From the Manitoba Herald -
The flood of American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop the illegal immigration. The recent actions of the Tea Party are prompting an exodus among left-leaning citizens who fear they’ll soon be required to hunt, pray, and to agree with Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck.
Canadian border farmers say it’s not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, animal-rights activists and Unitarians crossing their fields at night.
“I went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood producer huddled in the barn,” said Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield, whose acreage borders North Dakota. “The producer was cold, exhausted and hungry. He asked me if I could spare a latte and some free-range chicken. When I said I didn’t have any, he left before I even got a chance to show him my screenplay, eh?”
In an effort to stop the illegal aliens, Greenfield erected higher fences, but the liberals scaled them. He then installed loudspeakers that blared Rush Limbaugh across the fields. “Not real effective,” he said. “The liberals still got through and Rush annoyed the cows so much that they wouldn’t give any milk.”
Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers who meet liberals near the Canadian border, pack them into Volvo station wagons and drive them across the border where they are simply left to fend for themselves.
“A lot of these people are not prepared for our rugged conditions,” an Ontario border patrolman said. “I found one carload without a single bottle of imported drinking water. They did have a nice little Napa Valley Cabernet, though.”
When liberals are caught, they’re sent back across the border, often wailing loudly that they fear retribution from conservatives. Rumors have been circulating about plans being made to build re-education camps where liberals will be forced to drink domestic beer and watch NASCAR races.
In recent days, liberals have turned to ingenious ways of crossing the border. Some have been disguised as senior citizens taking a bus trip to buy cheap Canadian prescription drugs. After catching a half-dozen young vegans in powdered wig disguises, Canadian immigration authorities began stopping buses and quizzing the supposed senior-citizens about Perry Como and Rosemary Clooney to prove that they were alive in the ’50s. “If they can’t identify the accordion player on The Lawrence Welk Show, we become very suspicious about their age,” an official said.
Canadian citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are creating an organic-broccoli shortage and are renting all the Michael Moore movies. “I really feel sorry for American liberals, but the Canadian economy just can’t support them,” an Ottawa resident said. “How many art-history majors does one country need?”
In an effort to ease tensions between the United States and Canada, Vice President Biden met with the Canadian ambassador and pledged that the administration would take steps to reassure liberals. A source close to President Obama said, “We’re going to have some Paul McCartney and Peter, Paul &Mary concerts. And we might even put some endangered species on postage stamps. The President is determined to reach out,” he said.
OK, I can’t take credit for this… nor can I give credit to the person that wrote it, as I’ve no idea who it was. Maybe it really did come from the Manitoba Herald. No matter… my hat is off to whomever did write it. It’s pretty funny!
There is a new storm brewing on the horizon you all should be aware of: That of the approximately 10 million private pensioners lobbying for a government bailout. None of us have forgotten the trillions of our tax dollars spent on the private financial sector bailouts of 2008 and 2009. Well, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
We have police and firemen retiring in their early 40s on full pensions, teachers (and school administrators) receiving guaranteed annual raises (not based on merit) despite the recession, and our politicians continually agreeing to unsustainable (and unfundable) public sector compensation programs. The Tea Party movement has seen this coming, and you should be aware of it, too.
To quote Damien Hoffman of the Wall St. Cheat Sheet, “There are no guarantees in Capitalism. If the U.S. is to recreate one of the greatest economies in the world, we must end the practice of aiding businesses and programs which would otherwise go bankrupt without government subsidy. Once guarantees are offered to a privileged group of people, a society ends up in the current tit-for-tat gameplay currently reaching elevated heights in the U.S.”
Granted, there are programs providing significant value to a small percentage of people that really need the assistance. However, guaranteeing survival in the private market or permitting outlandish retirement benefits in the public sector are a direct path to the same fate as ancient Rome.
It used to be that a person contemplating going to work in the public sector would work for less wages than his private sector counterpart, but had a nicer retirement and benefit package to offset the wage disparity. This has changed, in that public sector wages have caught up with (and in many cases, surpassed) those in the private sector, while the public sector fringe benefits have gotten even fatter.
The tit-for-tat mentality works this way:
The public sector employees aren’t blind, and see the bailout money flowing to the public sector for a lot of stupid reasons… much of which lines the pockets of upper management in the form of bonuses.
Then, the private sector sees public employees retiring after 15+ years with full pensions at ridiculous rates (much of which is based on trumped up timekeeping methodology), fully paid medical benefits with little or no worker contribution, and other completely outrageous benefits dreamed up by the labor unions. This is on top of the wage rate, which in most cases matches that of the private sector.
The private sector then pushes back because they see the waste of tax dollars used to prop up the public sector’s ever increasing standard of living. The tit-for-tat continues until rational people intervene and stop the BS.
The public sector needs to learn basic math. More importantly, so do the legislators that cave in to the public sector labor unions’ demands. Organized Labor must be forced out of the public sector, or else there will never be a balanced budget or sustainable tax burden to pay for the continued increases in public sector benefit packages. This applies at the Federal, State and Local levels. Government must set the pay scales (similar to the old Federal “GS” system), where promotion and raises are based on time and merit. Public sector employees must start contributing to their own retirement plans, and the employee contributions must constitute the bulk of the funding. The High-3* system needs to be retired, being replaced with something similar to the private sector’s 401(k) system, where the pension amount is determined by employee/taxpayer contributions, without regard to how much the employee earned in his/her highest 3 years of compensation. A change to this type of system would give the public sector employee total control of their retirement fund, thus preventing the Government and Unions from using retirement fund money to fund their pet projects.
