome these two states and keep the place of dominance and thuis continue the seeking of a world of democracy and freedom and free enterprise.  BB)

Updated With IMF Reaction

The International Monetary Fund has responded to my article.

In a statement sent to MarketWatch, the IMF confirmed the report, but challenged my interpretation of the data. Comparing the U.S. and Chinese economies using “purchase-power-parity,” it argued, “is not the most appropriate measure… because PPP price levels are influenced by nontraded services, which are more relevant domestically than globally.”

The IMF added that it prefers to compare economies using market exchange rates, and that under this comparison the U.S. “is currently 130% bigger than China, and will still be 70% larger by 2016.”

My take?

The IMF is entitled to make its case. But its argument raises more questions than it answers.

First, no one measure is perfect. Everybody knows that.

But that’s also true of the GDP figures themselves. Hurricane Katrina, for example, added to the U.S. GDP, because it stimulated a lot of economic activity — like providing emergency relief, and rebuilding homes. Is there anyone who seriously thinks Katrina was a net positive for the United States? All statistics need caveats.

Second, comparing economies using simple exchange rates, as the IMF suggests, raises huge problems.

Currency markets fluctuate. They represent international money flows, not real output.

The U.S. dollar has fallen nearly 10% against the euro so far this year. Does anyone suggest that the real size of the U.S. economy has shrunk by 10% in comparison with Europe over that period? The idea is absurd.

China actively suppresses the renminbi on the currency markets through massive dollar purchases. As a result the renminbi is deeply undervalued on the foreign-exchange markets. Just comparing the economies on their exchange rates misses that altogether.

Purchasing power parity is not a perfect measure. None exists. But it measures the output of economies in terms of real goods and services, not just paper money. That’s why it’s widely used to compare economies. The IMF publishes PPP data. So does the OECD. Many economists rely on them.

Brett Arends is a senior columnist for MarketWatch and a personal-finance columnist for The Wall Street Journal.

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