Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Public Service Pensions Unsustainable Says NJ State Senate President

Public Service Pensions Unsustainable Says NJ State Senate President June 30 2010

Federal stimulus funds used "just like throwing it away".

KCRW public radio program "To the Point"
WED JUN 30, 2010 "Stimulus or Austerity?: That Is the Question"
Host: Warren Olney

Listen to this Los Angeles public radio interview show by Warren Olney June 30, 2010 at

I downloaded it to attached to this email. After seeing it was 23 megabytes, I removed it.

Stephen Sweeney, President, New Jersey State Senate and also an official in New Jersey’s Iron Workers' Union

This guy is great. Sounds like a Democrat who gets it.

It is so hard to believe. His portion is towards the end of the program starting at 37 minutes.

Here's some of Stephen Sweeney's comments, not a great transcript, but pretty close:
• 37 minutes "elected officials bypassed the collective bargaining process, the costs of elections and gave benefits, expanded benefits, that they could not pay for"
• "basically the politicians gave the workers what they asked for and they destroyed the system"
• "our pensions will be bankrupt probably in another five or six years" .. "for political purposes enhancing benefits and to sustain favor with people, in the long run hurting their workers"
• 38.4 "our system we have is not sustainable"
• 38.5 the federal aid to states "plans that I've seen pass out of Washington…used billions of dollars what we did was use the money to plug shortfalls in existing programs instead of dealing with the issues"
• 39.1 "infrastructure improvement, building schools was a better plan, when they turned the money over to the States it was just like throwing it away"
• 42.2 stimulus money should "not to States to fund their budgets, why I said the money was thrown away, state governments and local governments did not have to deal with the financial crises, they pushed it off. If we had taken the money for improving infrastructure, building roads, and schools where you would actually have something for years to come made more sense to me"
• 43.1 "The billions of dollars that we spent in the State of New Jersey basically we were just trying to hide the inevitable"
• "This year we cut $800 million dollars out of school aid; you know, we should have cut a billion dollars last year"
• Question from Warren Olney "And you're an official in the Iron Workers Union? Are you a Democrat as well? Response from Stephen Sweeney "Yes, I am".
• 43.4 "I come from the private sector unions where my employers can go out of business. There's a thought process where because we're government you cannot go out of business. You can always tax more. That model is not working anymore."

The whole program is good including comments by a Harvard professor wanting to slow down federal spending.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Too Few Animal Spirits by Robert Samuelson Washington Post

Obama Policies Discourage Jobs
See Washington Post
June 14, 2010
Too Few Animal Spirits
By Robert Samuelson

"What's missing are "animal spirits," in the famous phrase of economist John Maynard Keynes. In the boom, surplus animal spirits spurred speculation. Scarce animal spirits now hinder recovery. Given the magnitude of the housing and financial carnage, most of today's cautiousness and risk aversion -- by both businesses and households -- were unavoidable. But the Obama administration's anti-business rhetoric and controversial health "reform" may have compounded the effect. These policies created uncertainties and fanned partisan rancor. In the case of health "reform," they raised the cost of future full-time employees.

The administration believes these various policies don't hamper economic recovery. It ignores contradictions and inconsistencies. Historians, more detached and better informed, may conclude otherwise."

Monday, June 07, 2010

Obama Grants Environmental Waivers to BP Gulf Off Shore Drilling

The New York Times June 5, 2010 front page article "In Gulf, It Was Unclear Who Was in Charge of Oil Rig" by Ian Urbina includes:
Minerals Management Service
■ "Investigators have focused on the minute-to-minute decisions and breakdowns to understand what led to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, killing 11 people and setting off the largest oil spill in United States history and an environmental disaster. But the lack of coordination was not limited to the day of the explosion."
■ "a hodgepodge of oversight agencies granted exceptions to rules, allowed risks to accumulate and made a disaster more likely on the rig"
■ " Of roughly 3,500 drilling rigs and production platforms in the gulf [of Mexico], fewer than 50 are in waters deeper than 1,000 feet. But the risks and challenges associated with this deeper water are much greater."
■ "BP officials [for] Canyon Block 252 in the Gulf of Mexico, they asked for and received permission from federal regulators to exempt the drilling project from federal law that requires a rigorous type of environmental review, internal documents and federal records indicate."
■ "BP engineers … had to get permission from company managers to use riskier equipment because that equipment deviated from the company’s own design and safety policies"
■ "when company officials wanted to test the blowout preventer, a crucial fail-safe mechanism on the pipe near the ocean floor, at a lower pressure than was federally required, regulators granted an exception'
■ The Obama administration Minerals Management Service "shares responsibility for oversight of drilling in the gulf with many others. The Environmental Protection Agency and others review offshore drilling for potential damage to wildlife and the environment"
■ "On the Deepwater Horizon, for example, the minerals agency approved a drilling plan for BP that cited the 'worst case' for a blowout as one that might produce 250,000 barrels of oil per day, federal records show. But the agency did not require the rig to create a response plan for such a situation."
■ "The rig’s 'spill response plan' … includes…the importance of protecting walruses, seals and sea lions, none of which inhabit the area of drilling. The agency approved the plan."
■ "Michael J. Saucier, an official with the Minerals Management Service, said that his agency 'highly encouraged' — but did not require — companies to have backup systems to trigger blowout preventers in case of an emergency.
■ "With the clock ticking, bad decisions went unchecked, warning signs went unheeded and small lapses compounded."
■ "BP skipped a quality test of the cement around the pipe. Federal regulators also gave the rig a pass at several critical moments. After the rig encountered several problems, including the gas kicks and the pipe stuck in the well, the regulators did not demand a halt to the operation. Instead, they gave permission for a delay in a safety test of the blowout preventer.”
■ "at least a dozen federal agencies have taken part in the spill response, making decision-making slow, conflicted and confused, as they sought to apply numerous federal statutes.”
■ "For three weeks, as the giant slick crept closer to shore, officials from the White House, Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Environmental Protection Agency debated the best approach. They ultimately approved the use of only one barrier, called a berm"
■ "Louisiana state officials spent much of May repeatedly seeking permission from the federal government to construct up to 90 miles of sand barriers to prevent oil from reaching the wetlands."
■ "It took more than a week after the explosion for the homeland security secretary, Janet Napolitano, to declare, on April 29, 'a spill of national significance' a legal categorization that was needed before certain federal assistance could be authorized."

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Friday, June 04, 2010

Obama Lies but Voters Projection of What They Wanted to Believe

See June 4, 2010 Wall Street Journal at

Author and blogger Virginia Postrel, in an interview in the June issue of Reason magazine:

"Glamour is a particular form of illusion. It's an illusion that tells a truth about the audience's desires, and it requires mystery and distance. During the campaign people projected onto Barack Obama whatever they wanted in a president or even in a country. Lying is usually a bad thing, but they would project onto him that he was lying about his positions because he secretly agreed with them: 'Anyone that smart has got to be a free trader at heart. He's just saying this to pander to those idiots. He can't really mean it.' . . . [T]here is always this capacity for disillusionment. People have projected so much of what they think, including things that are sort of impossible, onto a glamorous figure, that when any flaw shows up the glamour is dispelled and suddenly he becomes terrible."

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