Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011 - part 4

Below is the text of President Ronald Reagan's remarks for Memorial Day in 1982 at Arlington National Cemetery. The speech may be almost 30 years old, but the message is still valid.

In America's cities and towns today, flags will be placed on graves in cemeteries; public officials will speak of the sacrifice and the valor of those whose memory we honor.

In 1863, when he dedicated a small cemetery in Pennsylvania marking a terrible collision between the armies of North and South, Abraham Lincoln noted the swift obscurity of such speeches. Well, we know now that Lincoln was wrong about that particular occasion. His remarks commemorating those who gave their ``last full measure of devotion'' were long remembered. But since that moment at Gettysburg, few other such addresses have become part of our national heritage -- not because of the inadequacy of the speakers, but because of the inadequacy of words.

I have no illusions about what little I can add now to the silent testimony of those who gave their lives willingly for their country. Words are even more feeble on this Memorial Day, for the sight before us is that of a strong and good nation that stands in silence and remembers those who were loved and who, in return, loved their countrymen enough to die for them.

Yet, we must try to honor them -- not for their sakes alone, but for our own. And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice.

Our first obligation to them and ourselves is plain enough: The United States and the freedom for which it stands, the freedom for which they died, must endure and prosper. Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply. It has a cost; it imposes a burden. And just as they whom we commemorate were willing to sacrifice, so too must we -- in a less final, less heroic way -- be willing to give of ourselves.

It is this, beyond the controversy and the congressional debate, beyond the blizzard of budget numbers and the complexity of modern weapons systems, that motivates us in our search for security and peace. War will not come again, other young men will not have to die, if we will speak honestly of the dangers that confront us and remain strong enough to meet those dangers.

It's not just strength or courage that we need, but understanding and a measure of wisdom as well. We must understand enough about our world to see the value of our alliances. We must be wise enough about ourselves to listen to our allies, to work with them, to build and strengthen the bonds between us.

Our understanding must also extend to potential adversaries. We must strive to speak of them not belligerently, but firmly and frankly. And that's why we must never fail to note, as frequently as necessary, the wide gulf between our codes of morality. And that's why we must never hesitate to acknowledge the irrefutable difference between our view of man as master of the state and their view of man as servant of the state. Nor must we ever underestimate the seriousness of their aspirations to global expansion. The risk is the very freedom that has been so dearly won.

It is this honesty of mind that can open paths to peace, that can lead to fruitful negotiation, that can build a foundation upon which treaties between our nations can stand and last -- treaties that can someday bring about a reduction in the terrible arms of destruction, arms that threaten us with war even more terrible than those that have taken the lives of the Americans we honor today.

In the quest for peace, the United States has proposed to the Soviet Union that we reduce the threat of nuclear weapons by negotiating a stable balance at far lower levels of strategic forces. This is a fitting occasion to announce that START, as we call it, strategic arms reductions, that the negotiations between our country and the Soviet Union will begin on the 29th of June.

As for existing strategic arms agreements, we will refrain from actions which undercut them so long as the Soviet Union shows equal restraint. With good will and dedication on both sides, I pray that we will achieve a safer world.

Our goal is peace. We can gain that peace by strengthening our alliances, by speaking candidly of the dangers before us, by assuring potential adversaries of our seriousness, by actively pursuing every chance of honest and fruitful negotiation.

It is with these goals in mind that I will depart Wednesday for Europe, and it's altogether fitting that we have this moment to reflect on the price of freedom and those who have so willingly paid it. For however important the matters of state before us this next week, they must not disturb the solemnity of this occasion. Nor must they dilute our sense of reverence and the silent gratitude we hold for those who are buried here.

The willingness of some to give their lives so that others might live never fails to evoke in us a sense of wonder and mystery. One gets that feeling here on this hallowed ground, and I have known that same poignant feeling as I looked out across the rows of white crosses and Stars of David in Europe, in the Philippines, and the military cemeteries here in our own land. Each one marks the resting place of an American hero and, in my lifetime, the heroes of World War I, the Doughboys, the GI's of World War II or Korea or Vietnam. They span several generations of young Americans, all different and yet all alike, like the markers above their resting places, all alike in a truly meaningful way.

Winston Churchill said of those he knew in World War II they seemed to be the only young men who could laugh and fight at the same time. A great general in that war called them our secret weapon, ``just the best darn kids in the world.'' Each died for a cause he considered more important than his own life. Well, they didn't volunteer to die; they volunteered to defend values for which men have always been willing to die if need be, the values which make up what we call civilization. And how they must have wished, in all the ugliness that war brings, that no other generation of young men to follow would have to undergo that same experience.

As we honor their memory today, let us pledge that their lives, their sacrifices, their valor shall be justified and remembered for as long as God gives life to this nation. And let us also pledge to do our utmost to carry out what must have been their wish: that no other generation of young men will every have to share their experiences and repeat their sacrifice.

Earlier today, with the music that we have heard and that of our National Anthem -- I can't claim to know the words of all the national anthems in the world, but I don't know of any other that ends with a question and a challenge as ours does: Does that flag still wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave? That is what we must all ask.

Thank you.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day 2011 - part 3

As Sam and I drove to our home Friday evening, we were greeted by a row of small U.S. Flags placed in every yard on our street. This is a Memorial Day tradition of one of our neighbors.

He places the flags in every yard just before Memorial Day and they stay throughout the summer and even into the winter, if they haven't been damaged by the weather.

I know it is a 'he' because I met him last year. And here is the story, certainly worth repeating, as told in my blog post last Memorial Day:

I was in the middle of a project with my hands full when Sam came in and told me that the man who gives us the flag was coming up the street. By the time I got my hands cleaned up and got outside, he was already on the other side of the street (we're the last house on one side) and about 3 houses I called out to him.

