Federal Workers Need Reality, Not Raises

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 
style="float: right; margin-bottom: 1px; margin-left: 1px;"> href="http://blog.heritage.org/wp-content/uploads/federal-pay.gif"> class="alignnone size-full wp-image-45698" title="federal pay" src="http://blog.heritage.org/wp-content/uploads/federal-pay.gif" alt="" width="420" height="250" />

Yesterday the href="http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-11-10-1Afedpay10_ST_N.htm">USA Today reported that not only has the number of federal workers making more than $ 150,000 a year doubled since President Barack Obama took office, but that President Obama wants to give federal workers a 1.4% across-the-board pay raise.

The two government union spokespeople in the article both claim that federal workers earn less than their private sector counterparts, but as Heritage Foundation senior labor policy analyst James Sherk has href="http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2010/07/inflated%20federal%20pay%20how%20americans%20are%20overtaxed%20to%20overpay%20the%20civil%20service">detailed that simply is not true. id="more-46490">

Analyzing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Population Survey (CPS) for 2006 through 2009, Sherk found that even after controlling for education and experience, federal employees get paid 22% more per hour on average than private-sector workers. And that does not include the significant non-cash benefits government workers receive. Federal employees not only can enroll in a Thrift Savings Plan that works like a 401(k), but they also get a “defined contribution” plan, which lets a worker with 30 years of experience retire at 56 with full benefits. And don’t forget the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, paid leave, group life insurance and on-site child care. To be sure, many private employers offer similar benefits but not all of these at the same time. All told, while the average private-sector employee gets $ 9,882 in annual benefits, federal government employees get $ 32,115 on average. Adding cash and non-cash compensation together, federal employees earn approximately 30 to 40 percent more in total compensation than comparable private-sector workers.

And the gravy train doesn’t end there. How much would near-absolute job security be worth to you? While their private sector counterparts have seen the unemployment rate rise from href="http://www.google.com/publicdata?ds=usunemployment&met=unemployment_rate&tdim=true&dl=en&hl=en&q=unemployment+rate">4.2% to a high of 10.6%, the percentage of federal employees who lost jobs barely budged, going from 2.0% to 2.9%. And if “serving” in the public sector is such a “sacrifice” then why do federal employees voluntarily leave their jobs at roughly a third the rate that private sector employees do?

If anything the next Congress should be identifying ways to reduce spending on federal worker salaries, not raising them.

The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

Taser incident in East Lansing High School raises concerns

November 9, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

East Lansing Police are defending the use of a taser on a 17-year-old student at East Lansing High School last week, reports the Lansing State Journal.

Marcus Reid, 17, has been charged with two counts of hindering, obstructing and assaulting a police officer and one count of disorderly conduct from a Thursday incident at the high school.

The Journal reports a school officer, who had just been assigned to the school, was escorting a 17-year-old woman off school property because she had been suspended when Reid intervened. The officer called for back up and seven East Lansing Police officers responded to the school. A third student, an unidentified minor, also engaged in the scuffle with officers.

The suspended student, 17-year-old Hodan Sharif, faces one count of disorderly conduct and one count of disorderly obstruction criminal charges. The minor will face disorderly conduct charges in probate court, the paper reports.

Police say they had to use the taser on Reid because they could not subdue him with other methods. But Reid’s mother says the incident was excessive force. She alleges her son ended up with a hairline fracture from the incident, something police deny. Police say he never complained of being in pain while in the city jail.

Dionnedra Reid said over the weekend that her son, a junior, already was being held down on his back by four other East Lansing police officers when another officer Tasered him twice in the chest. Reid said she watched a videotape of it Friday with school officials. Monday, she said she objects to the use of police officers to enforce school discipline, such as escorting a suspended student from the grounds of the school.

Police refused to comment on Dionnedra’s complaints. They also note that the officer had just been returned to the school after budget constraints had lead the police department and the East Lansing Schools to eliminate the school officer post. The post was reinstated just before former Chief Tom Wibert left for a new job in Texas.

School officials and police say they are reviewing the incident.

Michigan Messenger

RNC Raises Money With ‘No More Frankens’ Website (VIDEO)

November 1, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The Republican National Committee has launched a website called “No More Frankens” that raises money for their Get Out the Vote Program and appears to raise fears over voter fraud.

“The only way to prevent more Al Frankens is to win and win big,” the website reads. “Your contribution will go toward the RNC’s proven 72-hour Get Out the Vote program and help us get the margins of victory we need to make sure the real winners are recognized on November 3rd. There is no margin for error. Will you help us?”

