We've written about this before, but it is good to be reminded about principles that make the world work, so that we aren't easily swayed by good story tellers and fairy tales. Recently the Herald and News’ editor published a piece titled “Building The Local Economy From Within. Following is the money quote:
Lead by facilitator Gary Weldon, the group included city and county officials, chamber of commerce members, people from Klamath County Economic Development Association and the South Central Oregon Economic Development District, tourism representatives, and officials from Oregon Tech, KCC, Sky Lakes Medical Center, banks and utilities.
Now carefully look at that list and tell me how many government / government funded / government regulated entities are listed versus how many private sector businesses/industries. Hmmm. This is like trying to solve a physics problem and inviting all the English and History professors into a room to figure out the answer. In both scenarios we've got the wrong people in the room. Why? Because the groups listed in the Herald and News story don't offer their products or services in the competitive world. Being competitive, aka profitable, need not apply. For the most part all of these entities are all monopolies. Yet this is the brain trust called together to solve our economic problems? Woe to us.
One of the more famous rules in baseball is “three strikes and your out!” If only that were true for politicians. This year is just six weeks old and already Congressman Greg Walden has whiffed twice on important legislation. He says he’s proud of his record, but I wonder who he has in mind when saying that — those of us that foot the bill for his spending spree or the lobbyists who reap the rewards of said legislation.
Congress has voted on three very important pieces of legislation in 2014. Unfortunately Representative Walden isn't representing us very well. Ask yourself, how would you have voted on these three bills?
- $1.1 Trillion Dollar Omnibus Bill — fully funded Obamacare for another year
- $950 Billion Farm Bill — 80% will go towards Food Stamps; the rest to Big Agriculture
- Increase Debt Ceiling Limit — with no required reduction in spending
Most conservatives and fiscally responsible Republicans would have voted “No” on all three bills. However our nice-guy, Congressman Greg Walden, voted to approve the first two spending bills. Walden voted no on the Debt Ceiling increase (but it passed anyways). In baseball that's what we call “down in the count.” Unfortunately in politics that's what's called “business as usual.” The funny thing is if you look at Walden's last six votes on the Debt Ceiling increases, he has voted three times for and three times against. When it comes to being a consistent player at the plate, Mr. Walden can be depended on only 50% of the time. When it comes to the budget and borrowing, our country needs someone who can be depended on 100% of the time.
Last night a debate between Commissioner Tom Mallams and Kate Marquez took place. The topic: The proposed change in county government, also known as the Klamath County Charter. Mr. Mallams is against the Charter. Ms. Marquez is a proponent for the Charter.
The issue is not that complicated. Ms. Marquez’ main argument is that this move will place a professional in charge of management, and then be overseen by three part time county commissioners. This move will save the county money and better county government will follow because of a full time expert will be running the show.
Mr. Mallams counters these claims of cost savings. He has a three-page paper that documents why the proposed Charter form of government will actually cost more than what is spent today on county government. Mallams further's his case against the Charter by saying the comparison of this Charter proposal to Jackson county's form Charter run government is like comparing apples and oranges: this proposal has part time commissioners while Jackson county's are full time.
When we started this website back in 2011, my anonymous colleagues and I stated our goal was to inform people about what really is going on in Klamath County, in Oregon and Washington D.C. We sought out to find stories that are important and then propose the way a conservative should approach that issue. To some that may make us "biased" because we're not “open minded” — the holy grail of an intellectual (according to some). Being open minded is over rated. Those people who are truly “open minded” have little care for the particular issue or little knowledge about it.
For example, I'm open minded on who wins this year's Stanley Cup in hockey. I don't care and I don't know which teams are good and which are awful. I'm open minded, persuade me. But when it comes to something I know, something I do care about and therefore I have spent much time pondering, I will not be open minded. I will listen and I will be fair but I certainly will not be easily persuaded. You will have your work cut out for you because I have come to my conclusions based on good thought and reason, not just by group-think, convenience or popularity.
So what does this have to do with our current congressman Mr. Walden? Quite a bit actually. Mr. Walden has been very “political” lately. Today in Medford he stood up in front of a pliable media and proclaimed he was directing the federal government investigate Cover Oregon. Hundreds of millions of federal tax payer dollars have gone into this Obamacare program and still no one has signed up on Oregon’s exchange using the website. I would applaud Mr. Walden for going after the apparent waste and fraud, but unfortunately I know he is really being two-faced.
When Republicans act like Democrats, it is time to seriously rethink who we send to congress.
This week the US Congress is taking up a $1,000,000,000,000.00 Omnibus spending bill that is 1,500 pages long. The House leadership (Republicans) are giving congress (and the rest of us) two full days to read through and understand this massive spending bill before voting on it.
This is exactly what happened with Obamacare — a massive bill (2,000 plus pages) that spent hundreds of billions of dollars. As then Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “We need to pass the bill so you know what is in the bill.” Republicans are taking the exact same tactic, but instead of a bill that follows conservative principles, it continues to spend us into never ending debt and servitude.
