Wednesday, October 27, 2010

An interesting discussion on the 17th Amendment

My friend and fellow blogger, Roland Hansen, is having an interesting discussion on the 17th Amendment on his blog.

I've made my position on this issue known on this blog and in a comment on his, but a recent poster presents a position I've not heard before. 'Dave' says the founders did not trust the people which is why we originally had senators appointed by state legislatures and why we currently have an electoral college.

If you have thoughts on this, I encourage you to join the discussion on Roland's blog.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A succinct argument against career politicians

As a personal preference, I've never been a fan of forced term limits because I believe the people voting should make decisions based upon performance rather than favors received, though I know many people don't pay enough attention to be able to do such.

I have supported individuals who self-limit their terms and believe that is a good way to address the issue without passing laws that would harm good legislators. But this quote below details the existing system and how it has been corrupted by career politicians and makes a good argument for term limits.

"Legislators like pork because it helps them get reelected. They are interested in administrative details because long tenure promotes narrow specialization. The constituent service racket allows lawmakers to ignore big problems by fixing small ones. In becoming ombudsman -- glorified errand boys, -- incumbents build up enough good will for most to survive even a watershed year like 1992. By ending Congressional careerism, term limits will encourage attention to larger legislative issues. By changing the understanding of the legislator's role, term limits are probably the most effective single reform that can be imposed on Congress. And imposed it will have to be: While great majorities of the American people support term limits, lawmakers oppose them in even larger proportions. With a career Congress, voters face a dilemma: They do not like paying taxes to Washington and hoping to get them back in the form of pork and entitlements, but as long as the system is rigged, it makes sense to vote for the incumbent to maximize your own take. Congressmen face a similar dilemma: Take the easy road to reelection or face the often difficult choices of balancing local and national interests. Take away the career mindset and both representatives and voters can make choices based on the merits of each case. ... In fact, one of the biggest benefits of non-professional legislators is that they would be unlikely to join with the bureaucrats and special interests in blowing smoke at the voters." ~ Eric Felton

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A lesson everyone should learn

"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what you want them to achieve, and they will surprise you with their ingenuity." ~ General George S. Patton, Jr.

"One evening, when I was yet in my nurse’s arms, I wanted to touch the tea urn, which was boiling merrily... My nurse would have taken me away from the urn, but my mother said 'Let him touch it.' So I touched it -- and that was my first lesson in the meaning of liberty." ~ John Ruskin

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Police and Fire Retirees become millionaires?

The following press release was sent by The Buckeye Institute. I know that many of our Toledo Police officers are in the DROP program and I know that Toledo faces the loss of many good officers because participants are required to retire after the set period of time. But the financial impact of participation, as detailed below, surprised me.

October 13, 2010


COLUMBUS - The Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions today released "Dipped in Gold: Upper-Management Police and Fire Retirees become Public-Service Millionaires." Through the Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP), public safety officials are eligible to retire on paper, yet continue to work for up to eight years while their pensions (along with three percent cost-of-living allowances and five percent interest payments) accumulate in untouchable accounts. When the officers exit DROP, it is not uncommon for them to collect lump sum payments totaling roughly $1 million dollars. Since they are treated as if they are in year 9 of retirement when they exit DROP, many in upper management also collect yearly pension payments in excess of $100,000 for the rest of their lives.

Since the Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund (OP&F) is a highly secretive entity, the report details DROP payouts and pensions for hypothetical Columbus and Cincinnati police officers. Supposing the average DROP participant is a Columbus police officer, taxpayers would save nearly $1.2 billion if the DROP program were eliminated and the retirement age were raised from 48 to 55. The report also suggests several other money-saving options such as terminating cost-of-living allowance increases during DROP, tying the interest payments to market rates, and disallowing participants to keep their required employee contributions to OP&F.

Mary McCleary, Buckeye Institute Policy Analyst, stated: "Making public servants millionaires when they retire is not the bargain you agreed to as a taxpayer. Ohioans bear the seventh highest state and local tax burden due to expensive programs like DROP. Private-sector taxpayers, many of whom have experienced job losses, pay freezes or cuts, and benefit reductions, cannot afford to finance the gold-plated compensation packages of their police officer and firefighter neighbors."