But an RNC spokesman said is is not an attempt to raise fears over the potential for voter fraud. “Absolutely not,” the RNC’s Doug Heye told the Washington Independent. “We’re obviously not involved in any anti-voter fraud efforts of any kind.”

“There are a lot of people on both sides who would say that Franken won in the courthouse after the election and in the weeks and days after,” Heyes says. “We want to have every resource on the ground so that we’ll be able to get people there quickly to ensure that we hit the ground running this time.”

It is much more difficult for the RNC to get directly involved in “ballot security” efforts, as TPMMuckraker has reported. But lots of groups with connections to the RNL — like the Republican National Lawyers Association — have launched their own initiatives this year.

Here’s the video posted on the website:







TPMMuckraker

Ohio McDonald’s Tells Employees To Vote Republican If They Want To Continue Receiving Raises And Benefits

October 29, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

McDonald’s sells itself as the ultimate happy place. But this election season, a local McDonald’s franchise in Canton, Ohio is telling employees how to keep the company happy: vote Republican.

Along with their recent paychecks, employees received a pamphlet from their employer on company letter head that stated “as the election season is here, we wanted you to know which candidates will help our business grow in the future.” While pointing out that the vote is the employee’s “personal decision,” the pamphlet explicitly states, “if the right people are elected we will be able to continue with raises and benefits at or above our present levels. If others are elected we will not”:

In explicitly endorsing gubernatorial candidate John Kasich (R), Senate candidate Rob Portman (R), and House candidate Jim Renacci (R), the pamphlet — which was directly inside the envelope with the paycheck — appears to directly violate Ohio Revised Code regarding elections:

No employer or his agent or a corporation shall print or authorize to be printed upon any pay envelopes any statements intended or calculated to influence the political action of his or its employees; or post or exhibit in the establishment or anywhere in or about the establishment any posters, placards, or hand bills containing any threat, notice, or information that if any particular candidate is elected or defeated work in the establishment will cease in whole or in part, or other threats expressed or implied, intended to influence the political opinions or votes of his or its employees.

“This is an outrageous attack on one of the most fundamental rights our citizens enjoy - the right to vote for the candidate of his/her choice without economic fear or threat,” states local attorney Allen Schulman who is investigating the matter. “It is particularly egregious that in this time of harsh economic conditions, a corporation would stoop to this level of voter intimidation.”

Not to mention that Kasich, Portman, and Renacci all oppose the health care reform law, a law that ensures employees like those at McDonald’s can afford health coverage and provides companies like McDonald’s with “significant flexibility to maintain coverage for workers.” And should these three adopt the Republican view of the minimum wage, the only happy face at the this McDonald’s will be the employer’s.

ThinkProgress

Open Thread: Joy Behar Raises Nearly $300k for Angle Campaign

October 28, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Since the vacuous Joy Behar began attacking Sharron Angle, the latter's campaign has seen some impressive fundraising numbers in the eleventh hour of the midterm election season, Mark Hemingway reports:

read more

NewsBusters.org - Exposing Liberal Media Bias

Karl Rove Raises Questions About Sarah Palin

October 27, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

If you had any doubts that Tea Party spiritual leader Sarah Palin is not GOP establishment political maven Karl Rove’s favorite candidate — and that jockeying for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination will begin on Wednesday, after the voters are counted — get rid of them now. Karl Rove has raised questions about Palin’s qualifications to sit in the Oval Office — and he does not mince words:

Karl Rove, the former senior adviser to George W Bush, has cast doubt on Sarah Palin’s viability as a White House candidate, questioning if the American people thought she had the “gravitas” for the “most demanding job in the world”.

Expressing the strongest public reservations about the conservative star made by any senior Republican figure, Mr Rove said it was unlikely that voters would regard someone starring in a reality show as presidential material.

In two weeks, the former governor of Alaska launches a cable television series exploring her home state’s wilderness.

“With all due candour, appearing on your own reality show on the Discovery Channel, I am not certain how that fits in the American calculus of ‘that helps me see you in the Oval Office’,” Mr Rove told The Daily Telegraph in an interview.

He added that the promotional clip for Sarah Palin’s Alaska could be especially detrimental to any political campaign. It features the mother of five in the great outdoors saying: “I would rather be doing this than in some stuffy old political office.

And he gets even more blunt as the interview published in England’s Telegraph progresses:

Mr Rove was asked if the 46-year-old Mrs Palin, who is among the front-runners for the next Republican nomination, would be a wise choice if the party wanted to seize the White House from President Barack Obama. He replied: “You can make a plausible case for any of them on paper, but it is not going to be paper in 2011. It’s going to be blood, it’s going to be sweat and tears and it’s going to be hard effort.”