Either he didn't hear me - or didn't want to acknowledge me.

As I walked quickly after him and he didn't answer my hails, I wondered if he didn't want be thanked for what he was doing. If maybe my recognition of his act might embarrassment him in some way.

But even as these thoughts were going through my mind, my feet continued in his direction. Despite so many of his generation believing they require no thanks for the service they performed, I believe we owe them a lifetime of gratitude and that any opportunity to say 'thank you' should never go by without those words being said.

So as he placed another flag and I approached, I said, "Excuse me, sir," and he looked up at me. I offered my hand and he grasped it firmly. I was struck by how large and strong his hand was, but how also by how gently he took mine. He was wearing both a hat and shirt with military markings, but all could see where his eyes. I don't even remember the color, just the fact that they were clear and kind.

I told him that I always wanted to know whom to thank for our flag and now I could do so in person.

He didn't say anything - just nodded and gave my hand an additional squeeze.

Then he turned and began walking back up the street, placing flag after flag...

And still I do not know his name - but I know his heart.

Happy Memorial Day and thank you to those who've gone before, thus ensuring that we have this day to celebrate their gift of our freedoms and liberties.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day 2011 - part 2

This cartoon was sent to me via email. I don't know the source, but wanted to share it as part of our remembrances of those who have passed on after giving service to our great nation and preserving the freedoms we hold so dear. If you know the source, please share it so I can give proper credit.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Memorial Day 2011 - part 1

This cartoon was sent to me via email. I don't know the source, but wanted to share it as I think it says a lot about today's culture and interests. If you know the source, please share it so I can give proper credit.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dashing Pacific still interested in Marina District

The good news is that Dashing Pacific would still like to purchase the Marina District - and maybe more of the property than originally included in the offer. The bad news is that the deal still must go before city council and I don't think they've yet learned their lesson to not meddle in other people's affairs. Hopefully, they'll take a look at the offer and decide yes or no without placing in it a ton of conditions intended to reward their friends and special interests.

Press Release:

Letter to Mayor Bell indicates further interest in remaining acreage

(Hangzhou, China) The Chairman of Dashing Pacific Group on Thursday delivered a letter to Toledo Mayor Michael P. Bell reaffirming the group’s desire to purchase the Marina District under the terms of their existing offer and further indicated interest in purchasing the remaining acreage under a two year option.

Earlier this year Dashing Pacific made an offer to purchase 69 acres of Toledo’s Marina District for $3.8 million. There is currently legislation pending before Toledo City Council on which the Mayor will ask for a vote at Tuesday’s meeting.

The hand-delivered letter was a welcome close to the Mayor’s nine day trip to China during which time he met with Ms. Yuen, the Chairman of Dashing Pacific.

The Mayor will meet with media to respond to questions about the deal upon returning from China on Friday, May 27 at 1:30 p.m. in his office, pending the timely arrival of his flight.

Speakers added to RightOnLine

I've previously shared with you information on this summer's fourth annual RightOnline conference in Minneapolis, MN, June 17-18th, hosted by Americans for Prosperity Foundation.

In addition to Michelle Malkin, Andrew Breitbart, Erick Erickson and John Fund, they've added the following speakers to the line-up:

* Governor Tim Pawlenty,
* Senator Mike Lee,
* businessman Herman Cain, and
* Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli

Both Pawlenty and Cain have announced their plans to run for President so this is an excellent opportunity to see them in person.

Don't forget, AFP Foundation has given me the below discount code for my readers.

Click here to register with the discount code “fightback” to receive 25% off.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Local Chinese community helps Mayor Bell in China visit

Press Release:

Mayor (Mike) Bell from Toledo, Ohio, in the United States meets with Mayor Zhu in Qinhuangdao, Hebei in China on May 24, 2011. This is the first time for an American mayor and his delegation from Toledo to meet a Chinese mayor and other business people in Qinhuangdao as one of Toledo’s sister cities in the history of the past 26 years.

This sister city relationship was primarily initiated by Michael Cicak of Glasstech in cooperation with Mayor Donna Owens in 1985. Since then, many Chinese and American community leaders and colleagues have developed and support various initiatives between Toledo and Qinhuangdao, including educational and cultural exchange, business and economic development, medical and health collaboration and many other areas. They have been very active and played a very important role in facilitating the friendly and successful relationship between Toledo in the United States and Qinhuangdao in China. For the recent 10 year, for example, Dr. Guangzhong Chen, Ms. Hewen Slak, Mr. John Fullen, and Dr. Yueh-Ting Lee have been very instrumental in promoting this sister city relationship. Due to the constructive cooperation between Toledo and Qinhuangdao, Yanshan University in Qinhuangdao developed a partnership agreement with the University of Toledo several years ago. Toledo Hospital developed a partnership with Qinhuangdao First People’s Hospital two years ago. In Sept 2010, Mayor Michael Bell, the first Toledo mayor visited China and met with the delegation from Qinhuangdao while in Beijing.

To better support this sister city relationship, China Committee was established by Dr. Yueh-Ting Lee and Dr. Guang-Zhong Chen about four years ago. This committee has approximately 15 members including Chinese Americans, European Americans, African and other Americans, and several Qinhuangdao natives who live in NW Ohio. Every year, this voluntary community group in Toledo helps to facilitate four to five delegations from Qinhuangdao who come to visit Toledo, and vice versa. Almost each year, Qinhuangdao sends Chinese kids to International Youth Academy. Numerous Chinese college students from Qinhuangdao also come to study in Toledo. Similarly numerous Americans from Toledo visit Qinhuangdao in China. In May 2011, Mayor Bell and his delegation visit Qinhuangdao for the first time with the help from Dr. Chen, Dr. Lee, and China Committee who have been very collaborative and instrumental in facilitating and arranging this trip to Qinhuangdao.

