On Tuesday November 21st, both Commissioners Switzer and Hukill outvoted Commissioner Linthicum to extend the KBRA for two more years.
What is curious is that only a few months prior these same two commissioners, who knew their terms would be up at the end of the year, decided to extend county employee contracts only one year instead of the normal two, three and five years. The reasoning was that since Switzer and Hukill were soon to be leaving, it didn't make sense for the outgoing commissioners to saddle Mallams and Bellet (the new commissioners) with these types of decisions. So by extending the contracts just for a year, Mallams and Bellet would be able to negotiate with the unions for the length of their first terms.
One wonders if something that important, county employee contracts, can be put off for one year so the new commissioners can be directly involved, why was it okay to extend the KBRA for another two years giving the new commissioners no say in the matter? Why didn't they just table the extension, as Commissioner LInthicum motioned, in order to allow Mallams and Bellet a say in the matter?
This 90 second video says it all.
When will the people take back control of a government that has become out of control?
President Obama just announced he wants to solve the "fiscal cliff" by raising taxes on Americans (and American businesses) that earn over $250,000 annually. Mr. Obama estimates this will create $1.6 trillion in revenue over the next ten years. However, as with most Left of center politicians, he is wrong in thinking that raising tax rates will lead to the same kind of increase in Treasury revenue. His error is thinking that Americans will behave the same way before and after a tax increase. Americans rarely do. Most Americans, when faced with an expense change behaviors to avoid that expense or to lessen its impact. "Rich people" are notorious for this, and are rich because they are smart money managers.
Changing behaviors can also be seen on the other side of the fence. When tax rates have been lowered, private savings and investment has boomed, causing an economic surge. Why? Because Americans and American businesses have more money, and most Americans change their behavior and do something good with that money. Money in private hands is always more efficient than in public hands. And that efficiency leads to productivity and productivity to growth.
However, the main problem with the President's solution is that he has misdiagnosed the problem. The Federal Government's problem is not that Washington does not have enough money. The problem is that Federal Government is spending too much. In other words, the Federal Government has a spending problem. Tax increases do nothing to fix that. Nothing.
Wednesday's (Sept. 26) Herald and News had an article (page A3) summarizing an interview of Congressman Walden by several people in the community.
However if you look at who was allowed to be part of the interview, they all had something in common: they all asked Congressman Walden questions to make sure they money keeps flowing from Washington into their pockets. They were there to make sure they get their pork from the big piggy (the Federal Government). What's worse, what they are really saying is that they want the Feds to borrow and steal from us, the taxpayer, in order to keep the money coming in for them. Here is a sampling from the article:
Toby Freeman, Pacific Power — Mr. Freeman's question was about the KBRA and whether it is moving forward in congress. (Really Mr. Freeman is asking if the KBRA is moving forward because he wants the Fed's to pay for the removal of dams under the KBRA, and doesn't want his company to be on the hook. Real Motive: Free Money.)
As Commissioner Linthicum laid out in his excellent four part series on Air Quality in Klamath County (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4), the method and the rationale used for the EPA's and DEQ's regulation on Klamath County air quality is ridiculous at best and indefensible at worst. Klamath County has one, yes, only one air monitoring station that supposedly represents air quality for the entire county. According to the U.S. Census from 2010, Klamath County covers 5,941.05 square miles. On the other hand the state of Rhode Island covers 1,033.81 square miles. So for the math impaired, Klamath County is almost 6x as large in land mass as Rhode Island. Now guess how many air quality stations are set up in Rhode Island? One? Nope. Two? No. Four, Nodda. There are seven, yes, seven air quality stations in Rhode Island for an area that is 1/6th the size of Klamath County. Hmmmm. Seems backwards wouldn't you say? Welcome to Government Think.
Now let's add to our discussion the fire in Lake County during the past four-five days. What if everyone in Klamath County had a wood stove and burned it for 24 hours a day for 12 weeks straight? I can guarantee that Klamath County wouldn't come close to the amount of pollution created by the Lake County fire. And yet, the EPA and DEQ will fine Klamath County for violating their "air quality standards" due to industrial or wood stove pollution. What? Yeah. More Government Think.
A more serious question is who the Klamath County Commissioners can hold responsible if the EPA/DEQ takes a reading of Klamath County's (from the one, single station we have to represent the entire county) and finds that Klamath County air quality standards are above their mark? If Klamath County can be fined by the EPA/DEQ for poor air quality due to a fire in a neighboring county, can Klamath County sue Lake County? Can Klamath County sue the U.S. Forest Service for an inadequate job of managing the forests (why else would this fire be out of control) and isn't that who's land is burning anyways?
U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley from Oregon has decided he knows best when it comes to financing houses — especially those properties that are underwater (the value of the home on the open market is worth less than what remains on the mortgage). His vast experiencing in the banking industry has led him to propose a fantastic plan requiring lending institutions to refinance any underwater mortgage at 4%. Apparently Senator Merkely's compassion from running Habitat for Humanity in Portland is now the principle value he is using to craft legislation.
However, once again, a liberal legislator is attacking the problem from the wrong end. Instead of finding ways to help businesses become more profitable (like lending institutions), therefore increase job opportunities and therefore increasing demand for housing, Senator Merkley is proposing even more burdens and further regulation on the banking industry.