He said Mrs Palin had done a “terrific job” in 2008 when Senator John McCain took her from near obscurity to the vice-presidential nomination, but added: “Being the vice-presidential nominee on the ticket is different from saying ‘I want to be the person at the top of the ticket’.

“There are high standards that the American people have for it [the presidency] and they require a certain level of gravitas, and they want to look at the candidate and say ‘that candidate is doing things that gives me confidence that they are up to the most demanding jobs in the world’.”

Palin and Rove have been at loggerheads before. Rove backed some of the candidates that Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Movement put out to political pasture in the tempestuous GOP primaries where many Republican establishment candidates took it on the chin. Rove has become a potent behind the scenes strategist and bank roller (via the independent political groups he runs) in campaign 2010 — once again greatly dominating the American political scene and thwarting Democrats’ political dreams.

There has also been considerable speculation that Rove will pick an establishment-type Republican candidate to back i 2010 and that his candidate will be battling Palin tooth and nail for the speculation centered on his perhaps backing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for the top spot should she — as many expect she will — decide to go for it. Some

But it’s clear he symbolizes a part of the Republican party — the part of the party that Palin often talks about with considerable snark. Rove seemed particularly miffed with Palin-backed Tea Party movement candidate Christine O’Donnell pulled off an upset and got the nomination for GOP Senate candidate in Delaware. He essentially said “There goes our Senate majority” until he followed a great Republican tradition: he backtracked and ate most of his words once Republican party chief strategist talk show host Rush Limbaugh blasted him on Limbaugh’s radio show for not backing Limbaugh-favorite O’Donnell.

Look for lines in the sand to continue to be drawn between Palin and Rove even more once the mid-term elections are over.


The Moderate Voice

Crist raises Palin specter

October 27, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

"Down one road is extremism — where Roe v. Wade is overturned and being a moderate is a curse" says Charlie Crist in his new ad. "That’s the road Sarah Palin, the Tea Party and Marco Rubio want to take us down."





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Ben Smith’s Blog

Upcoming G20 Summit in Seoul Raises Stakes for U.S.-Korea Trade Deal

October 20, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

By Daniel Griswold

The next G20 Summit, to be held November 11-12 in South Korea, is right around the corner. For free traders, the summit has taken on added meaning because of the promise President Obama made during the most recent G20 Summit held last June in Toronto to advance the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement (FTA):

The last time I was in Korea, I said that I would be committed to moving [the FTA] forward. And today I indicated to President Lee that it is time that our United States Trade Representative work very closely with his counterpart from the ROK to make sure that we set a path, a road, so that I can present this FTA to Congress…. I want to make sure that everything is lined up properly by the time that I visit Korea in November. And then in the few months that follow that, I intend to present it to Congress. It is the right thing to do for our country.

We agree, Mr. President. To help policymakers understand the high stakes and potential gains of the agreement, Cato Senior Fellow Doug Bandow has authored the new Cato Trade Briefing Paper, “A Free Trade Agreement with South Korea Would Promote Both Prosperity and Security,” released today.

A preview of Doug’s analysis also was published yesterday in the Daily Caller, under the title “South Korea Free Trade Agreement Key to Prosperity and Security.”

Upcoming G20 Summit in Seoul Raises Stakes for U.S.-Korea Trade Deal is a post from Cato @ Liberty - Cato Institute Blog


Cato @ Liberty

Mayor’s Car Raises Questions

October 19, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

North Miami Mayor Andre Pierre apparently can’t remember who exactly gave him a dark blue 2010 Porsche Panamera.

NBC Miami: “Where the $ 100,000 ride came from is a little sketchy. Pierre first said he borrowed the car from friend David Kidd, but Kidd denied lending the car, saying that it actually belonged to his business partner Renal Roberty, who confirmed he gave the car to Pierre… at the end of the day Pierre was still big pimpin’ in
a Porsche - a Porsche he didn’t disclose, as is required by state and
county ethics laws if it was a gift.”
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

Beck raises for Chamber of Commerce

October 14, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The corporate wing of the Republican Party and the grassroots have always been a bit of an uncomfortable fit, though they agree on certain issues, notably low taxes. 

But Glenn Beck, the leader of the latter, sought to unite them today with a remarkable on-air fundraising campaign for a group that doesn’t typically raise its money on talk radio.

Beck said today that he’s giving $ 10,000 to the Chamber, and called on his listeners to join him:

"I would like this to be the largest day of fundraising for the Chamber of Commerce ever,” Beck said….

“Let’s break all records. Let’s show these people that we actually believe in something different than what Barack Obama and Joe Biden are saying,” Beck said, after explaining that the Chamber is “fighting” for small businesses.

“They are us,” he said of the Chamber. “Put your money where you mouth is.”





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