With over 2.5 million people, Qinhuangdao is a major port and popular vacation spot located in northeastern China and is also known as the Glass City of China. It is one of the most beautiful and pleasant cities near the Pacific Ocean. It is only about two hours away from Beijing by train.

Latta seeks input from business owners

Press Release:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In an effort to identify burdensome regulations, Congressman Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) is requesting Ohio’s 5th Congressional District job creators to visit, where they can complete a survey and identify federal government regulations that impede their growth and success of their business.

“My number one priority in Congress is to get Americans back to work. Government is not the answer for private sector job growth, but by removing government barriers, we can provide America’s job creators the certainty they need to grow their businesses and begin hiring again,” said Congressman Latta.

The U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy recently issued a report estimating that as of 2008 the cost of federal regulations was at $1.75 trillion annually, this equates to $8,086 per employee; and that same year income tax revenue amounted to roughly $1.45 trillion ($1.05 trillion for 2009).

Friday, May 20, 2011

How long do Americans work for each type of tax?

From the National Center for Policy Analysis:

In 2011, Americans will devote 2 hours and 13 minutes of every eight-hour workday, or over a quarter of their working hours (27.7 percent), to paying taxes. In a nine-to-five workday, it takes until 11:13 a.m. to earn enough to pay that day's share of taxes at the federal, state and local level. If we add the federal deficit to the picture -- that is, if the federal government were planning to collect enough in taxes during 2011 to finance all of its spending -- Americans would work until lunchtime, 12:07 p.m., for the government, before keeping any of their earnings for themselves, says the Tax Foundation.

These calendar- and clock-based illustrations are a useful way to explain how much the nation as a whole spends on government:

* Individual income taxes require the most work; all but seven states, and some localities, levy an income tax. When these are added to the federal income tax burden, income taxes are projected to amount to an average of 46 minutes of work in an eight-hour workday.

* Social insurance taxes (taxes dedicated to funding social insurance programs such as Social Security and Medicare) require 29 minutes of work.

* Sales and excise taxes require 20 minutes of work.

* Property taxes require 16 minutes of work.

* Corporate income taxes require 16 minutes of work.

Source: Kail Padgitt and Alicia Hansen, "Nation Works until 11:13 a.m. to Pay All Taxes, Lunchtime to Pay off the Deficit," Tax Foundation, May 5, 2011.

For text:

Quote of the Day - inequality

"True education makes for inequality; the inequality of individuality, the inequality of success, the glorious inequality of talent, of genius; for inequality, not mediocrity, individual superiority, not standardization, is the measure of the progress of the world." ~ Felix E. Schelling

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Special discount at RightOnLine 2011 for Thurber's Thoughts readers

This summer Americans for Prosperity Foundation will host the fourth annual RightOnline conference in Minneapolis, MN, on June 17-18th.

This year’s conference will feature leaders in government, new media, and grassroots mobilization such as:
* Governor Tim Pawlenty,
* Congresswoman Michele Bachmann,
* Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn,
* Fox News Contributor and best selling author Michelle Malkin,
* Conservative commentator and author Andrew Breitbart,
* Fox News Contributor S.E. Cupp,
*'s Erick Erickson,
*'s Ed Morrissey,
*'s Guy Benson,
* the Wall Street Journal's John Fund,

and many more. Click here to learn more about RightOnline.

I’ll be there at RightOnline and AFP Foundation has given me the below discount code for my readers.

Click here to register with the discount code “fightback” to receive 25% off.

For the fourth straight year RightOnline will be at the same time and place as NetRoots Nation, the largest annual gathering of liberal bloggers and activists. The national media will converge on Minneapolis to report on the latest news from both events.

RightOnline will also feature workshops and panels hosted by experts in their respective fields. The areas of focus will include Online Activism 101, Advanced Online Activism, Tools and Resources, Investigative Reporting/Citizen Journalism, Public Policy Issues, and Grassroots Activism.

This will be a great opportunity to network and meet with grassroots activists, influential bloggers, and other representatives of conservative organizations.

I hope you will join us in Minneapolis for this important event. Remember to use the code “fightback” for 25% off.

Hope to see you there!

Right On Line 2011

Save the Date - Join Americans for Prosperity Foundation this summer for the 4th annual RightOnline® Conference in Minneapolis, MN, at the Minneapolis Hilton Downtown on June 17-18.

RightOnline is a project of Americans for Prosperity Foundation dedicated to advancing liberty and prosperity for all Americans through greater citizen participation online.

The RightOnline Conference brings together influential new media experts, representatives of conservative organizations, and hundreds of citizen activists to provide important leadership and grassroots training, offering the tools and inspiration to more effectively impact public policy in favor of limited government and free enterprise. The agenda provides a solid program of workshops and training seminars on new media strategies and tools that can be used to mobilize and advance free market policies.

The RightOnline initiative was launched in July of 2008, with more than 600 activists and bloggers attending our first ever RightOnline Conference in Austin, Texas. It was the first conservative event to ever counter the leftwing Netroots Nation Convention (formerly known as YearlyKos), an annual gathering of what the media called the most concentrated gathering of high-profile progressive bloggers to date.

Last year RightOnline was held in Las Vegas, Nevada where over 1,100 grassroots activists and bloggers from around the country came together to learn, meet, and exchange ideas on how we can advance conservative policies. This summer we’re bringing the RightOnline Conference to Minneapolis, Minnesota on June 17-18th. This year’s RightOnline Conference will include workshops and panels led by prominent free market leaders and keynote speeches from the nation’s leading conservative voices, including Michelle Malkin.