Yo… Organized Labor… do you hear me? My name is John Q. Taxpayer, and I’m mad as Hell and am not gonna take it any more. Wanna know why? I’ll tell you:
That’s right… it’s YOUR FAULT.
When $1,600 of the current cost of a GM vehicle goes toward paying legacy costs (i.e., mostly retiree health and pension benefits), that’s a sign of a major problem. Assuming the average price of a GM vehicle is $25,000, the cost of retiree health and pension benefits comprises 6.4% of that vehicle’s price and is paying benefits for people that no longer work for GM. That’s a problem, don’t you think?
39.5% of California’s General Fund expenditures goes toward K-12 education, and 82.9% of that pays teacher and staff salaries and benefits. In 2006-2007 salaries for classroom teachers accounted for 39.5 percent of school expenditures; salaries for other school staff, including counselors, principals, and secretaries, accounted for 24.4 percent; and employee benefits, including retirement and health benefits, accounted for 19.0 percent. That’s right… 19% of California’s education budget pays for retirement benefits. When added to administrative costs, 43.4% of the budget goes toward what we in the private sector call G&A (General and Administrative Expenses). If a private sector company had G&A expenses of 43.4%, it would be bankrupt because it couldn’t compete in the market. Oh gee…. look at GM and Chrysler.
For the record, I believe Organized Labor once had its place in this nation. But those days are over. We have Federal Labor and Minimum Wage laws that protect the Worker. The American worker doesn’t need a union to look out for his or her best interests. What the American worker needs to do is get a better education so they’re better equipped to negotiate their own best deal with their potential employers.
In 2009, just over 16 million Americans are union members, accounting for approximately 12.4% of the workforce. Organized labor believes that new legislation such as the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA aka Card Check) will give workers a better opportunity to join the union movement. Opponents feel it’s nothing more than pressure tactics on non-unionized employees. If you take out the public sector, unions are practically irrelevant, representing just 7.8% of the private sector workforce.
More concerning is the influence unions have through their pension funds. A study done by New York University professor Ashwini Agarwal found that AFL-CIO (the central federation of labor unions in the U.S.) affiliated pension fund assets total $100 billion, with 46% invested in domestic equities (as of September 30, 2006). In 2006, union-related funds were responsible for 295 out of 699 shareholder proposals. It also found that AFL-CIO funds became much less combative when the union no longer represented a company’s employees.
If you have a union pension, take a very close look at the investments. You can bet they’re playing retired workers against the current workers in a sophisticated game of chicken. Don’t let it happen. Unions increasingly find themselves in a conflict of interest today, in that they claim to represent the worker, when in reality they only represent themselves using their (unearned) influence to buy political favors by contributing to political campaigns. It’s a cat and mouse game that politicians would do well to beware of (and this includes you, Mr. Obama, with your cozy relationship with SEIU). Conflict of interest works both ways.
Of course, this is just One Man’s View. Your comments are, as always, most welcome.
I ran into a friend at the market last night, who also happens to be my CPA. Brian was picking up groceries for dinner with his 84 year old father, a Tuesday night ritual for them. Brian invited me to join them for some liquid refreshment, snacks and conversation. Even though I had already dined (my wife is off visiting my daughter for a few days), I really enjoy sitting down with him and solving the world’s problems over a glass or 3 of wine (or a fine Scotch) so I agreed to join them.
The conversation eventually turned to the current State of the U.S., as it usually does.
We were discussing the National Debt, when I made mention that “a little debt is healthy”. Brian was quick to remind me of my many comments that the Government needs to be run like a non-profit corporation, asking “How can a non-profit corporation ever hope to pay off any debt when its goal is to have no profits with which to pay it?” This was an excellent point, and one which bears more discussion at another time.
By now you’re probably asking “What does this have to do with the Tea Party?”. Well, I have been thinking a lot about the Tea Party of late… mostly about where they’re headed in terms of influencing our political process. Brian and I also discussed where they fit in the overall political spectrum, and how they could be most effective… and how they might self-destruct. I spent some time floating around their web site, and came across their Mission Statement:
The impetus for the Tea Party movement is excessive government spending and taxation. Our mission is to attract, educate, organize, and mobilize our fellow citizens to secure public policy consistent with our three core values of Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government and Free Markets.
While their Mission is laudable, I think those who are highly active in the movement need to reach a consensus on how they plan on making their mission successful. That said, here are some of my thoughts… which will probably prove highly unpopular to a LOT of people:
A lot to chew on? Absolutely! However, if the Tea Party can reach a general, national consensus on the 8 items I listed above, they will be a force to be reckoned with forevermore. Of course, these 8 items aren’t all that need to be done to fix what’s wrong with our political processes today… but they’ll go a long way toward it.
Of course, this is just One Man’s View. As always, your comments are most welcome.]]>