This week Congress gets right back to work where it left off: creating more legislation and therefore usurping more liberty from the people. The problem in America isn't that there is not enough legislation or not enough regulations; the problem is too much of both. We need fewer rules, fewer bureaucracies, and less obligations to the Federal government — not more.
Nevertheless, Congress is up to its old tricks of "doing something" so they have something to campaign on later this year. Something is better than nothing, right?!?
Following is a list of what the congressional agenda to start 2014 will look like:
Just a quick note. First Merry Christmas. This is the time of year to reflect on that what really matters, and merry times are often too far and few in our lives. This is also the same message you can find the anti-politician Dennis LInthicum proclaiming. It's a breath of fresh air to know Dennis, in the middle of a heated race for U.S. Representative, goes against the politically correct mantra of “happy holidays” and wishes us all a Merry Christmas.
Second, our “conservative” congressman in DC, Greg Walden, seems to think his relationship with the Washington elite is more important than our principles here in rural Oregon. Wednesday he proudly announced he was voting for the budget deal — a bi-partisan effort — that increases spending now, promising to slow spending later. Dennis was on Lars Larson's show Thursday. They talked about this like Lars telling his wife he was going to purchase a $2,000 rifle on borrowed money and then would make up the difference in 5-10 years by not drinking so many Dutch Bros. coffees. That analogy is probably closer to the truth than we know!
What is frustrating is Representative Walden's insistence that he is working hard for us and that he is a conservative. This vote should show you that nothing is further from the truth. Think about it for a moment, how do you know Walden is a conservative? Where did you hear that? Is it because you looked up his record and see that? No, of course not. If you did that you'd know he fails on all four major conservative watchdog lists. Club For Growth calls Greg Walden a true RINO and Madison Project places him on their Wall of Shame.
The political landscape has changed over the last six years. In 2008 we saw Barack Obama become our first black President — or in politically correct terms — our first African-American President. It used to be that if Republicans held a majority in the House, the Senate or the White House we could be assured that left-wing agendas would not go through. Unfortunately that is no longer the case. Many of the old-guard Republicans are really Democrat Light. Some other names used are RINO (Republican In Name Only) as well as Establishment Republicans.
These Establishment Republicans have been on the hill for quite some time and have grown accustom to the cushy lifestyle afforded to members of Congress. They spend far more time in DC that in their districts or states. Their number one goal: get re-elected. However, they also know much of the the electorate is busy with their own lives and forgetful. Therefore they can often say one thing in their district and states and do the opposite in DC.
For example, does anyone know what amendment failed to pass Congress that drastically effects everyone's life in the United States? That would be the Amash-Conyers Amendment of July 2013, which would have prevented the National Security Agency from using the Patriot Act to collect phone records of individuals who aren’t under investigation. In other words, if passed, this amendment would have stopped the NSA from spying on American's without a warrant. In plain English it would've stopped the U.S. Government from violating the 4th Amendment.
Today the Herald and News reported that the Klamath Community College Bond measure failed 55% - 44%. This is good news for all Klamath County businesses. However the fight is not over. There are other bond measures looming in the not too distant future: City Parks, Airport and Public Safety to name a few.
It is not that I am against any of these things. What I am against is the fact year after year public employees get raises, irregardless to the economic circumstances around them. For the most part they have total job security and health and retirement benefits that an entrepreneur can only dream about. This model is unsustainable. When the government continually asks for more money, it is because their budgets are gobbled up more and more by payroll and benefits rather than on the programs they promise to deliver.
If you think I am wrong, tell me why in 2001 (during a recession) the county could afford to keep county jail pods A, B and C open but today they scrap by to keep just two open? If you look at the salary and benefits costs between 2001 and 2013 you would be amazed at how much more we citizens are paying for less service. And it isn't just the jail — it is every part of government.
Don't forget to vote. Tomorrow is your last day to turn in your ballot for the Klamath Community College Bond measure (18-92). We urge a No vote and here is why. At this point, any vote for a NEW tax, no matter what is for — public safety, public parks, the airport, schools, college improvements — is a statement that you agree that government doesn't have enough money and it needs more. Yes, it is that simple. It also affirms the belief that government officials do not need to make tough choices about their current budgets, they just need to raise more money by taxing us higher and higher.
What Dr. Gutierrez wants to do with new programs at the community college is probably a good idea. However, instead of asking the tax payer to give the college more money, he should make the same choices that the rest of us have to make — re-prioritize how KCC funds their programs to get what he wants. It is not that the Community College doesn't have any money. And it would be foolish to think that any form of government is using all the dollars they do have most efficiently, If you don't think so, you should learn how much Dr. Gutierrez and his staff take home each year. It is nearly 3x the average salary in the Basin. If you overspend on yourselves, then you don't get to cry that you don't have money to expand the college to what you want to do. This government got-to-have-it-all mentality is why the Basin's economy is in the tank. The more you take from the private sector, the less wealth there is to create new wealth (the private sector, not the public, is the one that takes real risks with capital and makes more wealth to the benefit of the community).