Other confirmed speakers include Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Andrew Breitbart, Sen. Mike Lee, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, S.E. Cupp, Erick Erickson, John Fund, Guy Benson, Ed Morrisseey, Mary Katherine Hamm, and Ann McElhinney.

For more information and to REGISTER TODAY please visit!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The fallacy of 'giving back'

While this idea of 'giving back' has long been a pet peeve of mine, I must admit that this particular post was inspired by Walter Williams' column, "Understanding Liberals," where he concludes:

When a nation vilifies the productive and makes mascots of the unproductive, it doesn't bode well for its future.

Throughout the column he talks about the liberal concept of 'giving back' - rich people must be forced to 'give back' to the poor, as if what they'd earned had been taken forcibly from someone else. As Williams explains, liberals have a "misunderstanding" of the sources of income:

Suppose the true source of income was a gigantic pile of money meant to be shared equally amongst Americans. The reason some people have more money than others is because they got to the pile first and greedily took an unfair share. That being the case, justice requires that the rich give something back, and if they won't do so voluntarily, Congress should confiscate their ill-gotten gains and return them to their rightful owners.

A competing liberal implied assumption about the sources of income is that income is distributed, as in distribution of income. There might be a dealer of dollars. The reason why some people have more dollars than others is because the dollar dealer is a racist, a sexist, a multinationalist or a conservative. The only right thing to do, for those to whom the dollar dealer unfairly dealt too many dollars, is to give back their ill-gotten gains. If they refuse to do so, then it's the job of Congress to use their agents at the IRS to confiscate their ill-gotten gains and return them to their rightful owners.

Williams, in his plain and succinct language, details why this is a fallacy and certainly a wrong assumption to make:

Who should give back? Sam Walton founded Wal-Mart, Bill Gates founded Microsoft, Steve Jobs founded Apple Computer. Which one of these billionaires acquired their wealth by coercing us to purchase their product? Which has taken the property of anyone?

Each of these examples, and thousands more, is a person who served his fellow men by producing products and services that made life easier. What else do they owe? They've already given.

If anyone is obliged to give something back, they are the thieves and recipients of legalized theft, namely people who've used Congress, including America's corporate welfare queens, to live at the expense of others.

But it's not just in economic terms or redistribution of wealth that this concept exists. It's also routinely espoused by candidates as their reason for running for office, which is where my pet peeve comes in.

Too many candidates have no idea why they're running for office - other than they want to - but they can't come out and say "I just want to be..." a school board member, councilman, mayor, representative, senator, etc... That would be selfish, wouldn't it?

They don't say they're running with specific goals in mind, like reducing taxes, cutting costs, enlarging government, rewarding their friends. Such issues, whether liberal or conservative, don't resonate well with voters and have other, controversial, concepts associated with them.

So rather than tell the truth, they state that they want to 'give back' to the community.

My first thought when hearing such a phrase is: "Give back - what have you taken?!? And if you took something, running for office isn't the way to return it - that just puts you in a position to take more!"

Most who make this claim cannot even explain, when asked, what it means. They'll say that their 'community' has helped them in some way - been good to them, educated them, provided a safe place to grow up, given them an environment of clients for their business, etc...

But those things are 'purchased' - in fact, the education and safe environment are clearly paid for by themselves and their own families through income and property taxes and even fees. As for clients, that's a free exchange of goods - people willingly purchasing a product or service which has been offered. That's not a 'taking' (unless you're bilking them in some way) but an economic transaction.

Of course, in today's world, many people see such transactions as 'gifts of government,' failing to understand the economic principles behind the free exchange of goods, services or products. Too many think that their safety, for example, is not something purchased but something they, as a member of a community, are 'entitled' to without consequence (cost) and must, therefore, be 'repaid' to the community as a collective.

It is the implied collectiveness that so concerns me with this 'giving back' concept. It is as if they are saying that everything you have belongs to the community as a whole and you cannot earn them, as a result of your hard work, labor or ingenuity; they are 'granted' to you by the community as a whole which is responsible for dealing them out, obligating you to 'repay' them at some future date through service to the collective.

This collectiveness approach is clearly anti-American, as it is the opposite of individual liberty with the resulting consequences/rewards.

But there are instances when candidates have been the beneficiaries of charity - either by groups of people coming together in an organization or by individuals. If, in fact, a candidate has been such a recipient of someone else's charitable efforts, the way to 'give back' isn't to run for office, but to serve in a similar capacity, either by repaying to the individual(s) or organization through service or donations, or by 'paying forward' to some other in a similar circumstance.

The fallacy of 'giving back' as a reason for running for office is even more onerous when one considers the authority of such offices sought. Most individuals who are elected do not approach the duty of the office as 'service' to the community but as an authority over the community (or a warped sense of service being to tell others what is best for them despite their own opinions or wishes)- instituting laws, rules, regulations, fees, taxes, etc... to accomplish their own personal goals, even when such goals are contrary to the community as a whole.

So when I hear a candidate/politician say they want to 'give back,' I know two things:

1) They really don't know why they are running for office, or, if they do, they don't want the real reason known, and

2) They aren't going to be the type of representative that I want in a position of authority, as they clearly do not understand freedom versus collectivism and will make decisions based upon their 'misunderstanding.'

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Statewide screening: 'Waiting for Superman'

Via email from the Ohio Chapter of Americans For Prosperity ... movie will be shown in Toledo on May 19th at Owens Community College - details are below:

This Thursday, May 19th, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, and The Greater Cleveland Partnership are hosting a Statewide Screening of Waiting for Superman. Screening events will be held in Cleveland, Canton, Cincinnati, Dayton, Marietta, Toledo, and Youngstown. You are invited to attend a screening event near you.

The screening events are free, but you must RSVP to attend. Please RSVP to the email or phone number listed below for the event you would like to attend.

