Friday, October 07, 2011

Friday Roundup: Neil Cavuto, Durbin Fee, Ohio Issue 2, Democrats Anonymous

I've collected a bunch of miscellaneous items that I wanted to share, so here's a roundup for your Friday reading:

* My friend and fellow blogger, Warner Todd Huston, who writes at Publius Forum, is in the Chicago area and recently had the opportunity to see a behinds-the-scenes look at the Your World With Neil Cavuto show. Cavuto was in Chicago as part of the celebration of the 15th Birthday for Fox News. WTH, as he's known to his friends, also had a chance to talk with Cavuto and his interview is here. Interestingly, I did not know Cavuto has Multiple Sclerosis nor that he is a survivor of Stage 4 cancer. It's a good interview and I hope you take the time to read it.


* In response to the union-backed We Are Ohio bus tour urging a no vote on Ohio's Issue 2 in November, Building a Better Ohio issued a press release detailing how much the various cities on the tour could save if Issue 2 is passed. Issue 2 is the referendum on Senate Bill 5, the public sector collective bargaining reform bill.

Toledo: The city's police contract includes a 10% pension pick-up, and other city employees get between a 5.5% to a 10% pension pick-up. Pension pick-ups alone cost the city $11.4 million in 2011. Teachers pay nothing toward their health care premium.

How much better would our roads be if we put that $11.4 million toward road repair rather than 'picking up' the employee's portion of their pension? Don't forget, that's over and above the city/employer's portion that we are required by law to pay.

Now, I realize that pension pick-ups have been negotiated in lieu of pay increases. But what many people fail to realize (union and non-union alike) is that the me-too clauses mean that one union might have gone without a pay increase, but all the other unions in the city got the same pension pick-up without the same concession. That's the way a me-too clause works.

So remember this when you hear the claim that pension pick-ups were in exchange for pay increases. It may be accurate in some instances, but more likely than not, it's not true for all - and certainly not for the entire amount.


* In response to the Durbin Fee, Bank of America, along with many others, decided to begin charging customers a monthly fee for the use of a debit card. Rather than blame himself, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) took the floor of Congress to urge a run on the bank.

Now, he didn't talk about the other banks doing the same thing, so this wasn't a blanket statement telling people that if they're unhappy with one provider of a service, they can (and probably should) try a competitor. No - this was a directed attack against a single company.

So I'm wondering: do shareholders have any legal recourse to hold Durbin personally accountable for any negative consequences or decline in stock value of Bank of America? Probably hundreds of thousands of individuals have an investment interest in the bank - and its subsidiaries - through direct holding of stock or through pensions, IRAs and mutual funds. Can Sen. Durbin be sued personally for using the power of his office to target a single company and urge its demise?

Why does Sen. Durbin hate the working people of America and seniors and retirees who rely upon the value of their investments to either provide them with their retirement income now or in the future? Why would Sen. Durbin want people to lose income? Aren't people hurting enough?

And what about all the bank employees? If the bank loses too many customers, it will have to lay off workers - tellers and secretaries and janitors - due to less need and less income. Why does Sen. Durbin hate all these working-class people who were fortunate enough to actually have a job in today's economic climate?

And if any elected official agrees with Durbin, we should have them answer the same questions. Elected officials need to be held accountable and it's time we start doing so.


"The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools." ~ Herbert Spencer


* I'd not heard of the non-profit American Crossroads before, but was sent a link to their latest video, which I found amusing. According to their website, they are:

"...a new kind of non-profit political organization dedicated to renewing America’s commitment to individual liberty, limited government, free enterprise and a strong national defense—through informed and effective political action by citizens like you.
Today, America faces much more than a choice among various candidates for public office. We face a Crossroads – a fundamental decision about the future direction of our country that will impact America’s strength and character for years to come."

Here is the video, "Democrats Anonymous," which might actually be pretty timely considering the dissatisfaction we're seeing from the left. Enjoy!

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