Doesn't the Senator think that if mortgage companies found it in their best interest to offer current underwater home owners a 4% mortgage that would already be happening? But therein lies the rub: who is more important — the private industry or the collective (the banks or the State)? In Senator Merkley's view the State knows far better than the banking industry how to issue loans and stay in business, even though the Senator is void of any real world banking experience.
We were called "crazy right-wing conspiracy theorists" for even suggesting the idea that someday local, state and federal institutions could go bankrupt. That will never happen. It never could happen. Who would be so irresponsible to let it happen?
Well, it's happening. And we knew it was possible. It didn't take a rocket scientist to see the signs of organizations out of control. Any business person worth their weight in salt (or gold for that matter) could tell you when costs continue to increase year over year faster than the rate of inflation and at a rate that revenue could only hope to see, doom was a certain future.
The U.S. Postal Service looks to default on a $5 billion payment due in just 11 days — August 1, 2012. To make matters worse, there is another $5 billion payment due around September 1st. And guess what? The Post Office doesn't have this cash available to make either. That is what is called default and without a fix, then it becomes bankruptcy — unable to pay creditors. But what in the world costs so much and is due on these dates?
If you haven't noticed, a reoccurring theme has permeated this blog by various writers: Public Unions. The writers at KlamathNews.net have been very careful to make the clear distinction between public and private unions. We believe there can be a place for unions in the private sector. However the public sector is completely different. The public sector is a monopoly on a particular set of services for the community. It is this very fact that because governments hold monopolies on particular services that employees of the government should not be able to unionize.
Why? We'll let's look at an illustration. Suppose the union that manages the District Attorneys office think the DA and his crew aren't getting a good deal and decide to strike. Who else can prosecute a criminal case? No one. The DA's office owns a monopoly on that activity. Because this has the potential to do great public harm, Oregon law doesn't allow a public union to strike. Instead Oregon law states that if the county and a public union can't agree on a compensation package the matter goes to mediation. Almost always the mediator will rule somewhere in the middle. While that might seem fair, it isn't. What if the county doesn't have another nickel to spare? What if the voters want the commissioners is to cut costs? Does the mediator take these factors into consideration? Of course not. At best the mediator looks at the two proposals and picks something in the middle. But that is not what the voters may have wanted, so the public union process has subverted the people's will on the county controlling costs.
You've probably heard the phrase, "A government of the people, by the people and for the people." It is the last part of this phrase that public unions totally destroy. Public unions only represent the government employee's best interest, not the public at large.
Sometimes when I hear liberals talk, there is angst against corporations, and sometimes individuals, who make too much money. (First I wonder what their definition of "too much" is. Second I wonder why liberals get to determine any amount at all.) This type of discussion usually arises when trying to figure out how to raise more money for government. According to liberals, the best way to achieve this goal is by raising taxes on the wealthy — people and businesses alike.
Taxes are a penalty on productivity. If you don't think so, just look around at the wide offering of tax accountants available to help figure out how to pay fewer taxes. I have yet to hear of an individual or company that hires a tax accountant to help them pay more taxes. People and businesses alike do as much as they legally can not to pay taxes. Why? Because, taxes are a penalty on productivity.
Question: If you want to encourage more of a particular activity, would it be wise to penalize that activity more or to reward it more? Obviously the right answer is to reward the activity you desire. This simple logic is found in training a dog, raising children or coaching a sports team. Discipline and correction follow activities that are undesirable, but rewards and praises follow activities that are wanted. Therefore, if taxing is a penalty on productivity, then what does raising taxes do? Does it increase productivity or decrease it? Answer: Raising taxes decreases productivity.
How much should one be paid to be an office secretary? How much should one be paid to be road maintenance worker? How much should one be paid to be a health inspector, bus driver, school teacher, building inspector, mental health counselor or an attorney? As with all organizations, government is no different in that a large portion of its cost structure is found in employee compensation. To reduce expenses often means reducing head count. A department can delay capital expenses for a year or two, but it is unrealistic to ever imagine delaying employee compensation.
In the free market, the answer to the questions above are quickly found by the laws of supply and demand. Suppose I own a coffee shop. How much should I pay my employees to make espressos for customers? I would quickly figure this out by posting my job description with a wage and benefits package. If the compensation is too low, no one will apply or those who do are likely to be less skilled than I may need. If the compensation is too high then I will have more than enough qualified applicants to chose from but it will destroy my ability to make a profit and pay myself. Over time I will find the right balance between compensation and the skill set required to serve my coffee customers well and still make a profit.
In contrast, these market forces are completely absent from pubic union employee compensation. Public unions have "negotiated" with the government what each job is worth based on the previous negotiation — plus more. Built into the public union contract is better pay for those who have worked longer in the union. Also built into the contract is a very difficult process for dismissing a public union employee unless they commit an egregious act. So when comparing which system best reflects reality, the free market wins hands down. It pays employees what they are worth based on their skill and based on the supply and demand of the surrounding marketplace. On the other hand public employee compensation is based on tables, charts and lawyers that have no idea (and no care) what a particular job should cost.