Those of you attending the Cleveland screening will hear live from Governor Kasich and special guest Michelle Rhee. Other screening locations will see a live simulcast of the Governor and Michelle Rhee.

All events will begin at 5:45 pm with doors opening at 5:30 pm. Here are the details for each screening event.

Live Event:

Cleveland State University
2121 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio
RSVP: Please RSVP to Karrie Rench ( or 614-644-0941)

Regional Events:

Stark State University – Advanced Technology Center
6200 Frank Road NW, North Canton, Ohio
RSVP: Please RSVP to Christina Wagner ( or 330-696-8044)

Fifth Third Convening Center at United Way
2400 Reading Road, Cincinnati, Ohio
RSVP: Please RSVP to Lisa Martin ( or 937-285-6185)

Design Homes and CESO, Inc.
8534 Yankee Road, Dayton, Ohio
RSVP: Please RSVP to Lisa Martin ( or 937-285-6185)

Marietta College – McDonough Auditorium
215 S. Fifth Street, Marietta, Ohio
RSVP: Please RSVP to Julia Graham ( or 740-373-5150)

Owens Community College – AVCC 125-128
30335 Oregon Road, Perrysburg, Ohio
RSVP: Please RSVP to Chase Francis ( For questions please call 614-644-0941

Southwoods Executive Centre
100 DeBartolo Place, Boardman, Ohio
RSVP: Please RSVP to Mike Chadsey ( or 614-357-2873)

OSU study shows ARRA destroyed private sector jobs

From National Center for Policy Analysis, a new study from Ohio State University shows that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) created government-sector jobs while destroying more than twice as many private sector jobs. This shouldn't come as a surprise to limited-government supporters who understand that government has nothing it doesn't first take from someone or somewhere else.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Destroyed Private-Sector Jobs

In a new study, Timothy Conley, an economist at the University of Western Ontario, and Bill Dupor, an economist at the Ohio State University, use variation across states to estimate the number of jobs created or saved as a result of the spending component of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The key sources of identification are ARRA highway funding and the intensity of state sales tax usage.

* Conley and Dupor estimate the ARRA created or saved 450,000 government-sector jobs and destroyed or forestalled one million private sector jobs.
* State and local government jobs were saved because ARRA funds were largely used to offset state revenue shortfalls and Medicaid increases rather than boost private sector employment.
* The majority of destroyed or forestalled jobs were in growth industries including health, education, professional and business services.
* The best-case scenario for an effectual ARRA has the Act creating or saving a net 659,000 jobs, mainly in government.

Source: Timothy Conley and Bill Dupor, "The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Public Sector Jobs Saved, Private Sector Jobs Forestalled," Ohio State University, May 12, 2011.

For text:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Morning round-up of interesting things

Every now and then, I'll be doing a round-up of interesting news stories you might not have heard about:

* Think the federal Office of Management and Budget should be unionized? Here's a column on the whole idea: Who’s the Boss? AFL-CIO Afilliate Seeking to Unionize Office of Management & Budget

* Also from is this article on the hypocrisy of the left when it comes to money given to universities - with stipulations. The article contains links to stories you might not have seen concerning what some professors are doing in their classrooms (like recruiting members for the Communist Party). It's a good read: None Dare Call it Hypocrisy: The Left’s Outrage Over Teaching Free-Enterprise in Universities

* From the Canadian publication National Post comes this editorial pointing out the deficiencies of the Canadian 'government-only' health care system: Canada must abandon its health-care monopoly

* Finally, from is another great column from one of my favorites, Mark Steyn: RomneyCare Is Problem, Not Part Of The Solution. Mitt Romney appears to be a front-runner for the Republican nomination for 2012, but his support - and continued defense - of his Obamacare-lite program for health coverage is getting in the way. As Steyn so wryly describes:

American conservatives' problem with RomneyCare is the same as with ObamaCare — that, if the government (whether state or federal) can compel you to make arrangements for the care of your body parts that meet the approval of state commissars, then the constitution is dead.

And Americans might as well shred the thing and scatter it as confetti over Prince William and his lovely bride, along with an accompanying note saying, "Come back. It was all a ghastly mistake." For if conceding jurisdiction over your lungs and kidneys and bladder does not make you a subject rather than a citizen, what does?


So RomneyCare is not just an argument about health care. It exemplifies what's wrong with American political structures...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Quotes of the Day - education

"For what is meant by saying that a government ought to educate the people? Why should they be educated? What is the education for? Clearly, to fit the people for social life -- to make them good citizens. And who is to say what are good citizens? The government: there is no other judge. And who is to say how these good citizens may be made? The government: there is no other judge. Hence the proposition is convertible into this -- a government ought to mold children into good citizens, using its own discretion in settling what a good citizen is and how the child may be molded into one." ~ Herbert Spencer

"Far from failing in its intended task, our educational system is in fact succeeding magnificently, because its aim is to keep the American people thoughtless enough to go on supporting the system." ~ Richard Mitchell

"Why is it that millions of children who are pushouts or dropouts amount to business as usual in the public schools, while one family educating a child at home becomes a major threat to universal public education and the survival of democracy?" ~ Stephen Arons

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Minimum wage jobs do not accomplish goal

As so many of us have said all along.... From the National Center for Policy Analysis:

The authors of a new study titled "Unequal Harm: Racial Disparities in the Employment Consequences of Minimum Wage Increases" state that it would be easy to say the high employment levels for young adults is an unfortunate byproduct of the recession, but you'd be wrong. The study demonstrates that increases in the minimum wage at both the state and federal level are partially to blame for the crisis in employment for minority young adults, says the Washington Examiner.