The report can be viewed on The Wire at


Quote of the Day

"The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience." ~ Harper Lee

Friday, October 08, 2010

Local government salary data now available from Buckeye Institute

Press Release from the Buckeye Institute:

Local Government Salary Data Added to Buckeye Institute Searchable Data Tools

COLUMBUS - The Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions today released its Local Salary data tool that contains the salary and estimated pension data for local government employees in Ohio. There are now eight searchable data tools on the Buckeye Institute website. The first jurisdiction loaded into the Local Salary searchable data tool is the City of Eastlake in Lake County, Ohio.

According to the data, the average salary for Eastlake city workers, police officers, and fire fighters is $55,436.09. Once benefits, including health insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, education bonuses, longevity pay, and employer pension contributions (which includes picking up a portion of the employee's pension contribution) are added, the average compensation package for Eastlake employees is $77,865.99. The total yearly cost for the 124 full-time workers is just under $10,000,000. Based on these salary figures, the yearly pension for an Eastlake employee is estimated to be roughly $36,000 per year and over $800,000 for an 18-year retirement.

In comparison, according to the most recent labor market data, the average yearly wage in Lake County for private sector workers is only $39,771. Because the labor contract negotiations with all three public sector unions representing Eastlake employees started on October 1, making the salary, benefit, and pension data for these government workers available to Eastlake taxpayers is very timely.

Buckeye Institute President Matt A. Mayer noted, "The public sector unions can try to ignore the economic reality faced by private sector taxpayers in Eastlake, but they can't ignore educated taxpayers themselves. Transparency puts pressure on public sector unions to share the pain felt in Ohio's private sector."

Since the launch of the new website on April 30, 2010, over 115,500 visitors from 443 Ohio cities have spent over 12,500 hours on the website doing more than 855,000 searches using the state government salary/pension, K-12 teacher salary/pension, federal government salary, higher education salary/pension, school performance, county economic, lobbyist, and tax calculator data tools.

The Buckeye Institute will add other local jurisdictions as they provide their data. The Local Salary data tool is available at


Sunday, October 03, 2010

All the evidence you need

I was browsing around the Internet and came across the following resolution, which sounds very much like the policies being advocated by President Barack Obama, the Democrats in Congress and even some of our local officials:

Whereas, Rapid jobs growth is central to resolving the economic crisis for working people. There can be no real economic recovery without full employment. Renewed profits on Wall Street and a rising stock market do not make a recovery;

Whereas, The jobs crisis is especially damaging to youth, women, African American, Latino, and other racially and nationally oppressed communities, who in addition to higher rates of unemployment also suffer higher rates of home foreclosures, bankruptcies, lack of medical care, homelessness and hunger; and

Whereas, Private industry is not capable of, nor has any interest in, putting people back to work at a sufficient pace to resolve the economic crisis. Economic recovery requires robust government action; therefore be it

Resolved, That we support and will join others in fighting for;

* Emergency jobs legislation that includes massive direct government investment in public works. This would include rebuilding our crumbling public infrastructures in housing, transportation, medical care, education, communications and recreation;

* Direct emergency aid to state and local governments to maintain and expand public services in all areas of people's needs;

* Unemployment compensation reform that provides unemployment for the duration of unemployment and for first time job seekers;

* Jobs legislation that will protect and promote trade union rights, protections and standards in all public works including card check union recognition on all public projects;

* Federal industrial policy that promotes and massively invests in new green energy and green production infrastructures needed to meet the needs of our people in sustainable ways;

* Public spending and investment that prioritizes help for the communities hardest hit by the economic crisis;

* Government intervention that is paid for by shifting money from wasteful and destructive military spending in Iraq and Afghanistan to rebuilding the domestic economy, and by tax policy that closes corporate loopholes, significantly raise tax rates on corporate profits and the very rich, and taxes on stock transactions and risky speculation on Wall Street.

Even in the Marcy Kaptur-Rich Iott debate the other evening, our representative said something along the lines of 'the private sector isn't creating jobs at the rate it needs to, so government had to step in.' This is very similar to the third 'whereas.'

You might be surprised to learn where this resolution came from and what group actually passed it.

But when you learn, I hope you'll realize just how far this country has strayed from the principles our Founders fought so hard to establish: liberty, individual responsibility, the ability to succeed - and fail, and freedom.

So where did I find this? On the Communist Party USA website.

Resolution adopted by the 29th National Convention of the Communist Party USA, New York, NY May 21-23, 2010.

As if that's not enough, just watch this YouTube video of 'Proud Socialists at Left-Wing Protest in DC.'

Remember in November!
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