* Their study focuses on 16-to-24-year-old male high school dropouts, understandably a relatively inexperienced group of labor market participants.
* Among the white males, the authors find that "each 10 percent increase in a state or federal minimum wage has decreased employment by 2.5 percent; for Hispanic males, the figure is 1.2 percent."
* But for black males, "each 10 percent increase in the minimum wage decreased employment by 6.5 percent."

The authors compare the job loss caused by higher minimum wages with that caused by the recession and find between 2007 and 2010, employment for 16-to-24-year-old black males fell by approximately 34,300 as a result of the recession; over the same time period, approximately 26,400 lost their jobs as a result of increases in the minimum wage across the 50 states and at the federal level.

Why do young black males suffer unequal harm from minimum wage increases? The authors say that they're more likely to be employed in low-skilled jobs in eating and drinking establishments. These are businesses with narrow profit margins and are more adversely affected by increases in minimum wage.

Source: Walter Williams, "Minimum Wage Harms Those It Is Designed to Help," Washington Examiner, May 9, 2011. William Even and David Macpherson, "Unequal Harm: Racial Disparities in the Employment Consequences of Minimum Wage Increases," Employment Policies Institute, May 2011.

For text:

For study:

Quotes of the Day - knowledge and liberty

"There is no slavery but ignorance. Liberty is the child of intelligence." ~ Robert G. Ingersoll

"It is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth -- and listen to the song of that syren, till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those, who having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it might cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it." ~ Patrick Henry

"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." ~ Thomas Jefferson

"Make men wise, and by that very operation you make them free. Civil liberty follows as a consequence of this; no usurped power can stand against the artillery of opinion." ~ William Godwin

Monday, May 09, 2011

Quote of the Day - charity versus welfare

A while back it seemed that everyone was talking about the study and book by Arthur C. Brooks, "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth about Compassionate Conservatism," which showed conservatives were more charitable than liberals.

Today, I came across this quote which, I believe, expresses what I've said for years, but in a better way. It explains just why it is that so many liberals aren't as charitable as their words make them sound. I believe the concept is compelling and something that should be discussed in terms of the implications to public policy.

"The history of the welfare state is the history of public enterprise pushing out private organization. The impact was largely unintentional, but natural and inevitable. Higher taxes left individuals with less money to give; government’s assumption of responsibility for providing welfare shriveled the perceived duty of individuals to respond to their neighbors’ needs; and the availability of public programs gave recipients an alternative to private assistance, one which did not challenge recipients to reform their destructive behavior." ~ Doug Bandow, columnist, author, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute

Friday, May 06, 2011

Audit of TARTA Reveals Misspent Public Money

Congrats to Waterville Mayor Derek Merrin who learned of this and challenged the practice of a public agency 'loaning' tax dollars to fund a campaign for a levy. Now the money must be repaid, either by the campaign committee or personally by TARTA Director James Gee.

Press Release:

Columbus - The Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA) illegally lent Citizens for TARTA $66,885 in public money to pay for levy campaign costs, according to the audit released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.

“Taxpayers expect their dollars to pay for public services, not to influence a political campaign,” Auditor Yost said. “The taxpayers’ money must be repaid by Citizens for TARTA.”

Citizens for TARTA is a political action committee that formed to help gather resources to fund TARTA levy campaigns. In 2007, Citizens for TARTA borrowed $13,885, without interest, from TARTA. Another $53,000 was borrowed in January 2008.

According to the Ohio Revised Code, Section 9.03, “no governing body of a political subdivision shall use public funds to support or oppose the passage of a levy or bond issue.”

The violation of the Ohio Revised Code prompted the issuing of findings for recovery in the total amount of $66,885 against Citizens for TARTA, in favor of TARTA. Under Ohio law, in the event the payment from Citizens for TARTA is not received, TARTA’s Director, James Gee, is held jointly and severally liable for the findings for recovery.

No repayments have been received from Citizens for TARTA.

A full copy of this audit is available online.


It's the spending, stupid!

The USA Today's lead story, Americans pay less taxes, demonstrates how percentages and statistics can distort a picture and lead to the wrong conclusions.

The article itself is pretty balanced in terms of presenting the picture, but how it will be used to justify more taxes is the problem. From the article:

The total tax burden — for all federal, state and local taxes — dropped to 23.6% of income in the first quarter, according to Bureau of Economic Analysis data.

By contrast, individuals spent roughly 27% of income on taxes in the 1970s, 1980s and the 1990s — a rate that would mean $500 billion of extra taxes annually today, one-third of the estimated $1.5 trillion federal deficit this year.

"See," the liberals and some politicians will say, "this means we need to raise taxes. The government would have another $500 billion if we just brought taxes up to what they were before."

But that's the problem with such analysis of tax rates - data taken out of context, or without examining WHY the percentages and data exist, mean you come to wrong conclusions.

The article does explain that the percent of income is a reflection of lower taxes, including a recent reduction in Social Security taxes, and a weak economy. But it doesn't explain how much is attributed to each reason.

Obviously, if people are earning less, they're paying less in taxes. And cutting the amount of Social Security tax people pay, while a good idea and one I like, means that Social Security (which is broke already) will certainly run out of funds even sooner than predicted. Social Security is a ponzi scheme that, if done by anyone but the government, would land a person in jail. But that's another post for another time.

Then there is this quote:

"We have a 1950s level of taxation and a 21st-century-sized government," says Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, a deficit-reduction advocacy group.

Hmmm ... If you start from the premise that our current size of government needs to be maintained, your only conclusion is that taxes must go up to continue it. While government has grown, there is no 'evidence' that a 21st-century-sized government is necessary or even Constitutional.

In fact, since the 1950's, we've expanded government exponentially - far beyond what the Constitution authorizes. For instance, there is no authority in the Constitution for Congress to regulate education, yet we have a U.S. Department of Education, a cabinet-level department.

The Department of Education wasn't established until 1979. In 1980, its annual appropriation was $14 billion. In 2009, it was $65 billion. That's a 364% increase in 30 years. Did your wages go up that much??? And if we're really interested in the discrepancy between revenue and spending, shouldn't we first start with cutting spending before confiscating more money from citizens? We could eliminate the Department of Education and get to 13% of the $500 billion figure cited.

The article also includes this quote:

The fall in taxes is almost entirely caused by a weak economy rather than lower rates, says Curtis Dubay of the conservative Heritage Foundation. "It's easy to draw the wrong conclusion," he says.

And Dubay is correct. The problem isn't the revenue, it's the spending, as the last paragraph of the article explains:

Government spent at an annual rate of $18,086 per person in the first quarter. That's up from $13,552 in 2001, adjusted for inflation. The difference between individual taxes and spending comes from corporate taxes, user fees and borrowing.

Corporate taxes are passed along to the individual as an inclusion in the price paid, so individuals 'pay' those taxes as well. According to the analysis, "Individuals paid taxes at an annual rate of $10,549 per person in the first quarter." So government is spending $7,537 more per person than it's getting and corporate taxes and fees don't make up that much of the difference, which is why our government is borrowing to the point that they want to raise the debit limit.

And rather than reducing the spending, they keep wanting to take more of our money.

I'll say it again: we have a spending problem - not a revenue problem, as the majority of Americans are realizing.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Buckeye Institute: analysis of S.B. 5 and statement on OEA indoctrination

Press Release:


May 5, 2011-Columbus, Ohio - The Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions today released its analysis of Senate Bill 5. This analysis looks at the details of the bill from the Ohio taxpayer's perspective and shows the savings to taxpayers by looking at three separate government entities: the State of Ohio, City of Eastlake, and Dublin City Schools. The analysis also moves to discredit several claims reported by the unions on the effects Senate Bill 5 will have on our government employees.

"The passage of Senate Bill 5 is a monumental step on behalf of our right as taxpayers to efficient government. From the moment Ohio's collective bargaining law was passed in 1983, the interest of taxpayers took an increasing backseat to the interest of labor unions," stated Matt Mayer, President of the Buckeye Institute. "SB5 ends that faulty and costly premise."

The full analysis can be found at:

The Buckeye Institute also released a short comment on the Ohio Education Association's push to indoctrinate Ohio's schools children with union propaganda. To see the report and example from the OEA monthly newsletter click here.


From the comment by Matt A. Mayer, President of the Buckeye Institute, referenced above:

"I will be the first to defend the right of Ohio's government workers to protest and to advocate for their position in the public arena. Such a right is among the foundational rights of our great Republic. The Ohio Education Association (OEA), however, believes teachers should carry their protest and advocacy into the classrooms all over Ohio. The OEA also believes teacher should not only be members of a labor union, but also should indoctrinate our children in unionism.

As the OEA dictates to teachers in their monthly newsletter, "it's essential that they not only be teacher unionists but teachers of unionism. We need to create a generation of students who support teachers and the movements of teachers for their rights." How about they focus on just teaching our kids the core skills they will need in math, reading, writing, and science? How about they leave their political ideology and unionism out of the classroom? As the National Assessment of Educational Progress results show, more than half of America's 8th graders fail basic civics tests. Clearly, our teachers have enough to do already."

I HIGHLY recommend you click on the link and read the entire document!

Latta Unveils Energy Bill that Provides Relief at Gas Pump

Press Release:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As leader of the Republican Study Committee Energy Task Force, Congressman Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) introduced the Consumer Relief for Pain at the Pump Act. The bill tackles rising gas prices by focusing on policies that increase America’s domestic production of energy resources, making the United States more self-reliant and setting our nation on a path to greater energy security.

“Given America’s abundance of natural resources, there is no reason why we are sitting tight and letting gas prices soar. I am excited to introduce this bill, which will curb surging gas prices and create downwardpressure on the cost of oil by allowing America to take advantage of its vast domestic oil resources,” said Congressman Latta.

The Relief for Consumers to Reduce Pain at the Pump Act does the following:

* Repeals the Obama permatorium on America’s outer continental shelf;
* Opens up ANWR to exploration and production;
* Establishes a streamlined process for permitting and lease sales;
* Increases access to onshore oil, including shale oil;
* Blocks burdensome and unnecessary regulations; and
* Simplifies the judicial review process to limit frivolous environmental litigation on leases and permits that would indefinitely halt energy production.

“Repealing federal policies, stopping the EPA’s backdoor energy tax, halting the President’s drilling permatorium and unlocking energy resources both on and offshore will help alleviate the pain at the pump,” said Congressman Latta.


Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Newspaper circulation numbers might not be what they seem

I was doing some research the other day on the circulation numbers of various newspapers and have been watching Editor & Publisher for the news release regarding the March report.

It was featured yesterday:

Today the Audit Bureau of Circulations released the FAS-FAX covering U.S. newspaper circulation figures for the period of October 2010 - March 2011. Complete files containing data on more than 800 daily and weekly U.S. and Canadian newspapers are posted on ABC's website.

Unless you are a member of the 'accredited press,' you cannot get the full report, but a rule change, detailed in the press release, caught my eye:

In the past, the top-line metric that ABC commonly reported was "Total Paid Circulation." This category no longer exists on ABC reports. The new top-line number is "Total Average Circulation," which consists of a publication's paid and verified print and digital circulation, including any branded editions.

So what does this mean?

According to ABC, here is the difference in what they are counting:

o Paid circulation is defined as copies purchased by the individual recipient or a specialized distribution channel (business/traveler)

o Verified circulation includes much of what used to be reported in “other” paid circulation (including third-party copies and copies distributed to schools and newspaper employees)

Yes, copies to employees and free copies to schools are now counted as part of the circulation numbers.

A while back, I learned that the University of Toledo had paid The Blade several thousand dollars to deliver an e-edition of the paper to all students. This information came from a student who wanted to know if their student fees were being used for this purpose and how he could stop receiving the daily email. I don't know the outcome of his efforts, but I do know the UT website states that nearly 21,000 students attend, so that means The Blade's circulation numbers, when released, will include those students, inflating their report.

Some may say this is a more accurate way of reflecting the reach of the newspapers, but there is a problem with what appears to be a simple change: it doesn't allow you to compare previous reports to future ones.

I believe ABC should have included this as a 'new' category in the report - but perhaps they were pressured by the newspapers to not do so.

My friend, Tom Blumer, who writes at Bizzy Blog, compared this report with the one from last March only to find that the new definition doesn't do much to hide the decline in the newspaper industry. He writes:

In a nutshell, ABC has added “verified” to “paid,” and has included copies in “total average circulation” which were formerly excluded from “total paid circulation.” Yet the industry’s top players with rare exceptions still showed circulation declines despite the alleged economic “recovery” many of them continue to tout.

So when we learn the circulation numbers of our local papers, keep this in mind...

Monday, May 02, 2011

Apportionment Board sets meetings for redrawing council districts

Press release from the city of Toledo:

Apportionment board begins public meetings

Decennial census provides basis for drawing council districts

The Toledo apportionment board will host the first of three public meetings to solicit community input on the drawing of new council districts on Tuesday, May 3. The meeting will begin at 5 p.m. at the Highland Park shelter house located at 1865 Finch St.

Residents will have two other opportunities to offer input on the process of reapportioning the City's six city council districts as required by the charter. Both meetings will be held on Tuesday, May 10. The first will begin at 5 p.m. at the Lagrange branch library at 3422 Lagrange St. The second will be held at 7 p.m. at the West Toledo branch library located at 1320 West Sylvania Ave.

Section 27A of the city charter provides for the reapportionment of council districts every ten years so that all council districts may be as even in population as possible. The board will use community feedback from the meetings and the 2010 Census data in working with the Toledo Plan Commission to establish new, equally populated council districts. Their work must be completed by May 15, 2011.


Sanity from the City of Toledo: no authority to regulate private parking fees

It doesn't happen often, but when it does, we should definitely note it and appreciate it.

As part of the Toledo City Council discussion of the licensing of private business's parking lots because they will open and charge for parking during special events, council President Wilma Brown asked if the city could regulate the amount that these private companies charge.

In downtown Toledo, some local companies have parking for their employees and customers only. They have the temerity to open up those spaces during downtown special events and charge people to park there. It's profitable for them and gives the attending public more choices and options for parking. Seemed like a win-win, until the government got involved.

You see, the Toledo politicians, in their infinite wisdom, long ago created a licensing requirement for privately-owned public lots. In order to operate one, you have to get 'permission' - by way of a license - to do so. According to the city, this allows them to ensure that you've got proper pavement, adequate size and 'safety' (the ultimate arrogance of government). What it really ensures is that the city gets revenue from the requirement.

But these private companies who open up their private lots only for special events have never gotten a license. The vast majority of the time, their lots are reserved for their employees and customers - not the general public. So the city decided to require all those businesses to obtain a license or not allow public parking in their lots. Of course, protecting their lots from intrusion during special events would also cost money, so many of them paid the licensing fee.

Certainly a 'not-business-friendly' action.

But not content with the intrusion into the private sector, the woman who was elected by her fellow members of council to lead them as their president wanted to go even further and dictate how much all the lots could charge. She was 'outraged' that, as she claimed, some of those lots could charge as much as $20. Of course, if no one was willing to pay that much, they'd lower their rates, but apparently the concept of a free market and supply and demand are completely lost on Wilma Brown.

So she asked, by way of a referral to the administration, if council could regulate the fees so that council - not the property owners and the consumers - could set the amount for parking.

Thankfully, Adam Loukx, Law Director for the City of Toledo, imparted some sanity when he issued his legal opinion, included in last Friday's Council Packet:

It is my understanding that this referral seeks an opinion as to the limits of the City’s authority to regulate parking rates on private lots and does not seek an opinion as to the City’s authority over rates for public parking facilities (i.e. meters, public garages, etc).

Neither the Code nor the Charter specifically grants the City authority to set rates charged by private parking facilities. The Code does require licensing of these facilities1and there are many zoning and use regulations that are applicable to private lots.

Perusal of the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati codes suggests that those cities likewise do not set rates for private lots.

In conclusion, under current law the City does not have the authority or duty to regulate parking rates on privately owned and operated parking lots. In contrast, under current law the City does have the authority and duty to regulate through the licensing found in T.M.C. Chapter 743 privately owned and operated parking lots.

Arguably, the City could, through appropriate legislation, regulate the fees charged by private lots in furtherance of the City’s general police powers. However, it is likely that such an action would lead to litigation.

Unfortunately, he does leave the door open for shenanigans from council, but does warn them that such actions would lead to litigation that, in light of his opinion, they'd seem destined to lose.

Kudos to the law department for telling council what they NEED - not what they WANT - to hear.

Quote of the Day - welfare

"Repeal that [welfare] law, and you will soon see a change in their manners. St. Monday and St. Tuesday, will soon cease to be holidays. Six days shalt thou labor, though one of the old commandments long treated as out of date, will again be looked upon as a respectable precept; industry will increase, and with it plenty among the lower people; their circumstances will mend, and more will be done for their happiness by inuring them to provide for themselves, than could be done by dividing all your estates among them." ~ Benjamin Franklin
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